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The Book Report: Recommendations from Washington Post critic Ron Charles (February 6)

The Book Report: New fiction and nonfiction
The Book Report: New fiction and nonfiction 02:52

By Washington Post book critic Ron Charles

If you're looking for something special to read this winter, here are a few new titles you should check out:

Flatiron Books

"Olga Dies Dreaming," by Xochitl Gonzalez, is a smart romantic comedy that's already been snapped up by Hulu for a possible TV series.

It's about a wildly successful wedding planner who can make any couple's dream come true – for a price! – but she can't seem to find love herself. Meanwhile, her brother is a popular (possibly corrupt) U.S. congressman who takes a special interest in Puerto Rico.

This is a rare comic novel that explores family secrets, national promises, and the complex racial politics of America.

Read an excerpt from "Olga Dies Dreaming"

"Olga Dies Dreaming," by Xochitl Gonzalez (Flatiron Books), in Hardcover, eBook and Audio formats, available via Amazon and Indiebound


The many fans of Hanya Yanagihara's 2015 bestseller, "A Little Life," will never forget that devastating story. Now, Yanagihara is back with a new book titled "To Paradise."

It's a trilogy of novellas. In the late 19th century, a wealthy young man struggles to pursue his heart's desire. In the 20th century, a boy is trapped in his father's dream of restoring Hawaiian royalty. And in the 21st century, a woman searches for safety in an America utterly transformed by pandemics.

"To Paradise" demonstrates the inexhaustible ingenuity of a writer who keeps shattering expectations.

Read an excerpt from "To Paradise"

"To Paradise" by Hanya Yanagihara (Doubleday), in Hardcover, eBook and Audio formats, available via Amazon and Indiebound

Follow hanyayanagihara on Instagram

Two Dollar Radio

Kalani Pickhart's timely debut novel, "I Will Die In a Foreign Land," is about the 2014 Ukrainian revolution which provided a pretense for Russia to annex Crimea.

The story follows the experiences of several characters whose lives intersect as the country's political situation deteriorates. There's a Ukrainian-American doctor, an old KGB spy, a former mine worker, and others, and these episodes are interspersed with folk songs, news reports and historical notes.

The effect – kaleidoscopic but never confusing – provides an intimate sense of a country convulsing, mourning, and somehow surviving.

Read an excerpt from "I Will Die In a Foreign Land"

"I Will Die in a Foreign Land" by Kalani Pickhart (Two Dollar Radio), in Hardcover, eBook and Audio formats, available via Amazon and Indiebound

Grand Central

Brian Cox has published a memoir that's almost as brutally candid as Logan Roy, the character he plays on the HBO series "Succession."

In "Putting the Rabbit in the Hat," the Scottish-born actor writes about his beginnings on the London stage, his transition to Hollywood, and the many stars he's worked with over the years. Some earn his respect – and some definitely do not. It's all here in a book that has nothing to hide. 

Read an excerpt from "Putting the Rabbit In the Hat"

"Putting the Rabbit in the Hat" by Brian Cox (Grand Central), in Hardcover, eBook and Audio formats, available via Amazon and Indiebound

For these and other suggestions about what to read while waiting for spring, contact your librarians or local bookseller. 

That's it for the Book Report. Until next time, read on!

For more info: 

Story produced by Robin Sanders, Roman Feeser and Juan Torres-Falcon.

For more reading recommendations check out these previous Book Report features from Ron Charles: 

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