Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of 2017

Back in December I previewed some of the books set to be released in 2017 that I was most excited about. Out of those 30 titles, here’s how I fared:

  • Read: 16 [Disappointments: 2]
  • Currently reading: 1
  • Abandoned partway through: 2
  • Lost interest in: 4
  • Haven’t managed to find yet: 2
  • Languishing on my Kindle; I still have vague intentions to read: 5

The latter half of the year promises plenty of big-name releases, such as long-awaited novels from Nicole Krauss and Jennifer Egan and a memoir by Maggie O’Farrell. Here are 24 books that happen to be on my radar for the coming months; this is by no means a full picture.

The descriptions below are adapted from the publisher blurbs on Goodreads, NetGalley or Amazon. Some of these books I already have access to in print or galley form; others I’ll be looking to get hold of. (In chronological order, generally by first publication date.)



How Saints Die by Carmen Marcus [July 13, Harvill Secker]: “Ten years old and irrepressibly curious, Ellie lives with her fisherman father, Peter, on the wild North Yorkshire coast. This vivacious and deeply moving novel portrays adult breakdown through the eyes of a child and celebrates the power of stories to shape, nourish and even save us.”

Moving Kings by Joshua Cohen [July 20, Fitzcarraldo Editions]: “Two young Israeli soldiers travel to New York after fighting in the Gaza War and find work as eviction movers. It’s a story of the housing and eviction crisis in poor Black and Hispanic neighborhoods that also shines new light on the world’s oldest conflict in the Middle East.” (print ARC)



Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang [Aug. 1, Lenny]: “Centered on a community of immigrants who have traded their endangered lives as artists in China and Taiwan for the constant struggle of life at the poverty line in 1990s New York City, Zhang’s exhilarating collection examines the many ways that family and history can weigh us down and also lift us up.”

The Education of a Coroner: Lessons in Investigating Death by John Bateson [Aug. 15, Scribner]: “An account of the hair-raising and heartbreaking cases handled by the coroner of Marin County, California throughout his four decades on the job—from high-profile deaths to serial killers, to Golden Gate Bridge suicides.”

The Futilitarians: Our Year of Thinking, Drinking, Grieving, and Reading by Anne Gisleson [Aug. 22, Little, Brown and Company]: “A memoir of friendship and literature chronicling a search for meaning and comfort in great books, and a beautiful path out of grief.” (currently reading via NetGalley)

Midwinter Break by Bernard McLaverty [Aug. 22, W. W. Norton]: “A retired couple fly from their home in Scotland to Amsterdam for a long weekend. … [A] tender, intimate, heart-rending story … a profound examination of human love and how we live together, a chamber piece of real resonance and power.” (to review for BookBrowse)

I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O’Farrell [Aug. 22, Tinder Press]: “A childhood illness she was not expected to survive. A terrifying encounter on a remote path. A mismanaged labor in an understaffed hospital … 17 encounters at different ages, in different locations, reveal to us a whole life in a series of tense, visceral snapshots.”

What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah [Aug. 24, Tinder Press]: “A dazzlingly accomplished debut collection explores the ties that bind parents and children, husbands and wives, lovers and friends to one another and to the places they call home.” (print ARC to review for Shiny New Books)

Madness Is Better than Defeat by Ned Beauman [Aug. 24, Sceptre]: “In 1938, rival expeditions set off for a lost Mayan temple, one intending to shoot a screwball comedy on location, the other to disassemble the temple and ship it to New York. … Showcasing the anarchic humor and boundless imagination of one of the finest writers of his generation.”

Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss [Aug. 24, Harper/Bloomsbury]: “A man in his later years and a woman novelist, each drawn to the Levant on a journey of self-discovery. Bursting with life and humor, this is a profound, mesmerizing novel of metamorphosis and self-realization – of looking beyond all that is visible towards the infinite.” (currently reading via NetGalley)

My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent [Aug. 29, Riverhead Books/4th Estate] “A brilliant and immersive, all-consuming read about one fourteen-year-old girl’s heart-stopping fight for her own soul. … Shot through with striking language in a fierce natural setting.” (e-ARC to review for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)


Dinner at the Center of the Earth by Nathan Englander [Sept. 5, Knopf]: “[A] political thriller that unfolds in the highly charged territory of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and pivots on the complex relationship between a secret prisoner and his guard. … Englander has woven a powerful, intensely suspenseful portrait of a nation riven by insoluble conflict.”

George and Lizzie by Nancy Pearl [Sept. 5, Touchstone]: “[A]n emotionally riveting debut novel about an unlikely marriage at a crossroads. … With pitch-perfect prose and compassion and humor to spare, George and Lizzie is an intimate story of new and past loves, the scars of childhood, and an imperfect marriage at its defining moments.”

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng [Sept. 7, Little, Brown]: “In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned. … [E]xplores the weight of long-held secrets and the ferocious pull of motherhood-and the danger of believing that planning and following the rules can avert disaster, or heartbreak.”

