Winter's Big Books

Looking for a good read to start off the New Year? From Elizabeth Gilbert's new memoir to Anne Tyler's latest, The Daily Beast previews 10 of the best books coming out this month.

The Champagne has lost its fizz, the presents have been unwrapped, and the major literary awards have been handed out, and so the annual fall publishing extravaganza has come to a close. Usually January is a quiet month for new books but this year the fall was so packed with blockbusters (see Dan Brown and Sarah Palin) that publishers pushed off publication of some of their biggest titles until the New Year. And who’s to say they haven’t made the right decision? When winter cold descends and the skies go gray, there is no better time to crack open a new book.

The Daily Beast presents a few of the hottest titles you should keep an eye out for in the next month.

The Unnamed By Joshua Ferris

The 35-year-old wunderkind is back with his second novel after his National Book Award finalist debut, Then We Came to the End. Leaving behind the workplace, Ferris’s new novel investigates a wealthy New York man’s mysterious compulsion for walking.

Noah’s Compass By Anne Tyler

For over 40 years, Anne Tyler has been writing quiet, honest novels set in Baltimore about disappointed lives, the failings of age, and the complications of love and marriage. Her latest is up to her usual form.

The Swan Thieves By Elizabeth Kostova

Author of the blockbuster The Historian, Kostova returns with a sweeping historical novel about a psychiatrist treating a famous artist who attacked a painting at the National Gallery of Art, and a mystery around that painting reaching back to the 19th-century.

The Privileges By Jonathan Dee

Striking the right note for our times, Dee precisely captures the unethical world of a Manhattan hedge-fund manager, his disaffected daughter, and the glittering dangers of success.

Ordinary Thunderstorms By William Boyd

We’re great fans of Boyd’s previous books and his new one has been widely acclaimed in England. It’s an elegant, gripping thriller about an ordinary man who must go underground (literally) to escape those hunting him.

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Happy: A Memoir By Alex Lemon

Until he suffered a stroke his freshman year at college, Alex Lemon was a hard-partying, popular college student. He sought solace in drink and drugs before his mother stepped in to nurse him. All of this is recounted with surprising humor in this memoir about one man’s struggle to overcome the unexpected.

Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage By Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert returns from her journeys (see Eat, Pray, Love), wrestles with doubts about marriage, and then— presto—gets married. With 1 million copies in print, this is sure to launch a new round in the great marriage debate.

Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America By Peter Biskind

One of the hippest Hollywood journalists around, Peter Biskind delves again into America’s movie heyday with his revealing portrait of actor and bad boy Warren Beatty. You’ll never watch Bonnie and Clyde the same way again.

Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy By Joseph Stiglitz

In the last year there were dozens of books on the economic debacle, but Nobel Prize-winner Joseph Stiglitz’s is sure to break new ground with its scathing and incisive look at the systemic flaws in our economic system and how to repair them. Consider this the book that will help lead the way forward.

Americans in Paris: Life and Death Under Nazi Occupation By Charles Glass

Occupied Paris, Nazis, and World War II are the essential ingredients in journalist Charles Glass’ entertaining and gripping history of the Americans (including Sylvia Beach, founder of famed bookstore Shakespeare & Co.) who remained in the city throughout the war. Pack it in your bag for a wintry Parisian getaway.

Plus: Check out Book Beast for more news on hot titles and authors and excerpts from the latest books.