Are you a reader who is always looking ahead for the next best thing? Do you like to know about the next great book months before it hits the bookstores (and the libraries)? Here is my own compilation of books that have appeared on lists of most anticipated books of 2012. This list is not comprehensive by any means, but is instead a reflection of some titles and authors that I would suggest to any adult reader. While most are categorized as literary fiction, several stray into the realm of suspense, fantasy, and adventure fiction as well (for the purposes of keeping this list short, nonfiction has not been included). Check out this list of highly anticipated books being released in 2012. Some of these titles have already been released–look for them on your library bookshelves–and some of them are great novels to look forward to in the coming months:
The Twelve by Justin Cronin (August 2012)
Book Description: In his internationally bestselling and critically acclaimed novel The Passage, Justin Cronin constructed an unforgettable world transformed by a government experiment gone horribly wrong. With The Twelve, the story continues. In the present day: As a man-made apocalypse unfolds, three strangers navigate the chaos, desperate to find others, to survive, to witness the dawn on the other side of disaster. These three will learn that they have not been fully abandoned—and that in connection lies hope, even on the darkest of nights. A hundred years in the future: Amy, Peter, Alicia, and the others introduced in The Passage work with a cast of new characters to hunt the original twelve virals . . . unaware that the rules of the game have changed, and that one of them will have to sacrifice everything to bring the Twelve down.
Gold: A Novel by Chris Cleave (July 2012)
Book description: What would you sacrifice for the people you love? Kate and Zoe met at nineteen when they both made the cut for the national training program in track cycling—a sport that demands intense focus, blinding exertion, and unwavering commitment. They are built to exploit the barest physical and psychological edge over equally skilled rivals, all of whom are fighting for the last one tenth of a second that separates triumph from despair. Now at thirty-two, the women are facing their last and biggest race: the 2012 Olympics. Each wants desperately to win gold, and each has more than a medal to lose.
Home by Toni Morrison (May 2012)
Book description: America’s most celebrated novelist, Nobel Prize-winner Toni Morrison extends her profound take on our history with this twentieth-century tale of redemption: a taut and tortured story about one man’s desperate search for himself in a world disfigured by war. Frank Money is an angry, self-loathing veteran of the Korean War who, after traumatic experiences on the front lines, finds himself back in racist America with more than just physical scars. As Frank revisits his memories from childhood and the war that have left him questioning his sense of self, he discovers a profound courage he had thought he could never possess again. A deeply moving novel about an apparently defeated man finding his manhood—and his home.
The Red House by Mark Haddon (June 2012)
Book description: A dazzlingly inventive novel about modern family, from the author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. The set-up of Mark Haddon’s brilliant new novel is simple: Richard, a wealthy doctor, invites his estranged sister Angela and her family to join his for a week at a vacation home in the English countryside. Richard has just re-married and inherited a willful stepdaughter in the process; Angela has a feckless husband and three children who sometimes seem alien to her. The stage is set for seven days of resentment and guilt, a staple of family gatherings the world over.
Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon (September 2012)
Book description: New York Times bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon has transported readers to wonderful places: to New York City during the Golden Age of comic books (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay); to an imaginary Jewish homeland in Sitka, Alaska (The Yiddish Policemen’s Union); to discover The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. Now he takes us to Telegraph Avenue in a big-hearted and exhilarating novel that explores the profoundly intertwined lives of two Oakland, California families, one black and one white. In Telegraph Avenue, Chabon lovingly creates a world grounded in pop culture—Kung Fu, ’70s Blaxploitation films, vinyl LPs, jazz and soul music—and delivers a bravura epic of friendship, race, and secret histories.
Ancient Light by John Banville (October 2012)
Book description: Is there any difference between memory and invention? That is the question that fuels this stunning novel, written with the depth of character, the clarifying lyricism, and the heart-wrenching humor that have marked all of John Banville’s extraordinary works. And it is the question that haunts Alexander Cleave as he plumbs the memories of his first—and perhaps only—love…and of his daughter, lost to a kind of madness of mind and heart that Cleave can only fail to understand. When his stunted acting career is suddenly, inexplicably revived with a movie role portraying a man who may not be who he says he is, his young leading lady—famous and fragile—unwittingly gives him the opportunity to see with aching clarity the “chasm that yawns between the doing of a thing and the recollection of what was done.”
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (May 2012)
Book description: The sequel to Hilary Mantel’s 2009 Man Booker Prize winner and New York Times bestseller, Wolf Hall delves into the heart of Tudor history with the downfall of Anne Boleyn. Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice. At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down. Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies follows the dramatic trial of the queen and her suitors for adultery and treason. To defeat the Boleyns, Cromwell must ally with his natural enemies, the papist aristocracy. What price will he pay for Anne’s head?
In One Person by John Irving (May 2012)
Book description: A compelling novel of desire, secrecy, and sexual identity, In One Person is a story of unfulfilled love—tormented, funny, and affecting—and an impassioned embrace of our sexual differences. Billy, the bisexual narrator and main character of In One Person, tells the tragicomic story (lasting more than half a century) of his life as a “sexual suspect,” a phrase first used by John Irving in 1978 in his landmark novel of “terminal cases,” The World According to Garp.
Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe (October 2012)
Book description: A big, panoramic story of the new America, as told by our master chronicler of the way we live now. As a police launch speeds across Miami’s Biscayne Bay-with officer Nestor Camacho on board-Tom Wolfe is off and running. Into the feverous landscape of the city, he introduces the Cuban mayor, the black police chief, a wanna-go-muckraking young journalist and his Yale-marinated editor; an Anglo sex-addiction psychiatrist and his Latina nurse by day…Based on the same sort of detailed, on-scene, high-energy reporting that powered Tom Wolfe’s previous bestselling novels, BACK TO BLOOD is another brilliant, spot-on, scrupulous, and often hilarious reckoning with our times.
Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver (November 2012)
Book description: Flight Behavior draws on Kingsolver’s origins as a curious and highly trained biologist. It opens on the rural community of Feathertown, Tenn., where dutiful wife Dellarobia Turnbow is on the verge of an outrageous act of rebellion when she runs across a truly mysterious phenomenon deep in the mounts of rural Appalachia.
Phantom by Jo Nesbo (October 2012)
Book description: Following Jo Nesbø’s electrifying international best-sellers The Snowman and The Leopard, now comes Phantom, which plunges the brilliant, deeply troubled, now former police officer Harry Hole into a full-tilt investigation on which his own tenuous future will come to depend. When Harry left Oslo again for Hong Kong—fleeing the traumas of life as a cop—he thought he was there for good. But then the unthinkable happened. The son of the woman he loved, lost, and still loves is arrested for murder: Barred from rejoining the police force, he sets out on a solitary, increasingly dangerous investigation that takes him deep into the world of the most virulent drug to ever hit the streets of Oslo (and the careers of some of the city’s highest officials), and into the maze of his own past, where he will find the wrenching truth that finally matters to Oleg, and to himself.
NW: A Novel by Zadie Smith (September 2012)
Book description: This is the story of a city. The northwest corner of a city. Here you’ll find guests and hosts, those with power and those without it, people who live somewhere special and others who live nowhere at all. And many people in between. Every city is like this. Cheek-by-jowl living. Separate worlds. And then there are the visitations: the rare times a stranger crosses a threshold without permission or warning, causing a disruption in the whole system. Like the April afternoon a woman came to Leah Hanwell’s door, seeking help, disturbing the peace, forcing Leah out of her isolation.