Here's our list of the 101 most anticipated books coming out this spring and summer. Why 101? Maybe we were thinking of Highway 101, dreaming of that long, twisty...
Here’s our list of the 101 most anticipated books coming out this spring and summer. Why 101? Maybe we were thinking of Highway 101, dreaming of that long, twisty, hazardous route down the Pacific Coast. Great views, unexpected vistas and some hairpin turns as we head south in our Mustang convertible with a stack of books on the back seat for reading on the beach.
Or maybe we’re stuck in the office and we just like the symmetry of it. As always, it’s tough to winnow down the hundreds of books published each month, and we tip toward local authors when we have to make a choice. Here’s the list:
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“Season of the Snake” by Claire Davis (St. Martin’s). The award-winning author of “Winter Range” follows up her debut novel with a story about a scientist who tries to escape her grief-stricken past with risky work in Idaho’s Hell’s Canyon: tracking rattlesnakes.
“Saturday” by Ian McEwan (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday). The latest novel from the Booker Prize-winner concerns a contented neurosurgeon whose life unravels following a minor but consequential car accident in a London roiled by anti-Iraq War protests.
“A Changed Man” by Francine Prose (HarperCollins). From the acerbic, incisive novelist-critic (“Blue Angel”) comes a tale of a young neo-Nazi who says he’s changed his ways and wants “to save guys like him from becoming guys like him.”
“Good Morning and Good Night” by David Wagoner (University of Illinois Press). New work by a prize-winning Seattle poet.
“First Hand” by Linda Bierds (Putnam/Marion Wood). Thirty linked poems about Gregor Mendel, monk and genetics pioneer. By the Bainbridge Island writer (“The Seconds”).
“Bitter Fruit” by Achmat Dangor (Black Cat). A South African novel about a Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearing that, for one fragile victim, makes “crimes from the past erupt into present.” Nominated for the Man Booker Prize and the IMPAC-Dublin Literary Award.
“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” by Jonathan Safran Foer (Houghton Mifflin). Foer, who made a big splash with his first novel “Everything Is Illuminated,” follows it up with a novel about a 9-year-old “inventor, Francophile, tambourine player, Shakespearean actor, jeweler, pacifist.”
“The Ice Queen” by Alice Hoffman (Little, Brown). The popular novelist (“Practical Magic”) writes a tale about a small-town librarian whose adventures have only just begun when she’s struck by lightning.
“Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro (Knopf). Three former classmates at a private school in the English countryside attempt to unravel their collective pasts.
“The Mermaid Chair” by Sue Monk Kidd (Viking). Kidd, author of “The Secret Life of Bees,” sets her new book in a Benedictine monastery on an island off the coast of South Carolina, where an estranged wife and a monk about to take his vows are drawn to each other.
“Small Island” by Andrea Levy (Picador). Winner of the Orange Prize and both the Whitbread Novel Award and Whitbread Book of the Year, this novel by a London writer of Jamaican parentage portrays Jamaican immigrants new to London from four conflicting points of view.
“The Optimists” by Andrew Miller (Harcourt). The British writer (“Oxygen,” “Ingenious Pain”) delivers a novel about a photojournalist who, reeling from covering a genocidal massacre in Africa, recovers in part by nursing his mentally ill sister back to health in rural England.
“Europe Central” by William T. Vollmann (Viking). A novel that consists of a “series of intertwined paired stories” set in Nazi and Stalinist Europe, by the author of “Rising Up and Rising Down.”
“Lighthousekeeping” by Jeanette Winterson (Harcourt). The British lesbian author (“Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit”) writes about an orphan taken in by a storytelling lighthouse keeper manning the light at Scotland’s Cape Wrath.
“Zorro” by Isabel Allende (HarperCollins). A novel set in late 18th-century California, explaining how Diego de la Vega, son of a Spanish military man and a Shoshone warrior mother, became the legendary masked man. By the author of “The House of Spirits.”
“Acts of Faith” by Philip Caputo (Knopf). A novel by the author of “Horn of Africa” and “A Rumor of War,” about “the physical perils and moral crises faced by a group of men and women who try to relieve the suffering caused by war and famine in contemporary Sudan.”
