5 books not to miss: Imbolo Mbue’s ‘How Beautiful We Were,’ Brian Alexander’s ‘The Hospital’

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 go on sale March 9.

1. “How Beautiful We Were,” by Imbolo Mbue (Random House, fiction)

What it’s about: From the best-selling author of “Behold the Dreamers” comes the sweeping story of an African village on a collision course with an American oil company and those who take a stand and fight back against colonialism and capitalism.

The buzz: “A fierce, up-to-the-minute novel that makes you sad enough to grieve and angry enough to fight back,” says a starred review from Kirkus Reviews.

“How Beautiful We Were,” by Imbolo Mbue. (Photo: Random House)

2. “The Hospital: Life, Death, and Dollars in a Small American Town,” by Brian Alexander (St. Martin’s Press, nonfiction)

What it’s about: A journalist documents the struggle for survival of a small-town Ohio hospital, taking readers on a journey through America’s broken medical system.

The buzz: “This wrenching account brilliantly diagnoses the flaws in America’s healthcare system,” says a starred review from Publishers Weekly.

3. “Brood,” by Jackie Polzin (Doubleday, fiction)

What it’s about: A determined woman goes to war with inclement weather, predators and bad luck to keep alive her small brood of four chickens as she reckons with recent grief.

The buzz: “A moving meditation on loss, solitude, and the hope that can rise from both,” says Kirkus Reviews.

4. “The Ghost Variations: One Hundred Stories,” by Kevin Brockmeier (Pantheon, fiction)

What it’s about: A collection of tiny ghost stories, each only about two-pages long, that are by turns scary, funny, touching, troubling and sad, exploring the space between the mystical and the mundane.

The buzz: “Varied, inventive, uncanny, and playful,” says Kirkus Reviews.

5. “Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction,” by Michelle Nijhuis (Norton, nonfiction)

What it’s about: A comprehensive history of the conservation movement – and a warning that we are not doing enough to prevent further animal mass extinction.

The buzz: “An engrossing history of conservation and its accomplishments,” says a starred review from Kirkus Reviews.

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