Cult books of 2013

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Stylist Team
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Resolved to read more? This is a good year to start. Literary highlights of the next 12 months include Stephen King's follow-up to The Shining, Helen Fielding's revival of Bridget Jones and William Boyd's new James Bond adventure. There are some huge debuts too, from Ayana Mathis's Oprah-approved The Twelve Tribes of Hattie to Seth Patrick's Reviver, which is already being turned into a Hollywood film. Courtney Love has an explosive autobiography in the offing and Gwyneth Paltrow sees the release of a second cookbook.

Let us know which new release is first on your 2013 reading list on Twitter or in the comments section below.

Compiled by Anna Pollitt. Author pictures: Rex Features/Jonathan Cape/Hodder

  • The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, Ayana Mathis

    "The opening pages of Ayana’s debut took my breath away. I can’t remember when I read anything that moved me quite this way, besides the work of Toni Morrison." Oprah Winfrey

    Yes, that's the Oprah Winfrey putting Ayana Mathis' debut novel in the same company as the great Toni Morrison. Set in 1920s Philadelphia, Hattie Shepherd rears nine children to "meet a world that will not love them". Their stories are told in 12 distinctive narrative threads described as "beautiful and devastating."

    Release date: January

  • Wool, Hugh Howey

    In a ruined and hostile landscape, in a future few have been unlucky enough to survive, a community exists in a giant underground silo. Inside, men and women live an enclosed life full of rules and regulations, of secrets and lies. To live, you must follow the rules. But some don't.

    Hugh Howey sold more than 140,000 self-published e-book copies of the first novel in his dystopian trilogy. Then Hollywood hitmaker Ridley Scott bought film rights and Steve Zaillian (Schindler's List, Gangs of New York) agreed to pen the script.

    Publishers naturally embarked on a sweaty-palmed bidding war for publishing rights and Century won. Could Howey's sci-fi star eclipse fellow self-publishing sensation E.L. James in 2013?

    Release date: January

  • The Real Jane Austen, Paula Byrne

    This year marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Austen expert Paula Byrne unveils a new biography of the legendary novelist that claims to show unexpected aspects of her life and character through investigations of Austen’s extended family, friends, and acquaintances. Definitely one to peruse over afternoon tea and scones.

    Release date: January

  • Mastermind, Maria Konnikova

    Calling all Sherlock Holmes fans - you too can learn to think in the genius-like manner of the consulting detective "with some self-awareness and a little practice" according to eminent psychologist Maria Konnikov.

    She applies 21st century neuroscience and psychology to plots and passages from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's mysteries in order to understand his protagonist's methods. This isn't a how-to guide for amateur detectives through, Konnikova says applying these methods to our "brain attic" can release improved strategic thinking, problem solving and enhance our creativity.

    Release date: January

  • The Universe Versus Alex Woods, Gavin Extence

    Alex Woods knows that he hasn't had the most conventional start in life...

    The story of 17-year-old nonconformist Alex Woods and his unlikely friendship with a grumpy old man. Extence's sad but funny novel was the subject of fierce bidding wars between publishers last year and early reviews pit it as a certain star read of 2013.

    Release date: January

  • The Burning Air, Erin Kelly

    Of course it was love for my children, love for my son, that caused me to act as I did. It was a lapse of judgement. If I could have foreseen the rippling aftershocks that followed I would have acted differently, but by the time I realised the extent of the consequences, it was too late.

    Horror maestro Stephen King said he wished he'd written Erin Kelly's debut novel The Poison Tree himself. The Burning Air is a psychological suspense about family secrets and revenge that has a plot twists described as book-droppingly good.

    Release date: January

  • Brain on Fire, Susannah Cahalan

    One day, Susannah Cahalan woke up in a strange hospital room, strapped to her bed, under guard, and unable to move or speak. Her medical records - from a month-long hospital stay of which she had no memory - showed psychosis, violence, and dangerous instability. Yet, only weeks earlier she had been a healthy, ambitious 24-year-old, six months into her first serious relationship and a sparkling career as a cub reporter.