“The Hungry Tide” by Amitav Ghosh (Houghton Mifflin). The author of the sweeping historical novel “The Glass Palace” writes the story of two people, an American of Indian descent and an urbane Delhi businessman, whose lives converge on an archipelago of tiny islands off the east coast of India.
“The Dreams” by Naguib Mahfouz, translated by Raymond Stock (American University in Cairo Press). A new collection of short stories, mixing the quotidian with the magical, by the Egyptian Nobel laureate.
“Beyond Black” by Hilary Mantel (Holt). The edgy British writer delivers a tale about a directionless divorcée who winds up becoming the “personal assistant and companion” of an itinerant psychic.
“Glad News from the Natural World” by T.R. Pearson (Simon & Schuster). The Southern author writes a sequel to his debut novel, “A Short History of a Small Place,” the digression-prone small-town saga that made his name.
“Specimen Days” by Michael Cunningham (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). Cunningham’s first novel since his Pulitzer Prize-winner, “The Hours,” is a triptych of stories in which the same three characters — a young boy, an older man and a young woman — inhabit New York City at three different points in time: the Industrial Revolution, our terror-threatened present, and a New York 150 years in the future “overwhelmed by refugees from the first inhabited planet to be contacted by the people of Earth.”
“The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana” by Umberto Eco, translated by Geoffrey Brock (Harcourt). A novel about a Milan rare-book dealer who can recall every book he ever read, but can no longer remember anything about his own life.
“Freddy and Fredericka” by Mark Helprin (Penguin Press). The author of “Memoir from Antproof Case” delivers a new novel about two floundering members of “a most peculiar British royal family” who rise to the occasion when they’re parachuted into industrial New Jersey and left to make their own way across America.
“A Long Way Down” by Nick Hornby (Riverhead). A tale by the author of “About a Boy” and “High Fidelity” about four people who, on New Year’s Eve, meet on the roof of a London office tower famous for its suicides.
“The Writing on the Wall” by Lynne Sharon Schwartz (Counterpoint). A New York City librarian who likes to keep herself to herself finds herself playing by new rules — and having to face her buried past — after the September 11 attacks on her city. By the gifted writer-translator.
“Blinding Light” by Paul Theroux (Houghton Mifflin). The veteran novelist (“The Mosquito Coast,” “Hotel Honolulu”) weighs in with a novel about an author who seeks and finds a hallucinogenic cure to writer’s block — only to find that it periodically blinds him, as well as giving him visions.
“Until I Find You” by John Irving (Random House). A hefty new novel by the author of “The World According to Garp.” Its hero: a Hollywood actor whose mother was a Toronto tattoo artist and whose missing father was a church organist “addicted to being tattooed.”
“Here Is Where We Meet” by John Berger (Pantheon). The British Booker Prize-winner (“G.”) delivers a novel in which a narrator named John meets his long-dead mother who extracts a promise from him that he’ll start paying more attention to the dead.
“The Summer He Didn’t Die” by Jim Harrison (Atlantic Monthly Press). A collection of three novellas by the Michigan author of “Legends of the Fall” and “True North.”
No Country for Old Men” by Cormac McCarthy (Knopf). The prize-winning author (“All the Pretty Horses”) returns to Tex-Mex border country, with a novel about a man found shot dead near the Rio Grande.
.”The Time of the Uprooted” by Elie Wiesel (Knopf). The new novel by the author of “Night” follows the life of a Jewish refugee-exile who fled Czechoslovakia as a boy in 1939, eventually reaching New York where he becomes a ghost writer and part of a community of exiles.
“Everything She Thought She Wanted” by Elizabeth Buchan (Viking). The popular British writer (“Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman”) contrasts the domestic lives and opportunities of two women, one living in 1959 and the other 40 years later.
“Babylon Sisters” by Pearl Cleage (One World/Ballantine). New novel by the author of “Some Things I Never Thought I’d Do,” about a mother who, as close as she is to her daughter, won’t reveal to her who her father was.
