I had so much fun putting together a Fall Books Preview email last August that I thought I’d do the same for the spring (which, they assure me, is right around the corner). Fall gets all the attention as the big season for books, but, as you can see below, springtime is chock-full of splendid new releases, and the more I dug into what’s coming out, the more I wanted to include. Somehow—somehow!—I managed to limit myself to just 32, but here are just a handful of the authors that I couldn’t squeeze in this time, all of whom have new books coming out between now and July: Julian Barnes, Annie Proulx, Ben Lerner, Muriel Barbery, Nathaniel Philbrick, Annie Dillard, Pat Barker, Iain Pears, Dana Spiotta, Carrie Fisher, Stewart O’Nan, Thomas Piketty, Adam Haslett, Mark Kurlansky, Justin Cronin, Helen Macdonald, Geoff Dyer, Mark Haddon, Terry Tempest Williams, Alan Furst, and, well, I’ll have to stop myself there too.
While the City Slept: A Love Lost to Violence and a Young Man’s Descent into Madness
by Eli Sanders
Sanders follows the threads of his original 2011 article on a brutal murder in South Park, which, incredibly, won a Pulitzer for The Stranger. If you read the article you knew why: it was a masterpiece of empathy.
In Other Words
by Jhumpa Lahiri
A one-of-a-kind book from the Pulitzer-winning novelist: a dual-language memoir of her ongoing education in Italian, written by her in Italian and translated into English by Elena Ferrante’s translator, Ann Goldstein.
The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero
by Timothy Egan
Seattle’s own bestselling historian has unearthed a little-known epic from American history: the extraordinary life, in Ireland and America, of Thomas Francis Meagher.
At the Existentialist Cafe: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails
by Sarah Bakewell
After somehow managing to write a surprise bestseller about Michel de Montaigne called How to Live, Bakewell turns to the eternally glamorous French thinkers who asked themselves the same question.
Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens
by Steve Olson
A quarter century after one of the most dramatic events in Northwest history, Seattle writer Olson tells the definitive story.
Margaret the First
by Danielle Dutton
The founder of Dorothy, the innovative small press, writes her own very modern novel of an extraordinary 17th-century woman. The intriguing early comparisons are to Virginia Woolf’s Orlando.
by Daniel Clowes
I could easily be convinced (or could try to convince you) that Clowes is not just the greatest graphic novelist of our time but the greatest novelist (period), so a new book from the Ghost World creator is a major event (for me at least).
by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
One of the most celebrated fiction debuts of the season, which aspires to sit on the shelf of smart and funny family satires alongside Jonathan Franzen, Meg Wolitzer, and Claire Messud.
Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939
by Adam Hochschild
A fellow bookseller at the Winter Institute bent my ear about how good this is. The Spanish Civil War has not exactly been neglected by historians, but Hochschild, whose King Leopold’s Ghost is a modern classic, appears to have made it his own.
The Red Parts: Autobiography of a Trial
by Maggie Nelson
A hotly awaited reissue, now that Nelson has gained passionate fans with The Argonauts and Bluets, of her memoir about the murder of her aunt and her own childhood lived under its cloud.
by Bill Beverly
Another highly anticipated debut, a story of four L.A. teenage boys sent on a road trip to kill a man that operates in Richard Price territory but takes some surprising turns.
Kill ‘Em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul
by James McBride
Fans of McBride’s National Book Award-winning The Good Lord Bird, and of his apparently glorious musical/literary performances in Seattle, should be intrigued by this revisionist appreciation of the Godfather of Soul.
Agnostic: A Spirited Manifesto
by Lesley Hazleton
Seattle’s Hazleton, who has written a series of acclaimed religious histories and whose world-wise and gravel-voiced appearances on KUOW make Sylvia Poggioli sound like Suzanne Somers by comparison, makes a defense of agnosticism as an “open-ended adventure of the mind.”
by Kate DiCamillo
This story of a friendship and a Southern summer brings one of the superstars of our Middle Reader shelves back to the more autobiographical territory of Because of Winn-Dixie.
“Most Blessed of the Patriarchs”: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination
by Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter S. Onuf
Gordon-Reed, who won just about every award there is for her groundbreaking history, The Hemingses of Monticello, turns, with a fellow Jefferson scholar, to understanding the most enigmatic of Founding Fathers.
