Literary Lawyer: February’s Best New Books

February is a great month for book releases. Here are just a few of the titles we’re most excited about this month — fiction and nonfiction. And don’t forget to check out the March 2015 issue of NWLawyer for a new Literary Lawyer column with book reviews, news, and more.

Discontent and its Civilizations: Dispatches from Lahore, New York, and London, Mohsin Hamid (2015; Riverhead Hardcover; 240 pp. hardcover; $28)

Mohsin Hamid’s internationally bestselling novels have been praised for their brilliantly written, deeply moving portrayals of universal themes and timely global issues. Born in Pakistan, raised in the United States, and a British citizen, Hamid truly has a uniquely international perspective. This collection brings together pieces ranging from short op-eds to longer essays, exploring topics from pop culture to terrorism to the risks and rewards of globalization. Deeply personal, frequently political, these thought-provoking pieces reach across borders to reflect on what we all share.

Funny Girl: A Novel, Nick Hornby (2015; Riverhead Hardcover; 464 pp. hardcover; $28)

Movie buffs will recognize the film reference in the title of Nick Hornby’s latest novel, Funny Girl, which is indeed set in the swinging mod scene of the 1960s. Sophie Straw is a working-class English girl and aspiring TV star, initially dismissed as too pretty to be funny. Through her wit and physical comedy, she makes a name for herself and eventually becomes a national sweetheart. Hornby has a sharp eye for writing compelling characters, like the director who pines for Sophie and the unsung writers who create her funniest material. His fondness for a bygone era and the excitement of being at the center of a cultural moment make for an enjoyable read.

Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It, Marc Goodman (2015; Doubleday; 464 pp. hardcover; $28)

Author Marc Goodman, one of the world’s leading authorities on global security, gives readers a guided tour of the digital underground — including the ways that criminals, corporations, and governments are using new and emerging technologies on you. In a world populated by “The Internet of Things,” where hackers can hijack baby monitors to spy on families, burglars track social media posts to plan home robberies, and digital gunsmiths can print a gun with a 3D printer, we’re exposed to dangers we don’t even know about. Future Crimes is an eye-opening look at the dark side of technological innovation and the unexpected risks of our digitally connected society.

The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah (2015; St. Martin’s Press; 2015; 448 pages; $28)

Fans of All the Light We Cannot See will want to check out The Nightingale, a similar WWII-era historical romance. In a small French village, Vianne Mauriac bids farewell to her soldier husband, never expecting the war to come to her doorstep. When a German officer requisitions their home, Vianne and her daughter must live with the enemy, making impossible decisions just to stay alive. Meanwhile, Vianne’s sister Isabelle, heartbroken from a failed romance, throws herself into the French Resistance and a life of heroism. A story of family relationships, love, and courage in war-torn France, The Nightingale celebrates the human spirit and the strength of women.

Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice, Bill Browder (2015; Simon & Schuster; Hardcover: 416 pages; $28)

This real-life political thriller is full of high finance, corruption, and murder. Bill Browder was a high-profile hedge fund investor in the 1990s before moving to Moscow, where he made a fortune heading up the largest investment fund in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. But when Browder dared to expose the corrupt oligarchs who were draining money from the companies he was investing in, Vladimir Putin had Browder expelled from Russia. In 2007, a group of law enforcement officers raided Browder’s Moscow office, stealing $230 million in taxes paid to the Russian government. Browder’s attorney, Sergei Magnitsky, investigated and discovered a vast criminal enterprise, but after testifying about his findings, Magnitsky was arrested, tortured for a year, and ultimately beaten to death by eight guards. In response, Browder began a quest to avenge his attorney’s murder and expose a cover-up leading all the way to the highest levels of government. A true-crime must-read for lovers of intrigue and suspense.