Culled from the 14,000+ titles in PW's Spring Announcements issue, we asked our reviews editors to pick the most notable books publishing in Spring 2016. Click here for our list of most anticipated children's and YA books. Links to reviews are included when available.
The Vegetarian by Han Kang, trans. by Deborah Smith (Hogarth, Feb.) - Han’s debut, which received a starred review from PW, tells the story of a Korean woman who suddenly decides to stop eating meat after having vivid, violent dreams. Gradually, her body undergoes a strange transformation.
Zero K by Don DeLillo (Scribner, May) - Ross, a billionaire in his 60s who is married to a younger woman, travels to a secret compound where death is controlled and bodies are preserved so that his ailing wife can surrender her body.
LaRose by Louise Erdrich (Harper, May) - It’s North Dakota, late summer, 1999: Landreaux Iron hunts a deer on the property bordering his own, but after he fires he realizes he’s hit something else.
The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay (Melville House, May) - This globe-trotting, time-bending epic in the tradition of Cloud Atlas is set in 16th-century Venice; Venice Beach, Calif., circa 1958; and the modern-day Venice casino in Las Vegas.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (Knopf, June) - Gyasi's debut novel, which received a starred PW review, offers an unforgettable, page-turning look at the histories of Ghana and America, tracing a single bloodline across seven generations.
Barkskins by Annie Proulx (Scribner, June) - In the late 17th century, two illiterate woodsmen make their way to New France to seek a living. There they suffer extraordinary hardship. Proulx’s epic is 800 pages and 10 years in the writing.
End of Watch by Stephen King (Scribner, June) - MWA Grand Master King concludes his crime trilogy that began with 2014’s Mr. Mercedes, which won an Edgar Award for best novel.
Maestra by L.S. Hinton (Putnam, Apr.) - The first in a trilogy, Hilton’s psychological thriller has already sold publication rights in more than 25 countries, and Sony’s TriStar Pictures has optioned the book with Amy Pascal’s Pascal Pictures producing.
Redemption Road by John Hart (St. Martin’s/Dunne, May) - Fans of bestseller Hart, the only author to win back-to-back Edgar Awards for best novel, have waited five years for this crime novel set in a Southern town.
DJSturbia by David J. Schow (Subterranean, Mar.) - Schow is a renowned and multitalented horror writer, filmmaker, and film historian, and this excellently chilling compilation of his short stories and personal reminiscences covers the entire horror genre.
The Fireman by Joe Hill (Morrow, May) - In Hill’s superb new genre bender, a pregnant woman is infected with a spore that causes spontaneous human combustion, and is determined to save her baby, even if that means learning to harness the flames that smolder beneath her skin.
A Natural History of Hell by Jeffrey Ford (Small Beer, July) - Ford seamlessly blends subtle psychological horror through a mix of literary history, folklore, and science fiction in this new collection of short stories, all focused on the hell that is living.
League of Dragons by Naomi Novik (Del Rey, May) - Novik concludes her renowned historical fantasy series with an exciting final showdown, in which English naval officer Capt. William Laurence and his fearless dragon, Temeraire, face off against Napoleon and his forces.
A Buccaneer at Heart by Stephanie Laurens (Mira, Apr.) - Laurens’s second Adventurer’s Quartet romance introduces charming collaborators who match wits and bravery as they search for the reasons behind a series of disappearances.
Threesome edited by Matthew Bright (Lethe, Mar.) - Bright's fabulous second collection, focusing on all-male threesome stories, has astonishing breadth and delightful verve.
The Debutante Is Mine by Vivienne Lorret (Avon, Apr.) - A will and a bet create the drama in the riveting first Season’s Original Regency, in which a young woman falls for a commoner but is obligated to find a noble husband.
Play Dead by Francine J. Harris (Alice James, Apr.) - Lyrically raw and dangerously unapologetic, Harris’s latest challenges readers to look at their cultivated selves as products of circumstance and attempts to piece together patterns amidst dissociative chaos.
