Top Ten Tuesday

A Feast For Your Eyes: New Books Coming Our Way Soon

After months of cancelled or delayed launches, there are signs that the publishing industry is ramping up for a mega season of new titles.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is on the theme of “Top 10 Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of 2020” which gives me a chance to talk about some of the books that have caught my attention. I suspect there will be many more temptations coming my way when publication dates get firmed up but for now, here are the books I’m keen to buy and read.

The Rain Heron by Robbie Arnott

Arnott’s latest novel is described as “A gorgeous, playful and casually brutal novel about war and ecological precarity, about the endurance of legends and the dark magic to be found in our natural world.” Here we have a tale of two women: one who has chosen to live a secluded life among the mountains of a country turned upside down in a coup. The other is a soldier who comes in search of a legendary creature. Their lives entwine, pushing them both to consider what they love and what they fear.

Publication date: July 2 from Atlantic Books

The Unpassing by Chia-Chia Lin

This debut novel created a buzz when it was published in hardback in the US last year. I suspect we’ll be hearing a lot more about it once the paperback is issued. Chia-Chia Lin has written a tragic tale of a Taiwanese immigrant family struggling to make ends meet on the outskirts of Anchorage, Alaska. Their 10-year-old son contracts meningitis but survives. When he recovers from his near fatal coma, he learns his younger sister died from the same condition. Chia-Chia Lin explores the anguish and repercussions of this and the way that the American dream is undermined by reality.

Publication date: July 2 from LittleBrown

The Liar’s Dictionary by Eley Williams

Lexicographical intrigues form the basis of this debut novel that swings from the nineteenth century compiler of a new Encyclopaedic Dictionary to a present day digital editor. The novel touches on questions of intellectual integrity and the fragility and absurdity of language. I have a feeling this book is going to expand my vocabulary. It’s already introduced me to mountweazel which apparently is a fake entry deliberately inserted into a dictionary or work of reference.

Publication date: July 16 by Cornerstone

A Room Made of Leaves by Kate Grenville

Inspired by a real life story, A Room Made of Leaves takes us to a penal colony in eighteenth century New South Wales. It’s a shock to the system for 21-year old Elizabeth, the newly-arrived wife of the colony’s new Lieutenant. Accustomed to the greenery and peace of her native Devon, she finds Sydney Town a brutal, dusty, hungry place of makeshift shelters, failing crops, plots and rumours. To survive both the place and her reckless husband she has to draw on strengths she never imagined she possessed. The sense of place created in Grenville’s earlier novel The Secret River , was one of the reasons I enjoyed that book so much. I’m hoping the new novel will prove equally atmospheric.

Publication date: August 6 , 2020 from Canongate

The Mission House by Carys Davies

If you haven’t yet sampled the work of this young award-winning Welsh author, I hope you’ll be tempted by The Mission House. It’s set at a British hill station in South India where a man takes refuge in the local mission. He is befriended by the Padre in the adjacent presbytery and begins to form close bonds with the Padre’s adopted daughter. As the relationship develops religious tensions threaten to escalate, putting the mission in danger.

Publication date: August 6 , 2020 by Granta

The Glass Hotel by Emily St John Mandel

It’s six years since Mandel’s last novel Station Eleven, a book which helped me overcome an aversion to dystopian fiction. Now she’s back with a novel that weaves together the stories of a bartender at a five-star glass-and-cedar palace on the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island; the New York financier who owns the hotel and a shipping agent who is shaken by a message he sees at the hotel. The publishers describe the novel as a story of “greed and guilt, fantasy and delusion, art and the ghosts of our pasts.” I’m counting the days until this comes out…..

Publication date: August 6 from Pan Macmillan

Summer by Ali Smith

This is the fourth and final book in Ali Smith’s Seasonal Quartet which began with Autumn in 2017. I’ve been buying each book as it was published but wanted to wait for the quartet to be complete before I started to read them. Summer, like its predecessors, uses an interplay between the recent past and modern day society to examine love, time, art, politics/

Publication date: August 6 by Penguin Books

English Pastoral: An Inheritance by James Rebanks

The only non-fiction title in my list, this is a chronicle of the life of three generations of farmers on a small farm in England’s Lake District. Rebanks, best known as the author of The Shepherd’s Life, uses the book to reflect on the decline of traditional agriculture and the changing nature of rural landscapes around the world.