“The Scourge of God” by William Dietrich (HarperCollins). The Seattle Times writer’s latest novel is set in a fifth-century Roman Empire under attack by Attila the Hun.
“The Sign of the Book” by John Dunning (Scribner). The new Cliff Janeway mystery finds the bibliophile-sleuth doing a friend a favor by investigating a puzzling murder.
“With No One as Witness” by Elizabeth George (HarperCollins). A new Lynley-Havers mystery, as the posh aristocrat and the blue-collar policeman investigate a string of twisted killings.
“Market Forces” by Richard K. Morgan (Del Rey). A new novel by the author of “Altered Carbon,” about a commodities trader who makes his dough by investing in “small wars.”
“Saving Cascadia” by John Nance (Simon & Schuster). Nance, a local aviation expert, pens a tale of a wealthy real-estate developer who builds a casino, hotel and convention center on an island off the coast of Washington, despite predictions that centuries of tectonic strain are about to shake things up. Earthquakes, tsunamis and air rescues, all wrapped up in a local package.
“Cold Service” by Robert B. Parker (Putnam). Parker’s new Spenser novel finds the investigator tending his injured friend, Hawk, and tracking down the Ukrainian mobsters who hurt him.
“Where There’s a Will” by Aaron Elkins (Berkley). The Sequim author’s latest Gideon Oliver mystery finds the professor of forensics uncovering “a deadly family plot of greed and murder” in Hawaii.
“In the Company of Cheerful Ladies” by Alexander McCall Smith (Pantheon). A new No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency novel, in which proprietress Mma Ramotswe finds herself dealing with an intruder in her house and “a mysterious pumpkin” in her yard.
“Lost in the Forest” by Sue Miller (Knopf). A novel set in California vineyard country about a divorced, remarried mother of three whose second husband is killed in a car crash. By the author of “The Good Mother” and “Inventing the Abbotts.”
“The Breakdown Lane” by Jacquelyn Mitchard (HarperCollins). A novel by the author of “The Deep End of the Ocean,” about a Wisconsin newspaper advice columnist who’s a little bit clueless about her own life.
“True Believer” by Nicholas Sparks (Warner). Another “unforgettable love story” from the author of “Message in a Bottle,” this one about a science journalist investigating ghostly doings in small-town North Carolina.
“Ya-Yas in Bloom” by Rebecca Wells (HarperCollins). The local author writes a sequel to her best selling “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood,” about the lifelong friendship of a circle of Louisiana gals.
“Bangkok Tattoo” by John Burdett (Knopf). Burdett’s creation, Royal Thai Police detective and practicing Buddhist Sonchai Jitpleecheep (“Bangkok 8”) returns to investigate the death of a CIA agent in Bangkok’s down-and-dirty district.
“The Closers” by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown). One of the best American thriller writers working today brings his detective creation, Harry Bosch, back to the LAPD to a job closing unsolved cases, specifically an apparent 1988 suicide by a 16-year-old girl that implicates a white supremacist with close ties to the department.
“The Right Madness” by James Crumley (Viking). A new thriller by a “raw, subversive” writer, featuring Army-officer-turned-Montana-private-eye C.W. Sughrue in a tale about some stolen psychoanalysis files.
“The Smoke Room” by Earl Emerson (Ballantine). The North Bend firefighter-suspense writer delivers a new thriller about a goof-off firehouse rookie who gets blackmailed into covering up his colleagues’ “ever-escalating spiral of crime.”
“The Franklin Affair” by Jim Lehrer (Random House). PBS’ “Jim Lehrer News Hour” host pens a tale about a historian whose mentor bequeaths him a sensational secret about Benjamin Franklin.
“Blood from a Stone” by Donna Leon (Atlantic Monthly Press). Another installment in Leon’s atmospheric Commissario Guido Brunetti series — the Venetian policeman investigates the death of an illegal African immigrant. As usual, readers learn as much about Venice and its people as they do about murder.
“The Hot Kid” by Elmore Leonard (Morrow). A thriller set in 1930s Oklahoma and rife with “hot cars, gun molls, speakeasies, bank robbers and murder.”
