I have noticed that there is an abundance of novels lately that serve as fictionalized reflections of the anxieties of our current age. These works of “speculative” fiction are less a vision of the future and more of a cautionary tale about potential consequences from our actions (or inactions) today. They employ the “if we don’t fix X, then Y will happen” structure. Works that predict a favorable outcome are rare, especially when the plot depicts decline or stagnation. They often include an everyday hero who foretells a disastrous trajectory and tries to change its course. Speculative fiction is designed to alleviate our stress vicariously through the brave efforts of heroes that resemble ourselves.

For this month’s blog, I wanted to suggest some recent releases that leverage of the fears operating in our world today. Despite being labeled “dystopic” or "doomsday," all the books below offer some glimmer of hope, and demonstrate our resiliency and ingenuity in the face of daunting challenges.

The School for Good MothersThe School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan
RecursionRecursion by Blake Crouch
Cloud Cuckoo LandCloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
The EveryThe Every by Dave Eggers
AnthemAnthem by Noah Hawley
Klara and the SunKlara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
Something New Under the Sun Something New Under the Sun by Alexandra Kleeman
Leave the World BehindLeave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam
the OneThe One by John Marrs
All Our Wrong TodaysAll Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
Handmaid's TaleThe Handmaid's Tale (Graphic Novel) based on the original by Margaret Atwood

illustrated by Renee Nault

Station Eleven

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

February's Featured Reviews

Survivor SongSurvivor Song by Paul Tremblay
SeveranceSeverance by Ling Ma

Hop on the Holds List

Here are five new and forthcoming releases that have already garnered rave reviews. Get in line—these titles are going to be in high-demand:

  1. Black Cake - Charmaine Wilkerson
  2. To Paradise - Hanya Yanagihara
  3. Olga Dies Dreaming - Xochtil Gonzalez
  4. Fiona and Jane - Jean Chen Ho
  5. Notes on an Execution - Danya Kukafka

Recent Readings

I have recently finished reading Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter and Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher. I enjoyed listening to The Good House by Tananarive Due (one of my favorite authors).

Right now, I am loving The School for Good Mothers, a debut by Jessamine Chan, and an early copy of The Age of the Strongman by Gideon Rachman (coming out in April 2022). I also just started listening to the audio version of People Like Her by Ellery Lloyd.

What predictions do you make about the next 10 years? Are you a pessimist or an optimist? Let me know: (jnmegan@gpl.org).

Thanks for all your suggestions and feedback, I really enjoy connecting with fellow readers!

Until next time: Be safe, be well and be well-read!


So, who am I, anyway? I am a resident of West Groton, with a husband, 4 teenaged children and a Samoyed puppy-all of whom are systematically destroying our house. I am currently working part time at the Groton Public Library and in a former life I was employed as a Director or PR/Marketing at a high-tech consulting firm. My BA is in Psychology, but most of my time was spent in college earning a Concentration on the Novel. That is all to say that I make no claims at being an expert of any kind and my thoughts, opinions and mistakes are solely my own. I am just a person whose passion for books has continued to grow from the moment I was first able to grip and gnaw on them, and I have been devouring them ever since.

Feb 01, 2022 / Joelle M Egan