This is a list of the 18 books I am most excited about reading this year. The summaries are from amazon and I have added my reasons for looking forward to these books below. Publishing dates are for the UK, and they may be different elsewhere. I hope it gives you a couple of books to add to your TBR list!
1. The Perfect Nanny (also called Lullaby) by Leïla Slimani
Published 11 January 2018
When Myriam, a French-Moroccan lawyer, decides to return to work after having children, she and her husband look for the perfect caretaker for their two young children. They never dreamed they would find Louise: a quiet, polite and devoted woman who sings to their children, cleans the family’s chic apartment in Paris’s upscale tenth arrondissement, stays late without complaint and is able to host enviable birthday parties.
The couple and nanny become more dependent on each other. But as jealousy, resentment and suspicions increase, Myriam and Paul’s idyllic tableau is shattered…
I’ve been excited to read this since I first saw the cover! I love thrillers/crime novels, they are my favourite genre but it sometimes feels like I am reading the same story multiple times. The Perfect Nanny seems out of the ordinary, the plot sounds fascinating and the setting being Paris makes me want to read it even more. It sounds like it is going to be a dark, sophisticated and nail-biting read.
2. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
Published 8th March 2018
It’s 1969, and holed up in a grimy tenement building in New York’s Lower East Side is a travelling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the date they will die. The four Gold children, too young for what they’re about to hear, sneak out to learn their fortunes.
Over the years that follow, the siblings must choose how to live with the prophecies the fortune-teller gave them that day. Will they accept, ignore, cheat or defy them? Golden-boy Simon escapes to San Francisco, searching for love; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician; eldest son Daniel tries to control fate as an army doctor after 9/11; and bookish Varya looks to science for the answers she craves.
A sweeping novel of remarkable ambition and depth, The Immortalists is a story about how we live, how we die, and what we do with the time we have.
This book seems to be on pretty much every list I have seen about great novels to be released in 2018. The premise is incredibly interesting and unique. I like that the novel is set in five different decades and will cover a multitude of different characters and their choices. I love books with a focus on family and especially sibling relationships and this looks like it will do just that. The reviews I have read are glowing so I cannot wait to get my hands on this book.
3. The Revolution of Marina M. by Janet Fitch
Published 25th January 2018
St. Petersburg, New Year’s Day, 1916: Marina Makarova is as old as the century. A young woman of privilege, she writes poetry, dreams of a dashing young officer, and aches to break out of the constraints of her genteel life. But this life is about to be violently upended by the vast forces of history. Swept up on these tides, Marina will join the marches for workers’ rights, fall in love with a radical young poet, spy for the Bolsheviks, and betray everything she holds dear, before being betrayed in turn.
As her country goes through almost unimaginable upheaval, Marina’s own coming of age unfolds, marked by deep passion and devastating loss, great brutality and unexpected redemption, and the private heroism of an ordinary woman living through extraordinary times.
Written in lush, powerful prose by a master storyteller, The Revolution of Marina M. is a publishing event: the epic, mesmerizing story of one indomitable woman’s journey through some of the most dramatic events of the last century.
I haven’t read any of Janet Fitch’s work although I plan on getting to White Oleander for a challenge this year, but I know a lot of people who really like her books. The fact that this novel is set in the Russian Revolution makes it a must read for me already. I love stories about Russia, especially set in such a turbulent and fascinating era. Marina M. sounds like a great character and her journey sounds like it will be full of twists and turns. Plus – that cover – wow.
4. Red Clocks by Leni Zumas
Published 8th March 2018
FIVE WOMEN. ONE QUESTION: What is a woman for?
In this ferociously imaginative novel, abortion is once again illegal in America, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo. In a small Oregon fishing town, five very different women navigate these new barriers.
Ro, a single high-school teacher, is trying to have a baby on her own, while also writing a biography of Eivr, a little-known 19th-century female polar explorer. Susan is a frustrated mother of two, trapped in a crumbling marriage. Mattie is the adopted daughter of doting parents and one of Ro’s best students, who finds herself pregnant with nowhere to turn. And Gin is the gifted, forest-dwelling homeopath, or mender, who brings all their fates together when she’s arrested and put on trial in a frenzied modern-day witch hunt.
I have heard a few people compare this one to The Handmaids Tale which gained even more popularity in 2017 due to the excellent TV series. The world that Red Clocks takes place within sounds terrifying and depressingly plausible. It sounds like it will be a brutal take on feminism and what really makes women valuable in soceity. Every character mentioned in the summary sounds intriguing and if the book lives up to its promising premise then I think it will be a major talking point this year!
