Most Anticipated Books of the First Half of 2019

Listen, this is not a complete list. There is a lot of great stuff that hasn't hit my radar yet. There's also stuff on my radar that I simply forgot about while putting this list together. Oh, and there are amazing books I'm stoked for that aren't here because they have late June/July release dates and those are coming in a future list (looking at you, The Book of X by Sara Rose Etter and Growing Things by Paul Tremblay). Anyway, lots of goodness coming our way. Here's some of the books I'm really excited about. 


'I'm Not Here to Give a Speech' by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (January 8, Vintage International)

El Gabo is back (in English, that is)! This book contains some of his best speeches, starting with a farewell he gave to his classmates when he was 17, all the way through his Nobel acceptance speech. Authors grow, and I'm sure this is the perfect way of seeing Marquez's changing views on writing, fame, life, and politics.

Buy I'm Not Here to Give a Speech (Vintage International) from Amazon.com

 

'Take Out' by Rob Hart (January 15, Polis Books)

This brings crime and food together and I'm here for it. I'm here for all of it. As a bonus, Hart can spin a tale, so triple win.

Buy Take-Out: And Other Tales of Culinary Crime from Amazon.com

 

'Vigilance' by Robert Jackson Bennett (January 29, Tor)

If you like horror, you're excited about this. Also, probably the shortest RJB book I've seen, which has me curious.

Buy Vigilance from Amazon.com

 

'The Bone Weaver's Orchard' by Sarah Read (February 1, JournalStone)

I've only read her short fiction, but she has chops. This has a great buzz going and the cover is great.

Buy The Bone Weaver's Orchard from Amazon.com

 

'The Made Up Man' by Joseph Scapellato (February 5, FSG)

FSG takes a lot of chances publishing stuff no one else will. This is comedic Noir, but not PI stuff. They have my attention.

Buy The Made-Up Man: A Novel from Amazon.com

 

'Don't Wake Up' by Liz Lawler (February 5, Harper)

I like my thrillers weird and timely. This one is about a woman who wakes up after being beaten and abused and has no physical marks/pain/wounds from the attack. With no proof, how will she convince others the attack happened? Color me intrigued.

Buy Don't Wake Up: A Novel from Amazon.com

 

'Where Reasons End' by Yiyun Li (February 5, Penguin)

I've been obsessed with loss since I started writing Coyote Songs. This book deals with a mother's grief after her son kills himself.

 

'Black Leopard, Red Wolf' by Marlon James (February 5, Penguin)

MARLON JAMES! The start of an epic trilogy! POC in da house. Gimme.

Buy Black Leopard, Red Wolf (The Dark Star Trilogy) from Amazon.com

 

'I Am God' by Giacomo Sartori (Februay 5, Restless Books)

Haven't read a disappointing Restless book yet. This one is God's diary. It's literary fiction with its left foot in bizarro fiction, and I'm loving the concept. Plus, I've always tried to shine a light on work in translation.

 

'Brown White Black' by Nishta J. Mehra (February 5, Picador)

Talk about timely! Race, gender religion, and sexuality... now.

Buy Brown White Black: An American Family at the Intersection of Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Religion from Amazon.com

 

'Tonic and Balm' by Stephanie Allen (February 5, Shade Mountain Press)

You know how you dislike stuff that's too academic? Well, this is an African American Studies book disguised as a weird novel about a woman with hydrocephaly joining a traveling medicine show.

Buy Tonic and Balm from Amazon.com

 

'Trigger' by David Swinson (February 12, Mulholland)

If there is one press out there that can put out an exciting book with a new spin on the alcoholic ex-cop thing, my money is on Mulholland. That Swinson is talented is just icing on the Noir cake.

Buy Trigger (Frank Marr) from Amazon.com

 

'On Drinking' by Charles Bukowski (February 19, Ecco)

I know they collected his writing on women and cats, but I'm more excited about this one because drinking became a huge part of his persona. Oh, and I care about your opinion about Bukowski as much as I care about what white dudes who frequent coffee shops with a typewriter think about Dave Foster Wallace.

 

'Carnivorous Lunar Activities' by Max Booth III (February 22, Fangoria) 

Booth always delivers crazy goodness. It's time he got the attention he deserves, and I think teaming up with Fangoria was a great move.

Buy Carnivorous Lunar Activities from Amazon.com

 

'The Lost Night' by Andrea Bartz (February 26, Crown)

A hell of a synopsis, great buzz, and an enthusiastic Caroline Kepnes blurb? Bring it.

Buy The Lost Night: A Novel from Amazon.com

 

'Black Souls' by Gioacchino Criaco (March 5, Soho Crime)

A classic of Calabrian mafia fiction making its English language debut. I love everything Soho Crime does, and I'm excited for this one.

Buy Black Souls from Amazon.com

 

'Inspection' by Josh Malerman (March 19, Del Rey)

The best thing about Bird Box? Now I don’t have to explain Malerman to folks any more. So, yeah, NEW JOSH MALERMAN!

Buy Inspection: A Novel from Amazon.com

 

'Song for the Unraveling of the World' by Brian Evenson (June 11, Coffee House Press) 

Evenson is one of my favorite literary/sci-fi/crime/horror/everything else writers. A Collapse of Horses was amazing. Last Days changed my life. New collection of short stories? Yes. Bring it. I’m ready. The world is waiting. 

Buy Song for the Unraveling of the World from Amazon.com


The funniest thing about this list? I'll probably get on Twitter in a few hours and add something. Oh, and I'll probably remember two dozen books as soon as I send this to the editor. Anyway, share some of yours in the comments! Happy reading.  

Gabino Iglesias

Column by Gabino Iglesias

Gabino Iglesias is a writer, journalist, and book reviewer living in Austin, TX. He’s the author of ZERO SAINTS, HUNGRY DARKNESS, and GUTMOUTH. His reviews have appeared in Electric Literature, The Rumpus, 3AM Magazine, Marginalia, The Collagist, Heavy Feather Review, Crimespree, Out of the Gutter, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, HorrorTalk, Verbicide, and many other print and online venues. 

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