It’s another year. Which promises to be not that much different from the shit show that was last year. But the publishing industry continues to churn, which is good news for those of us whose favorite form of escapism is books. Here’s a list of the upcoming titles that have gotten us most excited—including but not limited to a guide to Swedish death cleaning and a thriller about a missing president cowritten by Bill Clinton.
A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 by Claire Hartfield (Clarion, 1/2) Chicagoan Hartfield retells the story of the angry uprising that erupted when a black boy was stoned to death after unintentionally swimming too close to a “white” beach.
The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson (Scribner, 1/2) “Sparking joy” is so passé, especially in these times of rage and uncertainty.
Dr. Eleanor’s Book of Common Spiders by Eleanor Spicer Rice and Christopher M. Buddle (Chicago, 1/8) The great ant enthusiast Dr. Eleanor returns to teach us just how amazing spiders are.
The Amorous Heart: An Unconventional History of Love by Marilyn Yalom (Basic, 1/9) How is it that the heart, an organ dedicated to pumping blood, became the universal symbol of love? Read and learn.
The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey (Soho Crime, 1/9) Perveen Mistry is not only the first (and only) female lawyer in 1920s Bombay, she’s also a crime-fighting sleuth.
Winter by Ali Smith (Knopf, 1/9) and Winter by Karl Ove Knausgaard (Penguin Press, 1/23) The first is the second in a quartet of interlinked novels by the British author. (The first, Autumn, was considered by many critics to be among the best books of 2017.) The second is the second in a quartet of autobiographical meditations addressed to the Norwegian author’s unborn daughter. (The first, Autumn, was a bestseller in 2017.)
The Story of the Great British Bake Off by Anita Singh (Head of Zeus, 1/15) The tale behind the greatest comfort show ever to grace the small screen.
The Clubhouse Thief by James Janko (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 1/16) A throwback to the days when a World Series champion Cubs team was the stuff of fiction, this novel tells the story of a hard-luck coach who’s also a kleptomaniac.
It Occurs to Me That I Am America edited by Jonathan Santlofer (Touchstone, 1/16) Dozens of writers and artists, including Alice Walker, Richard Russo, Lee Child, Art Spiegelman, and Roz Chast reckon with life in Trump’s America.
Little Reunions by Eileen Chang (NYRB, 1/16) Translated into English for the first time, this autobiographical novel is about a young Chinese woman’s romance with a Japanese sympathizer during World War II.
Red Clocks by Leni Zumas (Little Brown, 1/16) Five women negotiate life in a future America where the Personhood Amendment grants life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to every embryo.
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo (Seal, 1/16); This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America by Morgan Jerkins (Harper Perennial, 1/30); and Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper (St. Martins, 2/20) If we’re going to continue to talk about race and gender and intersectionality—and we need to—here are three debut essay collections by three smart writers that should keep the conversation going. Oluo is a Seattle journalist whose interview with Rachel Dolezal should be the definitive final word on the controversy. Jerkins, a New Yorker, writes honestly about being a young black woman in the world. And Cooper, a professor at Rutgers, is a cofounder of the Crunk Feminist Collective and one of the leading scholars of black feminism.
Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression—and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari (Bloomsbury, 1/23) Because this is the time of year when all we want to do is hibernate.
Peach by Emma Glass (Bloomsbury, 1/23) This is what the aftermath of a sexual assault looks and feels like.
An African American and Latinx History of the United States by Paul Ortiz (Beacon, 1/30) A different perspective on the American story.
The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers (Knopf, 1/30) A nonfiction novel about a Yemeni-American coffee importer who gets trapped in Yemen’s civil war.
Directorate S: The C.I.A. and America’s Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Steve Coll (Penguin Press, 2/6) The story behind the conflict between the U.S. and the secret branch of the Pakistani intelligence agency that was supporting the Taliban.
The Friend by Sigrid Nunez (Riverhead, 2/6) After her best friend dies, a woman inherits his Great Dane; they mourn together.
High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing by Ben Austen (Harper, 2/6) A history of Chicago’s most notorious failed housing experiment, told primarily by the people who lived there.
Slutever: Dispatches From a Sexually Autonomous Woman in a Post-Shame World by Karley Sciortino (Grand Central, 2/6) For the title alone.
Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories by Kelly Barnhill (Algonquin, 2/20) A collection of fantastical tales that has been compared to the work of Neil Gaiman.
Sunburn by Laura Lippman (William Morrow, 2/20) Lippman, a master of noir, returns with a novel about a long, hot summer and pair of lovers who can’t trust each other.
What Are We Doing Here? by Marilynne Robinson (FSG, 2/20) In a new essay collection, the novelist considers faith and philosophy in the current political climate.
Chicago by David Mamet (Custom House, 2/27) Nineteen-twenties Chicago! Gangsters! Murder! Mamet-speak!
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stane, translated by Matthew Fitt (Black & White, 3/1) For the Potter fanatic who has everything: at long last, there’s a Scots translation.
Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America’s Favorite Guilty Pleasure by Amy Kaufman (Dutton, 3/6) Kaufman is both a devout Bachelor fan and a journalist who has been banned by ABC from covering show-related events for getting too “real.” In other words, she’s the ideal guide to the rose insanity.
Census by Jesse Ball (Ecco, 3/6) A dying man and his adult son with Down syndrome travel the country taking a census for a mysterious government agency.
Dress Like a Woman: Working Women and What They Wore by Vanessa Friedman and Roxane Gay (Abrams, 3/6) A collection of photos of a century’s worth of women dressed for work.
The Kevin Show: Love, Mania, and the Olympics by Mary Pilon (Bloomsbury, 3/6) Kevin Hall, an Olympic sailor, suffers from the Truman Show delusion, a form of psychosis named for the movie, which makes him believe his life depends on taking orders from the disembodied voice he calls the Director.
Bizarre Romance by Audrey Niffenegger and Eddie Campbell (Abrams, 3/20) Illustrated stories about romances that are bizarre.
Hot Mess by Emily Belden (Graydon House, 3/20) A novel about kitchen disasters on Randolph Street.
Stray City by Chelsey Johnson (Custom House, 3/20) A novel about biological and chosen families in the lesbian community of Portland, Oregon.
The Lost Autobiography of Samuel Steward: Recollections of an Extraordinary Twentieth-Century Gay Life by Samuel Steward, edited by Jeremy Mulderig, foreword by Scott Herring (Chicago, 3/22) Samuel Steward, a university professor, essayist, tattoo artist, pornographer, and sexual archivist, was one of the all-time great Chicago characters. Here—with editing—is the autobiography he left unfinished at his death.
The Encyclopedia of Misinformation: A Compendium of Imitations, Spoofs, Delusions, Simulations, Counterfeits, Impostors, Illusions, Confabulations, Skullduggery, Frauds, Pseudoscience, Propaganda, Hoaxes, Flimflam, Pranks, Hornswoggle, Conspiracies & Miscellaneous Fakery by Rex Sorgatz (Abrams, 3/27) The title says it all.
We Ate Wonder Bread by Nicole Hollander (Fantagraphics, 3/27) Hollander, the mind and pen behind the long-running comic strip Sylvia, looks back on growing up on the west side.
Tinker to Evers to Chance: The Chicago Cubs and the Dawn of Modern America by David Rapp (Chicago, 4/2) How the legendary Cubs infield mirrored the growth of baseball and industrial America.
America Is Not the Heart by Elaine Castillo (Viking, 4/3) Billed as a “soulful telenovela” about a Filipina immigrant in the 80s and 90s.
Does It Fart?: The Definitive Field Guide to Animal Flatulence by Nick Caruso and Dani Rabaiotti (Little Brown, 4/3) The book we didn’t realize we needed.
The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer (Riverhead, 4/3) Hurrah! Meg Wolitzer is back! And her new novel about feminism, female power, and mentorship is almost uncannily timely.
The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath by Leslie Jamison (Little Brown, 4/3) Jamison, one of the smartest and fiercest confessional essayists around, delves into her struggles with addiction.
Canine Confidential: Why Dogs Do What They Do by Marc Bekoff (Chicago, 4/9) Because there can never be enough books to help humans understand these magnificent creatures.
Demi-Gods by Eliza Robertson (Bloomsbury, 4/10) Remember The Girls, 2016’s debut novel about a teenage girl’s creepy sexual awakening? This is this year’s The Girls, only without the Manson Family part.
