Hot books you'll want to check out in 2016


  • Books
  • Friday, 22 Jan 2016

With 2016 well underway, a new year can mean only one thing for us irredeemable bookworms – that’s right, a dazzling array of new book releases to devour. We don’t even have to worry about any calories – the only thing that’s getting bigger here is our imagination.

The one problem we do face, however, is knowing where to start. Book lovers are reminded of this every time they walk into a bookstore. Scanning the smorgasbord of tantalising titles, “I’ll only be five minutes” is a sentence you’ll never hear in such sublime surroundings. Rather, the modus operandi of the typical bibliophile is to slowly meander along the various sections and quickly lose all sense of time and space.

Fortunately, help is at hand. We’ve compiled a list of some of the hottest new titles to be hitting the shelves this year. Of course, the tragedy is that we lack the space to list every new title for 2016, but the following releases should help to satisfy your appetite for now. Happy reading!

(Note that release dates could change.)

The Census-Taker

Author: China Miéville

Release date: Jan 12

For those who enjoy a real emotional rollercoaster ride through the pages of their favourite novels, this is a must-read (and possibly a must re-read).

The book revolves around a young male narrator who lives in a battered old house with his hard-working mother and his father – a key-maker whose keys are said to possess supernatural qualities.

The boy’s life of loneliness and fear, shaped by the bizarre and brutal behaviours of his father, tells a tragic tale of woe as he encounters a mysterious character who offers him rescue from his surreal nightmare.

Miéville’s new book delivers more questions than it does answers, and its surreal settings and strange characters help to shape the perfect story for readers who love unresolved tensions.

The Queen Of The Night

Author: Alexander Chee

Release date: Feb 2

Chee’s second novel is a striking, captivating masterpiece set in 19th century Paris that follows the story of fêted opera star, Lilliet Berne, who receives an offer from a stranger to take the lead role in a new opera.

Berne is subsequently left stunned to find that the production retells the story of her own shady past, and she is compelled to learn which of the characters from her past has revealed her darkest secrets and why....

Blackass

Author: A. Igoni Barrett

Release date: March 1

Imagine waking up on the morning of a job interview only to find that your skin colour has changed. Barrett’s inventive and daring tale takes us on a journey with the book’s protagonist, Furo Wariboko, who finds that life in Lagos, Nigeria, suddenly opens up for him thanks to his drastic transformation. However, while Furo’s fortunes seem to have changed, his derriere obstinately remains black.

Reminiscent of Kafka’s Metamorphosis, Barrett’s satirical gift delivers a fiery narrative peppered with humour and just the right amount of provocative prose.

The Nest

Author: Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

Release date: March 22

You know when you’re so engrossed in a book that you eventually realise you’ve forgotten to feed the cat? Well, Sweeney’s debut novel makes you forget that you even have a cat. This satisfying read lays bare the indescribably dysfunctional relationship of four siblings and the fate of the shared inheritance that shapes their lives and choices. “The Nest” is a trust fund that is to become accessible when the youngest of the four siblings turns 40. What should be a gratifying end to a lengthy wait turns out to be a bigger headache for the family when most of the money is put towards sweeping an indiscretion under the carpet.

Sweeney’s multiple-POV debut is sure to be a huge hit, and definitely one for the TBR pile.

The Long Shadow Of Small Ghosts

Author: Laura Tillman

Release date: April 5

Can a building be evil? Is it possible for a home to possess a dark character of its own? For some of the residents in Brownville, Texas, it was certainly believed possible after news of a chilling crime emerged. In March 2003, John Allen Rubio and Angela Camacho murdered their three young children in their rundown apartment building.

Five years later, journalist Laura Tillman covered the story for The Brownsville Herald. Her investigation uncovered the devastation visited upon a city ravaged by poverty.

Interviewing an array of people impacted by the crime – including John Allen Rubio – Tillman presents a mesmerising narrative that delves into major social issues, from poverty and mental illness to the death penalty, exploring the forces of the mind that drives some people to the very edge under pitiless circumstances.

The Girl From Home

Author: Adam Mitzner

Release date: April 5

Mitzner’s latest novel follows the highly-acclaimed Losing Faith, described as a “startling, well-crafted tale”. The Girl From Home more than maintains the standard, as we’re taken on a psychological rollercoaster ride through the journey of Jonathan Caine – a millionaire with everything he could wish for, who suddenly encounters a spectacular fall from grace.

On his return to his hometown to look after his ailing father and attend a school reunion, Caine is reacquainted with the former prom queen who is captivated by the man Jonathan Caine has become. However, their budding relationship has problems, leaving Caine struggling between the redemption he desperately seeks and the obstinate temptations presented by his past demons.

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Eligible

Author: Curtis Sittenfeld

Release date: April 19

Looking for a modern rewrite of Pride And Prejudice, you say? Luckily, that’s exactly what Curtis Sittenfeld signed up for when editors of The Austen Project approached her to be part of their plan to pair renowned authors with Austen’s six complete works.

Sittenfeld’s take on the classic tells the story of four sisters – Liz, Jane, Kitty and Lydia – who are reunited at the family home after their father encounters health problems. Meanwhile, their mother is working hard to see all the sisters married off before Jane turns 40. Enter our bachelors: Chip Bingley, a doctor-cum-TV reality show star on a show called Eligible, and his friend Fitzwilliam Darcy, a neurosurgeon who’s abundantly less endearing than Chip.

Imagine Me Gone

Author: Adam Haslett

Release date: May 3

How far would we go for those we love the most? That’s the question that forms the beating heart of Haslett’s latest offering. The former Pulitzer Prize and US National Book Award finalist delves into the murky world of anxiety and depression in a tale that manages to deliver some well-timed hilarity amid the desperately sad and, at times, heart-breaking journey of one family’s struggle to love one another.

Imagine Me Gone brings to the table what will no doubt be one of modern literature’s more memorable characters, as we’re invited to enter the brilliant-yet-troubled mind of Michael who shares his inner turmoil with the reader, which in turn leads us to think about how we see and treat those closest to us.

Some Possible Solutions

Author: Helen Phillips

Release date: May 31

Described as “wickedly funny” by The New York Times, Phillips’ collection of short stories jovially throws around some what-ifs about the human condition – as if it could do with more uncertainty and anxiety.

Some of the questions broached in this odd bundle of joys lead us to imagine being able to see through a person’s skin to their organs, what it would be like to have a whole city filled with our doppelgängers, and knowing the exact date of our death.

It’s safe to say that Some Possible Solutions is a collection of stories like no other. You’ll probably need a lie down afterwards.

The Girls

Author: Emma Cline

Release date: June 14

If there is any debut fit for the Man Booker and Pulitzer shortlists, Cline’s novel is the perfect candidate.

Cline’s story is loosely based on the horrific Manson murders, shining a light into the mind of a 14-year old teenage girl who is filled with anger and plagued by loneliness. Evie mixes with the wrong crowd, and becomes one of the “girls” devoted to the dark, menacing figure of Russell. Readers might expect to find a cheap thrill in this debut, but Cline digs deep and invites us to the edge of darkness through Evie’s torment.

Her story is one that is both brilliantly told and utterly terrifying, as we realise the ease with which it’s possible to be drawn into a world of depravity and terror.


What other books are you looking forward to and why? Tell us at star2@thestar.com.my.


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