It’s a topic very close to my heart because of plans to evict a farmer on the edge of our village, rip up all the fields and build yet another business park.

Publication date: September 3 from Penguin

Those Who Know by Alis Hawkins 

Originally scheduled for a May launch, this third book in the Teifi Valley Coroner’s series will now be released in September. Those Who Know sees the coroner and squire Harry Probert-Lloyd and his under steward John Davies once more set out on the path of justice when they are called upon to examine the body of a radical and pioneering schoolteacher. I read the first book in this series – None So Blind – a few years ago and loved the chemistry between the two main characters.

Publication date: September 24 by Dome Press

Snow by John Banville

I’ve enjoyed John Banville’s literary fiction, including his Booker Prize winning The Sea, but I’ve never read any of the crime fiction published under his pen name Benjamin Black.

The Snow is his first crime novel to be published under his own name. Until now he has kept his crime and literary output completely separate, evento the extent of writing the former with a pen and typing the latter. I wonder why he’s decided to change course?

The publishers describe The Snow as a “chilling, 1950s-set, murder mystery”. It begins with the discovery of the body of a parish priest in the Library at Ballyglass House, the County Wexford family seat of the aristocratic, secretive Osborne family. Detective Inspector St John Strafford arrives from Dublin to investigate he is met with a conspiracy of silence as the snow continues to fall.

Publication date: October 6 from Faber

Do any of these take your fancy? Or are there some other titles you are eagerly awaiting later this year?


What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

26 thoughts on “A Feast For Your Eyes: New Books Coming Our Way Soon

  • lydiaschoch

    I really need to read Ali Smith’s quartet sometime. I’ve heard good things about it.

    My TTT .

    • Reactions to the individual books have been mixed, it will be interesting to see what the reaction is when the last one is published -then people can consider whether the concept as a whole was successful

  • Sheree @ Keeping Up With The Penguins

    I’ve got the new Kate Grenville in my hot little hands, and I’m looking forward to several others from this list, too. So great to see publishing ramping up again!

    • Am envious you already have the Grenville in physical form. I have the ebook version which isn’t quite as exciting

  • Do you think the issue was the narrator’s voice (always one of the main reasons I have o abandon audio versions)? Or did the story just not work in audio format?

  • I’ve read The Glass Hotel; it’s wonderful, very much in the style of Station Eleven. And so glad to read about these other books! I can’t wait for the Carys Davies (loved West!) and the Kate Grenville. May have to find my way to UK editions as these aren’t scheduled for the U.S. until 2021.

    • That’s a shame about the publication date – a very long time to wait! I think the e-book versions of some may already be available though

  • I have The Rain Heron on pre-order. Flames was my book of the year last year, I thought it was astonishing.

    • I’m just starting to read The Rain Heron (managed to get a net galley version) – just can’t wait to go to bed tonight so I can open it …

  • I’d love to read Emily St J Mandel’s Glass Hotel. Also The Liar’s Dictionary. Mountweazel is a splendid word!

    • Isn’t it a fun word – I’m desperately trying to think of a way to drop it into a conversation….

  • I am also counting the days until The Glass Hotel is available. It’s already been put back once so I’m just hoping it won’t happen again. I’ve read the Kate Grenville, which is set at the same period as The Lieutenant. I’ll be interested to see what you make of it.

    • It may be that the publishers now have a little more certainty about the future than they did a few months ago when so many distributors were not working. The opening of bookshops will have also helped. Not much point launching books if people can’t easily buy them

  • I’m eagerly waiting for the new Backman and Penny books!

    • Do you know when the new Louise Penny is coming out? I’m a bit behind with the series but still like to keep an eye out for her latest episode

        • I shall take a look at her website, she usually posts some good info about the origin of the plot or the theme

  • Summer and The Glass Hotel we’re on my list already but I like the sound of most of the others too. I tried joining in the TTT linkup for the first time ever today and did the wrong list! 😩

  • I gave up on Station Eleven, probably because I tried in audiobook, so I’m curious about this one. I’ll wait to see what you think. I’m also curious about Snow


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