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May 22, 2022

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15 most anticipated books of 2022

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"Moon Witch Spider King," by Marlon James.
"Moon Witch Spider King," by Marlon James. (Penguin Random House/TNS) (Penguin Random House) Photo Gallery

Here’s hoping that 2022 brings us … oh, at this point, I’ll settle for anything halfway decent. But here are 15 much-anticipated books that might make the new year bright, in order of planned publication.

“To Paradise” by Hanya Yanagihara (Penguin Random House, Tuesday)

It’s been seven years since the publication of Yanagihara’s acclaimed previous novel “A Little Life”; now she returns with a sprawling novel taking place in three different time periods: 1893, 1993 and 2093.

“You Don’t Know Us Negroes and Other Essays” by Zora Neale Hurston, edited and with an introduction by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Genevieve West (HarperCollins, Tuesday)

Astonishingly, this is the first comprehensive collection of essays and articles by the legendary Harlem Renaissance author of “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” who died in 1960. The works included span more than 35 years.

“Chasing History: A Kid in the Newsroom” by Carl Bernstein (Macmillan, Tuesday)

The investigative journalist and co-author of “All the President’s Men” writes of his roots in journalism, beginning as a 16-year-old copy boy for the Washington, D.C. Evening Star in 1960.

“The Violin Conspiracy” by Brendan Slocumb (Anchor, Feb. 1)

I’m in the middle of an advance copy of this one right now, and it is not easy to put down. Slocumb, a violinist and music teacher, makes his fiction debut with a page-turner of a tale about a Black classical musician whose priceless violin suddenly goes missing.

“Moon Witch, Spider King” by Marlon James (Penguin Random House, Feb. 15)

The sequel to James’ bestselling “Black Leopard, Red Wolf,” this book continues the author’s planned Dark Star trilogy, set in a mythical African landscape. James is also known for the 2015 Man Booker prizewinning novel “A Brief History of Seven Killings.”

“Scoundrel: How a Convicted Murderer Persuaded the Women Who Loved Him, the Conservative Establishment, and the Courts to Set Him Free” by Sarah Weinman (Penguin Random House, Feb. 22)

For the true crime buff: Tales of wrongful conviction are sadly commonplace, but here’s a rare tale of wrongful exoneration, written by the author of “The Real Lolita” and the mystery-fiction reviewer for The New York Times.

“Burning Questions: Essays and Occasional Pieces 2004-2021” by Margaret Atwood (Doubleday, March 1)

In over 50 pieces, the author of “The Handmaid’s Tale” and numerous other works examines a variety of topics, ranging from the Trump years to zombies to pandemics to granola.

“Cover Story” by Susan Rigetti (HarperCollins, April 5)

This is another one for which I’ve read an early galley, and did I ever race through it. Rigetti’s debut is a clever epistolary novel with an elegant con woman at its center — in other words, perfect escapism for this moment.

“The Candy House” by Jennifer Egan (Simon & Schuster, April 5)

Pulitzer Prize-winner Egan (“A Visit From the Goon Squad”) returns with a tale of a tech genius who creates a way to access one’s memory — and that of others.

“Sea of Tranquility” by Emily St. John Mandel (Knopf, April 5)

Following up the bestselling literary thriller “The Glass Hotel” (now planned as a TV limited series), Mandel’s latest is a time-travel mystery set partly on Vancouver Island.

“Finding Me” by Viola Davis (HarperCollins, April 26)

Davis, the Academy Award-winning actor (“Fences”) has spoken in interviews about having grown up in “abject poverty”; here, in her new memoir, she tells the full story of her life.

“City on Fire” by Don Winslow (HarperCollins, April 26)

Postponed from fall 2021 — Winslow said then in a statement that he wanted to wait until it was safe to have a full-capacity book tour — this is the first book in a planned trilogy, a crime saga inspired by Homer’s “The Iliad.” His recent books include the acclaimed “Cartel” trilogy.

“Tracy Flick Can’t Win” by Tom Perrotta (Scribner, June 7)

Yes, class president wannabe Tracy Flick — so memorably played by Reese Witherspoon in the film of Perrotta’s novel “Election” — is back, and she’s middle-aged and working at a high school.

“Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks” by Patrick Radden Keefe (Penguin Random House, June 28)

I’ll read anything Keefe, a New Yorker writer and master of nonfiction, writes — if you haven’t read “Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland” or “Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty,” what are you waiting for? This one, a collection of his New Yorker pieces about criminals and rascals, sounds irresistible.

“The Man Who Could Move Clouds: A Memoir” by Ingrid Rojas Contreras (Penguin Random House, July 12)

The author of the award-winning debut novel “Fruit of the Drunken Tree” here writes of growing up in Bogotá, Colombia in the 1980s and ’90s — inspired by a head injury in her 20s that resulted in not only amnesia but the ability to see ghosts.

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