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The 12 Books You Need To Read In 2013

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Hands up who’s looking forward to 2013? Yeah, us too. You won’t find any of that hard-to-beat-2012 ‘after the Lord Mayor’s Show’ cynicism around these parts, matey.

(Images: Rex Features)

And one of the reasons we can’t wait to get stuck into 2013 is because of all the new books we get to devour. This year we’ve loved Chad Harbach’s baseball novel The Art of Fielding (don’t fret, it’s about more than baseball); John Lancaster’s coruscating dissection of rising property prices in London, Capital (don’t fret, it’s about more than house prices); and Ben Fountain’s memorable anti-war novel, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (don’t fret, it’s about more than guns and gore).

These are 12 of the books we expect to be raving about this time next year.

The Universe Versus Alex Woods

Gavin Extence: The Universe Versus Alex Woods

The buzz surrounding this debut novel from erstwhile chess prodigy Gavin Extence is building nicely. Alex Woods is a 17-year-old misfit, struggling to make his way in the world. That’s until he meets elderly Mr Peterson, a temperamental widower who urges Alex to embrace the world. What follows is a comic tale of friendship and the nitty gritty of life.

Release date: 31 January

Bedlam

Christopher Brookmyre: Bedlam

To describe Christopher Brookmyre’s novels as jet-black would be to do them a disservice. His outrageously dark and comical books are full of meticulously observed barbs and regularly take accurate aim at some of society’s more ridiculous mores. Expect Bedlam, ostensibly about sci-fi surrealism, to plough a similar terrain.

Release date: 7 February

Lenin's Kisses

Yan Lianke: Lenin’s Kisses

Chinese writer Yan Lianke is something of an agent provocateur in his homeland – his highly contentious novels often being subject to state censorship. His latest book, Lenin’s Kisses, is a cautionary tale about China’s lust for power, that involves hairbrained plans to buy Lenin’s embalmed corpse.

Release date: 7 February

Eric Hobsbawm: Fractured Spring

Heavyweight Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm passed away this year at the grand age of 95. He finished his final work, an exhaustive study of 19th and 20th Century art and culture, just months before he died. If it’s anything like his other historical tomes it will be an engaging, propulsive and necessary read.

Release date: March

Eric Schmidt & Jared Cohen: The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of Emerging Technologies

Google big cheeses Schmidt and Cohen attempt to pen a book about the realities of our brave new digital world. Among the lofty questions posed in the catchy The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of Emerging Technologies are the following: How will war, diplomacy, and revolution change when everyone is connected? What will be the impact of having both a full virtual life online, and a physical one? Light reading for the toilet then.

Release date: 23 April

Lionel Shriver: Big Brother

Lionel Shriver doesn’t shy away from big issues. And for her new novel, Big Brother, the superb novelist behind We Need To Talk About Kevin, has literally turned to the notion of big, as in overeating. Pandora’s brother Edison has ballooned in size since their last meeting. How will the rest of her family react to this new obese Edison. A novel that gets right to the heart of Western consumption.

Release date: 9 May

Khaled Hosseini: And the Mountains Echoed

Hosseini is best known for his much-loved 2003 debut novel, The Kite Runner. His new book is destined to be another overarching weighty tome. Hosseini has already said it’s a multi-generational tale with the theme of family to the fore. Expect Hollywood to come knocking once again.

Release date: 21 May

Ben Johnson: Untitled Arctic Monkeys biography

Next May sees the 10th anniversary of Arctic Monkeys’s first gig. To celebrate the fact – and no doubt to make you feel very old in the process – Omnibus Press is publishing a comprehensive biography of the Sheffield band. The band are notoriously press shy, so we expect this biography to be a compelling read.

Release date: May

Neil Gaiman: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The man behind comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust and The Graveyard Book, returns to adult fiction for the first time in 10 years with The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Focusing on the dual themes of childhood and memory, Gaiman describes it as a ‘story of magic, about the power of stories and how we face the darkness inside each of us’.

Release date: 18 June

Doctor Sleep

Stephen King: Doctor Sleep

Stephen King’s The Shining was published in 1977. Next year, 36 years later, his sequel, Doctor Sleep finally sees the light of day. Although whether Doctor Sleep will be light reading is probably moot. The novel will focus on the young boy from The Shining, Dan Torrance. Now a middle-aged nursing assistant, Dan finds himself in another struggle between good and evil. In other King news, the prolific writer is also set to publish crime novel, Joyland.

Release date: 24 September

George Pelecanos: The Trouble

We ain’t too proud to say it, but we’re massive George Pelecanos fanboys. His D.C. Quartet series is among the best pulp fiction of recent time. And that’s without mentioning his involvement in The Wire and Treme. He’s recently hit on a new protagonist – Spero Lucas – for his novels. The Double, the second Lucas book, will doubtless be another detective/crime thriller masterpiece.

Release date: TBC

Robert Harris: TBC

The final instalment in Harris’s Cicero trilogy is due next year according to book publishers Hutchinson. Following Imperium and Lustrum, the yet-to-be titled book is another historical novel about the life of Roman Renaissance man Cicero.

Release date: TBC

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