5. Everything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee
Published 16th January 2018
A dazzling novel of two sisters and their emotional journey through love, loyalty, and heartbreak
Two sisters–Miranda, the older, responsible one, always her younger sister’s protector; Lucia, the headstrong, unpredictable one, whose impulses are huge and, often, life changing. When their mother dies and Lucia starts hearing voices, it is Miranda who must find a way to reach her sister. But Lucia impetuously plows ahead, marrying a bighearted, older man only to leave him, suddenly, to have a baby with a young Latino immigrant. She moves her new family from the States to Ecuador and back again, but the bitter constant is that she is, in fact, mentally ill. Lucia lives life on a grand scale, until, inevitably, she crashes to earth.
Miranda leaves her own self-contained life in Switzerland to rescue her sister again–but only Lucia can decide whether she wants to be saved. The bonds of sisterly devotion stretch across oceans–but what does it take to break them?
The bond between sisters is often portrayed in powerful fiction because it is one of the most unique and strong relationships in the world. This book looks like a fascinating look at this bond when it is put under the strain of mental illness. Mental illness is an issue that affects so many people in every corner of the world and it can be something very special if a novel can portray the many facets of this illness effectively and with grace. Hopefully this book can do that, from the reviews I’ve read it sounds like it very much can.
6. Brave by Rose McGowan
Published 30th January 2018
Rose McGowan was born in one cult and came of age in another, more visible cult: Hollywood.
In a strange world where she was continually on display, stardom soon became a personal nightmare of constant exposure and sexualization. Rose escaped into the world of her mind, something she had done as a child, and into high-profile relationships. Every detail of her personal life became public, and the realities of an inherently sexist industry emerged with every script, role, public appearance, and magazine cover. The Hollywood machine packaged her as a sexualized bombshell, hijacking her image and identity and marketing them for profit.
Hollywood expected Rose to be silent and cooperative and to stay the path. Instead, she rebelled and asserted her true identity and voice. She reemerged unscripted, courageous, victorious, angry, smart, fierce, unapologetic, controversial, and real as f*ck.
BRAVE is her raw, honest, and poignant memoir/manifesto―a no-holds-barred, pull-no-punches account of the rise of a millennial icon, fearless activist, and unstoppable force for change who is determined to expose the truth about the entertainment industry, dismantle the concept of fame, shine a light on a multibillion-dollar business built on systemic misogyny, and empower people everywhere to wake up and be BRAVE.
Rose McGowan has been a powerful voice in the recent Harvey Weinstein scandal in Hollywood and has been talking about the way women are treated in Hollywood for much longer. I am not a super fan of McGowan’s or anything but I do respect her voice and I am very interested to see what she has to say about the life she has lived in the spotlight. It sounds like it will be an unflinching and justifiably angry look at the cult of celebrity and the terrible affect it can have on women.
7. The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer
Published 7th June 2018
Greer Kadetsky is a shy college student when she meets the woman who will shape her life. Faith Frank, dazzlingly persuasive and elegant, has been a pillar of the women’s movement for decades, a figure who inspires others. Hearing Faith speak for the first time, in a crowded campus chapel, Greer – misunderstood yet full of longing for an ambition that she can’t quite place – feels herself changed. And then, astonishingly, Faith invites her to make something out of this new sense of purpose, with a career opportunity that leads her down the most exciting and rewarding path as it winds towards and away from her meant-to-be love story with high school sweetheart Cory and the future she had always imagined.
This novel sounds really intriguing in part because I think the relationship between a mentor and their mentee is always fraught with complexity. When you look up to someone so much there is always the possibility that they will dissappoint you which means that there are so many places this book could take us. The Female Persuasion also sounds like an interesting look at the feminist movement and how it has changed and developed which is something I always enjoy reading about.
8. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Published 6th February 2018
Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.
This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward–with hope and pain–into the future.
A marriage is always full of fodder for a good story and this one sounds like no exception. Often a story where a crime has been committed focusses on the crime and immediate aftermath, however in this book we get to see what happens when a husband comes home having been incarcerated apparently wrongfully. That sounds like a compelling story especially with the addition of another character who is clearly close to both parties. I’m excited to read this one for sure!
9. The Widows of Malaber Hill by Sujata Massey
Published 11th January 2018
Bombay, 1921: Perveen Mistry, the daughter of a respected Zoroastrian family, has just joined her father’s law firm, becoming one of the first female lawyers in India. Armed with a law degree from Oxford, Perveen also has a tragic personal history that makes her especially devoted to championing and protecting women’s legal rights. Inspired in part by a real woman who made history by becoming India’s first female lawyer, The Widows of Malabar Hill is a richly wrought story of multicultural 1920s Bombay as well as the debut of a sharp and promising new sleuth, Perveen Mistry.
This sounds like a captivating story – the fact that it is partly based on a real woman makes it even better. I love stories with even a grain of truth in them because they are all the more appealing when you know real peoples lives have been affected. It brings a human touch to the tale. The fact that this is set in 1920s Bombay which is such a rich and interesting city and time period means that I could not be more thrilled to read this when it comes out. I love mysteries and this sounds like a great one!
10. Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao
Published 6th March 2018
Poornima and Savitha have three strikes against them: they are poor, they are ambitious, and they are girls. After her mother’s death, Poornima has very little kindness in her life. She is left to care for her siblings until her father can find her a suitable match. So when Savitha enters their household, Poornima is intrigued by the joyful, independent-minded girl. Suddenly their Indian village doesn’t feel quite so claustrophobic, and Poornima begins to imagine a life beyond arranged marriage. But when a devastating act of cruelty drives Savitha away, Poornima leaves behind everything she has ever known to find her friend.
Her journey takes her into the darkest corners of India’s underworld, on a harrowing cross-continental journey, and eventually to an apartment complex in Seattle. Alternating between the girls’ perspectives as they face ruthless obstacles, Girls Burn Brighter introduces two heroines who never lose the hope that burns within.
Girls Burn Brighter sounds like it is going to be a really emotional read. The story looks like it will focus on the unbreakable friendship these two girls have. The novel seems to travel all over the world which is exciting and though it seems like it is definitely going to have its dark moments I am hoping it will be an ultimately hopeful story about the power of women and of female friendship.
11. Circe by Madeline Miller
Published 19 April 2018
From the Orange Prize-winning, internationally bestselling author of The Song of Achilles comes the powerful story of the mythological witch Circe, inspired by Homer’s Odyssey
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe has neither the look nor the voice of divinity, and is scorned and rejected by her kin. Increasingly isolated, she turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft.
When love drives Circe to cast a dark spell, wrathful Zeus banishes her to the remote island of Aiaia. There she learns to harness her occult craft, drawing strength from nature. But she will not always be alone; many are destined to pass through Circe’s place of exile, entwining their fates with hers. The messenger god, Hermes. The craftsman, Daedalus. A ship bearing a golden fleece. And wily Odysseus, on his epic voyage home.
There is danger for a solitary woman in this world, and Circe’s independence draws the wrath of men and gods alike. To protect what she holds dear, Circe must decide whether she belongs with the deities she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.
I read Miller’s novel Song of Achilles a few years ago and it has stuck in my mind because of its excellence ever since. For that reason I would read anything this author writes. This book is based on greek mythology just like her previous work and it sounds so, so good! I find mythology of any kind so engrossing and I love it when an author uses the greek myths especially as a starting point and then creates their own story with and around them. I cannot wait to read all about Circe through Miller’s gorgeous evocative prose.
12. Not That Bad: Dispatches From Rape Culture by Roxane Gay
Published 1st May 2018
In this valuable and revealing anthology, cultural critic and bestselling author Roxane Gay collects original and previously published pieces that address what it means to live in a world where women have to measure the harassment, violence, and aggression they face, and where they are “routinely second-guessed, blown off, discredited, denigrated, besmirched, belittled, patronized, mocked, shamed, gaslit, insulted, bullied” for speaking out. Contributions include essays from established and up-and-coming writers, performers, and critics, including actors Ally Sheedy and Gabrielle Union and writers Amy Jo Burns, Lyz Lenz, and Claire Schwartz. Covering a wide range of topics and experiences, from an exploration of the rape epidemic embedded in the refugee crisis to first-person accounts of child molestation, this collection is often deeply personal and is always unflinchingly honest. Like Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me, Not That Bad will resonate with every reader, saying “something in totality that we cannot say alone.”
Searing and heartbreakingly candid, this provocative collection both reflects the world we live in and offers a call to arms insisting that “not that bad” must no longer be good enough.
I started reading Roxane Gay’s work in the past few months and so far have read her novel, An Untamed State, and her memoir, Hunger. She is such an intelligent and emotional writer and her work always has something vital to say as far as I can tell. This looks like its going to be an unpleasant read at times, however it is so important especially in light of the many, many stories of sexual harassment coming out of the film industry and from countless other workplaces as well.
13. The Woman In The Window by A. J. Finn
25th Jan 2018
What did she see?
It’s been ten long months since Anna Fox last left her home. Ten months during which she has haunted the rooms of her old New York house like a ghost, lost in her memories, too terrified to step outside.
Anna’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits day after day, watching her neighbours. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. A picture-perfect family of three, they are an echo of the life that was once hers.
But one evening, a frenzied scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something no one was supposed to see. Now she must do everything she can to uncover the truth about what really happened. But even if she does, will anyone believe her? And can she even trust herself?
This book has been popping up everywhere in my life recently and especially on Litsy which is such a great app on which to discuss anything bookish. The Woman In The Window sounds like it is going to be super tense and nail-biting. Thrillers are probably my favourite genre to read and the comparisons with a hitchcock-like atmosphere make me extremely eager to read it!