    The astonishing memoir of New York Post reporter Susannah Calahan tells of how her sudden psychotic behaviour, brought on by a rare autoimmune disease attacking her brain, almost saw her committed to a lifetime in institutions but for the brilliant Dr. Souhel Najjar' diagnosis of her condition from a simple sketch.

    Release date: February

  • Infinite Sky, C. J. Flood

    Loved by young adult journalists, C.J. Flood's debut novel is also a burgeoning hit among adult readers. It tells the story of Iris, who the reader encounters at the funeral of a boy she loves - but is she mourning her tearaway brother or her tentative boyfriend? We journey through a summer with her as she encounters betrayal, conflict and first love.

    Release date: February

  • Stacie Bakes, Stacie Stewart

    The North East's answer to Nigella presents her retro-inspired sweets in her first cookbook. Get ready for Beehive bars, cheesecake brownies, old favourites like Bakewell tart and classics with a twist, such as coconut baked Alaska. Fun fact - when she's not baking, Stacie can be found DJing on the Northern Soul circuit.

    Release date: February

  • The Childhood of Jesus, J. M. Coetzee

    After crossing oceans, a man and a boy arrive in a new land. Here they are each assigned a name and an age, and held in a camp in the desert while they learn Spanish, the language of their new country. As Simón and David they make their way to the relocation centre in the city of Novilla, where officialdom treats them politely but not necessarily helpfully.

    The Nobel laureate and double Booker Prize winner's 13th novel sees the displaced Simon and young David team up with a woman, David's "mother". Officials become suspicious about the boy's original views on the world and threaten to remove him once again, so the trio go on the run.

    Release date: March

  • Fifty Shades of Feminism

    The antidote to the idea that being a woman is all about submitting to desire. There are many more shades than that and here are fifty women to explore them.

    The cult book of 2012 was arguably E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey, which was centred around the dominant/submissive relationship between a powerful man and an inexperienced woman. This book responds with 50 women from a wide variety of backgrounds, reflecting on "the shades that inspired them and what being a woman means to them today".

    Release date: March

  • Ghana Must Go, Taiye Selasi

    This is the story of a family - of the simple, devastating ways in which families tear themselves apart, and of the long, troubled journeys that they make to bring themselves together again.

    A respected Ghanaian surgeon in the US sees his family's lives ripped apart in one evening in a dramatic and highly anticipated second novel from the The Sex Lives of African Girls author.

    Release date: March

  • Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg

    Sheryl Sandberg--Facebook COO, ranked eighth on Fortune's list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business--has become one of America's most galvanizing leaders, and an icon for millions of women juggling work and family. In Lean In, she urges women to take risks and seek new challenges, to find work that they love, and to remain passionately engaged with it at the highest levels throughout their lives.

    You've joined the network, seen the film and now comes the book, from the perspective of its formidable COO. Sheryl Sandberg's tome isn't about Facebook's global domination, but is a "call to action" to see women everywhere to battle for workplace leadership positions.

    Release date: March

  • Requiem, Lauren Oliver

    Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the centre of the fight.

    Young adult writer Lauren Oliver unleashes the final part of her Delirium trilogy - set in a dystopian world in which love has been declared a disease. Film rights for all three books have been snapped up and passionate fans are desperate to find out Lena's fate.

    Release date: March

  • How to get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, Mohsin Hamid

    The hero of the story could be any one of us, hungry for a different life. And ours too could be the fate that awaits him...

    The Reluctant Fundamentalist author is back and his rural rags-t0-corporate riches tale has been extremely well-received in initial reviews. The novel is set entirely in Pakistan and features a nameless male protagonist whose professional success cannot replace his desire to win the heart of his one true love.

    Release date: March

  • Hello World, Alice Rawsthorn

    Design is one of the most powerful forces in our lives. When deployed wisely, it can give us pleasure, choice, strength, decency, security and much more. But if its power is abused, the outcome can be wasteful, confusing, humiliating, even dangerous. None of us can avoid being affected by design, whether or not we wish to.

