Mohsin Hamid’s ‘Last White Man,’ Amina Akhtar’s ‘Kismet’: 5 must-read new books this week

In search of something good to read? USA TODAY’s Barbara VanDenburgh scopes out the shelves for this week’s hottest new book releases. All books are on sale Tuesday unless otherwise noted.

For more new must-read book recommendations, check out our summer books guide of the 20 hottest books of the season; our favorite books of 2022 so far; the most swoon-worthy rom-coms recently released from Ruby Barrett and Lacie Waldon; and the juiciest celebrity memoirs released this year from Kenny Loggins, Christine Quinn, Jennifer Grey, Viola Davis and more.

To see what everyone else is reading, check out the USA TODAY Best-Selling Books list for this week’s best sellers.

“The Last White Man,” by Mohsin Hamid.

‘The Last White Man’ 

By Mohsin Hamid (Riverhead, fiction)

What it’s about: White people wake up to discover their skin has turned dark and must face the personal and social repercussions of the change in this latest novel from the Booker Prize-nominated author of “Exit West.”

The buzz: “A provocative tale that raises questions of racial and social justice at every turn,” says a starred review from Kirkus Reviews.

‘The Viral Underclass: The Human Toll When Inequality and Disease Collide’

By Steven W. Thrasher (Celadon, nonfiction)

What it’s about: Journalist and LGBTQ scholar Thrasher, who exposed and fought the criminalization of HIV, offers a bold new COVID-19-era study on the societal inequalities exposed by viruses, and how their spread and toll are shaped by social structures. 

The buzz: “Powerful and revelatory, this is an essential, paradigm-shifting book,” says a starred review from Kirkus Reviews.


By Amina Akhtar (Thomas & Mercer, fiction, on sale Monday)

What it’s about: Akhtar turns her sharp wit on the wellness community and its dark secrets in a thriller equal parts vicious and funny. Lifelong New Yorker Ronnie Khan is seduced by socialite wellness guru Marley Dewhurst to Sedona, Arizona, to find her best self, and finds instead a series of gruesome murders. 

The buzz: Kirkus Reviews calls it “an amusing takedown of influencer culture.”

“Kismet,” by Amina Akhtar.

‘Properties of Thirst’

By Marianne Wiggins (Simon & Schuster, fiction)

What it’s about: In Wiggins’ (“Evidence of Things Unseen”) sweeping new WWII-era historical novel, the Rhodes family, who’ve long fought to protect their California ranch, are left reeling when the government builds a neighboring Japanese American internment camp.

The buzz: “This majestic novel will satisfy those thirsting for an epic saga of love, family, and the complexities of the American way,” says a starred review for Kirkus Reviews.

‘The Many Daughters of Afong Moy’ 

By Jamie Ford (Atria, fiction)

What it’s about: What if trauma was literally part of your DNA? The author of “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” makes generational trauma literal in his striking new novel, in which a woman struggling with mental illness is forced to seek radical help when her daughter begins exhibiting symptoms passed down through generations of Chinese women.

The buzz: “Ford raises fascinating questions,” says Kirkus Reviews.