5 Books to Watch For in May

There are a bunch of interesting titles being released this month. Here are five that bear special attention. Note: I am omitting Toni Morrison’s Home (May 8), since you know already that we are crazy excited about it.

Mantel’s follow-up and sequel to her Man Booker Prize-winning Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies focuses on Henry VIII’s relationship with Anne Boleyn. Word is you don’t need to have read Wolf Hall to follow along, but if you are interested in this, do yourself a favor and read Wolf Hall. (May 8 release)

Peter Carey does high-concept just about as well as anyone. I got hooked on Carey with Oscar & Lucinda, which is about a couple of people moving a glass building across Australia in the 19th century. So, I will keep my skepticism locked away for this new novel, which is about a museum curator given the task of assembling a vintage automaton shortly after the death of her long-time (and married) lover. I don’t ask questions of Carey novels: I just buy and read them. (May 15)

Irving really hasn’t been on my radar in a while, but many are saying that this long-view story of a bisexual man is a return of the form of Owen Meany and Garp, so I think I will give it a shot. Also, that is a dynamite cover, no? (May 8)

I like to keep tabs on titles and trends outside of my particular reading taste, and I am watching this dystopian YA series carefully. Insurgent is the second novel in Roth’s Divergent Trilogy, the first novel of which Goodreads readers voted their favorite novel of 2011. The plot, about a society divided up into sections, and protagonist, a courageous and thoughtful teenage girl undergoing an initiation, might seem…familiar. But this series is gaining steam. You’ve been warned. (May 1)

I have been carefully circling China Miéville, fearing that if I read one, I will be compelled by forces beyond by control to read the rest. People I trust say that he might be the single most creative novelist alive, and the synopsis for Railsea, a steampunkish reimagining of Moby-Dick, does nothing to damage that reputation. Seriously, I felt like I was having a stroke when I was reading the summary. In  a good way. (May 15)