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New book releases 2016: The 15 most anticipated reads

Last year was full of literary riches, with remarkable offerings on both the fiction and the nonfiction fronts. And it seemed like books really had people talking, from Ta-Nahesi Coates’ powerful memoir, “Between the World and Me,” to Hanya Yanagihara’s absorbing novel, “A Little Life.” But time waits for no reader, and 2016 promises new page-turners and new conversations. Here are 15 books publishing in the months to come — expect to hear more about them.

Open Letter, by Charb

The editor of the French publication
Photo Credit: Amazon

The editor of the French publication "Charlie Hebdo," "Charb" completed this brief manifesto just days before he was killed in the January attack on the magazine's Paris office. He considers questions of free speech, censorship, religious extremism and prejudice. Read a review. (Little, Brown; Jan. 5)

My Name is Lucy Barton, by Elizabeth Strout

Strout's

Strout's "Olive Kitteridge" won a Pulitzer Prize and was adapted the award-winning 2014 HBO miniseries with Frances McDormand. Her new novel looks at the complex relationship between a mother and daughter -- long estranged -- who reconnect when the latter lies in a hospital bed recovering from an operation. Read a review. (Random House, Jan. 12)

The Name of God is Mercy, by Pope Francis

Framed as a conversation with Italian journalist Andrea
Photo Credit: Random House

Framed as a conversation with Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli, this is the first book published by the popular pontiff during his papacy. Under strict embargo until publication, the book "discusses mercy, a subject of central importance in his teaching and testimony," according to U.S. publisher Random House. Read a review. (Random House, Jan. 12)

The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain, by Bill Bryson

A family road trip around Great Britain 20

A family road trip around Great Britain 20 years ago inspired Bryson's "Notes from a Small Island" in 1996. Now this insightful and comic writer -- who recounted his experiences on the Appalachian Trail in "A Walk in the Woods" -- hits the road once again to report on Britain today. Read a review. (Doubleday, Jan. 19)

Children of Paradise: The Struggle for the Soul of Iran, by Laura Secor

The United States' nuclear deal with Iran and
Photo Credit: Riverhead

The United States' nuclear deal with Iran and the recent prisoner exchange have the Islamic Republic very much in the news. So this portrait of the country and its people by an American journalist seems especially timely. Just a child during the Tehran hostage crisis of 1979-'80, Secor began visiting the country in 2004; her book introduces the men and women who are trying to forge change there. Read a review. (Riverhead, Feb. 2)

The Life of Elves, by Muriel Barbery

This French author's last novel,
Photo Credit: Europa

This French author's last novel, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog," was a surprise international best-seller. Her new book is the magical realist tale of two girls with special gifts: Maria, in France, can magically communicate with nature; Clara, in Italy, is a musical prodigy. Already a best-seller in France, it was praised by critics for its "poetic language" and "endearing characters." (Europa Editions, Feb. 9)

At the Existentialist Cafe: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails, by Sarah Bakewell

Don't let that crazily long subtitle --
Photo Credit: Other Press

Don't let that crazily long subtitle -- "With Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, Edmund Husserl, Karl Jaspers, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and others" -- deter you. Just imagine intellectual history as a French New Wave film starring these chain-smoking philosophers. Read a review. (Other Press, March 1)

Lust & Wonder, by Augusten Burroughs

The author of the cult classic memoir
Photo Credit: St. Martin's

The author of the cult classic memoir "Running with Scissors," a recounting of his deeply weird childhood, and "Dry," a funny-sad account of his alcoholism and attempts to get sober, now turns to his love life as a gay man in Manhattan, with all its attendant pleasures and frustrations. (St. Martin's, March 29)

The Year of the Runaways, by Sunjeev Sahota

This debut novel from England was shortlisted for
Photo Credit: Knopf

This debut novel from England was shortlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize last year. In March it comes stateside, where its subject -- a community of young undocumented immigrants from India struggling to survive in the U.K. -- is sure to have some resonance. (Knopf, March 31)

The Little Red Chairs, by Edna O'Brien

The publication this year of
Photo Credit: Little, Brown

The publication this year of "The Love Object" -- a selection of stories from the 50-year career of this Irish writer -- confirmed her extraordinary gifts. Now she returns to the novel, with this story about an Eastern European émigré whose arrival in a small Irish village upsets lives and certainties. Read a review here. (Little, Brown; March 29)

'Most Blessed of the Patriarchs,' by Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter S. Onuf

Gordon-Reed's groundbreaking study,
Photo Credit: Liveright

Gordon-Reed's groundbreaking study, "The Hemingses of Monticello," won a Pulitzer Prize and shed light on the realities of life for Jefferson's slaves. Now, with a leading scholar of the president, she explores the philosophy and real-life practice of this Founding Father. Read a review here.(Liveright, April 13)

The Excellent Lombards, by Jane Hamilton

The author of not one but two Oprah
Photo Credit: Grand Central

The author of not one but two Oprah Book Club picks ("The Book of Ruth" and "A Map of the World") is back with a coming-of-age tale set on a Midwestern apple orchard, where a young girl and her family face the inevitable changes that time and modernization bring. (Grand Central, April 19)

Eligible, by Curtis Sittenfeld

The Austen Project taps best-selling authors to recast
Photo Credit: Random House

The Austen Project taps best-selling authors to recast Jane Austen novels as contemporary tales. We've had Joanna Trollope's "Sense and Sensibility," Alexander McCall-Smith's "Emma" and Val McDermid's "Northanger Abbey." Now Sittenfeld, author of "Prep," tackles the 800-pound gorilla, as it were, that is "Pride and Prejudice." Read a review. (Random House, April 19)

Everyone Brave is Forgiven, by Chris Cleave

The author of the best-selling
Photo Credit: Simon and Schuster

The author of the best-selling "Little Bee" drew on his own family history for this new novel, set in 1939 as England steeled itself for Hitler's bombs. The central character, an 18-year-old woman who stays in London to teach children who cannot be evacuated to the countryside, finds herself in a wartime love triangle. (Simon & Schuster, May 3)

Zero K, by Don DeLillo

A new novel by the award-winning author of
Photo Credit: Scribner

A new novel by the award-winning author of "Underworld," "White Noise" and Libra" is, inevitably, a literary event. "Zero K" features a billionaire who wants to send his terminally ill wife to a secret compound -- in which he is an investor -- where bodies are preserved until biomedical research can save them. It's exactly the kind of chillingly relevant subject matter we've come to expect from this great American writer. (Scribner, May 3)

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