A ‘History of Black Hair Culture’ and 5 more new books not to miss

Others worth a read: Brit Bennett’s ‘Vanishing Half,’ Ragnar Jónasson’s ‘The Mist,’ Jasmine Guillory’s ‘Party of Two,’ Julie Clark’s ‘Last Flight,’ Megan Miranda’s ‘Girl From Widow Hills.’

SHARE A ‘History of Black Hair Culture’ and 5 more new books not to miss
Emma Dabiri writes about “how deeply the story of the African diaspora is intertwined in changing attitudes toward Black hair.”

Emma Dabiri writes about “how deeply the story of the African diaspora is intertwined in changing attitudes toward Black hair.”


Here’s a rundown on five new books that are worth a read:

‘Twisted: The Tangled History of Black Hair Culture’ by Emma Dabiri

Harper Perennial, nonfiction, $16.99

What it’s about: Black hair is more than just hair. In an essay collection that’s personal and historical, BBC correspondent Emma Dabiri — who grew up in Ireland the daughter of a Nigerian father and Irish mother — gets to the heart of how, in cultures around the world, Black hair has been stigmatized, appropriated and erased — and how it has been a gateway to discrimination.

The buzz: “Sure to become the definitive book on the politics, culture and economics of Black hair,” says Kirkus Reviews, which calls the book “compelling and engrossing.” Publishers Weekly writes, “Readers will be fascinated by how deeply the story of the African diaspora is intertwined in changing attitudes toward Black hair.”

Emma Dabiri’s “Twisted: The Tangled History of Black Hair Culture.”

Harper Perennial

‘The Vanishing Half’ by Brit Bennett

Riverhead Books, fiction, $27

What it’s about: Colorism, a bias against people with darker skin from others within the same race, has a fraught and painful history in America.Brit Bennett’s deeply compelling new novel goes directly to the heart of this experience by depicting a Southern community, born from the legacy of slavery, whose members grapple for generations with what it means to be “colorstruck.”

The buzz: Bennett, whose debut novel “The Mothers” garnered critical acclaim, brilliantly creates a network of vivid characters whose stories alternate in time and take readers from Louisiana to Los Angeles. There are moments here that stun with quiet power as well as a loving, longterm queer partnership that ranks as one of the most realistic and affecting in recent fiction.

Brit Bennett’s “The Vanishing Half.”

Riverhead Books

‘The Mist’ by Ragnar Jónasson

St. Martin’s, fiction, $27.99

What it’s about: The third and final installment in the Hidden Iceland crime-fiction series featuring Reykjavik detective Hulda Hermannsdóttir, who’s assigned to reopen the case of a missing girl unlikely to have a happy ending.

The buzz: “Fans of dark crime fiction that doesn’t pull punches will be amply rewarded,” Publishers Weekly says.

Ragnar Jónasson’s “The Mist.”

St. Martin’s Press

‘Party of Two’ by Jasmine Guillory

Berkley, fiction, $26

What it’s about: Romance is the last thing on Olivia Monroe’s to-do list when she moves to Los Angeles to start her own law firm — and then she meets Max Powell, a senator. Can their budding love survive the scrutiny that comes with dating a politician?

The buzz: “Guillory will win you over with this fantastic new rom-com,” Bustle says.

Jasmine Guillory’s “Party of Two.”


‘The Girl From Widow Hills’ by Megan Miranda

Simon & Schuster, fiction, $26.99

What it’s about: Arden Maynor became the famous “girl from Widow Hills” when a storm swept her away as a child and days later she was found alive, clinging to a storm drain. She grows up, leaves town and changes her name, but 20 years later she’s about to become the center of the story again.

The buzz: “Psychological thriller fans will enjoy the ride,” Publishers Weekly says.

Megan Miranda’s “The Girl From Widow Hills.”

Simon & Schuster

‘The Last Flight’ by Julie Clark

Sourcebooks Landmark, fiction, $26.99

What it’s about: Two women desperate to escape troubled lives temporarily switch identities at an airport bar — Claire taking Eva’s flight to Oakland, California, Eva taking Claire’s to Puerto Rico — hoping the swap will give them a head start on a new life. But what happens when one of the planes goes down?

The buzz: “A tense and engaging woman-centric thriller,” Kirkus Reviews writes.

Julie Clark’s “The Last Flight.”

Sourcebooks Landmark

Read more at USA Today.

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