14. Fear by Dirk Kurbjuweit
Published 25th January 2018
Family is everything. So what if yours was being terrorised by a neighbour – a man who doesn’t listen to reason, whose actions become more erratic and sinister with each passing day? And those you thought would help – the police, your lawyer – can’t help you.
You become afraid to leave your family at home alone. But there’s nothing more you can do to protect them. Is there?
I’ve not found a great deal of information about this one out yet but something about it is drawing me to read it. It sounds like it might be quite frightening and whilst I don’t read too much horror, I do like a novel filled with psychological suspense. It looks like it will be pretty fast paced and action filled which is a good way to break up more meandering and slower books.
15. Swansong by Kerry Andrew
Published 25th January 2018
Polly Vaughan is trying to escape the ravaging guilt of a disturbing incident in London by heading north to the Scottish Highlands. As soon as she arrives, this spirited, funny, alert young woman goes looking for drink, drugs and sex – finding them all quickly, and unsatisfactorily, with the barman in the only pub. She also finds a fresh kind of fear, alone in this eerie, myth-drenched landscape. Increasingly prone to visions or visitations – floating white shapes in the waters of the loch or in the woods – she is terrified and fascinated by a man she came across in the forest on her first evening, apparently tearing apart a bird. Who is this strange loner? And what is his sinister secret?
Kerry Andrew is a fresh new voice in British fiction; one that comes from a deep understanding of the folk songs, mythologies and oral traditions of these islands. Her powerful metaphoric language gives Swansong a charged, hallucinatory quality that is unique, uncanny and deeply disquieting.
This sounds a little out of the ordinary for me, sometimes I am a little intimidated by a novel that is too lyrical or metaphorical though I’m not totally sure why. However I like the premise here a lot and since I am Scottish, I always particularly enjoy when a novel is set here. The Scottish highlands are so stunning and atmospheric so any book which immerses itself in such a gorgeous area should be fantastic. I certainly can’t wait to at least give it a try and see what its like.
16. The Gods of Love by Nicola Mostyn
Published 1st February 2018
Meet Frida. Divorce lawyer, cynic and secret descendant of the immortal love god Eros. She’s about to have a really bad day . . .
When a handsome but clearly delusional man named Dan bursts into Frida’s office and insists that she is fated to save the world, she has him ejected faster than you can say ‘prenup’.
But a creepy meeting, a demon or three and one attempted kidnapping later, Frida is beginning to face the inconvenient truth: Dan is in fact The Oracle, the gods of Greek mythology are real and Frida herself appears to be everyone’s only hope.
The world is doomed.
As previously stated I have a bit of a weakness for mythology of any kind and this one certainly looks different! It kind of sounds like it could either be really great or really bad and I am very much hoping for the former. It sounds like it may be quite humorous and since I read quite a lot of pretty sad or depressing books it is always nice to break them up with something funny and less serious.
17. Tangerine by Christine Mangan
Published 27th March 2018
The last person Alice Shipley expected to see since arriving in Tangier with her new husband was Lucy Mason. After the accident at Bennington, the two friends–once inseparable roommates–haven’t spoken in over a year. But there Lucy was, trying to make things right and return to their old rhythms. Perhaps Alice should be happy. She has not adjusted to life in Morocco, too afraid to venture out into the bustling medinas and oppressive heat. Lucy–always fearless and independent–helps Alice emerge from her flat and explore the country.
But soon a familiar feeling starts to overtake Alice–she feels controlled and stifled by Lucy at every turn. Then Alice’s husband, John, goes missing, and Alice starts to question everything around her: her relationship with her enigmatic friend, her decision to ever come to Tangier, and her very own state of mind.
Tangerine is a sharp dagger of a book–a debut so tightly wound, so replete with exotic imagery and charm, so full of precise details and extraordinary craftsmanship, it will leave you absolutely breathless.
This already sounds like a great plot just from the summary. The Moroccan setting should make for a heady and vibrant feeling to the book. The characters sound really compelling, especially Lucy the ‘enigmatic friend’. This is the authors debut so there is not much to go on from her previous work but from what I’ve read about Tangerine, it sounds like its going to be a pretty fantastic start.
18. The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner
Published 1st May 2018
It’s 2003 and Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility, deep in California’s Central Valley. Outside is the world from which she has been severed: the San Francisco of her youth and her young son, Jackson. Inside is a new reality: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive; the bluffing and pageantry and casual acts of violence by guards and prisoners alike; and the deadpan absurdities of institutional living, which Kushner evokes with great humor and precision.
The Mars Rooms sounds like it will be a harsh look at the realities and consequences of incarceration and I’m intrigued by the fact that there is going to be humour within this story. It seems like it will be a pretty brutal read at times but I’m hoping for fascinating characters and a visceral atmosphere.
So thats it ! I can only hope that all these great sounding books live up to my expectations. Thank you so much for reading!