January 22, 2016

Releases I'm Ready For, Winter 2016

I keep browsing articles about intriguing books slated for publication in 2016 and making new additions to my to-read list, but these five novels are ones I've been eagerly anticipating for quite a while. They'll all be released in the upcoming months, and I expect to gobble them up as soon as they're out.

ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY by Charlie Jane Anders (January 26): I've long been a fan of Anders's pop culture criticism and writing advice at io9, where she's editor-in-chief. Her Hugo-winning novelette "Six Months, Three Days" is a clever, emotional, and geeky love story featuring two people with the ability to see into the future. So of course I've been looking forward to the novel, which promises magic, apocalypse, geekery, and romance. It's great to see the book has been gathering glowing reviews. The opening chapters are available from Tor.

THE QUEEN OF THE NIGHT by Alexander Chee (February 2): Chee was a guest at Book Riot Live in the fall, so I read his first novel, EDINBURGH, and was impressed by his gorgeous handling of difficult subject matter. His long-awaited second novel is a work of historical fiction about an opera singer, and the plot sounds twisty and fascinating. This book has also been gathering a lot of buzz.

LOVECRAFT COUNTRY by Matt Ruff (February 16): I've written before about my longstanding Ruff fandom, and I've been getting excited about this novel for years. Each of Ruff's books are wildly different and wildly imaginative. This one mixes the real life horror of Jim Crow America with the supernatural horror of monsters and demons. It promises to be an incredible ride. The faux-aged pulp cover is also stunning.

THE SUMMER BEFORE THE WAR by Helen Simonson (March 22): In 2010, I read Simonson's debut, MAJOR PETTIGREW'S LAST STAND, a charming romance about two wonderful widowed characters in a small English village where everyone makes their disapproval known. Incidentally, that was also my first ebook purchase and got me firmly on the ereading bandwagon. Since then, from time to time I've checked on Simonson to see if she had anything new, so I was pleased when news of a forthcoming second novel appeared. This story takes place in another small English town in 1914 and features a Latin teacher, so I'm on board again.

THE NEST by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney (March 22): This debut has been getting a lot of attention, but I'm going to have to stake my claim for knowing about it first, because Sweeney was in my workshop group at Squaw Valley back in 2013. But in all seriousness, the excerpt of this novel she shared for critique was fantastic and made me eager to read more, so I'm thrilled the book is being published to such acclaim. The story involves a dysfunctional family, one of my favorite subjects, and LitHub has an excerpt.

Good Stuff Out There:

→ Kathryn Schulz offers a year-end list for the New Yorker's Page-Turner blog of the best facts she learned from books in 2015: "Having read my share of Victorian novels, I was familiar with the phenomenon of London fog, but I was surprised to learn, from Lauren Redniss's "Thunder & Lightning," that the combination of atmospheric conditions, factory emissions, and coal fires sometimes made the city's air so impenetrable that visibility was reduced to just a few feet even indoors."

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