My Struggle, Book 4
by Karl Ove Knausgaard
The Knausgaardians among us seem mostly to be reading the paperbacks as they come out, so I’ll highlight the paperback release this spring of the fourth in the six-book series, which focuses on a teenage winter in the Arctic, although antsy readers—or those who prefer to read without the hunky author giving them the eye on the cover—should know that book five will be available in hardcover on the same day.
by Curtis Sittenfeld
Sittenfeld, who broke through with Prep and proved herself brilliantly capable of reimagining a familiar story with her audacious Laura Bush novel, American Wife, takes on the great Jane herself with a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice.
by Richard Russo
Whichever is your own most beloved Russo novel, Nobody’s Fool was the one that first put him on the map, and almost twenty-five years later he has finally returned to North Bath, New York, and his wonderfully flawed hero, Donald “Sully” Sullivan.
The Thank You Book
by Mo Willems
Say it ain’t so! The 25th book in Willems’ Elephant and Piggie series will be the last, and Piggie wants to thank everyone. Will that include Gerald?
The Sport of Kings
by C.E. Morgan
Thoroughbred racing, a flawed family, and the legacy of slavery: it’s a full-fledged Kentucky epic, and an ambitious second novel, from the author of the acclaimed debut, All the Living.
by Don DeLillo
A billionaire’s secret compound. A speculative and unsettling new technology. Sounds like classic DeLillo, but the advertised notes of “heartbreak” and “humanity” suggest something different, making this one of the most promising new novels from him in years.
by Louise Erdrich
Book after book, Erdrich is putting together a fictional legacy that can compare with any other American writer (DeLillo included), and her new novel comes out of the same North Dakotan, Native American territory that she has made her own.
Thunder Boy Jr.
by Sherman Alexie
Our local hero collaborates on his first picture book, a story of a boy who’d like to earn his own name, with Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator Yuyi Morales.
Something for the Pain: A Memoir of the Turf
by Gerald Murnane
Murnane has long been a legend in his native Australia for his idiosyncratic and challenging novels (Beckett is a frequent comparison), but this memoir of his lifelong obsession with horse racing, his most approachable and personal book, might be the one that introduces him to the rest of us.
The Lie Tree
by Frances Hardinge
The Costa Book of the Year, one of the UK’s biggest prizes (which went to H Is for Hawk in 2014), has been given only twice to a children’s book: Philip Pullman’s The Amber Spyglass in 2001 and last year to this intriguing young-adult novel, which makes it all the more intriguing.
Joe Gould’s Teeth
by Jill Lepore
Lepore, a Harvard professor and a New Yorker staff writer, is a historian of early America by specialty (and a superb one), but her curiosity pulls her all over the place: to the fascinating Secret History of Wonder Woman last year and, this year, to the equally strange story behind one of the New Yorker‘s most famous profiles, Joseph Mitchell’s Joe Gould’s Secret.
Shrill: Women Are Funny, It’s Okay to Be Fat, and Feminists Don’t Have to Be Nice
by Lindy West
West’s fearless and incisive humor has taken her in just a few years from writing film reviews at The Stranger to high-profile, viral gigs at Jezebel and now the Guardian and GQ and made her one of the most exciting and entertaining voices of young feminism.
The Gene: An Intimate History
by Siddhartha Mukherjee
After writing the bestselling, award-winning “biography” of cancer, The Emperor of All Maladies, Mukherjee has tackled a subject no less ambitious: the science and the personalities at the heart of modern biology’s most central discovery.
by Alexis M. Smith
Smith’s first book, Glaciers, is the kind of book people grab you to tell you about (a customer insisted we had to carry it, so we did, and a crazily well-read friend just declared that of all the wonderful books Tin House has published, it’s his favorite), so we’re very excited for her second.
by Yaa Gyasi
Ta-Nehisi Coates says, about this debut novel that follows a family from 18th-century Ghana to 20th-century America, “I think I needed to remember what happens when you pair a gifted literary mind to an epic task.Homegoing is an inspiration.” That’ll put a book on your to-read list!
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body
by Roxane Gay
In her essays, blog, and Twitter feed, and her books Bad Feminist and An Untamed State, Gay has gathered a legion of passionate readers for her tirelessly outspoken and disarmingly frank analyses of herself and her society.
Dark Mirror: Edward Snowden and the American Surveillance State
by Barton Gellman
Gellman, a former Washington Post reporter and the author of the definitive Dick Cheney book, Angler, was one of the three journalists Snowden trusted with his revelations, but he’s kept the most distance from his source and Dark Mirror takes a wider, authoritative look at Snowden and the hidden world he opened a window on.
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