You All Grow Up and Leave Me: A Memoir of Teenage Obsession by Piper Weiss (William Morrow, 4/10) A reporter investigates the batshit insane story of her teenage tennis coach, who turned out to be a predator who kidnapped and tortured his students.
The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk Wallace Johnson (Viking, 4/24) Another batshit insane story, this one about an American flautist who stole a collection of rare bird specimens from a British museum.
Adjustment Day by Chuck Palahniuk (Norton, 5/1) First rule of Adjustment Day is we don’t talk about Adjustment Day, but it’s coming.
Ask a Manager: How to Navigate Clueless Colleagues, Lunch-Stealing Bosses, and the Rest of Your Life at Work by Alison Green (Ballantine, 5/1) The popular website goes analog.
A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership by James Comey (Flatiron, 5/1) So much has happened since Comey testified, but just in case you’re still curious about those e-mails . . .
Love That Bunch by Aline Kominsky-Crumb (Drawn and Quarterly, 5/1) A compendium of the comic artist’s work from the 1970s till now.
Motherhood by Sheila Heti (Holt, 5/1) In this autofiction follow-up to How Should a Person Be?, Heti considers the Child Question.
Not That Bad: Dispatches From Rape Culture edited by Roxane Gay (Harper Perennial, 5/1) Contributors include women both famous (Ally Sheedy, Gabrielle Union) and not.
Barracoon: The Story of the Last Slave by Zora Neale Hurston (Amistad, 5/8) Yes, that’s the Zora Neale Hurston, who was also an anthropologist and spent several weeks in 1927 and 1931 interviewing Cudjo Lewis, the last living survivor of the Middle Passage from Africa.
I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing: Star Wars and the Triumph of Geek Culture by A.D. Jameson (FSG, 5/8) The epic saga of how the geeks inherited the earth and insured that every new movie will feature at least one Marvel superhero.
Milk!: A 10,000-Year Food Fracas by Mark Kurlansky (Bloomsbury, 5/8) A logical follow-up to Kurlansky’s previous works on oysters, salt, and cod.
My Ex-Life by Stephen McCauley (Flatiron, 5/8) A divorced couple reunites. He’s now gay, she’s now a pothead. Comedy ensues.
Tyrant by Stephen Greenblatt (Norton, 5/8) This book is about tyrants in Shakespeare. It has absolutely nothing to do with current events.
MI5 and Me: A Coronet Among the Spooks by Charlotte Bingham (Bloomsbury, 5/15) A memoir of how the author discovered that her boring aristocratic father was actually a spy and her own experiences working for British intelligence in the 1950s.
Testimony by Scott Turow (Grand Central, 5/16) It’s Turow, so it’s a legal thriller, this time about an investigation into the massacre of a Roma refugee camp after the Bosnian war.
Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces by Michael Chabon (Harper, 5/22) For fans of Chabon‘s GQ essay about accompanying his 13-year-old son to Paris Fashion Week.
Calypso by David Sedaris (Little Brown, 5/29) A new essay collection. Read the title piece here.
The President Is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson (Little Brown/Knopf, 6/4) How can you possibly resist taking at least a peek at this? (And please, somebody publish a story describing, in explicit detail, how and why it came to be.)
Flash: The Making of Weegee the Famous by Christopher Bonanos (Holt, 6/5) A biography of the great news photographer.
Kudos by Rachel Cusk (FSG, 6/5) The final volume of the much-praised Outline trilogy considers art, life, and acclaim.
The William H. Gass Reader by William H. Gass (Knopf, 6/5) One last collection by the great postmodern writer who died last month.
The Fall of Wisconsin: The Conservative Conquest of a Progressive Bastion and the Future of American Politics by Dan Kaufman (Norton, 6/10) What’s the matter with Wisconsin?
Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America by Eliza Griswold (FSG, 6/12) After an energy company came to a small Pennsylvania town, animals began dying, humans began suffering from mysterious illnesses, and one woman became an unlikely anti-fracking activist.
Assad, or We Burn the Country: How One Family’s Lust for Power Destroyed Syria by Sam Dagher (Little Brown, 6/12) The Syrian civil war told through the lifelong friendship between Bashar al-Assad and the commander of his presidential guard, Manaf Tlass.
