2016 is here and so too are a whole host of authors hoping that their latest creation will make it to the top of the bestselling lists, but who should we be looking out for? What will be you top read of 2016?
Is anyone going to be able to compete with the frenzy that Harper Lee created when she announced that a manuscript, originally written in the 1950’s, was going to be published after many years of silence?
Will J.K. Rowling continue with her success in the crime writing world and surprise us with another instalment from her alter-ego, Robert Galbraith?
Perhaps there is a current unknown author out there that will storm the publishing world with the next big idea, leading to worldwide fame.
Whilst much in the literary world is uncertain, we can be confident that there are some fantastic writers out there just waiting for their books to be discovered.
So, who do we believe you should be keeping an eye on in 2016?
Our Top Book Picks for the New Year
#1 Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin
Publication Date: 26th Jan
The New York Times bestselling author of ’‘The Aviator’s Wife’ returns with a captivating new novel about Truman Capote and his scandalous friendship with Babe Paley during the 1950’s.
Centered on two dynamic, complicated, and compelling protagonists—Truman Capote and Babe Paley—this book is steeped in the glamour and perfumed and smoky atmosphere of New York’s high society. Babe Paley—known for her high-profile marriage to CBS founder William Paley and her ranking in the International Best-Dressed Hall of Fame—was one of the reigning monarchs of New York’s high society in the 1950s. Replete with gossip, scandal, betrayal, and a vibrant cast of real-life supporting characters, readers will be seduced by this startling new look at the infamous society swans.
#2 The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon
Publication Date: 28th Jan
Mrs Creasy is missing and The Avenue is alive with whispers. As the summer shimmers endlessly on, ten-year-olds Grace and Tilly decide to take matters into their own hands.
And as the cul-de-sac starts giving up its secrets, the amateur detectives will find much more than they imagined.
#3 The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel
Publication Date: 2nd Feb
The author of the bestselling Life of Pi returns to the storytelling power and luminous wisdom of his master novel.
In Lisbon in 1904, a young man named Tomás discovers an old journal. It hints at the existence of an extraordinary artefact that—if he can find it—would redefine history. Travelling in one of Europe’s earliest automobiles, he sets out in search of this strange treasure.
Thirty-five years later, a Portuguese pathologist devoted to the murder mysteries of Agatha Christie finds himself at the centre of a mystery of his own and drawn into the consequences of Tomás’s quest.
Fifty years on, a Canadian senator takes refuge in his ancestral village in northern Portugal, grieving the loss of his beloved wife. But he arrives with an unusual companion: a chimpanzee. And there the century-old quest will come to an unexpected conclusion.
The High Mountains of Portugal—part quest, part ghost story, and part contemporary fable—offers a haunting exploration of great love and great loss. Filled with tenderness, humour, and endless surprise, it takes the reader on a road trip through Portugal in the last century—and through the human soul.
#4 Shylock is my Name by Howard Jacobson
Publication Date: 4th Feb
Man Booker Prize-winner Howard Jacobson brings modern re-imagining of one of Shakespeare’s most unforgettable characters: Shylock.
In this provocative and profound interpretation of “The Merchant of Venice,” Shylock is juxtaposed against his present-day counterpart in the character of art dealer and conflicted father Simon Strulovitch. With characteristic irony, Jacobson presents Shylock as a man of incisive wit and passion, concerned still with questions of identity, parenthood, anti-Semitism and revenge.
While Strulovich struggles to reconcile himself to his daughter Beatrice’s “betrayal” of her family and heritage – as she is carried away by the excitement of Manchester high society, and into the arms of a footballer notorious for giving a Nazi salute on the field – Shylock alternates grief for his beloved wife with rage against his own daughter’s rejection of her Jewish upbringing. Culminating in a shocking twist on Shylock’s demand for the infamous pound of flesh, Jacobson’s insightful retelling examines contemporary, acutely relevant questions of Jewish identity while maintaining a poignant sympathy for its characters.