“The Wonder Spot” by Melissa Bank (Viking). The much-awaited follow-up to Bank’s “The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing” focuses on a heroine who’s Jewish but not religious, a book-lover but a mediocre student, and impetuous in love but reluctant to marry.
“Eleven on Top” by Janet Evanovich (St. Martin’s Press). Bounty hunter and Jersey Girl Stephanie Plum is back in series installment No. 11, trying to quit her job in a quest for normalcy. Complications ensue.
“Locked Rooms: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes” by Laurie R. King (Bantam). A new installment in the adventures of Holmes and his young, bright and independent wife, as they encounter a mysterious stranger in San Francisco who may hold the key to Mary’s troubled dreams.
“Captain Alatriste” by Arturo Pérez-Reverte (Putnam). The author of “The Fencing Master” and other intellectual thrillers begins a series of historical novels featuring a 17th-century Spanish soldier who lives as a swordsman-for-hire in Madrid and becomes entangled in a plot with links to the Spanish Inquisition.
“Fire Sale” by Sara Paretsky (Putnam). V.I. Warshawski, Chicago’s hard-boiled female private eye, begins coaching a girls’ basketball team at her former high school and is drawn into an investigation of a giant Chicago-area discount-store retailer.
“Lie By Moonlight” by Amanda Quick (Putnam). A London teacher looks to a gentleman to protect her pupils from a sinister London figure.
“High Plains Tango” by Robert James Waller (Shaye Areheart Books). The author of “The Bridges of Madison County” pens a tale about a solitary carpenter newly settled in South Dakota who gets caught up in the corruption surrounding the construction of a highway that will cut through his property. There’s an “enigmatic” woman in the picture, too.
“No Man’s Land” by G.M. Ford (Morrow). The Seattle thriller writer’s latest novel concerns “a desperate hostage situation” that “sets off a chain of heart-stopping events.”
“To the Power of Three” by Laura Lippman (Morrow). Three girls’ friendship-gone-wrong results in murder at a suburban Baltimore high school.
“72 Hour Hold” by Bebe Moore Campbell (Knopf). A mother, desperate over how to handle her violent, bipolar daughter, turns to an anti-psychiatric organization that models itself on the Underground Railroad of the pre-Civil War era. By the author of “Brothers and Sisters.”
“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” by J.K. Rowling (Scholastic). The book much of America, old and young, awaits — the sixth installment of the further adventures of Harry, English wizard and budding adolescent.
“The Lynne Truss Treasury” by Lynne Truss (Gotham). Three comic novels and a collection of newspaper columns by the British author who made a huge splash last year with her book on punctuation, “Eats, Shoots and Leaves.”
“Long Time Gone” by J.A. Jance (Morrow). An aging nun suddenly recalls a gruesome murder she witnessed as a girl in the latest J.P. Beaumont detective novel by the Seattle writer.
“Starwater Strains” by Gene Wolfe (Tor). A new collection of 25 science-fiction and fantasy stories by the popular writer.
“Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith” by Anne Lamott (Riverhead). A very funny and poignant writer gives her prescription for dealing with our anxiety-saturated world.
“Start Smart: The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous and Broke” by Suze Orman (Penguin Press). Ah, how we wish we’d read something like this when we were young, fabulous and stupid. Financial advice for the loan-saddled, credit-card-maxed-out 25- to 35-year-old set.
“Writing with Intent: Essays, Reviews, Personal Prose: 1983-2005” by Margaret Atwood (Carroll & Graf). The Canadian Booker Prize-winner (“The Blind Assassin”) holds forth on matters both personal and literary.
“Madame Bovary’s Ovaries: A Darwinian Look at Literature” by David P. Barash, a UW psychology professor, and his daughter Nanelle Barash (Delacorte), a student of literature and biology at Swarthmore. Barash and his daughter explore the deeper evolutionary meaning behind our attachment to Madame Bovary’s adultery, Othello’s jealous rage and Tom Sawyer’s adventures.
