I have been saving this to post, and I don’t know why. I gasped when I first saw the link, out loud and like I had seen a spider run across my desk, or heard that Jason Varitek was going to be outside Nordstrom’s again, or something equally thrilling. This link is so exciting to me that I froze like a popsicle when I saw it. I wanted to tell everyone right now and I wanted to keep it to myself for a few more minutes. Well, I said I don’t know why I have been waiting to share, but I do: I wanted to read every detail and do some extra research and then write something wise and informative about each month’s offerings. But that is not going to happen, and you have waited too long already for this magic, so here it is: the Most Anticipated Books of 2012, the Great Book Preview from The Millions.
Did you see it? Isn’t it the BEST? Before I get to the books, let me just say a quick “you are magnificent” to The Millions, in general, while clapping and smiling. If you are a reader and you are seeing the site for the first time, my initial, snarky response is how is this possible? and my second, kinder response is hooray! because it is a great resource for bibliophiles. There are reviews and essays, articles about authors and forthcoming books, staff recommendations, quizzes and even movie trailers for book-based movies. You can lose hours on this site, and I regularly do.
But let’s get back to the Great Book Preview. January and February will bring some books I was already looking forward to: the new Shalom Auslander satire and Nathan Englander stories, Dan Chaon’s first story collection since Among the Missing. (It’s about time!) Once I hit March, almost everything was a happy surprise. Rather than going month-by-month, I will list what I await most eagerly and let you discover the rest on your own. I would love to hear what excites you on this list! Please comment if you can; I am ready for recommendations. My library queue is getting shorter and I am ready to fill that baby back up.
Arcadia by Lauren Groff. I don’t want to wait until March! Her Delicate Edible Birds is a favorite of mine.
The Cove by Ron Rash. He should be way more famous than he is; a great writer of Appalachian fiction in the tradition of Lee Smith and Charles Frazier.
The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger. I like everything I’ve read by her.
The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey. His novels are all over the place, subject-wise, but I always seems to enjoy them. If you haven’t read him before and need a starting point, I especially liked Theft and Oscar and Lucinda.
In One Person by John Irving. I am skeptical of new Irving after not loving the last few, but the description puts this novel in the category which includes A Prayer for Owen Meany and The Cider House Rules, so I will give him another try.
The Red House by Mark Haddon. Remember The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time? I do, and I liked it.
Broken Harbor by Tana French. I say I am not a fan of mysteries, but I read every Tana French book as soon as it comes out. They are fabulous! I am so excited.
The Book of My Life by Aleksandar Hemon. I am frustrated that his books go relatively unnoticed; he is a literary genius, born in Sarajevo and forced by war to extend a visit to Chicago into a long-term stay in the US. There was an essay in the June 13, 2011 issue of The New Yorker about his daughter’s cancer diagnosis that is one of the most emotional articles I have ever read. Hemon’s fiction is complex and sometimes tough to read, but just as often exhilarating, tender and beautiful.
Your Name Here by Helen DeWitt. This means I have to read The Last Samurai soon, as I have been meaning to do for going on five years. The story behind getting this beast published is going to increase the hype to a level like nothing we’ve seen in a while.