The Best Books of 2013? Part 1: Authors We Know and Love

I’ve been flicking through publisher catalogues and asking booksellers and publicists about the most exciting books to be published in the UK in 2013. Next week I’ll let you know which debut authors I’m excited about, but this week it is the turn of the authors we are already familiar with.

Here are the 2013 new releases that caught my eye:

Note: UK release month shown, date may be different in other countries.

Instructions for a Heatwave

Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell

February, Tinder Press

Maggie O’Farrell is an author I discovered through blogging. I enjoyed The Hand That First Held Mine and The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox so am looking forward to trying her new book about a father who unexpectedly disappears. It is already getting a lot of buzz from the blogging community so it is definitely one to look out for.

A Hologram for the King

A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers

February, Penguin

Zeitoun is one of the best books I’ve read this year and I think Eggers could become one of my favourite authors. A Hologram for the King has already been a big hit in the US. It makes its UK debut in 2013 and I’m looking forward to reading Egger’s take on an American business man struggling to make a life for himself in Saudi Arabia.

The Childhood of Jesus

The Childhood of Jesus by JM Coetzee

March, Harvill Secker

I have a love/hate relationship with Coetzee’s writing, but I’m hoping his latest book about a man and boy arriving in a mysterious desert camp will be more similar to Disgrace than his autobiographies.


Benediction by Kent Haruf

March, Picador

Haruf is one of those authors I’ve always wanted to try. I own a copy of Plainsong and will probably try to read that first, but I’m sure a lot of you will be excited to learn that he is releasing a new book about life and death, family and community, set out on the high plains of Colorado.

The Last Runaway

The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier

March, Harper Collins

Chevalier is famous for writing The Girl with the Pearl Earring. She returns in 2013 with a new book set in a Quaker community.

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid

March, Penguin

I loved The Reluctant Fundamentalist so hope this new book about a man’s journey from impoverished rural boy to corporate tycoon will be just as compelling.

The Hired Man

The Hired Man by Aminatta Forna

March, Bloomsbury

The Memory of Love was shortlisted for the 2011 Orange Prize and, although it was a bit too slow for me, the quality of the writing was enough to persuade me to give her another try. Her latest book is set in a quiet Croatian town, but again looks at the effects of war on a community. I’m sure this is one to watch when the prize lists start to be announced.

Raven Girl

Raven Girl by Audrey Niffenegger

May, Abrams Comicarts

I think this book wins premise of the year:

 A postman encounters a fledgling raven while on the edge of his route and decides to take her home. The unlikely couple fall in love and conceive a child – an extraordinary raven girl trapped in a human body.

A Place in the Country

A Place in the Country by WG Sebald

May, Hamish Hamilton

Sebald is another author I’ve always wanted to try. His new book fuses biography and essay to reflect on six of the figures who shaped him as a person and as a writer, from Jean-Jacques Rousseau to Jan Peter Tripp.


In by Natsuo Kirino

June, Harvill Secker

Out by Natsuo Kirino is my favourite thriller so I’m very excited that her new book is going to be published here later this year. In contains an investigation into a best-selling author and promises to question the differences between life and literature. I hope it lives up to my exceedingly high expectations.

Untitled Novel by Diane Setterfield

May, Orion

I couldn’t find any details about this book, but if it as compelling as The Thirteenth Tale it will be a great book.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

May, 4th Estate

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun and Purple Hibiscus were both outstanding. Her new book sees a slight change in that it is moving away from Africa and spanning three continents, but I am sure it will be just as good. I am very excited about this one.

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

May, Bloomsbury 

I loved The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns so was excited to hear about Hosseini’s third novel. This one investigates the relationships formed between brothers and sisters and promises to be equally compelling. I can’t wait to read it!

Grace and Mary by Lord Melvyn Bragg

May, Sceptre

I only discovered Melvyn Bragg’s writing this year, but I am shocked he isn’t more widely read. I’m going to continue reading The Soldier’s Return Trilogy, but this is one to keep an eye out for too.

A Suitable Girl by Vikram Seth

Date TBC, Penguin

I have been saying it for months/years, but I really am going to read A Suitable Boy soon! It’s much anticipated sequel is going to be published next year so that should give me the incentive to start now!

Untitled Novel by Rohinton Mistry

December, Faber

Saving the best for last! I know nothing about this book, but I am still more excited about it than any other 2013 publication. Rohinton Mistry is my favourite author and it doesn’t really matter what it is about – Mistry’s writing is so amazing that I guarantee this book will be fantastic!


Which 2013 books are you most looking forward to?

Come back next week to see which books by debut/lesser known authors I’m looking forward to!

37 replies on “The Best Books of 2013? Part 1: Authors We Know and Love”

Every year I think: right, no more new books until I’ve got through a substantial chunk of the ever-growing tbr mountain. Then every January I sit down and look through catalogues and Amazon listings and realise I just don’t have sufficient willpower to resist the temptation of all those lovely new books. Bragg, Seth, Adichie, Forna, Haruf – I shall be buying them all I’m sure, along with many many others. A new Rohinton Mistry novel would be wonderful, though ‘Untitled Novel’ seems to have been a fixture on Faber’s schedule for the past few years – will we eventually get one in 2013? I do hope so.
I haven’t had a proper look what is coming next year yet, but at the moment the novel I’m most excited about the prospect of is ‘The Illusion of Separateness’ by Simon van Booy (June, Harper US). His ‘Everything Beautiful Began After’ was not only my favourite book of 2011, but probably of the last five years.