“Three Nights in August” by Buzz Bissinger (Houghton Mifflin). The author of “Friday Night Lights,” an indelible portrait of high-school football, returns to the world of sports to examine a pivotal three-game series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs, focusing on Cardinals manager Tony La Russa.
“Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig” by Jonathan Eig (Simon and Schuster). Newly unearthed correspondence lends texture to a new telling of the story of Gehrig, the great New York Yankee felled by the disease that is now named for him.
“My Life So Far” by Jane Fonda (Random House). A woman who has led an exceedingly interesting life recounts her Hollywood upbringing in an A-list acting family, her acting career, her three marriages and her activism.
“The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century” by Thomas Friedman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). The influential New York Times editorial columnist analyzes the emergence of an increasingly interconnected world and offers prescriptions for how governments and societies can adapt to it.
“On American Soil: How Justice Became a Casualty of World War II” by Jack Hamann (Algonquin). Seattle author Hamann revisits the World War II-era killing of an Italian prisoner of war at Seattle’s Fort Lawton. Forty African-American soldiers were charged with storming the barracks the night of the murder; three were charged with the murder itself, despite the fact that they were “most assuredly innocent,” according to the publisher.
“58 Degrees North: The Mysterious Sinking of the Arctic Rose” by Hugo Kugiya (Bloomsbury). A national correspondent for Newsday and former Seattle Times reporter revisits the deadly sinking of the Arctic Rose, and explores how and why the 15 men on the Seattle-based fishing trawler might have met their sudden end.
“Before the Fallout: From Marie Curie to Hiroshima” by Diana Preston (Walker & Co.). The author of “Lusitania” chronicles a half-century of discoveries about atomic power, from Curie’s discovery of radium to the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.
“Being Perfect” by Anna Quindlen (Random House). The Pulitzer-Prize-winning columnist (now writing for Newsweek) and novelist (“One True Thing”) dispenses advice on how to avoid “the perfection trap.”
“Garlic and Sapphires” by Ruth Reichl (Penguin Press). The third installment in the prolific food writer’s memoirs (previous two: “Tender at the Bone” and “Comfort Me with Apples”), in which she relates how she created various alter egos (Molly Hollis, retired school teacher from Birmingham, Mich.) to disguise her identity as the New York Times restaurant critic.
“Pioneer Square: Seattle’s Oldest Neighborhood,” edited by Mildred Tanner Andrews (University of Washington Press). A new history weaves first-person accounts, photographs and several perspectives to tell the story of the place where modern Seattle began.
“Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage” by Stephanie Coontz (Viking). An Evergreen State College professor (and the author of “The Way We Never Were”) explains how marriage evolved from “loveless, arranged unions” to “the sexualized, volatile relationships of today.”
“The Roof Rack Chronicles: An Honest Guide to Outdoor Recreation, Excessive Gear Consumption and Playing with Matches” by Ron Judd (Sasquatch). How to camp well, from the Seattle Times columnist and “Dave Barry of the hiking set.”
“Coach: Lessons on Baseball and Life” by Michael Lewis (Norton). The author of “Moneyball” recalls a coach who trusted him at a crucial moment and affected his life for years to come.
“1776” by David McCullough (Simon & Schuster). One of America’s foremost popular historians (“John Adams,” “Truman”), two-time Pulitzer Prize winner McCullough tells the story of the year the United States was born.
“More Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment and Reason” by Nancy Pearl (Sasquatch). The further literary adventures of Pearl, “America’s Favorite Librarian,” who since retiring from Seattle Public Library has had time to assemble another collection of reading recommendations — this one has 1,000 in 150 categories.
“Why Birds Sing: A Journey Into the Mystery of Bird Song” by David Rothenberg (Basic Books). This book moves beyond the traditional explanations for bird song — territoriality, sexual display — and toward the notion that birds sing … because they like to. Rothenberg, a professor of philosophy, is also a composer and jazz clarinetist.
“Where Mountains Are Nameless: Passion and Politics in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge” by Jonathan Waterman (Norton). The author, who has tracked and paddled thousands of miles in the refuge, blends the history, science and political struggles over the prospect of opening up the refuge to oil.
