50 Books We Are Looking Forward to in the Second Half of 2016 – Part 1


  1. Nutshell by Ian McEwan concerns a marriage in trouble – in that Trudy has booted her husband John out of the marital home and replaced him with his brother, Claude – but the hook upon which our interest is currently piqued is the narrator of Nutshell, “the inquisitive nine month old resident of Trudy’s womb…” (Have to say, really hoping that’s not a baby…)
  2. Zadie Smith is back with Swing Time, her first novel since NW (which you’ll remember we all liked), and seems to revisit themes we’ve seen in Smith’s books before (primarily best friends who fall out forever). This time around, two girls want to be dancers – but only one can dance while the other has big, ambitious ideas…
  3. The latest entry in Hogarth’s Shakespeare series sees Margaret Atwood having a turn at The Tempest. Hag-Seed concerns “Felix… Artistic Director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival”, who is “living in exile in a backwoods hovel, haunted by memories of his beloved lost daughter, Miranda” instead of concentrating on his “staging a Tempest like no other…” Colour us trepidatious…
  4. Believe it or not, Alan Moore’s 1,000 page + second novel, Jerusalem, is only the second longest book on our 50 books list this time out (you’ll have to wait until Friday to find out what the longest book on the list is) but it may well be the most [insert extravagant word of your choice here]. Jerusalem promises to be “a grandiose tome about his hometown of Northampton, employing an extremely wide variety of styles, including a poem and a play…” We might let you read it first and tell us what you think…
  5. It may be that you never got round to Steve Sherrill’s The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break some years back when it was published by Canongate (if you didn’t, shame on you, you missed a treat!). The Minotaur Takes His Own Sweet Time is a sequel and it is no underestimation to say that this is the book on our 50 list we are looking forward to the most
  6. Here I Am Jonathan Safran Foer is telling us and we know that a great many people will get all excited and say at last, we’ve been waiting for you Jonathan Safran Foer, what kept you, it’s been ages since your last book etc. Whilst we are not quite in that camp, this epic story of family (what is it with American writers and their perennial circling of family?) is enlivened by earthquakes and Arab invasions so we are tentatively curious about what we might get…
  7. We know that Dave Eggers can be somewhat uneven and there are some readers out there who won’t ever forgive him for being, you know, successful, but we’ve liked all of his last few books a great deal (The Wild Things, The Circle, A Hologram for the King) and so Heroes of the Frontier, which is a journey through the Alaskan wilderness in the company of a mother and her two children, is high on the list of books we’re looking forward to.
  8. Another writer we always follow with a keen eye is Ali Smith and her latest, Autumn, “the first installment in [a] novel quartet Seasonal: four standalone books, separate yet interconnected and cyclical” will certainly do nothing to dull our ardour. “Fusing Keatsian mists and mellow fruitfulness with the vitality, the immediacy and the colour-hit of Pop Art”? Where do we sign up?
  9. Another one of our 50 that you are probably already aware of and looking forward to if you dabbled with A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, Eimear McBride’s second novel, The Lesser Bohemians, concerns “an eighteen-year-old Irish girl [who] arrives in London to study drama and falls violently in love with an older actor”. Our intrepid team of reviewers (well, our Val at any rate) is already knee deep in the book so we’ll have a review ready to go around publication time in September…
  10. Simon Reynolds is one of those writers whose words whip us away to that feverish place all bookreaders know (where you don’t want to do anything but read and ignore the world and suck up as many pages into our eyeholes as its possible to suck up) – and though Shock and Awe is Reynold’s take on Glam which, you know, we can largely take or leave, we’ll still be at the front of the queue to read because Simon Reynolds is just so damn good…


Look out for Part 2 of our “50 Books We Are Looking Forward to in the Second Half of 2016”, which includes such luminaries as Bryan Talbot, Nell Zink, Stewart Lee, Ann Patchett and Donald Ray Pollock, amongst others…


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