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 2015. Links to reviews are included when available.
God Help the Child by Toni Morrison (Knopf, Apr.) - In Morrison's wrenching novel, which received a starred review from PW, a mother learns about the damage adults do to children and the choices children make as they grow up to suppress, express, or overcome their shame.
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro (Knopf, Mar.) - Set in Arthurian England, Ishiguro's first novel since Never Let Me Go follows an elderly, ailing couple making a journey to their son's village.
A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson (Little, Brown, May) - The follow-up to Atkinson's bestseller Life After Life tells the story of Ursula Todd's little brother, Teddy--would-be poet, RAF bomber pilot, husband, and father--as he navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century.
Get in Trouble by Kelly Link (Random, Feb.) - Only in a Kelly Link story would you encounter Mann Man, a superhero with the powers of Thomas Mann, or visit a world with pools overrun by Disney mermaids. These nine imaginative stories will delight Link fans, and will likely win her some new ones, as well.
Crow Fair by Thomas McGuane (Knopf, Mar.) - Thomas McGuane has written 15 books over his 45-year career, but his 16th, Crow Fair, is possibly his best--and also the best story collection of 2015 so far.
Funny Girl by Nick Hornby (Riverhead, Feb.) - Hornby's novel, which received a starred review from PW, follows a television actress in 1960s London.
Palace of Treason by Jason Matthews (Scribner, May) – In the eagerly anticipated sequel to Red Sparrow, Capt. Dominika Egorova of the Russian Intelligence Service (SVR) is working for the CIA as Washington’s most sensitive penetration of the Kremlin.
The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell (Simon & Schuster, Mar.) – In this superior religious thriller, two brothers—both priests—are involved in a controversial exhibit at a Vatican museum proving that the Shroud of Turin actually dates from the time of Christ.
The Whites by Richard Price writing as Harry Brandt (Holt, Feb.) – Sgt. Billy Graves of the NYPD pursues his “White” (that’s what Billy calls the one that got away), a triple murderer, in this outstanding contemporary crime thriller.
Jack of Spades by Joyce Carol Oates (Mysterious, May) – Andrew Rush, a critically and commercially successful mystery novelist has a dark secret: under a pseudonym he pens lurid, violent potboilers. He risks everything if his secret comes out in this exceptional tale of suspense.
City of Savages by Lee Kelly (S&S/Saga, Feb. 3) - There are plenty of heart-pounding moments in Kelly’s debut, and an abundance of vividly imagined details bring post-apocalyptic New York City to searing life. But the biggest risk is not one that the characters take—it’s Kelly’s bold spotlighting of the bonds between women.
The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor (DAW, May 5) - Phoenix was grown and raised in New York’s Tower 7. She is an “accelerated woman”—only two years old but with the body and mind of an adult, and superhuman abilities. When her beloved commits suicide, she realizes that the tower is her prison and decides to escape.
The Very Best of Kate Elliott by Kate Elliott (Tachyon, Feb. 10) - Elliott’s delightful first collection contains standalone works, essays, and pieces set in the worlds of her major fantasy series, where existing settings lend depth, complexity, and intrigue. This collection serves beautifully both as an introduction to Elliott and as a treat for fans who want more of her marvels.
Married to a Perfect Stranger by Jane Ashford (Sourcebooks Casablanca, Mar. 3) - In a Regency romance about personal growth and excited rediscovery, long-separated spouses must overcome scorn and opposition from their family and colleagues in order to turn a naïvely arranged marriage into a passionate partnership.
A Heart Revealed by Josi S. Kilpack (Shadow Mountain, Apr. 7) - Kilpack weaves a haunting, mesmerizing story about a wealthy woman who must take a hard look at the selfish and cruel person she’s become and decide who she wants to be.
One Night by Eric Jerome Dickey (Dutton, Apr. 21) - Dickey takes the one-night stand into the realms of art with this tightly controlled portrayal of two anonymous characters whose passion in a secluded hotel room is refracted through glimpses of a troubled outside world.
The Last Two Seconds: Poems by Mary Jo Bang (Graywolf, Mar.) - Bang captures the difficulties inherent in being human in the 21st century, when we set our watches by nuclear disasters, species collapse, pollution, mounting inequalities, warring nations, and our own mortality.
