Sometimes we in the U.S. have to wait a little longer for a British book than the UK does. But in the case of these twelve books published in the UK in 2017 and crossing the pond in 2018, that wait will be worth it.
Heading 2! Gimme something Ultramagnetic to write on.
Just like the Van Halen song.
Winter by Ali Smith (Pantheon, January 9, 2018)
Ali Smith has been nominated for the Man Booker Prize four times, including with the first book from her Seasonal tetralogy, Autumn, widely described as the first post-Brexit novel. This second installment takes a hard look at “the season that teaches us survival.”
Gnomon by Nick Harkaway (Knopf, January 9, 2018)
“A virtuosic new novel set in a near-future, high-tech surveillance state, that is equal parts dark comedy, gripping detective story, and mind-bending philosophical puzzle.” Sounds intriguing—if perhaps a little terrifyingly close to the truth.
The story of the great british bake off by Anita Singh (Head of Zeus, January 15, 2018)
If you can’t get enough of soggy bottoms or sticky buns, here’s a book to help you relive everything you love about the most popular cookery show on British TV.
How to Stop Time by Matt Haig (Viking, February 6, 2018)
Tom is 41, but he’s also hundreds of years old: he has a condition which prevents him both aging and dying. He’s performed with Shakespeare, explored the high seas with Captain Cook, and shared cocktails with Fitzgerald, and now that he just wants a normal life, it seems logical to put this first hand knowledge to good use and become a history teacher. The only rule for people of his condition is simple: do not fall in love. So, of course, into his life walks his colleague, a captivating French teacher. This book was both a bestseller and readers’ award prizewinner, and I saw it on more than a few end-of-year “best of” lists.
Women’s London: A Tour Guide to Great Lives by rachel kolsky (IMM Lifestyle, February 26, 2018)
If you’re planning a trip across the Pond anytime soon (or if you want to indulge in a little armchair travel) you’ll want to pack this guidebook to London, which offers self-guided tours to places where key women—artists, doctors, reformers, royals, authors, and more—lived, worked, and are commemorated.
The Sparsholt Affair by Alan Hollinghurst (Knopf, March 13, 2018)
You couldn’t swing a cat in the British literary world in November 2017 without hitting a review of this book or an interview of its Booker prize-winning author, who the Guardian has claimed to be “best English novelist working today.” Perhaps a little hyperbolic, but you could do worse if you like 1940s, Oxbridge-set fiction, which “evokes the intimate relationships of a group of friends bound together by art, literature and love across three generations.”
A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee (Pegasus Crime, April 3, 2018)
In a historical crime novel set in India in 1920, Captain Wyndham and Sergeant Banerjee of the Calcutta Police Force investigate the dramatic assassination of a Maharajah’s son. A Necessary Evil has been called “even better” than his Mukherjee’s first, A Rising Man, which was not short of accolades.
The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (Yearling, April 10, 2018)
This YA fantasy novel won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize as well as being shortlisted for the inaugural Jhalak Prize, which rewards books by British and British resident authors of colour. “Forbidden to leave her island, Isabella dreams of the faraway lands her cartographer father once mapped. When her friend disappears, she volunteers to guide the search. The world beyond the walls is a monster-filled wasteland—and beneath the dry rivers and smoking mountains, a fire demon is stirring from its sleep. Soon, following her map, her heart, and an ancient myth, Isabella discovers the true end of her journey: to save the island itself.”
The Little Library Cookbook by Kate Young (Sterling Epicure, April 10, 2018)
Kate Young has been publishing her book-inspired recipes on her blog and on the Guardian Books website for a while, and now 100 of them are collected in a book: Paddington Bear’s marmalade, a clam chowder from Moby Dick, a Neopolitan pizza in honour of Elena Ferrante, or an afternoon tea as if you were at Manderley are among the recipes on offer.
Tin Man by Sarah Winman (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, May 15, 2018)
This is a sad but beautifully-written book that much of British book twitter had a lot of love for in 2017. It’s the story of two young men, Ellis and Michael, and their friend Annie who becomes Ellis’s wife and whom he must live without now that he is newly widowed.
How Hard Can It Be by Allison Pearson (St. Martin’s Press, June 5, 2018)
I loved Allison Pearson’s I Think I Love You¸ about teenage fangirls of David Cassidy and the adult women they grown into, though I’ve never read I Don’t Know How She Does It. That book is about the craziness of motherhood, and this one is a sequel to that, with its heroine facing her fiftieth birthday and impossible teenagers.
The loneliest girl in the universe by Lauren James (HarperTeen, July 3, 2018)
Left alone on spaceship Infinity after her parents’ death, Romy Silvers begins exchanging messages with J, captain of the Eternity. As it approaches, though, her relief at no longer being alone curdles when she realises there’s more to her new friend’s mission that she thought. The UKYA blogger community raved about this book last year for months before it came out, so I’m so glad to see it making its way across the channel.