I’ve never claimed to be a patient person. I know it’s a virtue, but it’s a virtue I just don’t possess. So you understand my difficulty with waiting 100 years for my favorite authors to write their next books. (In addition to lacking patience, I’m also prone to hyperbole.) I realize it’s no small feat to bash out a masterpiece, but come on, writers. Put pen to paper and give the people what they want already.
Barbara Kingsolver is the celebrated author of THE POISONWOOD BIBLE and FLIGHT BEHAVIOR, among many other works. She received the National Humanities Medal (our country’s highest honor for service in the arts) in 2000 and was named one of the most important writers of the twentieth century by Writer’s Digest. Kingsolver’s fifth novel, PRODIGAL SUMMER, is a hymn to wildness that weaves together three stories of human love in the mountains and farms of southern Appalachia—my sweet spot. It’s been six years since her last novel, and I’m ready for my next Kingsolver fix.
Hilary Mantel is a must-read for any historical fiction aficionados. In WOLF HALL, Mantel introduces readers to Thomas Cromwell, the close adviser of King Henry VIII, and reveals the man behind the myth. A charmer and a bully, both idealist and opportunist, Cromwell was a man shaped not just by ruthless ambition, but also by pain and humble beginnings. Finish this novel, read BRING UP THE BODIES (the second in the Wolf Hall series), and then maybe, just maybe, we’ll have book number three.
In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII’s court, only Thomas Cromwell dares to gamble his life to win the king’s favor and ascend to the heights of political power. Wolf Hall re-creates an era when the personal and political are separated by a hairbreadth, where success brings unlimited power but a single failure means death.
“At New Year’s he had given Anne a present of silver forks. . . . He hopes she will use them to eat with, not to stick in people.” —Hilary Mantel
Claire: “What should we server the Walkers?”
Claire: “I’m saving that for dessert. . . .”
You first heard Khaled Hosseini’s name when THE KITE RUNNER was published in 2003—15 years ago. He has since gifted readers with two incredible, sweeping novels: A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS and AND THE MOUNTAINS ECHOED. And it looks like he’s about to throw another present our way! His next book, SEA PRAYER, is set for publication this fall.
I read THE LOWLAND last year and immediately fell in love with Jhumpa Lahiri’s writing. It’s magnificent. I went on to devour all of her older books—including my personal favorite, THE NAMESAKE. If you haven’t read this novel about a first-generation American struggling to navigate loyalty, cultural identity, and love, you are seriously missing out. I will be the first in line to buy the next novel Lahiri writes.
I thought my first exposure to Jhumpa Lahiri’s masterful take on the experiences of Indian immigrants was in college, but I should have known better. The Gilmores pay tribute to Lahiri through a mention of her powerful story about the Ganguli family as they travel from their traditional life in Calcutta to their fraught transformation into Americans.
Tea Obreht’s debut novel, THE TIGER’S WIFE, captivated readers everywhere. It tells the story of Natalia, a young doctor compelled to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. Searching for clues, she turns to his worn copy of THE JUNGLE BOOK and the stories he told her of his encounters over the years with “the deathless man.” But most extraordinary of all is the story her grandfather never told her—the legend of the tiger’s wife. Can we pretty please have Obreht’s second novel soon?
In a Balkan country mending from war, Natalia, a young doctor, is compelled to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. Searching for clues, she turns to his worn copy of The Jungle Book and the stories he told her of his encounters over the years with “the deathless man.” But most extraordinary of all is the story her grandfather never told her—the legend of the tiger’s wife.
I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t read AMERICANAH until my book club discussed it last year. This powerful story of race and gender is centered on Ifemelu, a brilliant and self-assured young woman who departs military-ruled Nigeria for an American university where, for the first time, she is forced to grapple with her identity as a black woman. I missed out on such an incredible writer for so long. I'll never make that mistake again. My book club is going to read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s next novel as soon as it comes out.
This powerful story of race and gender is centered on Ifemelu, a brilliant and self-assured young woman who departs military-ruled Nigeria for an American university where, for the first time, she is forced to grapple with her identity as a black woman. Ifemelu faces difficult choices and challenges, suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships, and eventually achieves success as the writer of an eye-opening blog about race in America. Fearless and gripping, Americanah is a richly told story set in today’s globalized world.
Jess Walter transfixed readers with his novel BEAUTIFUL RUINS—the story of an almost-love affair that begins on a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline in 1962. We’re still in that postreading daze, but not so much so that we aren’t thinking about what Walter could be writing right now.
Hailed by critics, loved by readers of literary and historical fiction, and featuring what is arguably one of the most iconic covers of recent years, Beautiful Ruins is the story of an almost-love affair that begins on a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline in 1962. Funny and romantic, the beauty and wisdom of Jess Walter’s writing in the last chapter alone will leave musical lines of prose engraved in your memory.
Who do I have to bribe to get a new Eleanor Catton novel? Just give me a name, and I’ll do it. THE LUMINARIES is one of my all-time favorite books, and I’ve already written about it many times on this site. So let me tell you about Catton’s first novel THE REHEARSAL. It’s the exhilarating, darkly funny, and provocative story of the chaos that ensues when a scandal erupts at an all-girls high school.
Five years has never felt so long. Published in 2013, A TALE FOR THE TIME BEING is a brilliant, unforgettable story of a 16-year-old who is contemplating suicide while documenting the life of her great-grandmother and a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts. I hope Ruth Ozeki has squirreled herself away on a remote island so that she can finish writing another spectacular book.
I was reminded how much I love Jeannette Walls’s storytelling when I watched THE GLASS CASTLE film adaptation. HALF BROKE HORSES is the fictionalized account of Walls’s grandmother Lily Casey Smith, who survived tornadoes, droughts, floods, the Great Depression, and a heartbreaking personal tragedy. This novel is like LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE for adults.
I’d read Toni Morrison’s grocery list if someone published it. And we might just have to publish it if a new book doesn’t hit shelves soon. Morrison fans are that ravenous. GOD HELP THE CHILD is a fiery novel about the way the sufferings of childhood can shape, and misshape, the life of an adult.
Toni Morrison’s first novel to be set in our current moment, this is a spare and unsparing tale about how the sufferings of childhood can shape, and misshape, the life of the adult. Toni Morrison was awarded in 2012.
If you haven’t read THE VIRGIN SUICIDES yet, I implore you to do so immediately. In this memorable coming-of-age story, five Lisbon sisters commit suicide one by one. Told with haunting sensitivity and dark humor, Jeffrey Eugenides evokes the emotions of youth and mythologizes suburban middle-American life. Trust me, you, too, will be desperate for new Eugenides novel after this read.