Afterglow (A Dog Memoir) by Eileen Myles [Sept. 12, Grove Press]: “A probing investigation into the dynamics between pet and pet-owner. Through this lens, we examine Myles’s experiences with intimacy and spirituality, celebrity and politics, alcoholism and recovery, fathers and family history.”



From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty [Oct. 3, W. W. Norton]: “Fascinated by our pervasive terror of dead bodies, mortician Caitlin Doughty set out to discover how other cultures care for their dead. Featuring Gorey-esque illustrations by artist Landis Blair.”

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan [Oct. 3, Scribner/Corsair]: “The pace and atmosphere of a noir thriller and a wealth of detail about organized crime … Egan’s first historical novel is a masterpiece, a deft, startling, intimate exploration of a transformative moment in the lives of women and men, America, and the world.”

Dunbar by Edward St. Aubyn [Oct. 3, Hogarth Shakespeare]: “Henry Dunbar, once all-powerful head of a family firm, has handed it over to his two eldest daughters, Abby and Megan. Relations quickly soured. Now imprisoned in a Lake District care home with only an alcoholic comedian as company, Dunbar starts planning his escape.” (print ARC)

The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell [Oct. 5, Profile Books]: “Bythell owns The Bookshop, Wigtown – Scotland’s largest second-hand bookshop. … These wry and hilarious diaries provide an inside look at the trials and tribulations of life in the book trade, from struggles with eccentric customers to wrangles with his own staff.”

In Shock by Rana Awdish [Oct. 17, St. Martin’s]: “Dr. Awdish spent months fighting for her life, enduring consecutive major surgeries and experiencing multiple overlapping organ failures. At each step of the recovery process, she was faced with repeated cavalier behavior from her fellow physicians. … A brave road map for anyone navigating illness.”

American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West by Nate Blakeslee [Oct. 17, Crown]: “[I]n recent decades, conservationists have brought wolves back to the Rockies, igniting a battle over the very soul of the West. With novelistic detail, Nate Blakeslee tells the gripping story of one of these wolves, alpha female O-Six.” (print ARC)



The White Book by Han Kang [Nov. 2, Portobello Books]: “Writing while on a residency in Warsaw, the narrator finds herself haunted by the story of her older sister, who died a mere two hours after birth. A fragmented exploration of white things … the most autobiographical and experimental book to date from [the] South Korean master.”

Radio Free Vermont: A Fable of Resistance by Bill McKibben [Nov. 7, Blue Rider Press]: “Follows a band of Vermont patriots who decide that their state might be better off as its own republic. … McKibben imagines an eccentric group of activists who carry out their own version of guerrilla warfare … a fictional response to the burgeoning resistance movement.”

Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich [Nov. 14, Harper]: “Evolution has reversed itself, affecting every living creature on earth. … A chilling dystopian novel both provocative and prescient … a moving meditation on female agency, self-determination, biology, and natural rights that speaks to the troubling changes of our time.”



(Nothing as of yet…)


Which of these tempt you? What other books from the latter half of 2017 are you most looking forward to?

23 responses

  1. Oh, I think ‘Dunbar’. I’m loving these re-workings of Shakespeare. Also the Han Kang. Which sounds quite different from the two earlier ones.


    1. I’ve had mixed feelings about the Hogarth Shakespeare series so far, but I hope this one (Lear, of course) joins Hag-Seed and New Boy in the successful column.

      I still have Human Acts hanging out on my bedside table, waiting to be read. It’s been there a while! But I imagine I’ll be able to read that and the new one this year. It will be interesting to see if The White Book is to the colour white what Maggie Nelson’s Bluets was to blue.


  2. I have Dunbar, Little Fires Everywhere and Future Home of the Living God on my shelf!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Print ARCs? That must be quite a coup for the Ng! 😉


  3. I’m looking forward to the Krauss and the Egan, and I’m intrigued by the Tallent which seems to be everywhere at the moment. The Diary of a Bookseller looks well nigh irresistible. Oh, and I see Nancy Pearl has turned her hand to fiction.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m pleased you know her name! I love her Book Lust series and have tried a few obscure authors through her literary rediscoveries. It will be interesting to try her debut novel; the same goes for Bill McKibben, who has previously only written environmental nonfiction as far as I know. I’m not sure I should get my hopes too high for either of them, but we’ll see.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lots here that stir my interest, but I’m very keen to read St Aubyn, O’Farrell, Krause and Mc Laverty. Your reviews point me in the right direction.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Glad to be of service 🙂


  5. Definitely interested in the Celeste Ng and the Egan – but the one about the Scottish bookshop looks really tempting too! I’m a sucker for books about books.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too! I would love to visit his shop: Wigtown is the Book Town of Scotland, a bit smaller and less well established than Hay-on-Wye in Wales, but still well worth the visit, I’m sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m excited for O’Farrell, Ng and Kang and intrigued by The Diary of a Bookseller and My Absolute Darling. Lots to look forward to!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree — should be a good rest of the year that adds lots to my Best of 2017 list.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sour Heart, the bookstore one and Radio Free Vermont sound good to me.

