50 Books We’re Looking Forward to in 2016 (Part 2)

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When the Floods Came by Clare Morrall is set “In a world prone to violent flooding, [where] Britain, ravaged 20 years earlier by a deadly virus, has been largely cut off from the rest of the world.” Which might make it sound a little bit like a cross between what Louise Welsh is doing in A Lovely Way to Burn and Death is a Welcome Guest, but the presence of a charismatic stranger at the heart of the book suggested Edna O’Brien’s The Little Red Chairs too. Either way: we’re definitely interested in what Morrall is up to…

Regular readers of Bookmunch will know that we rate Ian Sansom very highly indeed, and Westmoreland Alone, the third instalment of his delightful County Guides series (previous outings being The Norfolk Mystery and Death in Devon), apparently drops the People’s Professor Swanton Morley into “a world of country fairs, gypsy lore and Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling”. If this was a big old bowl of dessert, we’d be eating it hand over fist and asking for seconds.

Everyone Brave is Forgiven sees Chris Cleave join the serried (and not so serried) ranks of authors trying their hands at a WWII novel – the saving grace of Cleave trying his hand being, more often than not, Cleave’s heart is in the right place (we liked his first two books a whole lot and we’ll draw a polite veil over Gold which we just didn’t get alog with) and also Everyone Brave is Forgiven sounds like it’s a distant cousin of Sarah Water’s Night Watch (which we liked a lot).

It may be that you haven’t been keeping a close eye, but Benjamin Judge has been labouring to get more people to read Aliya Whiteley for a couple of years now: you can read his reviews of The Beauty and Skein Island to appreciate the depth of his worship. Or you can, like us, start to get giddy at the thought of a new book:  The Arrival of Missives, a genre-defying story of fate, free-will and the choices we make in life. If all goes to plan, we’ll hopefully be speaking with Aliya on the forthcoming Bookmunch podcast. Watch this space for more info soon.

If we ever thought to order our 50 books in order of preference, leading from the book we are looking forward, you know, 50th, to the book we are looking forward to, you know, THE MOST, then, in the 2016 list, The Minotaur Takes His Own Sweet Time by Steve Sherrill would occupy the top spot. We loved Sherrill’s debut, The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break, and it’s successor, Visits from the Drowned Girl – and we also liked his most recent effort, Joy PA a great deal too. The fact that the Minotaur is raising its heavy head again (in what might be a civil war drama, if the paintings on Steve Sherrill’s website are a clue) is cause for enormous celebration. We. Cannot. Wait.

“In a world overtaken by a deadly and dramatic new virus, Harper is determined to live long enough to deliver her baby. But when all it takes is a spark to start a deadly blaze, she’s going to need some help from the mysterious fireman.” So reads the blurb for Joe Hill’s new 600 page behemoth, The Fireman. We’re thinking this might be the book where Hill stops being a (The) Stand-in (see what we did there?) and starts to put some clear water between him and his dad. We know our Fran will tear this one to pieces as soon as we can get ahold of a copy.

Just as Simon Parkin’s Death by Video Game and Stephen Witt’s How Music Got Free challenged our collective knowledge in 2015, so Ben Ratliff’s ‘field guide to music in the age of the cloud’ sounds like the kind of nonfiction we’ll be clutching to our hearts as we re-evaluate everything we think about tunes in the modern world come 2016. “By revealing the essential similarities between wildly different kinds of music, Ben Ratliff shows how we listen to music now, and suggests how we can listen better.” Count us in.

“The digital economy was supposed to create a new age of prosperity for everyone. But as Facebook resells our data for billions and self-driving cars threaten to put drivers out of work, it has so far only exacerbated the gap between winners and losers. Yet the possibility of an economic Renaissance still lingers – if we seize the opportunity now.” So goes the blurb for Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus by Douglas Rushkoff, which we hope propels your man Rushkoff into long overdue Naomi Klein territory.

Marina Lewycka’s latest, The Lubetkin Legacy, concerns “North London in the twenty-first century: a place where a son will swiftly adopt an old lady and take her home from hospital to impersonate his dear departed mother, rather than lose the council flat.” We know that the hordes of readers who dug A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian will be queuing round the block for this one.

Funny one, Adam Haslett. We didn’t really get along with his short story debut, You Are Not a Stranger Here? but we loved his debut novel, Union Atlantic a terrific amount. To the extent that we now think we’d probably like You Are Not a Stranger Here? if we gave it another go (we’ve all had books that we didn’t rub along with and then read again and just got haven’t we?). Imagine Me Gone is “a fiercely intimate story of a family facing the ultimate question: how far will we go to save the people we love the most?” Like Frank Sinatra and Eddie Hodges, we’ve got high hopes for this one…

 

Look out for Part 3 of our 50 Books We’re Looking Forward to in 2016 list tomorrow, which features Zadie Smith, Justin Cronin, Dana Spiotta, David Means and Jay McInerny, among others. Or read Part 1 here.


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