The Strange by Jerome Ruillier (Drawn and Quarterly, 6/12) A graphic novel about an undocumented immigrant’s journey through a new country where he doesn’t speak the language.
90s Bitch: Media, Culture, and the Failed Promise of Gender Equality by Allison Yarrow (Harper Perennial, 6/19) Our flannels, Docs, and Lilith Fair music didn’t do shit.
Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexican-American Migration by Alfredo Corchado (Bloomsbury, 6/19) The story of the Mexican-American migration of the late 80s and its aftermath, told through the eyes of a reporter and his three friends.
Rendezvous With Oblivion by Thomas Frank (Holt, 6/19) In a new essay collection, Frank explores the great inequalities in America today.
Blame This on the Boogie by Rina Ayuyang (Drawn and Quarterly, 6/26) A 70s disco movie in graphic-novel form.
Conan Doyle for the Defense: The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the World’s Most Famous Detective Writer by Margalit Fox (Random House, 6/26) How the creator of Sherlock Holmes helped overturn a murder conviction in early 1900s Glasgow.
How Not to Get Shot: And Other Advice From White People by D.L. Hughley (William Morrow, 6/26) Satire from one of the original kings of comedy.
The Smear: How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What You Think, and How You Vote by Sharyl Attkisson (Harper, 6/26) Another title that says it all. Attkisson has worked for CBS, PBS, and CNN, just in case you’re wondering.
Any Man by Amber Tamblyn (Harper Perennial, 7/3) What if men were the victims of a serial (female) rapist?
Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy by Anna Clark (Holt, 7/10) Clark is a Detroit-based journalist who’s owned the Flint water crisis story for the past three years. Here it is in book form.
See You Again in Pyongyang: A Journey Into Kim Jong Un’s North Korea by Travis Jeppesen (Hachette, 7/10) Jeppesen shares his observations from his five trips to the Hermit Kingdom.
The Death of Truth by Michiko Kakutani (Tim Duggan, 7/17) The former New York Times book critic writes a book of her own, about America’s pivot from truth and reason.
Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott (Little Brown, 7/17) More teen girl noir from the master. This time, the heart of darkness lies in chemistry class.
Certain American States by Catherine Lacey (FSG, 8/7) A new story collection from a Chicago writer who specializes in inventive weirdness.
Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America by Beth Macy (Little Brown, 8/7) An in-depth look at the opioid crisis.
Improper Cross-Stitch by Haley Pierson-Cox (St. Martins Griffin, 8/7) Craftivists unite! (Or, a legal way to stab something.)
Nothing Good Can Come From This by Kristi Coulter (FSG, 8/7) The debut essay collection from the author of “Enjoli”—that Medium piece that, if you’re a woman in your 30s, has probably turned up on your Facebook feed at least twice.
Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction by Alec Nevala-Lee (Dey Street, 8/14) A history of four towering writers who helped invent modern science fiction.
My Favorite Thing Is Monsters Vol. 2 by Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics, 8/14) The conclusion to Ferris’s graphic novel (with a turbulent publishing backstory) about a precocious ten-year-old girl coming of age in 1960s Uptown.
The Shakespeare Requirement by Julie Schumacher (Doubleday, 8/14) A sequel to the charming and hilarious 2014 academic satire Dear Committee Members.
The Animal’s Companion: People & Their Pets, a 26,000-Year Love Story by Jacky Colliss Harvey (Black Dog & Leventhal, 8/21) How humans and animals fell in love and came to live together.
Boom Town: The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City, Its Chaotic Founding, Its Apocalyptic Weather, Its Purloined Basketball Team, and Its Dream of Becoming a World-Class Metropolis by Sam Anderson (Crown, 8/21) Anderson has expanded his 2012 New York Times Magazine story about the Oklahoma City Thunder into a book.
Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters by Anne Boyd Rioux (Norton, 8/21) Why we still read a novel about four girls growing up in Civil War-era Massachusetts guided by their annoying moralizing parents.
Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear by Kim Brooks (Flatiron, 8/21) Chicago author Brooks left her four-year-old son in the car outside a store for five minutes. Then she was arrested.