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5 books not to miss: ‘The Splendid and the Vile,’ 'Hood Feminism,' Colum McCann's 'Apeirogon'

Barbara VanDenburgh, USA TODAY
“The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz,” by Erik Larson.

In search of something good to read? USA TODAY's Barbara VanDenburgh scopes out the shelves for this week’s hottest new book releases.

1. “The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz,” by Erik Larson (Crown, nonfiction, on sale Feb. 25)

What it’s about: In captivating and intimate fashion, Larson tells the story of Winston Churchill’s most heroic moment, when the British prime minister held off Adolf Hitler.

The buzz: “While the story of Churchill’s premiership and the Blitz have been told in greater historical depth, they’ve rarely been rendered so vividly. Readers will rejoice,” says a starred review in Publishers Weekly.

2. “Apeirogon,” by Colum McCann (Random House, fiction, on sale Feb. 25)

What it’s about: The National Book Award-winning author of “Let the Great World Spin” returns with an ambitious, hopeful novel about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Two men – one Israeli, the other Palestinian – are connected in grief by the loss of their daughters.

The buzz: “Imperfect but ultimately triumphant, McCann’s latest novel might be his finest yet,” says a starred review in Kirkus Reviews.

3. “Oona Out of Order,” by Margarita Montimore (Flatiron, fiction, on sale Feb. 25)

What it’s about: It’s New Year’s Eve 1982, and Oona Lockhart is about to turn 19 at the stroke of midnight when she faints. When she awakens, it’s 32 years in the future and she’s 51. Thus begins a life lived out of order, as each passing year Oona leaps to another age at random.

The buzz: “A heartfelt novel that celebrates its implausibility with a unique joie de vivre,” says Kirkus Reviews.

4. “Hood Feminism: Notes from the Woman That a Movement Forgot,” by Mikki Kendall (Viking, nonfiction, on sale Feb. 25)

What it’s about: Kendall’s collection of essays is a searing indictment of what she argues is the modern feminist movement’s failure to support marginalized women and to integrate issues of race, class and sexual orientation.

The buzz: “This hard-hitting guide delivers crucial insights for those looking to build a more inclusive movement,” says Publishers Weekly.

5. “Apartment,” by Teddy Wayne (Bloomsbury, fiction, on sale Feb. 25)

What it’s about: Two writers in Columbia’s MFA program – one privileged, one poor and preternaturally gifted – share the former’s apartment in Manhattan. It’s a pleasantly symbiotic relationship until it becomes curdled by jealousy.

The buzz: “There’s a trickiness and intimacy to Wayne’s tale of two aspiring novelists that makes it more than a yarn about literary ambition. For one thing, it’s a savvy class novel,” says a ★★★ (out of four) review for USA TODAY.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: New books: Colum McCann's 'Apeirogon,' 'Splendid and the Vile'