New books to anticipate

Reading Table, make room! My fav Alan Furst has a new espionage novel coming out in June. Also that month, the hilarious Sloane Crosley publishes a new collection of essays. Here’s some info on these and other books on my radar screen.

Innocent by Scott Turow
This is a sequel to Turow’s 1987 best-selling legal thriller, Presumed Innocent. It takes place 22 years later with lawyer Rusty Sabich once again suspected of murder and prosecutor Tommy Molto going after him. Publisher’s Weekly says Innocent is told with “mesmerizing prose and intricate plotting.” According to The New York Times, Presumed Innocent sold close to four million copies in the U.S. alone. I’d bet fingers are crossed for the sequel to do the same. (May)

Anthropology of an American Girl by Hilary Thayer Hamann
Spiegel & Grau, a division of Random House, purchased and edited this “underground favorite” originally self-published in 2003. According to the publisher’s website, the novel “follows its protagonist, Eveline Auerbach, as she moves through a pre-digital American landscape during the 1970s and 1980s. In the most basic respect, it is a coming of age story that prescribes a return to simplicity as the most rational and ethical response to the chaos and confusion of upward mobility.” (May)

The Ice Princess by Camilla Läckberg
Translated from the Swedish by Steven T. Murray
This is Läckberg’s U.S debut. I’ve got my eye on it for its promising forecasts and also because I’m interested in literature from Sweden (thanks to Ninni Holmqvist’s The Unit). Last year, when The Ice Princess came out in paperback/English in Europe, the Guardian Bookshop wrote: “When she decides to write a memoir for her dead friend, Erica Falck uncovers dark secrets about their small home town. Features the popular detective Patrick Hedstrom: all 4 previous novels featuring him have been number 1 bestsellers in [Lackberg’s] native Sweden.” (May)

The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham by Selena Hastings
I’m intrigued by this 640 page biography because it includes new material from Maugham’s personal correspondence and newly uncovered interviews with Maugham’s only child. According to Publisher’s Weekly, “…the facts of Maugham’s life form a fascinating narrative because they are full of public incident and accomplishment, shadowed by privately known and whispered secrets.” Maugham’s semi-autobiographical novel Of Human Bondage is one of my favorites, especially for its concept of the Persian carpet and life’s meaning. (May)

How Did You Get This Number by Sloane Crosley
Crosley’s debut I Thought There’d Be Cake was hilarious, and I’m anticipating the same from this new collection of personal essays. Adventures in Alaska, Lisbon and Paris are part of the mix. According to Kirkus Reviews: “Most of the book is funny, some of it even laugh-out-loud, but her literary gifts go well beyond easy laughs.” If you’re on Facebook, you can read the full review on the wall of her fan page. (June)

Letters to a Young Madman by Paul Gruchow
Gruchow’s new book is a departure from his usual writings about rural life and the human connection to the natural world. According to the book’s description, the prose pieces delve into Gruchow’s struggle with depression and the many diagnoses  and treatments that came with it throughout his adult life. These pieces were gathered prior to his death in 2004. From the book’s description: “Unsparingly dark and yet ultimately illuminating, Letters to a Young Madman offers perhaps the most insightful and honest dialogue with madness since William Styron’s Darkness Visible.” (June)

Spies of the Balkans by Alan Furst
A new novel by this master of World War II espionage set in Greece during 1940. I’m a Furst fan and anticipate this to be another smart page-turner. From the publisher’s website: “At the center of this drama is Costa Zannis, a senior police official, head of an office that handles special ‘political’ cases. As war approaches, the spies begin to circle, from the Turkish legation to the German secret service. There’s a British travel writer, a Bulgarian undertaker, and more. Costa Zannis must deal with them all. And he is soon in the game, securing an escape route—from Berlin to Salonika, and then to a tenuous safety in Turkey, a route protected by German lawyers, Balkan detectives, and Hungarian gangsters. And hunted by the Gestapo.” (June)

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