If you love the modern take on Shakespeare make sure you check out books by Anne Tyler and Margaret Atwood as well. Although no titles or publication dates have yet been announced, these novels are bound to be bestsellers.
#5 Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
Publication Date: 9th Feb
Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the colour of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.
The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.
Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.
But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.
Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?
#6 Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman
Publication Date: 9th Feb
Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.
Edward “Teach” Drummond, son of one of Bristol’s richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There’s just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.
Following her parents’ deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she’s stuck in England?
From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.
#7 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad
Publication Date: 13th Feb
Growing up in the suburban hell of Misery Saga (a.k.a. Mississauga), Lizzie has never liked the way she looks—even though her best friend Mel says she’s the pretty one. She starts dating guys online, but she’s afraid to send pictures, even when her skinny friend China does her makeup: she knows no one would want her if they could really see her. So she starts to lose. With punishing drive, she counts almonds consumed, miles logged, pounds dropped. She fights her way into coveted dresses. She grows up and gets thin, navigating double-edged validation from her mother, her friends, her husband, her reflection in the mirror. But no matter how much she loses, will she ever see herself as anything other than a fat girl?
In her brilliant, hilarious, and at times shocking debut, Mona Awad simultaneously skewers the body image-obsessed culture that tells women they have no value outside their physical appearance, and delivers a tender and moving depiction of a lovably difficult young woman whose life is hijacked by her struggle to conform.
#8 The Widow by Fiona Barton
Publication Date: 16th Feb
If you enjoyed Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train you will love this one.
When the police started asking questions, Jean Taylor turned into a different woman. One who enabled her and her husband to carry on, when more bad things began to happen.
But that woman’s husband died last week. And Jean doesn’t have to be her anymore.
There’s a lot Jean hasn’t said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing. She was too busy being the perfect wife, standing by her man while living with the accusing glares and the anonymous harassment.
Now there’s no reason to stay quiet. There are people who want to hear her story. They want to know what it was like living with that man. She can tell them that there were secrets. There always are in a marriage.
The truth—that’s all anyone wants. But the one lesson Jean has learned in the last few years is that she can make people believe anything.
#9 Why We Came to the City by Kristopher Jansma
Publication Date: 16th Feb
December, 2008. A heavy snowstorm is blowing through Manhattan and the economy is on the brink of collapse, but none of that matters to a handful of guests at a posh holiday party. Five years after their college graduation, the fiercely devoted friends at the heart of this richly absorbing novel remain as inseparable as ever: editor and social butterfly Sara Sherman, her troubled astronomer boyfriend George Murphy, loudmouth poet Jacob Blaumann, classics major turned investment banker William Cho, and Irene Richmond, an enchanting artist with an inscrutable past.
Amid cheerful revelry and free-flowing champagne, the friends toast themselves and the New Year ahead—a year that holds many surprises in store. They must navigate ever-shifting relationships with the city and with one another, determined to push onward in pursuit of their precarious dreams. And when a devastating blow brings their momentum to a halt, the group is forced to re-examine their aspirations and chart new paths through unexpected losses.
#10 Fire in the Firefly by Scott Gardiner
Publication Date: 27th Feb
Julius Roebuck is the creative director of a successful ad agency. He is also husband to the beautiful Anne, father of three lively children, and attentive lover to a poet named Lily.
When his wife’s friend, Yasmin, announces her intention to get pregnant and describes Roebuck as the perfect sperm donor, Julius is startled at first. But Yasmin is drop-dead gorgeous, and before long he is meeting her at her apartment in the middle of the afternoon. What he neglects to mention is the fact that he recently had a vasectomy.
When Yasmin, Anne, and Lily all announce that they are pregnant, no one is more surprised than Julius himself.
Fire in the Firefly is a wickedly funny satire about love, relationships, and the war between the sexes.
#11 The Waters of Eternal Youth by Donna Leon
Publication Date: 8th March
In Donna Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti series, the Venetian inspector has been called on to investigate many things, from shocking to petty crimes. But in The Waters of Eternal Youth, the 25th novel in this celebrated series, Brunetti finds himself drawn into a case that may not be a case at all.
