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Most Anticipated Books of 2019

I thought it might be fun to follow up a post on my favorite books of 2018 with a post on the books that are scheduled for publication in 2019 that I am most looking forward to reading. To be fair, there are lots of pronouncements out there about the big books of 2019, so this is not an original idea. But those articles tend to focus on the books that are expected to be bestsellers or on the ones that will get the most attention, and that's not my focus here. The library runs its popular Book Buzz program twice a year (in March for spring and summer books and in September for fall and winter books), and that's where we talk about the books slated for publication that are getting the most pre-publication buzz in the world of books and book lovers. By contrast, the books that I mention below are the ones that are getting the most pre-publication buzz in my head (and maybe only in my head). But I'm sufficiently excited about them to want to share the news.

To state the obvious, what follows is subjective. It's also heavily weighted towards the first half of the year, because more information is available about those books than about the ones due out next fall (with a few notable exceptions). That means that this is an incomplete list, but it's still packed with great stuff. I've been reading articles about 2019 book releases in both the U.S. and the U.K., and I am aware of many amazing-sounding books scheduled for publication in the U.K. in 2019 that currently have no U.S. publication date, a source of some frustration for me, I must admit. I should also mention that the publication dates I provide are subject to change, especially the ones that are in the later part of the year. I wish I could tell you why that happens, but I only know that it does. And with those caveats, here goes:

First up -- the next installments in several different mystery series that I particular love. In chronological order, these are: The Golden Tresses of the Dead, the 10th book in the delightful Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley (January 22nd), The American Agent by Jacqueline Winspear, the 15th book featuring the magnificent Maisie Dobbs (March 26th), The Stone Circle by Elly Griffiths, the 11th entry in the marvelous Ruth Galloway series (May 7th) and Big Sky by Kate Atkinson, the 5th installment in the dark and brilliant Jackson Brodie series (June 25th).

Similarly, I am eagerly awaiting the third book in Ali Smith's amazing seasonal quartet. Following on Autumn and Winter, Spring is scheduled for publication on April 30th. And The Rosie Result, Graeme Simsion's third book featuring the hapless but adorable Don Tillman and his wife Rosie, will be out on April 9th.

Next are books I'm excited about because I love the author's previous works. Those include: new novels by Tessa Hadley (Late in the Day, January 22nd), Elinor Lipman (Good Riddance, February 5th), Jasper Fforde (Early Riser, February 12th),  Myla Goldberg (Feast Your Eyes, April 16th), Ian McEwan (Machines Like Me, April 23rd), the wonderfully-named Binnie Kirshenbaum (Rabbits for Food, May 7th), Colson Whitehead (The Nickel Boys, July 30th) and Howard Jacobson (Live a Little, September 10th), a rumored short story collection by Zadie Smith (Grand Union, sometime in October), memoirs by Dani Shapiro (Inheritance, January 15th) and Ruth Reichl (Save Me the Plums, June 4th) and non fiction by Mary Norris (Greek to Me, April 2nd), Bill McKibben (Falter, April 16th), Adam Gopnik (A Thousand Small Sanities, May 14th) and Leslie Jamison (Make It Scream, Make It Burn, sometime in October).

Then there are a few books that I'm particularly looking forward to reading just because they sound really, really good. Those include: The Red Address Book by Sophia Lundberg (January 8th), The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin (February 5th), Professor Chondra Follows His Bliss (for the title alone) by Rajeev Balusubramanyam (March 26th), Fifty Things That Aren't My Fault by Cathy Guisewite, the creator of the wonderful comic strip Cathy (April 2nd) and Fleishman is In Trouble by Taffy (honest) Brodesser-Akner (June 18th).

I plan to read every single one of these books, and many more besides. 2019 is the 100th anniversary of American women winning the right to vote, the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the 50th anniversary of the moon landing and the Stonewall uprising. Several books on each of those topics are scheduled for release over the course of the year. New books will be published on some of the great literary friendships of the last 100 years, and the selection of upcoming literary fiction is diverse and fascinating. For me, those genres, among many others, are an endless source of interest.

Two final notable mentions: First, if I hadn't already read Normal People by Sally Rooney, I would be eagerly anticipating its U.S. publication on April 16th. It was named the fiction book of the year by The Times of London, and it's quite worthy. And second, if I had to name the one new book I am looking forward to reading more than any other in 2019, it would be Elizabeth Strout's surprise sequel to the phenomenal and Pulitzer-Prize winning Olive Kitteridge. Called Olive, Again, the novel will be published on September 3rd. In a press release, Strout had this to say: "It turns out I just wasn't done with Olive. It was like she was poking me in the ribs, so I finally said, 'Okay, okay...'" Olive, Again will pick up where Olive Kitteridge left off and follow the next decade in Olive's life. I just can't wait!

What new books are you most looking forward to reading this year?


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