Map: Collected and Last Poems by Wislawa Szymborska, trans. by Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak (HMH, Apr.) - Carefully edited by her longtime translator, Cavanagh, the poems here trace Szymborska’s work until her death in 2012. Nearly 40 are newly translated and 13 represent the entirety of the poet’s last Polish collection, Enough, never before published in English.
How to Be Drawn by Terrance Hayes (Penguin, Apr.) - National Book Award-winner Hayes explores how we see and are seen. While many of these poems bear the clearest imprint yet of Hayes’s background as a visual artist, they do not strive to describe art so much as inhabit it.
It’s Only Stanley by Jon Agee (Dial, Mar.) - Plenty of readers know Agee for the wordplay of picture books like the palindromic Go Hang a Salami, I’m a Lasagna Hog, but he’s always had a flair for the absurd, too, as seen in The Retired Kid, Milo’s Hat Trick, and others. This very funny book fits very comfortably in the latter camp.
The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks (Carolrhoda Lab, Mar.) - Brooks’s story about a kidnapped teen held captive in an underground bunker comes to the U.S. with a Carnegie Medal under its belt as well as some pushback regarding its bleakness. In March, American readers can decide for themselves.
Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen (Viking, May) - The release of a Sarah Dessen novel always feels like an event, as much a harbinger of warmer weather as the shift to Daylight Savings Time or the return of migrating birds. Dessen’s 12th novel introduces Peyton, a teenager who seeks solace from her older brother’s recklessness with a boy named Mac and his family.
Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver (Harper, Mar.) - Following her bestselling Delirium trilogy, Oliver’s latest recalls her debut, Before I Fall, as well as last year’s Panic. Like those novels, this is an incisive portrait of contemporary teenage life, with just enough of a twist to keep readers rapt.
Firstborn by Tor Seidler (S&S/Atheneum, Mar.) - Animal characters who are as empathetic as they are anthropomorphic have been a mainstay of Seidler’s fiction in titles like The Wainscott Weasel and Mean Margaret. Now Seidler is back with his first book since 2008’s Gully’s Travels, about an unlikely group of animals in and around Yellowstone National Park.
Drawn & Quarterly: Twenty-five Years of Contemporary Cartooning, Comics, and Graphic Novels, edited by Tom Devlin (Drawn & Quarterly, May) - One of the defining comics publishers of our time gets a defining, massive 800-page retrospective with new comics by the likes of Kate Beaton and Rutu Modan and essays by Margaret Atwood, Lemony Snicket, and more.
The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer by Sydney Padua (Pantheon, Apr. 21) - Early computer visionaries Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace are reimagined as boisterous crime-fighters in this witty, meticulously researched romp.
Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola (Grand Central, June 23) - A young woman with a rising career in media tells the story of her blackout drinking and her hard-won recovery.
Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland by Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus (Viking, Apr.) - The harrowing inside story by two of the young women kidnapped and held captive for a decade by Ariel Castro. Their dramatic escape captured headlines and this recounting adds original reporting by Washington Post reporters Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan.
The Story: A Reporter's Journey by Judith Miller (S&S, Apr. 7) - The controversial New York Times reporter, foreign correspondent, and Pulitzer Prize winner, who was jailed for her journalistic integrity, chronicles her long career.
Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs by Sally Mann (Little, Brown, Apr.) - In her memoir, a unique interplay of narrative and image, acclaimed photographer Mann crafts a new form of personal history that offers her family’s history and its influence on her life as an artist.
Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris (Norton, Apr.) - Having spent more than three decades in the New Yorker’s famously exacting copy department, Norris brings her vast experience to a boisterous book about language, which, according to PW’s review, will help readers “think more about how and what they write.”
The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings; J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams by Philip and Carol Zaleski (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, June) - A group biography of the Inklings, the Oxford writing club that included Tolkien and Lewis among its members.
Young Eliot: A Biography by Robert Crawford (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Mar.) - On the 50th anniversary of T.S. Eliot’s death, the first volume of a biography traces the poet from St. Louis to “The Waste Land.” According to PW’s starred review, this book is “likely to become the definitive account of the great poet’s early years.”
