Culled from the 14,000+ titles in PW's Spring Announcements issue (on newsstands now and available in full here), we asked our reviews editors to pick the most notable books publishing in Spring 2014. Links to reviews are included when available.
Bark by Lorrie Moore (Knopf, February) - Moore’s first collection in 15 years, and PW's review says it’s just as funny and heartbreaking as her fans are hoping for. Recently, PW got lost in Mahattan's Library Hotel with Moore.
Frog Music by Emma Donoghue (Little, Brown, April) - Summer of 1876: San Francisco is in the grip of a record-breaking heat wave and a smallpox epidemic. Through the window of a railroad saloon, a young woman called Jenny Bonnet is shot dead.
All Our Names by Dinaw Mengestu (Knopf, March) - A love story about a searing affair between an American woman and an African man in 1970s America from a New Yorker “20 Under 40” winner and MacArthur fellow.
The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick (Harper, February) - The New York Times bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook offers a story about family, friendship, grief, acceptance, and Richard Gere.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Scribner, May) - A blind French girl and a German boy cross paths in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of WWII.
The Quick by Lauren Owen (Random, June) - London, 1892: James Norbury, a shy would-be poet newly down from Oxford, finds lodging with a charming young aristocrat. Through this new friendship, he is introduced to the drawing rooms of high society and finds love in an unexpected quarter. Then, he vanishes without a trace.
I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes (Atria, May) - Only one man, known as Pilgrim, can link a series of deaths across the globe, including the murder of an anonymous young woman in a run-down hotel, all identifying characteristics dissolved by acid.
The Accident by Chris Pavone (Crown, March) - The contents of The Accident, a manuscript submission by an anonymous author, shock New York literary agent Isabel Reed, who worries that the revelations of this nonfiction work about Charlie Wolfe, a global media baron, pose a real danger.
The Black-Eyed Blonde: A Philip Marlowe Novel by Benjamin Black (Holt, March) - Black (aka John Banville) resurrects Raymond Chandler’s L.A. PI Philip Marlowe for a new adventure on the mean streets of Bay City, Calif.
Runner by Patrick Lee (Minotaur, February) - While jogging on a California beach, Sam Dryden, a former Delta Ranger, rescues 12-year-old Rachel fleeing heavily armed men. Their escape takes them across the country, while Rachel’s slow recovery of her memory points to a sinister secret government project.
Half a King by Joe Abercrombie (Del Rey, July) - Opens a stirring new epic fantasy trilogy about a bookish disabled man who reluctantly accepts the throne of a troubled kingdom.
Premonitions by Jamie Schultz (Roc, July) - In Schultz’s dark and powerful urban fantasy debut, a woman agrees to steal a dangerous artifact in exchange for a magical drug that will suppress her hallucinations of the future.
Thief’s Magic by Trudi Canavan (Orbit, May) - Canavan’s series opener explores a land where an industrial revolution is powered by magic.
The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen (Harper, July) - Magic, adventure, mystery, and romance combine in this epic debut in which a young princess must reclaim her dead mother’s throne, learn to be a ruler, and defeat a powerful and malevolent sorceress.
The Bird Eater by Ania Ahlborn (Amazon/47North, March) - Polish horror writer Ahlborn spins a terrifying tale of a darkness spreading deep in the Arkansas Ozarks.
The Winter King by C.L. Wilson (Avon, July) - When fire and ice meet in the form of the Winter King and the Summer Princess, will their love be enough to save the world from war?
Dangerously Bound by Eden Bradley (Berkley, April) - Launches an erotic BDSM series set in New Orleans.
Lick by Kylie Scott (St. Martin's Griffin, May) - The first print edition of Scott’s bestselling new adult novel about a young woman who falls in love with a rock star.
They Don’t Kill You Because They’re Hungry, They Kill You Because They’re Full by Mark Bibbins (Copper Canyon, April) - Bibbins’s newest displays his caustic wit and probing insight amid an exhilarating range of cultural references.
Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals by Patricia Lockwood (Penguin, June) - A breathtaking new collection from one of today’s boldest and most adventurous poets. Colloquial and incantatory, this book is serious and funny at the same time, like a big grave with a clown lying in it.
In Defense of Nothing: Selected Poems, 1987-2011 by Peter Gizzi (Wesleyan Univ., March) - Representing close to 25 years of work, this generous selection strikes a dynamic balance of honesty, emotion, intellectual depth, and otherworldly resonance; it is haunted, vibrant, and saturated with luminous detail.
Half Bad by Sally Green (Viking, March) - Green’s debut, a YA novel about a 15-year-old “Half Code” witch, held captive in an alternate modern-day England, was the “it” book of last year’s Bologna Children’s Book fair. Foreign rights have sold in more than 40 countries, Fox 2000 grabbed film rights, and Penguin has big launch plans for the book’s release in the U.S., U.K., and Australia.
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (Delacorte, May) - A wealthy family, a secluded island off Cape Cod, a head injury that leads to lost memories (and unreliable narration). National Book Award finalist Lockhart (The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks) has all the pieces of a gripping thriller in this one, and the buzz on Twitter and Tumblr is already making this one of the most talked-about YA novels arriving this spring.
The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry by Peter Sís (FSG/Foster, May) - Sís, the recipient of both the Hans Christian Andersen Award and a MacArthur Fellowship, has repeatedly proven his skill at paying tribute to the lives of historical figures (such as Galileo in Starry Messenger) as well as his own history (as in 2007’s The Wall). So there’s little doubt that this picture-book biography of the creator of The Little Prince is something to keep an eye out for.
Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan (Scholastic/Levine, April) - Australian author/artist Tan made a major splash with genre-bending books like The Arrival and Tales from Outer Suburbia. Now he’s back with another visually beguiling journey, one that celebrates the rough-and-tumble relationship between two brothers while also tipping its hat, perhaps, to Chris Van Allsburg’s The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.
Noggin by John Corey Whaley (S&S/Atheneum, April) - This is Whaley’s sophomore novel, arriving two years after his first book, Where Things Come Back, took home both a Printz and Morris Award; it also got him named to the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 list, a first for a YA novelist. His new book concerns both matters of the head (one that’s been removed and cryogenically frozen) and the heart (the one that comes with the body that 16-year-old Travis awakens in, five years after his “death”).
Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant by Roz Chast (Bloomsbury, May) - Chast has become a New Yorker favorite for her short comics, but this full length story exhibits the same wry humor, self-mocking tone and insightful drawings to tell a heartbreaking story of the decline of Chast's aging parents. Full of telling recollections of their quirks, the story captures the bittersweet relationship we have with our parents, the good the bad and the cranky.
Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoët (Drawn and Quarterly, February) - It’s The Lord of the Flies meets Ferngully when a bunch of sweet little fairies embark on a brutal fight for survival inside the decaying body of a young girl. It’s gross, beautiful and hilarious at the same time.
This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki (First Second, May) - The authors of Skim are back with an even more fully realized story about the perils of adolescence. Rose and Windy are kids staying at a lake resort one summer. Jillian Tamaki’s stunning pen and ink art captures the ephemeral memories of growing up and long summer days as the girls deal with a life and death mystery and the growing distance between Rose’s parents.
How to Be Happy by Eleanor Davis (Fantagraphics, May) - Davis’s short comics have been Tumblr favorites for her artistic style mixing classic illustrative techniques with unsettling observations and sexuality. This first print collection of her stories promises no less.
Hilary Rodham Clinton's Memoir (Simon & Schuster, June) - Clinton’s new memoir recounts her time as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.
Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search for the Truth About Everything by Barbara Ehrenreich (Twelve, April) - From the author of Nickel and Dimed, a quest, started in adolescence, to discover the Truth about the universe and everything else.
Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism by Ron Suskind (Disney, April) - Pulitzer Prize–winning author Suskind tells how his autistic son was able to regain the ability to speak through the medium of Disney animated films.
How Paris Became Paris: The Invention of the Modern City by Joan DeJean (Bloomsbury, March) - The birth of Paris in the 17th century.
The Nile: A Journey Downriver Through Egypt's Past and Present by Toby Wilkinson (Knopf, June) - Accompany an acclaimed Egyptologist as he travels down the Nile and shows how the river continually brought life to an ancient civilization and sustained its successors, now in tumult.
Shadows in the Vineyard: The True Story of a Plot to Poison the World's Greatest Wine by Maximillian Potter (Twelve, July) - Potter uncovers a plot to destroy the vines of La Romanee-Conti, Burgundy's finest and most expensive vineyard, with a window into smalltown French politics.
The Most Dangerous Book: the Battle for James Joyce’s Ulysses by Kevin Birmingham (Penguin Press, June) - In what PW’s starred review calls an “exultant literary history and nonfiction debut,” Harvard lecturer Birmingham recounts the remarkable publication saga of Ulysses. The book comes wrapped in glowing blurbs including this one from Louis Menand: “Kevin Birmingham’s imaginative scholarship brings Joyce and his world to life.”
The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison (Graywolf, Apr.) - Essays range from personal loss to phantom diseases and won the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize.
The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe by David I. Kertzer (Random House, January) - National Book Award–finalist Kertzer exposes the fractious, co-dependent relationship between Pope Pius XI and Mussolini.
The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation by David Brion Davis (Knopf, February) - The long-awaited conclusion to the magisterial history of slavery and emancipation in Western culture that has been nearly 50 years in the making.
The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames by Kai Bird (Crown, May) - Bird tells of the making of a CIA officer, an insightful history of 20th-century conflict in the Middle East, and an hour-by-hour account of the Beirut Embassy bombing.
Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller’s Tragic Quest for Primitive Art by Carl Hoffman (Morrow, March) - The critically acclaimed author of The Lunatic Express recounts his journey to explore the mystery surrounding the 1961 disappearance of Michael C. Rockefeller in New Guinea.
Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot by Masha Gessen (Riverhead, January) - Russian-American journalist Gessen (The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin) offers an inside look at Pussy Riot, a group of women whose act of protest and consequent punishment shined a light on the shifting dynamics and sharply rising repression in Putin’s Russia.
Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China by Evan Osnos (FSG, May) - A vibrant, colorful, and revelatory inner history of China during a moment of profound transformation by New Yorker staff writer Osnos, who was the magazine’s Beijing correspondent.
The Hippest Trip in America: Soul Train and the Evolution of Culture and Style by Nelson George (Morrow, May) - An authoritative history of the syndicated television show that has become an icon of American pop culture from acclaimed author and filmmaker George.
Man on the Run: Paul McCartney in the 1970s by Tom Doyle (Ballantine, June) - This account of the little known, agonizing decade in McCartney’s life starts with his personal crisis following the break-up of the Beatles and details his reclusive, hippie lifestyle, the awkward beginnings of his start-up band, Wings, and all the drinking, drugs, and arrests along the way.
Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes by Svante Pääbo (Basic, February) - What can we learn from the genomes of our closest evolutionary relatives? Geneticist Pääbo recounts his mission to answer this question and his ultimately successful efforts to genetically define what makes us different from our Neanderthal cousins.
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert (Holt, February) - A major book about the future of the world, Kolbert blends intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes.
A Garden of Marvels: How We Discovered that Flowers Have Sex, Leaves Eat Air, and Other Secrets of Plants by Ruth Kassinger (Morrow, March) - Intertwining personal anecdote, accessible science, and untold history, Kassinger takes us on an eye-opening journey from the first botanists to today’s extraordinary plants found in the garden and the lab.