5 books not to miss: Ernest Cline returns with sequel ‘Ready Player Two’ and more new releases

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. “Ready Player Two,” by Ernest Cline (Ballantine, fiction, on sale Nov. 24)

What it’s about: Cline returns to the world of bestselling book (turned blockbuster Steven Spielberg film) “Ready Player One” with the world’s most inevitable sequel (and most inevitable title).

The buzz: This sequel nine years in the making has been kept tightly under wraps, but it’s bound to be as full of nerdy pop-culture Easter eggs as the first.

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“Ready Player Two,” by Ernest Cline • Release date: Nov. 24 • Cline returns to the world of best-selling book (turned blockbuster Steven Spielberg film) “Ready Player One” with the world’s most inevitable sequel (and most inevitable title).

2. “The Thirty Names of Night,” by Zeyn Joukhadar (Atria, fiction, on sale Nov. 24)

What it’s about: The author of “The Map of Salt and Stars” returns with a lyrical novel following three generations of Syrian Americans linked by a mysterious species of bird, as well as a transgender man’s journey of self-discovery.

The buzz: “A fable of being and belonging” that’s “gorgeous and alive,” according to a starred review from Kirkus Reviews.

3. “The Last Days of Ellis Island,” by Gaëlle Josse; translated by Natasha Lehrer (World Editions, fiction, on sale Nov. 24)

What it’s about: This French winner of the European Union Prize for Literature is set in the last days of 1954, before Ellis Island was closed as a port of entry for immigrants into the U.S. Immigration officer John Mitchell reflect back on his 45 years as a gatekeeper to America.

The buzz: “Josse’s powerful work finds the human heart within a career bureaucrat,” says Publishers Weekly.

4. “Stuff You Should Know: An Incomplete Compendium of Mostly Interesting Things,”by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant (Flatiron, nonfiction, on sale Nov. 24)

What it’s about: The duo behind the podcast “Stuff You Should Know” dig into stuff they want know more about, with topics as diverse as the origin of Murphy beds and the history of facial hair.

The buzz: “Infotainment short on diversity for fans of jejune humor and pop-cultural curiosities,” says Kirkus Reviews.

5. “Confessions in B-Flat,”by Donna Hill (Sideways, fiction, on sale Nov. 24)

What it’s about: This love story set in Harlem during the early 1960s finds an acolyte of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. falling for a beat poet devoted to the teachings of Malcolm X. Can love unite the two warring ideologies?

The buzz: “A captivating and skillfully constructed weaving of history and romantic drama,” says Kirkus Reviews.

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