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson (Crown, Mar.) - From the author of The Devil in the White City comes the story of the sinking of the Lusitania, one of the most tragic events of WWI, published to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the disaster.
Lincoln’s Body: A Cultural History by Richard Wightman Fox (Norton, Feb.) - Though many found Lincoln to be physically unattractive, Fox shows how the president’s ungainly appearance became a “symbol of republican simplicity and American self-making” by the American public while he was alive. That body took on new importance in death, elevating the assassinated president to martyrdom.
One of Us: Anders Breivik and the Massacres in Norway by Åsne Seierstad, trans. by Sarah Death (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Apr.) - The Norwegian journalist and author of The Bookseller of Kabul offers a thorough account of the massacre that upended Norway on July 22, 2011, when Anders Behring Breivik killed eight people in Oslo, and proceeded to a youth camp on the island of Utøya, where he killed 69 more, most of them teenage members of Norway’s governing Labour Party.
The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783–1789 by Joseph J. Ellis (Knopf, May) - From the author of Founding Brothers and American Sphinx comes an account of the years when four of the Founding Fathers disregarded public sentiment and set a new course for our young democracy.
Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage by Barney Frank (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Mar.) - In this autobiography, the former Massachusetts congressman offers a feisty, funny account of playing a role in the struggle for personal freedom and economic fairness for more than four decades.
Heretic by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Harper, Mar.) - A plea, from the bestselling and controversial author of Infidel, for an Islamic Reformation to end the horrors of terrorism and sectarian warfare and the repression of women and minorities.
The Two-State Delusion: Israel and Palestine; A Tale of Two Narratives by Padraig O’Malley (Viking, Apr.) - Leading reconciliation expert O’Malley argues, in a book sure to spark debate, that a two-state solution is no longer a viable path to peace between Israel and Palestine and that we must find new frameworks for resolving this conflict.
Billie Holiday: The Musician and the Myth by John Szwed (Viking, Mar. 31) - Published in celebration of Holiday’s centenary, the first biography to focus on the singer’s extraordinary musical talent stays close to the music, to her performance style, and to the self she created and put into print, on record and on stage, based on a vast amount of new material that has surfaced in the last decade.
Girl in a Band: A Memoir by Kim Gordon (Morrow/Dey Street, Feb. 24) - A founding member of Sonic Youth, fashion icon, and role model for a generation of women tells of life as an artist; of music, marriage, motherhood, independence; and as one of the first women of rock and roll.
John Prine: In Spite of Himself by Eddie Huffman (Univ. of Texas, Mar. 15) - This book traces the long arc of Prine’s musical career, beginning with his early, seemingly effortless successes, which led not to stardom but to a rich and varied career writing songs that other people have made famous. |Here are the stories behind Prine’s best-known songs and all of Prine’s albums.
1965: The Most Revolutionary Year in Music by Andrew Grant Jackson (St. Martin’s/Dunne, Feb. 3) - Jackson combines personal stories with a panoramic historical narrative of the music and epic social change of 1965, a defining year for Bob Dylan, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, The Who, James Brown, and John Coltrane.
Einstein’s Dice and Schrödinger’s Cat: How Two Great Minds Battled Quantum Randomness to Create a Unified Theory of Physics by Paul Halpern (Basic, Apr.) - Physicist Halpern relates how Einstein and Schrödinger searched, first as collaborators and then as competitors, for a grand unified theory that would eliminate quantum weirdness and make the universe seem sensible again.
Birth of a Theorem: A Mathematical Adventure by Cédric Villani, trans. by Malcolm DeBevoise (FSG/Faber and Faber, Apr.) - The Fields Medal recipient delivers his account of the year leading up to the award, offering an intimate look inside a mathematician’s mind as he wrestles with the theorem that will make his reputation.
Invisible: The Dangerous Allure of the Unseen by Philip Ball (Univ. of Chicago, Apr.) - Science writer Ball tackles his most complicated subject yet: invisibility, and how the idea of the unseen has driven curiosity, science, and discovery for centuries, with forays into chemistry, war, and even ghost hunting.