    Alice Rawsthorn shows design as a powerful, important yet overlooked force and examines how it affects us day-to-day. Paola Antonelli, senior curator of architecture and design at MoMA, New York, was emphatic in her praise of the book, describing the author as "the one and only, the best design critic in the entire world", adding, "Irma Boom designed it, and Irma is very simply the best book designer alive.”

    Release date: March

  • The Last Runaway, Tracy Chevalier

    When modest Quaker Honor Bright sails from Bristol with her sister, she is fleeing heartache for a new life in America, far from home. But tragedy leaves her alone and vulnerable, torn between two worlds and dependent on the kindness of strangers.

    Girl With a Pearl Earring author Tracy Chevalier’s latest novel is described as "the story of bad men and spirited women." Set in 1850s Ohio, protagonist Honor must decide whether to put her principles into action to help runaway slaves escape their ruthless hunters.

    Release date: March

  • Dear Lucy, Julie Sarkissian

    Lucy is a young woman with an uncommon voice and unusual way of looking at the world. She would tell you that she is “missing too many words,” but despite her limitations she has a boundless zest for discovery and a deep desire to connect with those around her.

    Favourably compared with Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Sarkissian's debut sees Lucy abandoned by her mother to work on a farm, where she bonds with a pregnant Samantha. When her friend gives birth and her baby disappears, Lucy takes it upon herself to investigate.

    Released date: April

  • The Shock of the Fall, Nathan Filer

    I’ll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name’s Simon. I think you’re going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he’ll be dead. And he was never the same after that.

    No less than 11 publishing houses entered a bidding war for Nathan Filer's groundbreaking novel, which draws on the author’s own background as a mental health nurse. Matthew and Simon are brothers who are separated, yet united by a tragic accident. Exploring themes of loss, grief and mental illness, the reader is said to be transported "directly into the spinning vortex that is schizophrenia."

    Release date: April

  • It's All Good, Gwyneth Paltrow

    A cover image of 40-year-old Gwyneth Paltrow looking like a 20-something picture of health won't do sales of her new cookbook any harm, but be warned, its recipes come straight off the back of its author's strict elimination diet.

    Diagnosed as anaemic and vitamin D deficient, the actress was advised to cut out coffee, alcohol, dairy, eggs, sugar, shellfish, deep-water fish, wheat, meat, soy and processed foods. The food groups left (yes, there are a few) are transformed into 185 recipes, including salmon burgers with pickled ginger and banana "ice cream".

    Release date: April

  • Beautiful Ruins, Jess Walter

    The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying.

    Lauded as a masterpiece when it was released in the US last summer, Walter's glamorous novel spans 50 years as it presents many different lives and settings that are interwoven in a light-hearted, untraditional love story. Richard Burton and his tempestuous love affair with Elizabeth Taylor even feature. A star-studded Hollywood silver screen interpretation some time around 2015 wouldn't be surprising.

    Release date: May

  • And the Mountains Echoed, Khaled Hosseini

    Little is known about the upcoming novel from the acclaimed author other than it is a multi-generational story about "brothers and sisters, and the ways in which they love, wound, betray, honour, and sacrifice for each other."

    After setting the bar staggeringly high with The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini's third novel is a highlight of the year.

    Release date: May

  • The Other Typist, Suzanne Rindell

    With one simple act, Odalie had snared me in a trap that consisted of equal parts temptation and shame. All this before we'd ever even shaken hands or been introduced.

    Described as Notes on a Scandal meets Rules of Civility and The Talented Mr. Ripley, Rindell's novel sees a female typist at a New York police station in the Roaring Twenties become obsessed with the new woman in the typing pool.

    Release date: May

  • The Fall of Arthur, J.R.R. Tolkien

    A must for fans of the late Lord of the Rings legend, this previously unknown 200-page poem tells of the last days of King Arthur. The alliterative verse is edited by Tolkien's son Christopher, who contributes three essays that explore the literary world of King Arthur, the deeper meaning of the verses and their intriguing links to Tolkien's greatest creation, Middle-earth.

