Friends and dreams
“Swing Time," Zadie Smith
The prizewinning author sets her highly-anticipated fifth novel in one of her favorite locations: North London. And then she branches out, telling the story of two young friends and dancers across England and West Africa as their friendship grows and then abruptly ends. In the process, the novel explores the meaning of friendship, identity, and how our roots shape us.
“Here I Am,” Jonathan Safran Foer
It’s Foer’s first novel in 11 years and it’s already being touted as “monumental.” No pressure. Foer’s work looks at a family, based in Washington, D.C., as they navigate crisis. At the book’s heart, it aims to answer, “How can we claim our own identities when our lives are linked so closely to others?”
When you miss “Stranger Things”
“The Beach at Night,” Elena Ferrante
The woman who gave the world the popular “Neapolitan” novels (1.2 million sold and counting) is back with a 38-page long book told from the perspective of a lost doll abandoned in a beach town. It was written for children, but it’s dark stuff. And no doubt Ferrante’s adult fans will be lining up for it.
In need of a good laugh
“Today Will Be Different,” Maria Semple
The author already deserves points for being brave enough to unapologetically admit that her protagonist, Eleanor Flood, is based on herself. In the novel, a woman who seems to have it all on paper must juggle a string of life’s messes, learning that even the best of affirmations can’t cut it sometimes.
An off-beat love story
“The Lesser Bohemians,” Eimear McBride
Following her multi-award-nominated debut novel, “A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing,” McBride writes a ’90s love story about an 18-year-old Irish girl, newly moved to London, and the older actor she meets there. Fireworks and drama ensue.
A social detox might be in order
“Tell Everyone,” Alfred Hermida
The academic attempts to make sense of our lives in the social-media age as he unpicks our collective need to broadcast and share across as many channels as possible and how it’s changing the world around us. He explores how the phenomenon affects everything from the news we consume to the elections we participate in.