Fifteen years ago, a teenage girl fell into a canal late at night. Unable to swim, she went under and started to drown, only surviving thanks to a nearby man, an alcoholic, who heard her splashes and pulled her out, though not before she suffered irreparable brain damage that left her in a state of permanent childhood, unable to learn or mature. The drunk man claimed he saw her thrown into the canal by another man, but the following day he couldn’t remember a thing.
Now, at a fundraising dinner for a Venetian charity, a wealthy and aristocratic patroness—the girl’s grandmother—asks Brunetti if he will investigate. Brunetti’s not sure what to do. If a crime was committed, it would surely have passed the statute of limitations. But out of a mixture of curiosity, pity, and a willingness to fulfil the wishes of a guilt-wracked older woman, who happens to be his mother-in-law’s best friend, he agrees.
Brunetti soon finds himself unable to let the case rest, if indeed there is a case.
#12 Tears in the Grass by Lynda Archer
Publication Date: 19th March
At ninety years of age, Elinor, a Saskatchewan Cree artist, inveterate roll-your-own smoker, and talker to rivers and stuffed bison, sets out to find something that was stolen almost a lifetime ago. With what little time she has left, she is determined to find the child taken from her when she, only a child herself, survived a rape at a residential school.
It is 1968, and a harsh winter and harsher attitudes await Elinor, her daughter, and her granddaughter as they set out on an odyssey to right past wrongs, enduring a present that tests their spirit and chips away at their aboriginal heritage. Confronting a history of trauma, racism, love, and cultural survival, Tears in the Grass is the story of one woman’s unflagging search for her lost child and her courage to open her heart to a world that tried to tear it out.
#13 When We Collided by Emery Lord
Publication Date: 5th April
Meet Vivi and Jonah: A girl and a boy whose love has the power save or destroy them.
Vivi and Jonah couldn’t be more different. Vivi craves anything joyful or beautiful that life can offer. Jonah has been burdened by responsibility for his family ever since his father died. As summer begins, Jonah resigns himself to another season of getting by. Then Vivi arrives, and suddenly life seems brighter and better. Jonah is the perfect project for Vivi, and things finally feel right for Jonah. Their love is the answer to everything. But soon Vivi’s zest for life falters, as her adventurousness becomes true danger-seeking. Jonah tries to keep her safe, but there’s something important Vivi hasn’t told him.
#14 Shtum by Jem Lester
Publication Date: 7th April
Powerful, darkly funny and heart-breaking, Shtum is a story about fathers and sons, autism, and dysfunctional relationships.
Ben Jewell has hit breaking point. His ten-year-old son Jonah has severe autism and Ben and his wife, Emma, are struggling to cope.
When Ben and Emma fake a separation – a strategic decision to further Jonah’s case in an upcoming tribunal – Ben and Jonah move in with Georg, Ben’s elderly father. In a small house in North London, three generations of men – one who can’t talk; two who won’t – are thrown together.
#15 The Assistants by Camille Perri
Publication Date: 3rd May
A wry and astute debut about a young Manhattanite whose embezzlement scam turns her into an unlikely advocate for the leagues of overeducated and underpaid assistants across the city.
Tina Fontana is the hapless but brazen thirty-year-old executive assistant to Robert Barlow, the all-powerful and commanding CEO of Titan Corp., a multinational media conglomerate. She’s excellent at her job and beloved by her famous boss—but after six years of making his reservations for restaurants she’d never get into on her own and pouring his drinks from bottles that cost more than her rent, she’s bored, broke, and just a bit over it all.
When a technical error with Robert’s travel-and-expenses report presents Tina with the opportunity to pay off the entire balance of her student loan debt with what would essentially be pocket change for her boss, she struggles with the decision: She’s always played by the rules. But it’s such a relatively small amount of money for the Titan Corporation—and for her it would be a life-changer.
