I can’t tell if I fell behind in tracking upcoming books or if the buzz for early 2016 is just a little less buzzy, but it took me longer than usual to get excited for next year’s reading. It did happen, though, and now I’m tagging books left and right. I have my eye on titles through the middle of next year, but since so much sounds great we’ll just do the first few months here—nonfiction and Spring books still to come.
Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa – January 12, 2016
“On a rainy, cold day in November, young Victor–a nomadic, scrappy teenager who’s run away from home–sets out to sell as much marijuana as possible to the throng of WTO demonstrators determined to shut down the city. With the proceeds, he plans to buy a plane ticket and leave Seattle forever, but it quickly becomes clear that the history-making 50,000 anti-globalization protestors–from anarchists to environmentalists to teamsters–are testing the patience of the police, and what started out as a peaceful protest is threatening to erupt into violence.” (MY REVIEW)
Weathering by Lucy Wood – January 19, 2016
“Pearl doesn’t know how she’s ended up in the river–the same messy, cacophonous river in the same rain-soaked valley she’d been stuck in for years. But here her spirit swirls and stays . . . Ada, Pearl’s daughter, doesn’t know how she’s ended up back in the house she left thirteen years ago–with no heating apart from a fire she can’t light, no way of getting around apart from an old car she’s scared to drive, and no company apart from her own young daughter, Pepper. She wants to clear out Pearl’s house so she can leave and not look back. Pepper has grown used to following her restless mother from place to place, but this house, with its faded photographs, its boxes of cameras and its stuffed jackdaw, is something new.”
The Unfinished World: And Other Stories by Amber Sparks – January 25, 2016
“In the weird and wonderful tradition of Kelly Link and Karen Russell, Amber Sparks’s dazzling new collection bursts forth with stories that render the apocalyptic and otherworldly hauntingly familiar. In ‘The Cemetery for Lost Faces,’ two orphans translate their grief into taxidermy, artfully arresting the passage of time. The anchoring novella, ‘The Unfinished World,’ unfurls a surprising love story between a free and adventurous young woman and a dashing filmmaker burdened by a mysterious family. Sparks’s stories—populated with sculptors, librarians, astronauts, and warriors—form a veritable cabinet of curiosities.”
The Blue Line by Ingrid Betancourt – January 26, 2016
“Set against the backdrop of Argentina’s Dirty War and infused with magical realism, The Blue Line is a breathtaking story of love and betrayal by one of the world’s most renowned writers and activists. Ingrid Betancourt, author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Even Silence Has An End, draws on history and personal experience in this deeply felt portrait of a woman coming of age as her country falls deeper and deeper into chaos.A tale of extraordinary women, The Blue Line is a story centered on the consequences of oppression, collective subservience and individual courage, and, most of all, the notion that belief in the future of humanity is an act of faith most beautiful and deserving.”
The Vegetarian by Han Kang – February 2, 2016
“It all started with a grotesque nightmare. Yeong-hye and her husband had lived an ordinary life, but when splintering, graphic images start haunting her thoughts, she decides to purge her mind and renounce eating meat. In a country where societal mores are strictly obeyed, Yeong-hye’s decision to embrace a more ‘plant-like’ existence is a shocking act of subversion. As her passive rebellion manifests in ever more extreme and frightening forms, scandal, abuse, and estrangement send Yeong-hye spiraling deep into her fantasy. In a complete metamorphosis of mind and body, her now dangerous endeavor will take Yeong-hye—impossibly, ecstatically, tragically—far from her once-known self altogether.”
The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah – February 2, 2016
“Memory is an albino woman languishing in Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison in Harare, Zimbabwe, where she has been convicted of murder. As part of her appeal, her lawyer insists that she write down what happened as she remembers it. As her story unfolds, Memory reveals that she has been tried and convicted for the murder of Lloyd Hendricks, her adopted father. But who was Lloyd Hendricks? Why does Memory feel no remorse for his death? And did everything happen exactly as she remembers?”
Tender by Belinda McKeon – February 16, 2016
“When they meet in Dublin in the late nineties, Catherine and James become close friends. She is a sheltered college student, he an adventurous, charismatic young artist. In a city brimming with possibilities, he spurs her to take life on with gusto. But as Catherine opens herself to new experiences, James’s life becomes a prison, walled off by a truth he feels unable to share. When crisis hits, Catherine finds herself at the mercy of uncontrollable feelings, leading her to jeopardize everything.”
The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer – February 16, 2016
“It’s a parent’s worst nightmare: a missing child. For newly single mom Beth, the possibility is a constant, gnawing worry, because her dreamy eight-year-old daughter, Carmel, has a tendency to wander off.
And then one day, it happens: On a Saturday morning thick with fog, Beth takes Carmel to a local festival, they get separated in the crowd, and Carmel is gone. Shattered, Beth nonetheless sets herself on the grim and lonely mission to find her daughter, keeping on relentlessly even as the authorities tell her that Carmel may be gone for good. Carmel, meanwhile, is on a strange and frightening journey of her own, a journey to a totally unexpected place that requires her to live by her wits, while trying desperately to keep in her head—- at all times—- a vision of her mother.”
We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge – February 17, 2016
“Frustrated by the limitations of cross-race communication in her predominantly white town, Laurel, a young African American girl, teaches herself to sign–a skill she later imparts to her two daughters. This ability eventually leads Laurel to uproot her husband and daughters from their overeducated and underpaid life in the South End of Boston for the bucolic Massachusetts countryside, where the Freemans are to take part in an experiment. They’ve been hired by a private research institute to teach sign language to a chimpanzee who will live as part of their family. Narrated primarily by Laurel’s teenage daughter, Charlotte, the story goes back in time to the founding of the institute, in the 1920s, revealing shocking past experiments.”
Version Control by Dexter Palmer – February 23, 2016
“Rebecca Wright has gotten her life back, finding her way out of grief and depression following a personal tragedy years ago. She spends her days working in customer support for the Internet dating site where she first met her husband. However, she has a persistent, strange sense that everything around her is somewhat off-kilter: she constantly feels as if she has walked into a room and forgotten what she intended to do there; on TV, the President seems to be the wrong person in the wrong place; and each night she has disquieting dreams that may or may not be related to her husband Philip’s pet project. Philip’s decade-long dedication to the causality violation device (which he would greatly prefer you do not call a ‘time machine’) has effectively stalled his career and made him a laughingstock in the physics community. But he may be closer to success than either of them knows or imagines.”
Which early 2016 titles are you most excited for?