When Harry Potter first appeared on bookshelves, how many thousands of readers anxiously awaited the next installment from JK Rowling? Those of us who have a favorite author will, after finishing one novel, immediately anticipate the next one. When the “next one” finally does arrive, the downside, once you have read it, is starting the whole waiting process all over again. There are many such books for which we anxiously await their publication. Here are a few of the most highly awaited books that have just been released.
1. “Demon Copperhead’’ by Barbara Kingsolver
Inspired by Charles Dickens’ “David Copperfield,’’ Kingsolver’s story is set not in Victorian England but in the Appalachian mountains. A boy born to a teenage mother braves the modern world with wit, good looks and a fierce instinct for survival. He learns how to navigate the perils of foster care, child labor, poor schools and damaging losses. For those of us who have loved all of Kingsolver’s novels, this promises to be yet another one to inspire us to read late into the night during the long winter months.
2. “Our Missing Hearts’’ by Celeste Ng
Bird Gardner, a 12-year-old Asian American boy, lives with his loving father. His mother, a Chinese American poet, became a fugitive after writing what was considered a subversive poem when Bird was 9 years old. His father was once a linguist but now shelves books at a university library. For a decade, they have been subjected to laws written to preserve the “American culture” after years of violence and economic instability. The laws forced libraries to remove books that were considered unpatriotic, including the poem by Bird’s mother. To maintain peace and restore prosperity, the government has relocated children of dissidents, particularly those of Asian origin. Bird now sets out on a quest to find his mother, feeling that she has abandoned him, even though it was for his own good.
3. “Fairy Tale’’ by Stephen King
I readily admit that Stephen King is a little too scary for me. However, I know he has a devoted following, and his new book is already flying off the shelves. In his latest novel, King takes us on a ride to a parallel world where good and evil are at war.
Seventeen-year-old Charlie Reade seems like a regular kid, but he is carrying a heavy burden. His mother has been killed in a hit-and-run, and his father is using alcohol to deal with his grief. Charlie finds himself helping an elderly neighbor and his big dog near his home. When the neighbor dies, he leaves Charlie the dog and the keys to an alternate world. Thus begins a truly scary Stephen King story that his followers will find deliciously thrilling.
4. “We Are the Light’’ by Matthew Quick
The author of “The Silver Linings Playbook’’ brings us his new novel about a widower who takes in a grieving teenager and, through this act of kindness, magically revives their small town. Majestic, Pennsylvania, has been torn apart by a recent tragedy, and everyone sees widower Lucas Goodgame as a hero afterward. Everyone except Lucas, that is. Lucas is under a lot of stress and to manage this, he visualizes his deceased wife as an angel who visits every night. When ostracized teenager Eli takes refuge in Lucas’ backyard one day, the two form a friendship that forces them on a journey to heal their neighbors as well as themselves.
5. “The Boys From Biloxi’’ by John Grisham
Childhood friends Keith Rudy and Hugh Malco grew up in Biloxi in the ’60s where they were also Little League all-stars. Keith’s father is a well-known prosecutor who is determined to “clean up the coast.” Hugh’s father is Biloxi’s “boss” of the criminal underground. When Keith and Rudy graduate from high school, their lives take them in different directions. Keith goes to college and then to law school and wants to follow in his father’s footsteps. Hugh has always preferred the nightlife and working in his father’s clubs. The two families are headed for a showdown, one that is destined to happen in a courtroom.
6. “The Passenger’’ by Cormac McCarthy
McCarthy, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for “The Road,’’ has not published a novel in 17 years. “The Passenger’’ has been highly anticipated and is now on the bookshelves. This is the story of a salvage diver, Bobby Western, who is haunted by his father’s contributions to the development of the atomic bomb. He is then called on to search a sunken airliner. As his dive light illuminates the sunken jet with nine bodies still strapped in their seats, he discovers that the plane’s black box and a 10th passenger are missing. These events bring Bobby to the attention of the authorities, and trouble ensues. As in previous books by McCarthy, the story deals with questions of science and religion. On a positive note, you won’t have to wait as long for McCarthy’s next book. “Stella Maris,’’ a companion book about Bobby’s sister Alice, has already been released.
It’s fun to anticipate a new book by a favorite author. It’s even more fun to read it, so check out one of these great reads in the new year.