#16 The Bricks that Built the Houses by Kate Tempest
Publication Date: 3rd May
It gets into your bones. You don’t even realise it, until you’re driving through it, watching all the things you’ve always known and leaving them behind. Young Londoners Becky, Harry and Leon are escaping the city in a fourth-hand Ford Cortina with a suitcase full of stolen money. Taking us back in time – and into the heart of London – The Bricks that Built the Houses explores a cross-section of contemporary urban life with a powerful moral microscope, giving us intimate stories of hidden lives, and showing us that good intentions don’t always lead to the right decisions.
#17 Keep You Close by L. Whitehouse
Publication Date: 3rd May
When the artist Marianne Glass falls to her death, everyone insists it was a tragic accident. Yet Rowan Winter, once her closest friend, suspects there is more to the story. Ever since she was young, Marianne had paralyzing vertigo. She would never have gone so close to the roof’s edge.
Marianne — and the whole Glass family — once meant everything to Rowan. For a teenage girl, motherless with a much-absent father, this lively, intellectual household represented a world of glamour and opportunity.
But since their estrangement, Rowan knows only what the papers reported about Marianne’s life: her swift ascent in the London art world, her much-scrutinized romance with her gallerist. If she wants to discover the truth about her death, Rowan needs to know more.
But the deeper Rowan goes, the more sinister everything seems. And a secret in the past only she knows makes her worry about her own fate.
#18 Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee
Publication Date: 24th May
San Francisco, 1906: Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty in Chinatown, and an education at St. Clare’s School for Girls is her best hope. Although St. Clare’s is off-limits to all but the wealthiest white girls, Mercy gains admittance through a mix of cunning and a little bribery, only to discover that getting in was the easiest part. Not to be undone by a bunch of spoiled heiresses, Mercy stands strong—until disaster strikes.
On April 18, an historic earthquake rocks San Francisco, destroying Mercy’s home and school. With martial law in effect, she is forced to wait with her classmates for their families in a temporary park encampment. Mercy can’t sit by while they wait for the Army to bring help. Fires might rage, and the city may be in shambles, yet Mercy still has the ‘bossy’ cheeks that mark her as someone who gets things done. But what can one teenage girl do to heal so many suffering in her broken city?
#19 Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton
Publication Date: 2nd June
Just what is it that attracts some women to the most evil of men?
He loves her. He loves her not.
He’s a serial killer. A murderer of young women, all killed in brutal attacks.
But despite his conviction, he’s always stuck to his story — he’s innocent and he’s been wrongly imprisoned. And now he wants someone to investigate, and more importantly, to write his story.
At first Maggie, a barrister and true-crime writer is reluctant to even acknowledge his requests, ignoring his letters. But this is a very charismatic and persuasive man, good-looking and intelligent.
Eventually even she can’t resist his lure.
#20 The Story of Kullervo by J.R.R. Tolkien
Publication Date: 27th Aug 2016
Yes, you have read that right; a new novel from Tolkien himself.
This previously unknown work of fantasy tells a powerful story of a doomed young man who is sold into slavery and who swears revenge on the magician who killed his father.
Kullervo son of Kalervo is perhaps the darkest and most tragic of all J.R.R. Tolkien’s characters. ‘Hapless Kullervo’, as Tolkien called him, is a luckless orphan boy with supernatural powers and a tragic destiny.
Brought up in the homestead of the dark magician Untamo, who killed his father, kidnapped his mother, and who tries three times to kill him when still a boy, Kullervo is alone save for the love of his twin sister, Wanona, and guarded by the magical powers of the black dog, Musti. When Kullervo is sold into slavery he swears revenge on the magician, but he will learn that even at the point of vengeance there is no escape from the cruellest of fates.
#21 The Winds of Winter by G.R.R. Martin
Publication Date: UNKNOWN
This is one for all Game of Thrones fans out there. Whilst very little is known about this novel, what we do know is that it has to come soon. After all, they have already started filming the 6th series.
Still not read the rest of the Game of Thrones Series, why not catch up before the release of the next instalment.
As you can see, whether you enjoy a good crime thriller, a fantasy epic or a historical tale, 2016 promises to be a year of exceptional reading.