Over the past few weeks I’ve loved taking a look back at my favorite books of 2018. Now I’m ready to look ahead to the books being published in the coming year. This is nowhere close to an exhaustive list (and I keep finding great forthcoming titles every day: Elizabeth Gilbert! Chris Pavone! Elin Hilderbrand!) but a small sampling of the books I can’t wait to read this year.
I have high hopes for 2019’s new titles. I’ve already read and enjoyed a few of these, and I tell you which ones I have personal experience with below. I’m looking forward to the rest.
Please tell me what you are excited to read in the year to come in comments.
Books I can't wait to read in 2019: Winter releases
This Pride and Prejudice update is set in Pakistan, 2001, and features a modern-day version of the family you know and love: the Binat family includes a sharp-witted father, marriage-obsessed mother, and five daughters. Alysba teaches English, and in a fun opening scene she challenges her teenage students to reinterpret Austen's famous opening line. Kamal uses her heroine's profession—and accompanying love of reading—to explore themes of colonialism and identity; despite these weighty themes she keeps her tone light. This is, above all, a rom com—and it's a fun one. Publication date January 22. More info →
The much-anticipated second novel from the author of The Fishermen, which was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize. This novel is also set in Nigeria; Shelf Awareness calls it "a dark look at the lengths people will go to achieve their dream." Publication date January 8. More info →
My previous experience with Faye's work is limited to Jane Steele, but Faye's new historical thriller seems like a whole other beast. The year is 1921, the setting Oregon. The KKK has arrived in Oregon with terrifying results, but the Paragon Hotel is a haven for African-Americans threatened by the Klan. Publishers Weekly says, "What starts as a bit of a Prohibition-era crime romp becomes increasingly relevant as issues of mental illness, race, and gender identity take on greater significance." Publication date January 8. More info →
I've read this already and haven't been able to resist recommending it on more than one episode of What Should I Read Next. This is Shapiro's story about how she very recently discovered a life-changing, identity-threatening secret about her family, and what happened next. If you've enjoyed Shapiro's work in the past, like her most recent memoir Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage, I recommend you avoid the spoiler-laden reviews (that specify what that family secret is) and dive right in. Publication date January 15. More info →
This was one of my 2018 favorites, since I read it early. I loved Walker's 2012 debut The Age of Miracles and have been impatiently waiting for a follow-up. It's finally (almost here): this one doesn't come out till 2019, but its release date is right around the corner. The story begins with a college student crawling into bed and falling asleep. Her roommate thinks she has the flu ... but she doesn't wake up. She's patient zero of a strange illness that plunges its victims into deep sleeps some never wake up from. The community is quarantined, but as the illness nevertheless spreads, so does the sense of panic. I flew through this unusual book: equal parts mystery, fantasy, and dystopian novel, all overlaid with a dream-like quality. Publication date January 15. More info →
From the author of the beloved Code Name Verity series, a nonfiction work for teens about the female combat pilots of World War II, who flew in the Soviet Union's women-only regiments. Kirkus says, "For readers invested in military and/or feminist history, this important book soars." Publication date January 22. More info →
I loved Jenoff's last book The Orphan's Tale and am excited about her new release, inspired by a real but little known network of WWII female operatives. Publishers Weekly calls this "a mesmerizing tale full of appealing characters, intrigue, suspense, and romance." Publication date January 29. More info →
From the author of the runaway bestseller The Hate U Give, a new novel that takes readers back to the neighborhood of Garden Heights, with a brand-new cast of characters including an aspiring young rapper named Brianna. Thomas says the book is about "what it means to be young, black in America when freedom of speech isn’t always free." Publication date February 5. More info →
I blurbed this forthcoming book from the hosts of Pantsuit Politics, one of my favorite podcasts, saying "For those overwhelmed and exhausted by the current [toxic] state of political discourse in America, you're right—there is a better way. Drawing on years of on-the-ground experience, they unpack what's gone wrong and outline how we can begin to fix it, both in our own hearts and in our communities. Their practical guide is full of exactly what long-time fans have come to expect, and new readers will quickly come to appreciate: no shouting, no insults, plenty of nuance." Publication date February 5. More info →
I'm so ready for this. Here's Newport in his own words: "We have been too casual in adopting alluring new technologies, and as a result our quality of life is diminishing. To solve this problem I propose a philosophy of technology use called digital minimalism in which you radically reduce the time you spend staring at screens, focusing on a small number of digital activities that strongly support things you deeply value, and then happily ignoring the rest." Publication date February 5. More info →
From the author of Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood, a new release about the mushrooming anxiety experienced by today's adolescent girls. While some stress is healthy, this widespread and increasing anxiety is new, and Damour promises to help by providing common-sense suggestions, professional insight, and real-life case studies documenting what we can do about it. Publication date February 12. More info →