“Losing Moses on the Freeway: America’s Broken Covenant with the Ten Commandments” by Chris Hedges (Free Press). Hedges, a graduate of Harvard Divinity School, war correspondent and author of “War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning,” looks at America through the lens of the Ten Commandments, concludes that American society is in “moral ruin” and challenges readers to take a look at the disconnect between their supposed values and their actual lives.
“The Colonel and Little Missie: Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley and the Beginnings of Superstardom in America” by Larry McMurtry (Simon & Schuster). A dual biography of two of the American West’s most enduring legendary figures, by the “Lonesome Dove” author.
“Strawberry Days: How Internment Destroyed a Japanese-American Community” by David A. Neiwert (Palgrave Macmillan). Seattle journalist Neiwert tells the story of the Japanese farming community that settled around then farm-town Bellevue, their World War II internment and “the racist schemes that prevented the immigrants from reclaiming their land after the war.”
“The Genius Factory: The Secret History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank” by David Plotz (Random House). One for the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction category: The story of a “genius sperm bank” that collected the sperm of Nobel Prize winners and other accomplished donors, and the outcome for more than 200 children fathered in that manner (19 by the same man!) before it closed in 1999.
“A Field Guide to Getting Lost” by Rebecca Solnit (Viking). The author of “Wanderlust: A History of Walking” and the National Book Critics Circle Award-winner for “River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West” writes a book about “losing yourself in the pleasures of experience.”
“Coffee: A Dark History” by Antony Wild (Norton). The author, a “coffee trader and historian,” tells the story of the brew’s obscure beginnings in East Africa, its growth as an imperial commodity and its predicament today, as coffee chains spread “like wildfire” but coffee-producing countries grapple with prices at unprecedented lows, unemployment, abandoned farms, enforced migration and social disruption.
“The Wreckers: A Story of Killing Seas, False Lights, and Plundered Shipwrecks” by Bella Bathurst (Houghton Mifflin). The author of “The Lighthouse Stevensons” (about Robert Louis Stevenson’s lighthouse-building ancestors) continues in a maritime vein with this account of Britain’s coastal dwellers who lured ships deliberately to their doom and then scavenged the wreckage.
“What It Used to Be Like: A Portrait of My Marriage to Raymond Carver” by Maryann Burk Carver (St. Martin’s Press). A memoir by the first wife of literary icon Raymond Carver, from their teenaged romance to their marriage with two children and their nomadic life as Carver built his career.
“Alec Guinness: The Authorized Biography” by Piers Paul Read (Simon & Schuster). The life of one of the world’s most well-known and talented actors, from his debut in “Great Expectations” to his Oscar for “The Bridge on the River Kwai” to Ben Kenobi in “Star Wars.”
“Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix” by Charles R. Cross (Hyperion). The Seattle biographer of Kurt Cobain (the critically praised “Heavier Than Heaven”) takes on the brief but dramatic life of Hendrix, from his childhood in Seattle’s projects to his rock-star ascent to his death in 1970.
“1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus” by Charles C. Mann (Knopf). A “groundbreaking” study of new research that indicates that more people lived in the Americas in 1491 than in Europe; that some of their cities were greater in size than European cities and that the indigenous societies were older and far more advanced than previously thought.
“Eudora Welty: A Biography” by Suzanne Marks (Harcourt). A life of the prize-winning Mississippi writer (“The Golden Apples,” “The Optimist’s Daughter”), written with access to her correspondence with her contemporaries (Katherine Anne Porter, E.M. Forster, Elizabeth Bowen) and aspiring to be the “definitive and authoritative account” of her life.
“Michelangelo’s Mountain: The Quest for Perfection in the Marble Quarries of Carrara” by Eric Scigliano (Free Press). Seattle author Scigliano looks at Michelangelo’s passion for the marble of Carrara, Italy, and his creation of three sculptures from it as a way to re-examine the social, political and personal forces that shaped Michelangelo’s work.
Mary Ann Gwinn is The Seattle Times’ book editor. Michael Upchurch is The Times’ book critic.