The Black Maria by Aracelis Girmay (BOA Editions, Apr.) - This book investigates African diasporic histories, the consequences of racism within American culture, and the question of human identity. Girmay elegizes and celebrates life, wrestling with the humanistic notion of seeing beyond: seeing violence, seeing grace, and seeing each other better.
Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong (Copper Canyon, Apr.) - In his haunting and fearless debut, Vuong walks a tightrope of vulnerability and reflects upon his family in exile, a reverential queer love, and the personal adoption of a sometimes inexplicable nation.
So Much Synth by Brenda Shaughnessy (Copper Canyon, May) - Composed of equal parts femininity, pain, pleasure, and synthesizer, Shaughnessy’s fourth collection is punctuated by subversions of idiom and cliché as she approaches middle age and revisits the memories, romances, and music of adolescence.
A Woman of Property by Robyn Schiff (Penguin, Apr.) - Schiff draws formal and imaginative boundaries against boundless mortal threat, staging a boundary dispute where haunting, illusion, the presence of the past, and disembodied voices only further unsettle questions of material and spiritual possession.
Patience by Daniel Clowes (Fantagraphics, Apr.) - No one gets inside the head of society’s obsessive misfits like Clowes, and when a man’s quest to find who really killed his wife leads him to develop a time machine, it’s a roller-coaster of sometimes explosive emotions.
Carpet Sweeper Tales by Julie Doucet (D&Q, Mar.) - Although Doucet no longer draws, her new collection uses collages of insipid '70s advertising images to present stories that are as brash and observant as her classic comics.
The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye by Sonny Liew (Pantheon, Mar.) - A stunning tour de force masterpiece of imagined and real history as Liew recreates the entire career of the titular cartoonist via art and photos to explore the history of both comics and Singapore.
The Return by Hisham Matar (Random House, July) - Returning to Libya, which he left when he was 12 with his political dissident parents, novelist Matar takes a careful look at the condition of the country after the fall of Qaddafi and also investigates the disappearance of his father, who was kidnapped by the Libyan government in Cairo.
White Sands: Experiences From the Outside World by Geoff Dyer (Pantheon, May) - A quest for tranquility sends Dyer on a series of pilgrimages in this travel memoir that includes images and memories that he's harbored since childhood.
Living with a Dead Language: My Romance with Latin by Ann Patty (Viking, June) - A high-powered New York City editor leaves the city and her job to study Latin in this memoir that weaves her personal life with grammar and syntax.
The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing (Picador, Mar.) - Following the success of 2014’s The Trip to Echo Spring, Laing returns with a trip to Manhattan to study the lives of six artists.
Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think About Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth by A.O. Scott (Penguin Press, Feb.) - The New York Times film critic shows why we need criticism now more than ever, pointing out that critical thinking informs almost every aspect of artistic creation, civil action, and interpersonal life.
The Violet Hour: Great Writers at the End by Katie Roiphe (Dial, Mar.) - Roiphe provides a deeply researched account of the last days of Sigmund Freud, Maurice Sendak, Susan Sontag, Dylan Thomas, and John Updike.
The View from the Cheap Seats: A Collection of Introductions, Essays, and Assorted Writings by Neil Gaiman (Morrow, May) - The acclaimed author of novels and comics assembles a collection of his nonfiction for the first time.
Joe Gould’s Teeth by Jill Lepore (Knopf, May) - New Yorker staff writer Lepore tells the story of the discovery of a long-lost manuscript, The Oral History of Our Time by Joe Gould, the subject of two famous profiles by New Yorker writer Joseph Mitchell.
The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship; Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice by Patricia Bell-Scott (Knopf, Feb.) - Two decades in the works, this book focuses on the unlikely friendship between Pauli Murray and Eleanor Roosevelt that critically shaped Roosevelt’s, and F.D.R.’s, view of race and racism in America.
Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America by Douglas Brinkley (Harper, Mar.) -The latest from historian Brinkley chronicles F.D.R.’s “undersung” legacy as premier protector of America’s public lands.
Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936–1939 by Adam Hochschild (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Mar.) - The author of King Leopold’s Ghost adds to his multidimensional portrayals of historical characters in this collection of stories about many involved in the Spanish Civil War.
The Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal, and the Hunt for America’s First Serial Killer by Skip Hollandsworth (Holt, Apr.) - True-crime aficionados are likely already aware of this long-awaited title from Hollandsworth, which narrates the history of a terrifying serial killer—America’s first—who stalked Austin, Tex., in 1885.
The Vanishing Velázquez: A 19th Century Bookseller’s Obsession with a Lost Masterpiece by Laura Cumming (Scribner, Apr.) - Art critic Cumming chronicles the story—part art history and part true crime—of a Velázquez portrait that went missing and the obsessed 19th-century bookseller determined to prove he had found it.
United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good by Cory Booker (Ballantine, Feb.) - A rising United States Senator from New Jersey makes the case that the virtues of connection and compassion must guide our nation toward a brighter future.
The Battle for Home: The Memoir of a Syrian Architect by Marwa al-Sabouni (Thames & Hudson, May) - This timely account offers an eyewitness perspective on Syria’s bitter conflict through the lens of architecture, showing how the built environment and its destruction hold up a mirror to the communities that inhabit it.
Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger (Twelve, May) - From the bestselling author of War and The Perfect Storm comes this journalistic look at what happens when our veterans return home from war.
Love Wins: The Lovers, Lawyers and Activists Who Brought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality by Debbie Cenziper and Jim Obergefell (Morrow, May) - The inside story of the Supreme Court case that led to the legalization of same-sex marriage is told by one of the plaintiffs.
The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself by Sean Carroll (Dutton, May) - As he examines how the deep laws of nature connect to our everyday lives, Caltech physicist Carroll gives a sweeping new perspective on how human purpose and meaning naturally fit into a scientific worldview.
Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal (Norton, May) - World-renowned primatologist de Waal demonstrates that we have grossly underestimated the scope and depth of animal intelligence, offering a firsthand account of how science has stood traditional behaviorism on its head by revealing how smart animals really are.
Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach (Norton, June) - Roach tackles the science behind some of a soldier’s most challenging adversaries—panic, exhaustion, heat, noise—and introduces readers to the scientists tasked with keeping human beings intact, awake, sane, uninfected, and uninfested in the bizarre and extreme circumstances of war.
In Our Own Image: Savior or Destroyer? The History and Future of Artificial Intelligence by George Zarkadakis (Pegasus, Mar.) - This book explores the history and future of one of humankind’s oldest love-hate relationships, our ties with artificial intelligence (AI), as well as its societal and ethical implications as we approach the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution.
The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee (Scribner, June) - Weaving science, social history, and personal narrative to tell the story of one of the most important conceptual breakthroughs of modern times, Pulitzer Prize-winner Mukherjee tells the story of the quest to understand human heredity and its surprisingly widespread influence.
Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy by John Shelby Spong (HarperOne, Feb.) - Spong offers a radical new way to look at the gospels today. Using the Gospel of Matthew as a guide, he explores the Bible’s literary and liturgical roots—its grounding in Jewish culture, symbols, icons, and storytelling tradition—and provides a blueprint that allows the faithful to live inside the Christian story in the modern world.
Unashamed by LeCrae (B&H, May) – Two-time Grammy winner LeCrae holds nothing back as he divulges the most sensitive details of his life, answers his critics, shares intimate handwritten journal entries, and powerfully models how to be Christian in a secular age.
Becoming Wise by Krista Tippett (Penguin Press, Apr.) - From the bestselling author and host of NPR’s On Being comes a master class in living drawn from the inspiring stories of extraordinary individuals who possess what she calls “spiritual genius.” The book is a master class in living, curated by Tippett but presided over by a delightfully ecumenical dream team of a teaching faculty.
Agnostic by Lesley Hazleton (Riverhead, Apr.) - A celebration of agnosticism as the most vibrant, engaging—and ultimately the most honest—stance toward the mysteries of existence. In this provocative, brilliant book, Hazleton breaks agnosticism free of its stereotypes as watered-down atheism or amorphous “seeking” and recasts the question of belief not as a problem to be solved but as an invitation to an ongoing, open-ended adventure of the mind.