So, summer’s just around the corner, and that means one of two things: either you’re planning on going somewhere warm for a couple of weeks, or you’re having to make do with spending a weekend camping in Wales and spending the rest of the summer avoiding anyone with a tan. Either way, you’re going to need a book or two to keep you going – so here are some releases lined up for the second half of 2017 that you wouldn’t want to miss.
1. Danny Wallace – I Can’t Believe You Just Said That!
Danny Wallace uses his platform of funny and smart writing to explain all the weird human behaviours you never quite understood; why do people get road rage? Why all the anonymous internet negativity? Why are we rude in general?
This book offers a bit of insight into the reasoning behind that colleague whose humour was always just a bit too edgy, how their rudeness works and why they do it. Basically, it’s a life-saving guide to dealing with others in the twenty-first century.
2. Ian Rankin – Rather Be the Devil
Detective Inspector John Rebus returns in the fiftieth story featuring his character – he can be found in full-length novels, short stories, and collections – and once again fills his now-huge inspector boots on a case that has been haunting his conscience for the past forty years.
Rebus walks through Edinburgh fuelled by old rivalries, the need for justice (and no doubt quite a bit of coffee) in his search to find the killer of the beautiful Maria Turquand.
3. Tom McCarthy – Typewriters, Bombs, Jellyfish
Tom McCarthy is known for his wise words – he could write a collection of essays on watching paint dry and I’d probably pre-order it from Amazon. You just know, if he’s written it, it’s going to be good.
Typewriters, Bombs, Jellyfish is one of his more random collections of written eloquent thoughts, and addresses everything from David Lynch to Jellyfish in literature to Dodgem Jockeys. Random, but you’re still going to want to read it. I mean, any book of essays with a section titled Stabbing the Olive has to be good, right?
4. Stephen King – Gwendy’s Button Box
King’s fiction returns to the fictional town Castle Rock (also seen in works such as The Dead Zone and Revival) for his latest novella.
It returns to the beginning of the strangeness at Castle Rock, rolling back the clock to 1974 where Gwendy Peterson has faced the so-called Suicide Stairs up to Castle View. There she finds an extremely shady-looking man who will one day walk into her nightmares.
Why? Who knows.
5. Colson Whitehead – The Underground Railroad
Award-winning Whitehead returns this year with The Underground Railroad, which tells the story of Cora, a slave on a Georgian cotton plantation.
Knowing that even more terror awaits her as she enters womanhood, Cora takes a chance after hearing about the Underground Railroad and plans her bid for escape.
With a cruel and incessant slave catcher close behind her, Cora has to flee between states across America, searching for some sanctuary where she can begin to build a new life in freedom.
6. Philippa Gregory – The Last Tudor
Gregory’s Tudor Court series, which has been hogging space on the shelves since The Other Boleyn Girl was published in 2001, has given her the unofficial title of “Queen of British historical fiction”.
The Last Tudor tells the story of Lady Jane Grey during and after her tentative nine-day reign, and how she tries to avoid execution by the stony-faced Queen Mary, and later the equally stony-faced Queen Elizabeth.
7. John le Carré – A Legacy of Spies
A Legacy of Spies sees the return of another legendary character: le Carré’s most famous and well-loved George Smiley.
After the success of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy in 1974, characters are brought out of retirement and into the twenty-first century to clear up some of the mess that the Cold War left for them.
The novel brings together old friendships, old resentments, and old memories as ex-British Secret Service members are brought to London to be picked apart by young’uns who are so fresh-faced they couldn’t possibly understand the true contexts of the events that took place under Stalin’s Iron Curtain.
8. Philip Pullman, La Belle Sauvage: THE BOOK OF DUST, VOL. 1
La Belle Sauvage is a follow-up novel to Pullman’s multi-award-winning trilogy His Dark Materials, and delves back into arguably the most controversial aspect of the series: the portrayal of religion.
The first volume of a series of three, released this year, is set not to resume the story in the original trilogy, but to act as a kind of non-fiction fictional research collection – Pullman returns to the fictional parallel universes to clarify theories from said universes, rather to create or develop characters and storylines.