1. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (Allen & Unwin, $19.16)
Read Kevin Kwan’s outrageously funny best-selling book before it comes out to the big screen in August 2018 with an all-star, all-Asian cast, including Constance Wu and Ken Jeong. The hit book follows NYU professor Rachel Chu as she travels to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s family – only to find out that they are insanely wealthy. As New York Times reviewer Janet Maslin puts it, “Mr. Kwan knows how to deliver guilty pleasures. He keeps the repartee nicely outrageous, the excess wretched and the details wickedly delectable.”
2. Autumn by Ali Smith (Penguin, $23.99)
This best-selling, Man Booker-shortlisted, rave-reviewed tale of an extraordinary friendship between an elderly songwriter and a precocious child is the first of a four volume seasonal series. Guardian reviewer Joanna Kavenna called it “a beautiful, transient symphony” and the first great post-Brexit novel. Everyone who’s anyone agrees you should read it. Immediately.
3. My Àntonia by Willa Cather (Knopf Doubleday, $14.93)
It’s the 100th anniversary of the publication of this superb celebration of the wild, flat landscape of the American west and the stoic folk who settled there. In quietly exquisite prose Willa Cather tells the story of Àntonia Shimerda, the bold, bright-eyed daughter of Bohemian immigrants, and her struggling pioneer family. In the words of Guardian writer Xan Brooks, “it's one of the warmest, most quietly rousing books that I know; a clear-eyed salute to the resilience of the human spirit and the innate hardiness of the immigrants who came across the ocean to start afresh in the golden west.”
4. A Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines (Penguin, $17.85)
Published fifty years ago, Barry Hines’s popular classic A Kestrel for a Knave was adapted by Ken Loach into one of the most important British films of the 1960s. It’s a raw, intense, bitingly honest story about a troubled teenager growing up in a tough Yorkshire mining town who finds trust and love for the first time in Kes, a wild kestrel he raises and tames. It will almost certainly make you cry. It is definitely one of the most beautiful books you will ever read.
5. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (Bloomsbury, $23.95)
#1 New York Times bestseller and winner of the 2017 Man Booker Prize, this long-awaited first novel from celebrated short story writer George Saunders is a moving father-son story featuring none other than Abraham Lincoln, as well as an unforgettable cast of supporting characters, living and dead, historical and invented. Writing for The New York Times Book Review, Colin Whiteread called the novel “a luminous feat of generosity and humanism.”
Coming out in 2018:
1. The 7 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton (Bloomsbury, $27.75)
Coming out March 2018, this mind-blowingly twisty and original murder mystery promises to be bloody (get it?) brilliant. When young, beautiful heiress Evelyn Hardcastle is murdered during a party at her crumbling stately home, narrator Aiden learns he is doomed to repeat the day over and over, each time in the body of a different guest, unless he can identify her killer. In one of many glowing recommendations provided by the publisher, best-selling author Sophie Hannah says “This book blew my mind. It is utterly original and unique. I couldn't get it out of my head for days afterwards.”
2. Brave by Rose McGowan (HarperCollins, $36.12)
Rose McGowan made waves in 2017 with her whistleblowing role in the Harvey Weinstein scandal, which showed the world that the actress wasn’t just beautiful and talented but also breathtakingly brave. In her upcoming memoir, coming out in January 2018, McGowan will tell the story of how she fought her way out of the cult into which she was born, and what it was like to come of age in another kind of cult: Hollywood. The bombshell book promises to pull no punches – much like the actress herself.
3. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin (Headline Publishing Group, $25.99)
Chloe Benjamin’s novel won’t hit shelves until January 2018, but anticipation is buzzing already. The ambitious book follows a single family over five decades, starting when a psychic on the Lower East Side tells four children the dates they will die. It’s so good it’s already slated for development as a TV series. You can read an excerpt here.
4. The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer (Penguin, $37.56)
This new offering from Meg Wolitzer, author of the New York Times-bestselling 2013 novel The Interestings, has been described by Harper’s Bazaar as a novel which expresses “the yearning that lives in all of us: to be seen, to be admired, to be whatever we imagine as the best version of ourselves.” It follows shy college freshman Greer as she meets a feminist icon and, in becoming her protégé, begins to leave behind the life she once imagined for herself.
5. Feel Free by Zadie Smith (Penguin, $37.56)
The author of White Teeth and Swing Time is already one of the most beloved writers of her generation, and her second collection of essays promises only to increase to her considerable reputation. Kirkus Reviews wishes “all such thoughts were so cogent and unfailingly humane. The author is honest, often impassioned, always sober.”
Now make like Matilda and go get your hands on one of these ASAP.