The Millions has a most desirable (and with a very literary slant) second half of the year anticipated book list. I have one, too. Perhaps not quite so literary in all cases, but to me these all looks highly appealing and I can't wait to get my hands on them. In some cases these are paperback editions of books I want to own and read (but didn't want to buy them in hardcover--bring on the paperbacks, please).
The Long, Long Trail: War at Home, 1917 by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles -- I'm only on the 1915 installment at the moment but I plan on reading all the WWI novels she has about the Hunter family--upstairs and downstairs members included.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng -- I still need to read her first book, but her newest has been getting a lot of buzz of late and it looks equally as good as her first novel. "Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster."
Difficult Women: A Memoir of Three by David Plante -- "Difficult Women presents portraits of three extraordinary, complicated, and, yes, difficult women [Jean Rhys, Sonia Orwell, Germaine Greer], while also raising intriguing and, in their own way, difficult questions about the character and motivations of the keenly and often cruelly observant portraitist himself.
Katalin Street by Magda Szabo -- "As in The Door and Iza’s Ballad, Magda Szabó conducts a clear-eyed investigation into the ways in which we inflict suffering on those we love. Katalin Street, which won the 2007 Prix Cévennes for Best European novel, is a poignant, somber, at times harrowing book, but beautifully conceived and truly unforgettable."
Other Men's Daughters by Richard Stern -- " It is the late 1960s, and the streets of Cambridge, Massachusetts, are full of long-haired hippies decked out in colorful garb, but Dr. Robert Merriwether, who teaches at Harvard and has been married for a good long time, hardly takes note. Learned, curious, thoughtful, and a creature of habit, Merriwether is anything but an impulsive man, and yet over the summer, while Sarah, his wife, is away on vacation, he meets a summer student, Cynthia Ryder, and before long the two have fallen into bed and in love. Richard Stern’s novel is an elegant and unnerving examination of just how cold and destructive a thing love, “the origin of so much story and disorder,” can be."
Faith Fox by Jane Gardam -- A reissue-because now I am on a Jane Gardam binge. "Faith Fox is a story that explores the wonder of the human heart in all its thunderous eccentricity. Gardam has mastered the essence of age and youth and above all noncomformity. Her memorable characters are sure to delight." (I'm all for nonconformity).
The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation's Largest Home by Denise Kiernan -- "The fascinating true story behind the magnificent Gilded Age mansion Biltmore—the largest, grandest residence ever built in the United States. The Last Castle is the unique American story of how the largest house in America flourished, faltered, and ultimately endured to this day." I have visited the Biltmore and it is truly an amazing place.
Ferocity by Nicola Lagioia -- "Southern Italy, the 1980s. On a hot summer's night under a full moon, far from the outlying neighborhoods of a southern Italian metropolis, Clara stumbles naked, dazed, and bloodied down a major highway. When she dies no-one is able to say exactly how or why, but her brother cannot free himself from her memory or from the questions surrounding her death. The more he learns about her life and death, the more he uncovers the moral decay at the core of his family's ascent to social prominence. At once an intimate family saga, a history of an entire region, and a portrait of the moral and political corruption of a whole society, Ferocity is an exhilirating, ambitious, and vivid work of fiction by Italy's foremost literary novelist."
Life and Deaths of Ethel Jurado by Gregorio Casamayor -- "Ara Ethel Jurado has disappeared. Where has she gone and why has she run away? This is the mysterious backdrop to this unusual thriller in which Ethel's four closest friends tell her story through their separate and intertwining accounts. An enveloping and enthralling puzzle that shapes a choral novel with a stifling atmosphere."
Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano -- "When Aurelie Harcourt's father dies in debtor's prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet houseguest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company. When Aurelie decides to complete her father's unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother's disappearance--and perhaps even her father's death. Author Joanna Davidson Politano's stunning debut set in Victorian England will delight readers with its highly original plot, lush setting, vibrant characters, and reluctant romance."
The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa -- "Sometimes you have to travel a long way to see what's right in front of you Nana the cat is on a road trip. He is not sure where he's going or why, but it means he gets to sit in the front seat of a silver van with his beloved owner, Satoru. Side by side they cruise around Japan through the changing seasons, visiting old friends. There's the brusque farmer for whom cats are just ratters; the warm-hearted couple who run a pet-friendly B the mournful husband whose cat-loving wife has just left him. And even a dog who forces Nana to reassess his disdain for the canine species. But what is the purpose of this road trip? And why is everyone so interested in Nana? Nana does not know and Satoru won't say. But when Nana finally works it out, his small heart will break. A life-affirming anthem to kindness and self-sacrifice, The Travelling Cat Chronicles shows how the smallest things can provide the greatest joy."
The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott -- "A magnificent new novel from one of America’s finest writers―a powerfully affecting story spanning the twentieth century of a widow and her daughter and the nuns who serve their Irish-American community in Brooklyn."
Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II by Liza Mundy -- "Recruited by the U.S. Army and Navy from small towns and elite colleges, more than ten thousand women served as codebreakers during World War II. While their brothers and boyfriends took up arms, these women moved to Washington and learned the meticulous work of code-breaking. Their efforts shortened the war, saved countless lives, and gave them access to careers previously denied to them. A strict vow of secrecy nearly erased their efforts from history; now, through dazzling research and interviews with surviving code girls, bestselling author Liza Mundy brings to life this riveting and vital story of American courage, service, and scientific accomplishment." This one sounds excellent and I have been wanting to read it since I first read about it earlier in the summer--we're getting closer now!
I know I say this all the time, but thank goodness for books. Honestly they can be lifesavers and lifechangers, a place to go when you have nowhere to go or need somewhere far away to go to. I could easily share a second list, and maybe I will. Do you have a "most anticipated" book you can't wait to read (or two or three or . . .).