I’ve been flicking through publisher catalogues and asking booksellers and publicists about the most exciting books to be published in the UK in 2012. The following are those that grabbed my attention or were mentioned on multiple occasions.
Note: UK release month shown in brackets, date may be different in other countries.
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach (January, 4th Estate)
This book has been a massive success in America, but isn’t published in the UK until January. I’m not convinced that a novel about baseball will work in this country, but a lot of people are getting excited about it so I’ll give it a try.
A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse (January, Europa Editions)
A small bookshop in Paris uses a top-secret committee to select its books. The shop is very popular, but then the committee members begin to recieve death threats. This book promises to be a real treat for literary fans.
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (February, Headline)
I’m lucky enough to have received an advanced reading copy of this and can assure you that this book about a mysterious child in the Alaskan wilderness is truly magical. I’m sure it will be one of the most talked about books in 2012, melting the hearts of everyone who reads it.
Q by Evan Mandery (February, 4th Estate)
A writer has fallen in love and is planning a beautiful wedding when a man claiming to be a time-travelling version of his future self warns him to abandon the wedding. This book is being marketed to fans of The Time Traveller’s Wife. I hope it lives up to these high expectations.
The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan (March, Virago)
An ocean-liner sinks leaving an eclectic mixture of passengers battling for a position in the lifeboat. The successful ones may have survived the initial hurdle but they face a grueling three weeks fighting for survival; testing the limits of their morality as well as their physical endurance.
The Land of Decoration by Grace McCleen (March, Chatto & Windus)
The story of a little girl who, having been bullied at school, decides to build her own world filled with people made from pipe cleaners. One day she uses shaving foam and cotton wool to fill her model world with snow and is amazed by the effect this has on the real world. I can’t wait to read it!
Wonder by R J Palacio (March, Bodley Head)
A ten-year-old boy with a facial disfigurement is going to school for the first time. This book was initially written for children, but this tender story of inner beauty has won the hearts of an adult audience and I look forward to sampling it.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (March, Doubleday)
One day Harold Fry nips out of his house to post a letter, but for some reason he ends up walking from one end of the country to the other. This book is described as tender and comic and I’ve heard it is even better than it sounds.
The Playdate by Louise Miller (April, Pan)
A chilling story about what can go wrong when you leave your child in the care of someone you don’t know very well. Sophie Hannah describes it as “a must-read that will tap into every mother’s primal fears”.
Other books to look out for:
Snake Ropes by Jess Richards (March, Sceptre)
Set on a strange island where children are locked up and then start disappearing, this book is said to be reminiscent of Angela Carter. Sceptre paid a six figure sum for two novels from this debut author so her writing must stand out from the crowd.
A Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman (April, Doubleday)
An Australian lighthouse keeper finds a dinghy containing a baby lying next to the body of a dead man. This book is supposed to be packed with raw emotion and moral dilemmas – exactly as I like them!
The Marlowe Papers by Ros Barber (May, Hodder Stoughton)
This novel is written in verse and questions the identity of Shakespeare. I haven’t tried a novel written in verse yet – it could go either way, but I’m up for the experiment!
Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt (June, Pan)
A beautiful story of a secret friendship between a young girl and her uncle’s bereaved partner. Dealing with the difficult subject of AIDS this book is bound to be an emotional roller-coaster.
Do you like the sound of these books?
Are you excited about any debut novels that will be published in 2012?