I love reading – I am what they call a voracious reader, typically reading thirty-plus books a year. I think I would have read more had it not been for the typical end-of-year malaise.
There’s about 2-3 months where I traditionally don’t read very much at all. But then comes the countdown to the end of the year where everyone starts talking about their favourite books.
(Shameless plug: In case you missed it, did mine here)
Seeing everyone talk so passionately about books, talking about my own favourite books always starts to reignite my own passion. And then I think about all the brilliant books still to come next year.
One of the best things about working in the publishing industry is that I get my grubby paws on all the best books a little bit early. I’ve spoken about some of them already, but here are five books to look out for in 2019 – some of them I’ve read, some of them I haven’t:
Starting – in alphabetical order – with:
Big Sky by Kate Atkinson – published in June by Doubleday
You might remember that last January I chose Atkinson’s Transcription as one of my ones to look out for in 2018. It received much critical acclaim when it was published, and while I enjoyed it, there was something missing. The writing was there, the research was clearly there, but for the most part I didn’t connect with it in the same way I have with previous Atkinson novels.
However, 2019 brings not just a new Kate Atkinson – but a new Jackson Brodie novel. I love these books, but we haven’t seen a new one since 2010. These are crime novels that I wish I could write. They are more character-led than the traditional police procedural, but that’s not to say they’re gentle.
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams – published in in April by Trapeze
This is an incredible novel – It’s funny, but feels heartbreakingly real. Queenie is a young black woman trying to navigate her way through a mini-crisis of self. Who is she? Where does she belong in this world? Does she even like herself?
In short, she’s suffering from all the things we all suffer from, but for me it was the insights into her views on race that really made this book for me. It’s not the big moments, but the small ones, ones where I’m offended on her behalf but Queenie simply shrugs them off as normal.
It helped me see our society in a new way, and helped make Queenie feel so vivid and real that I was rooting for her all the way through.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides – published in February by Orion
Completely different to the first two selections, this sees Theo Faber trying to treat a patient who hasn’t spoken a word since she shot her husband dead. This is a fast-moving thriller that kept me guessing all the way to the end.
It’s due to be turned into a movie, which intrigues me as I’m not sure how they’ll do it, but I can’t say any more. This is a tired old cliché that nobody in books uses any more… but it could be the next Gone Girl
Daisy Jones and The Six by Tyler Jenkins Reid – published in March by Hutchinson
This book is brilliant. It’s the transcript of a documentary that explores the rise, peak and subsequent fall of rock band The Six. They’re a fictional band but you could be forgiven for googling them to double check. It all feels so real.
Its structure is unusual, but it’s so effective and easy to get into that I wouldn’t be surprised if we started seeing a lot more stories told in this way. There has got to be a film of this one and I can’t wait to hear the music that comes from it.
Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce – published in February by Wildfire
LOVED this. For me, this felt like the perfect balance of psychological and legal thriller. Alison is a QC on her first case, a murder case where – typically – all is not necessarily as it seems.
However, the case merely serves as a backdrop to Alison’s crumbling relationship with her husband and an illicit, destructive affair with a colleague. I know I’ve just said this about Daisy, but this could become one of my favourite books of 2019.
I’m excited for all of these, the ones I’ve read to see them land in everyone else’s hands, and the ones that I’m yet to read. Most of all, though, I’m excited to read all the books I don’t yet know about (I think I said this last year!).