50 Books We’re Looking Forward to in 2016 (Part 3)


Zadie Smith’s latest, due out in June 2016, is “a book of essays, titled Feel Free, which will be split into four sections: one about politics and the news; one about media and the arts; another comprising essays she has been asked to write; and the final section, titled “Feel Free”, which brings together personal essays”, according to The Bookseller. We’ve always got time to hear what Zadie Smith has to say.

Shylock is my Name is the latest novel by Howard Jacobson and the latest in the Hogarth series in which Shakespeare tales are retold (you’ll remember Jeanette Winterson had a crack at The Winter’s Tale with The Gap of Time earlier this year, and Anne Tyler follows Jacobson with Vinegar Girl, a retelling of The Taming of the Shrew later in 2016, the mentioning of which makes this list actually 50 books we’re looking forward to in 2016 but we won’t split hairs, just consider it a free gift). We’ll also let you work out for yourself which Shakespeare play Jacobson is doing…

First there was The Passage, which everyone got an almighty kick out of. Then there was The Twelve which, you know not quite so much (but the not so much is always to be expected in the middle segment of a trilogy, that’s one of the rules). City of Mirrors is the third instalment and we know that Justin Cronin will be delivering the goods IN SPADES this time around.

Another one of those that are making the list sheerly out of our desire for them to appear, Hilary Mantel brings her Wolf Hall trilogy to a close with The Mirror and the Light. Will it be another bestselling epic? Will she pick up the Booker prize for an unprecedented third time? Will we finally be sent a copy of Mantel’s books to review or will we continually buy the books and shrewishly not review? All of these questions may be answered in 2016!

All Involved has put Ryan Gattis firmly on our list and even though we know that Kung Fu is a reissue of one of his earlier books, we are still excited enough to see if we can land Ryan Gattis on the Bookmunch podcast some point in May next year. The Independent said, “It’s so tense that at times you have absolutely no idea what has just happened in the real world because you’re in The Fu, entirely” and The List said, “Kung Fu is a bloodied white-knuckle ride that never forgets the consequences of its actions”. You’ll find out what we have to say in 2016.

Another one for the wish list. Currently no pub date set for this, but we sincerely hope that the serialised “graphic novella” (no, we don’t approve of the moniker either) The Last Saturday by Chris Ware makes its way between the sandwich of two covers in 2016. Or another book by Chris Ware. We’re not fussy. (If you’re interested in just, you know, reading it online as it comes, you can start here: http://www.theguardian.com/books/ng-interactive/2014/sep/13/-sp-chris-ware-the-last-saturday-graphic-novel).

We loved Dana Spiotta’s last book, Stone Arabia, a whole lot. It was the kind of book that should have elevated Spiotta to Jennifer Egan territory because it was at least as good as A Visit from the Goon Squad.  In Innocents and Others, Rachel Kushner (author of The Flamethrowers) says Spiotta is “channelling pure Jean-Luc Godard”, and we are coloured very, very excited indeed.

Another writer we have been fans of for a very long time is David Means, whose short story collections Assorted Fire Events (the first book ever to be reviewed on Bookmunch, back in 2001), The Secret Goldfish and The Spot we like very much indeed. Hystopia, a destabilised, alternate version of American history, is his first novel and we hope it propels Means into the first rank where he belongs.

The Outrun by Amy Liptrot is a nature memoir and we already have the review, by our very own Fran Slater, sitting in the bank: Fran tells us it’s “a devastatingly unforgettable book”, in which Liptrott returns to the Orkney island home of her childhood and “regales us with stories of the farmland and seascapes that surround her, from the myths of sea monsters to the astronomically impressive accounts of the skies”. But there is more to it than a simple sharing of stories. Oh yes. Pop this one high on your list for the start of 2016.

We know that Jay McInerny has finished his latest novel, Thin City, because he says so on his website.  He also says that this is a book in which he returns to the characters of Russell and Corrine Calloway, the married couple who made their first appearance in a short story he wrote in 1985 called “Smoke” and who subsequently appeared in Brightness Falls and The Good Life. The title (which may change if his editor has his way) comes from the fact that “Manhattan is literally a skinny island, and many of its inhabitants are obsessed with their weight. The book finishes with the middle of the recession that began in 2008, a time of thinning portfolios, shrinking net worth and receding expectations.” Can’t wait!


Look out for Part 4 of our 50 Books We’re Looking Forward to in 2016 list tomorrow, which features China Mieville, Louise Doughty, Tim Winton, Helen Oyeyemi and Roberto Bolano, among others. Or you can reads Parts 1 and 2 instead. To pass the time and that.


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