    I’ve got Stuart Maconie’s Long Road from Jarrow, following the route of the walk, The Gender Agenda by James Millar and Ros Ball, developed from a blog so not sure how that will stand out, but dispatches on how gender is created from their own child-rearing experience,, New People by Danzy Senna (I loved From Caucasia With Love about 20 years ago), Any Dream Will Do, the new Debbie Macomber, From Head Shops to Whole Foods by Joshua Clark Davis which is about ideologically inspired shops, though Whole Foods was recently bought by Amazon!, and The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Marta McDowell in an inconvenient format I can only read on the PC, all coming out July-Sept and all via NetGalley.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’ve got some great-sounding stuff lined up! I’d only heard of the Maconie; I think my husband has read one of his books (Pies and Prejudice?).

      That is ironic about Whole Foods, isn’t it? My father shops there regularly in the States; I’ll be interested to hear from him whether he thinks the Amazon takeover changes the place.

      (Argh, I hate when I end up having to read a whole book on the PC. It happens a few times a year.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve read all of his except his last one, which I have TBR. I was a little disappointed by The People’s Songs but it was still good. Vg at capturing the voices of Britain. And yes, the PC reading thing is rubbish, although I suppose the illustrations will be easy to see. I wish I’d realised, though!


  8. As this is more than 140 characters I’ll post it here 🙂 These are all on my to read list for the later part of the year and into 2018:
    The Inner Life of Animals: Love, Grief and Compassion – Surprising Observations of a Hidden World by Peter Wohlleben
    The Seven Ages of Britain by Hywel Williams
    Every Word Is A Bird We Teach To Sing: Encounters with Language by Daniel Tammet
    Live Wires: A History of Electronic Music by Dan Warner
    The Last of the Light: About Twilight by Peter Davidson
    Insane Mode: Inside Tesla and Elon Musk’s Mission to Save the World by Hamish McKenzie
    The Earth Gazers by Christopher Potter
    Where the Wild Winds Are: Walking Europe’s invisible pathways by Nick Hunt
    Oak and Ash and Thorn: The Ancient Woodlands and New Forests of Britain by Peter Fiennes
    A Wood of One’s Own by Ruth Pavey
    A Revolution Of Feeling by Rachel Hewitt
    Island by Patrick Barkham
    Windblown: The Great Storm: Landscape, Legacy and Loss by Tamsin Treverton Jones
    Jacob’s Room Has Too Many Books by Susan Hill
    Star Theatre: The Story of the Planetarium by William Firebrage
    The Many Lives of Carbon by Dag Olav Hessen
    Question Time: A Quizzical Journey Round Britain by Mark Mason
    The Mechanics of Racing: The Secret World of the F1 Pit Lane by Marc ‘Elvis’ Priestley
    The Planet Factory by Elizabeth Tasker
    The Hidden Ways: Scotland’s Forgotten Roads by Alistair Moffat
    The Secret Life of Cows by Rosamund Young
    The Meaning of Rice by Michael Booth
    Paths to the Past: Encounters with England’s Hidden Landscapes by Francis Pryor
    Dawn of the New Everything; A Journey Through Virtual Reality by Jaron Lanier
    The Secret Life of the Owl by John Lewis-Stempel
    A New Map of Wonders by Caspar Henderson
    To Read Aloud by Francesco Dimitri
    Hadrian’s Wall by Adrian Goldsworthy
    Master or Slave? The Fight for the Soul of Our Information Civilisation by Shoshana Zuboff
    Nemo’s Almanac: A Quiz for Book Lovers by Ian Patterson
    Cræft by Alex Langlands
    The Robin by Stephen Moss
    Icebreaker by Horatio Clare
    Owl Sense by Miriam Darlington
    The Last Wilderness: A Journey into Silence by Neil Ansell

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amazing! Here I think I’m clued in and I hadn’t heard of a single one of those. Where do you hear about advanced science and nature titles? (It’s clear my radar is more attuned to literary fiction and American releases.)

      I’m excited for new work from John Lewis-Stempel (boy, he’s prolific nowadays!) and Miriam Darlington — and intriguing that both books are about owls. And I’ll be looking into many of the others. Cheers, Paul, you’re a star!


      1. That is quite funny! I download all the latest catalogues and scour them for interesting titles. I have got it all in a spread sheet so I can sort by publication date etc.


    2. Ah, that explains it. I rarely look at catalogues, so I’m sure to miss things. However, I already have books coming out of my ears, so scouring catalogues might make me feel even more overwhelmed!


  9. Little Fires Everywhere is on my list too! The Diary of a Bookseller sounds fun 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I have heard of so few of these books, but will be noting the ones you like best! I think The Diary of a Bookseller is an automatic addition to my list.
    I haven’t had time to look too far in advance, and I’m even afraid to. It’s so overwhelming to think about all the good books that are coming out when I’m forever trying to catch up on the old ones!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what you mean; I already have so many unread books on the shelves and on my Kindle!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. […] I highlighted 30 of the 2017 releases I was most excited to read. In July I followed that up with another 25 titles coming out in the latter half of the year that I was looking forward to. So, out of those 55 books, […]


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