The New Year is approaching sooner than we know it, and with it arrives a flood of spectacular books by brilliant minds and blooming talents. While 2017 proved to be a behemoth of a year for amazing new books for me—Jesmyn Ward‘s National Book Award-winning Sing, Unburied, Sing, Zinzi Clemmons‘ gut-punching debut, What We Lose, and Danzy Senna‘s New People all come to mind—2018 is looking just as bright with incredible narratives from new and returning voices.
From gotta-get-my-hands-on-it essay collections by critical pundit Roxane Gay and debut marvel Morgan Jerkins to Sarah Winman‘s heavy-hearted love story and Alexander Chee‘s recitation in autobiographical fiction—here are 16 books we (albeit, mostly me) are so excited to check out in 2018!
Anita Cassidy, Appetite (out January 11)
An affair of food and sex arises between an unsatisfied wife and her son’s overweight best friend, David, who is still reeling from his parents’ divorce before finding solace in the lessons of his offputting school teacher. In Appetite, Anita Cassidy holds her characters accountable for their actions and reactions to their somewhat self-imposed transgressions.
Leni Zumas, Red Clocks (out January 16)
Four women in an Oregon town must make their way through a new vista that outlaws abortion: Ro, a biographer knee-deep in her desires to have a child and finish her biography of an unsung female polar explorer; Susan, a suburban wife trapped in the grasps of her difficult marriage; Mattie, a newly-pregnant teen who refuses abortion; and Gin, a mysterious forest-dweller whose “witchcraft” draws them all together.
Morgan Jerkins, This Will Be My Undoing (out January 30)
Princeton grad and Catapult Associate Editor Morgan Jerkins spearheads her first discourse by turning her attention to the mirror. And thus, the question (“What does it mean to be?”) is born and a compilation of distinctive experiences unfurl from it. Jerkins manifests what it means to experience her physical self, dating under the visor of race, and how she survives as a woman of color “doubly disenfranchised by race and gender” in a world overpowered by white male dominion.
Rachel Lyon, Self-Portrait with Boy (out February 8)
A floundering photographer absent-mindedly captures a boy falling to his death in what is remarkably her best work yet. A literal blessing and curse, Lu Rile’s big break could usurp the faithful friendship developing between her and the child’s grieving mother.
Will Mackin, Bring Out the Dog: Stories (out March 6)
In 11 stories reminiscent of the author’s own reflections of deployment in Afghanistan and Iraq, Bring Out the Dog challenges the meaning of miracles, unsuspected grief and the reckoning of fatherhood over brotherhood, or vice-versa. Will Mackin‘s forthcoming work models Phil Kay‘s critically-acclaimed Redeployment nearly exactly with its familiar shock of tragedy, war, and mourning.
Josh Malerman, Unbury Carol (out April 10)
From the author who impressed with Bird Box and returned with the follow-up shocker, Black Mad Wheel, Josh Malerman introduces Carol Evers, a woman who hides within her the condition that allows her to revive herself postmortem. Only two men close to Carol know of her dreaded secret, but only one wants her dead in this twisted tale of Sleeping Beauty.
Alexander Chee, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel (out April 17)
Alexander Chee debuts his first collection of nonfiction with How to Write an Autobiographical Novel, which beholds the esteemed author’s most exquisite essays. From searing realizations of his childhood and life as a gay man to reflections of his father’s passing, the AIDS epidemic and the infamous terrorist attacks of September 11 to other inciteful reckonings.
Rebekah Frumkin, The Comedown (out April 17)
A botched drug deal entangles the lives of a clever street hustler and his pathetic addict ally, whose families become chained by their shared miscreant mistakes in Rebekah Frumkin‘s suspenseful forthcoming novel, The Comedown.
Carys Davies, West (out April 24)
A man abandons his fatherhood to embark on a years-long trek of self-discovery along the American frontier, leaving his speechless sister and small daughter who has been marooned with farm life responsibilities in their native Pennsylvania. Carys Davies‘s novel debut West is one of a young girl’s forced coming of age and a father’s quest through his own wilderness.
Roxane Gay, Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture (out May 1)
With the assistance of stars like Ally Sheedy and Gabrielle Union and writers Amy Jo Burns, Lyz Lenz, Claire Schwartz, and others, Roxane Gay taps her finest friends for her “valuable and revealing anthology” Not That Bad, which gives voice to those “routinely second-guessed, blown off, discredited, denigrated, besmirched, belittled, patronized, mocked, shamed, gaslit, insulted, bullied” for condemning the topic of rape which remains a taboo today.
Jen Silverman, The Island Dwellers: Stories (out May 1)
In Jen Silverman‘s debut collection, The Island Dwellers, a competitive couple on the verge of divorce bicker over whose new fling is more exotic. A Russian transient in Tokyo worries over the money her lover receives from a Japanese crime syndicate. A drug dealer’s peculiar first date is beaconed by the discovery of a dead body on their living room floor.
Stephen McCauley, My Ex-Life (out May 8)
A formerly married couple who have been estranged for decades find themselves in an unpredictable predicament. David, who has spent the last 20 years as a gay man who helps spoiled San Francisco teens get into colleges, and Julie, a now twice-divorced mom who has become a middle-aged pot-head and in order to get by has turned her falling-apart house into a B&B, must share living quarters once again.
Sarah Winman, Tin Man (out May 15)
Sarah Winman’s forthcoming novel follows two inseparable characters, Ellis and Michael, through their coming of age as close friends and something more all at once. But when a young woman named Annie finds her way into their lives, it changes everything.
Jessica Knoll, The Favorite Sister (out May 15)
As the follow-up to her 2015 bestseller Luckiest Girl Alive, Jessica Knoll’s second strike, The Favorite Sister, parallels the lives of two ruthless sisters whose darkest sins end in murder during their appearance on a reality TV show called Goal Diggers, playing against a group of other women. (Read an exclusive excerpt.)
Lauren Groff, Florida (out June 5)
Famed author and short story writer Lauren Groff plants her roots in Florida, an expected collection of fiction slated for Summer 2018 that will tour readers through the dark side of the Sunshine State through the lens of mostly disheveled female protagonists.
Ottessa Moshfegh, My Year of Rest and Relaxation (out July 10)
By the writer who produced the harrowing Man Booker Prize-shortlisted Eileen, Ottessa Moshfegh returns with yet another cumbersome protagonist. Her latest transports us to the year 2000 where our unsatisfied heroine awaits, pills in hand, still clinging to the cavity called in her heart. Despite her beauty, wealth by inheritance and comfortable Upper East Side lifestyle, our narrator wastes her year of solitude with no direction.
Books I’m most excited to get my hands on first!
I’ll definitely be adding collections by Alexander Chee, Morgan Jerkins and Roxane Gay to my list of must-reads. Also, My Ex-Life sounds particularly amazing, as does Tin Man. Also, anything with Josh Malerman’s name attached to it is a must-buy for me! I’ve been meaning to read some of Ottessa Moshfegh’s work, I own both of her books but have yet to crack either; that probably won’t stop me from buying her newest. Self-Portrait with Boy sounds fascinating as well, and I do own a copy of Red Clocks (Thanks, Leni Zumas!) so I am crossing my fingers for 2018 to be a more productive reading year.
2017 was an okay reading year for me, but all the writing I’ve done has left little room for reading or leisure time. Still, fingers crossed!