Publishers Weekly calls this follow-up to 2017's The Alice Network "a suspenseful WWII tale of murder and revenge." In this historical novel, the huntress is a female Nazi who committed atrocious war crimes, but three individuals are determined to track her down, each for their own reasons—an Englishman, an American, and a female Russian bomber pilot. In all the world, the pilot is the only one who can recognize the huntress on sight. Pair this with Elizabeth Wein's new release (below) for a fascinating book flight. Publication date February 26. More info →
As someone who's typing this from a very messy desk, I'm intrigued by the promise of this new gift book-sized work. The publisher says, "Gretchen Rubin has found that getting control of our stuff makes us feel more in control of our lives.... With a sense of fun, and a clear idea of what's realistic for most people, Gretchen Rubin suggests dozens of manageable steps for creating a more serene, orderly environment—one that helps us to create the lives we want." Yes, please. Publication date March 5. More info →
I've been eagerly tracking the progress of this novel for years, and can't wait to read the finished version. In a small Southern town, everyone is counting down to the wedding of the season. But just four days before the event, the bride disappears. The publisher says, "While her loved ones frantically try to track her down, they’re forced to grapple with their own secrets—secrets with the power to reframe entire relationships, leaving each to wonder how well they really knew Annie and how well they know themselves." Publication date May 7. More info →
This new time management fable features a woman who should be primed for success, but she's over-worked, over-tired, and constantly frustrating others with her lack of focus. You can read this short, pithy book about the difference between busyness and true success in an afternoon, and put the core lesson to work in your own life for all the days to come: "Expectations are infinite. Time is finite. You are always choosing. Choose well." Publication date March 12. More info →
I loved Rowley's quirky debut Lily and the Octopus; this new novel turns that same charm to the world of publishing. In 1990s New York, a struggling writer gets his big break, selling his manuscript to a major publishing house—and the editor he'll be working with is none other than Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The publisher calls this "a poignant, insightful novel of young men and their mothers, authors and their editors, and the minefields of speaking the truth about those we love." Publication date April 2. More info →
In the spirit of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, a novel about the friendship that blooms between two young American girls interned at a Texas camp during World War II, and the force that reconnects them decades later. Fourteen-year-old Elise lived her whole life in Iowa; her parents had been in the States twenty years before the war. Mariko grew up in L.A., but was sent to the camp with her Japanese family. I've already read my early copy, and learned so much about this shameful period of American history. Publication date March 19. More info →
From the author of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, a new book about a librarian whose life is changed by a book of fairy tales that lands on her doorstep. Soon she's on the trail of buried family secrets, and the process of seeking them changes her life. Is it just me, or are books about bookstores and libraries everywhere these days? You know I'm not complaining. Publication date March 26. More info →
I love Emily's podcast The Next Right Thing, and am excited to get the content in book format—and such a pretty book at that. Emily writes for the chronically hesitant, the second-guessers, and anyone who struggles with decision fatigue. If you love her podcast because of her voice, I think you'll find you enjoy her voice on the page as well. Publication date April 2. More info →
Books I can't wait to read in 2019: Summer releases
I loved Kibler's 2013 debut Calling Me Home, a book club favorite whose popularity came from the enthusiastic word-of-mouth recommendations of readers like you. That's how I came to it. I'm excited for this, her first novel in six years. The publisher calls this "an emotionally raw and resonant story of love, loss, and the enduring power of friendship, following the lives of two young women connected by a home for “fallen girls,” and inspired by historical events." Publication date July 30. More info →
South African writer Marais's first book Hum If You Don't Know the Words was a Summer Reading Guide pick upon its 2017 release. I loved its inventive storytelling, endearing characters, and distinctive voice, and look forward to more of the same in her summer release. The publisher calls this "a rich, unforgettable story of three unique women in post-Apartheid South Africa who are brought together in their darkest time and discover the ways that love can transcend the strictest of boundaries." Publication date July 16. More info →
A new Joshilyn Jackson novel always shoots straight to the top of my TBR. Jackson describes her own work as "Weirdo Fiction with a Shot of Southern Gothic Influence for Smart People Who Can Catch the Nuances but Who Like Narrative Drive, and Who Have a Sense of Humor but Who Are Willing to Go Down to Dark Places." In her new book, the carefully-cultivated façade of a woman's seemingly ordinary life is threatened when a mysterious stranger from her past arrives in town and threatens to reveal all. The publisher calls this "a dark and deliciously addictive tale of domestic suspense." Publication date July 30. More info →
What books are you eagerly anticipating in 2019? Please tell us all about them in comments!