David, Resistance is futile! I know I shouldn’t get distracted by shiny new books, but I can’t help it.

I think the Mistry novel first appeared in the Faber catalogue about 2 years ago, but it wasn’t there last year so I’m hoping its inclusion now means it is on its way. Fingers crossed.

I bought ‘Everything Beautiful Began After’ but couldn’t get into it. I can see the writing is amazing so I’ll give it another chance one day.

Let’s hope all these new books are as good as they sound.

Wonderful list! Confession time: I’ve already ordered Benediction by Kent Haruf. Plainsong is one of my favorite books, and Eventide is also lovely. I also have Out by Natsuo Karino sitting in a stack on the nightstand (based on your recommendation, I might add!) and hope to tackle it in the next few weeks. I am also looking forward to the Tracy Chevalier because I enjoyed Remarkable Creatures so much. Finally, I think this needs to be the year I read Mistry–I have several in my wishlist. Any recommendation of what to try first?

Priscilla, I think I need to read Plainsong soon. I’ll try to ensure I get to it at some point over Christmas – especially now I know it is a favourite of yours.

A Fine Balance is the best book written by Mistry (or anyone else in my opinion!) I recommend starting there and you’ll then want to read everything else written by him. 🙂 Enjoy!

Oh wow, I’m excited about so many of these, but especially looking forward to A Suitable Girl! I loooved A Suitable Boy so much, one of my all-time faves. The Diane Setterfield I’m also looking forward to very much. Since you liked Zeitoun, have you read What is the What? It’s infinitely better. My favourite Eggers.

Claire, Zeitoun was my first Eggers so I have all his back catalogue left to enjoy. :-)The great thing is that everyone seems to have a different favourite. I look forward to reading them all sometime soon and seeing which one I like best.

I know I’ve been taking a really prolonged book blogging hiatus, but I am still reading out here on the road and this post has given me a lot of good things to look forward to in the coming months! So glad I have the ipad and our ereader with us so that I can get ebook versions of some of these – really looking forward to the O’Farrell! And yes, maybe this trip is the perfect time for me to try A Suitable Boy again… I started it a few years ago and was really enjoying it, until about 250 pages in when it got very bogged down in politics and I just lost all steam with it.

(Also, if I may, if you enjoy Eggers, I would heartily suggest you NOT read his memoir, Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Pretentious does not even begin to describe it, and on the basis of it alone, I have never wanted to read anything else ever written by him!)

I have to second the suggestion NOT to read the memoir. I tried to read it when it was published, and it so turned me off that I haven’t been able to bring myself to read any of his other work.

Steph, Sorry to hear you got bogged down in the politics of ‘A Suitable Boy’ I didn’t realise it had sections like that. 🙁 If you’re going to India on your trip then I’d suggest that as the perfect time to re-try the book. Hope you have better luck on the second reading attempt.

Thanks for bringing my attention to these books! Raven Girl sounds fascinating! Plus new stuff by Natsuo Kirino? Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie? Aminatta Forna? And A Suitable Girl? It has been so many years since I read A Suitable Boy, maybe it’s time for a reread!

It’s always fun to see what’s coming out in the UK next year. I’m quite excited for the new O’Farrell. She’s an author I’ve been meaning to read for years. I read the new Chevalier earlier this year and really enjoyed it. Happy reading in 2013!

My goodness Jackie! So many new books to look forward in 2013. What am I going to do?!! I’ll abandon any reading plan and just read as these books show up! lol

p/s: I don’t think I’ll be reading Raven Girl, it’s too bizarre for me.

Jo, Reading plans are so difficult to stick to – I recommend just picking things off the shelf as they grab your attention 🙂 Let’s hope that 2013 is as good a year for fiction as 2012 has been.

How do you actually get hold of publisher’s catalogues?! I would love to read through them to see what’s coming up for next year, but I can never seem to get hold of them. Or do you look online?

Gemma, Almost all the publisher catalogues are online. Just go to their website and look for “Press” or “Catalogues”. Some of them are a bit tricky to find (unfortunately a lot of publishers have poor websites – they look beautiful, but lack functunality)If you’d like to know about a specific publisher then let me know and I’ll try to remember where I found their catalogue and give you a link. Good luck and happy browsing!

Thanks for this post – most of the books I haven’t heard of and it’s good to know they’re on their way. I’ve read and enjoyed Hologram for the King. You might find it a little light but you’ll probably enjoy it too.

Looking especially forward to IN. Wonderful, a new novel by Kirino!

The Chevalier and Niffenegger books don’t appeal to me. Are you sure you want to read them? 🙂

Judith, I’m not sure about the Chevalier. I used to enjoy her writing, but recently I’ve abandoned a few of her books. Not sure if I’ve grown out of them or if I read dodgy ones? I might read this one if it gets a lot of good reviews, but I wont be rushing straight in.

The Niffenegger is a graphic novel and so I think the bizarre premise will work in that format. I look forward to seeing what happens. I’ll let you know how I get on!

Great list. I didn’t know about the Niffenegger either – excited to read that.

Don’t know if you’ve read Elizabeth Strout ever? She won the Pulitzer for Olive Kitteridge and was shortlisted for the Orange for Amy & Isabelle. She has a new book coming in May – The Burgess Boys. (Disclaimer: it’s published by S&S who I work for, but it’s not one I’m working on; she’s just a writer I’m a huge fan of.) I think you’d like it.

Clare, I read Olive Kitteridge and enjoyed it, despite my usual aversion to short stories. I didn’t know she had a new book coming out – thanks for pointing that out!

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