    Release date: May

  • The Art of Being a Woman, Patricia Volk

    There has to be more than one way to be a woman… And if there is more than one way, chances are there are many.

    Filled with glamorous photographs and illustrations, Volk's memoir recalls how the influence of her polished and proper New York socialite mother was somewhat derailed by an early reading of Elsa Schiaparelli's "scandalous" autobiography. Volk combined the two very different women's ideologies on everything from fashion, make-up, lingerie, family and entertaining, to love, sex, superstition and gambling, into lessons that would stay with her for the rest of her life.

    Release date: May

  • Flappers, Judith Mackrell

    Drugs, sex and the Charleston. Timed to to coincide with the movie release of The Great Gatsby comes Mackerell's biographies of six women in a "dangerous generation" - the 1920s, when women were free of war, could cut their hair short, smoke, drink and take drugs and lovers.

    The tales of Diana Cooper, Nancy Cunard, Tallulah Bankhead, Zelda Fitzgerald, Josephine Baker and Tamara de Lempick do not end happily, but the ride is thrilling.

    Release date: May

  • Arctic Monkeys biography, Ben Osborne

    A decade on from the Arctic Monkeys' first gig, music journalist Ben Osborne releases the first comprehensive biography of the British indie rockers, from their Sheffield schooldays, through their rise to fame in the internet age and their headlining performance at the Olympics' opening ceremony.

    Release date: May

  • Reviver, Seth Patrick

    Revivers. Able to wake the recently dead, and let them bear witness to their own demise.

    Film rights to Seth Patrick's debut novel Reviver have been bought by Legendary Pictures (The Dark Knight Rises, Inception, Watchmen) before the book has even been published. Described as an urban noir horror, it focuses on a small group of people who are able to pull the recently dead back into their bodies for a short space of time - a handy gift for a law enforcer and is used by protagonist Jonah Millar to bring back murder victims in order to implicate their killers.

    Release date: June

  • Until You're Mine, Samantha Hayes

    You're alone. You're vulnerable. And you have something that someone else wants. At any cost...

    Touted as Before I Go To Sleep meets Sister, Century publishers splashed out a six-figure deal on Hayes' fifth novel. Described as a "gripping psychological suspense", the thriller sees a heavily pregnant woman grow suspicious of her new nanny, just as vicious attacks on mothers-to-be are taking place in the area.

    Release date: June

  • Book III in the MaddAddam trilogy, Margaret Atwood

    The Handmaid's Tale author releases the long-awaited final book in her compelling apocalyptic trilogy, following Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood.

    Release date: August

  • Doctor Sleep, Stephen King

    '''Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father's legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him and a job at a nursing home where his remnant 'shining' power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes 'Doctor Sleep.'

    Horror fans start the countdown - Stephen King is publishing a sequel to The Shining, 36 years on. Dan, the son of Jack "Heeeeeere's Johnny" Torrance is a troubled adult with a "shining" psychic power that he uses to comfort to the dying. Abra Stone, a 12-year-old girl whose shining is "the brightest ever seen" is hunted by a tribe of quasi-immortal beings who live off the "steam" children with the "shining" produce - when they are slowly tortured to death.

    Release date: September

  • The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert

    Gilbert's last book, Eat, Pray, Love in 2006 was translated into over thirty languages, sold more than 10 million copies worldwide and was made into a movie starring Julia Roberts. Needless to say Gilbert's fans are on tenderhooks for her latest novel, which is described as a "sprawling tale of a 19th century female botanical explorer."

    Release date: Autumn

  • William Boyd's Bond novel

    Any Human Heart author William Boyd will release a new James Bond novel later this year, 60 years after Casino Royale, the first ever 007 novel by Ian Fleming, was first published. The setting of Boyd's spy tale is 1969, but all other details currently remain undercover.

    Release date: Autumn

  • Bridget Jones returns, Helen Fielding

    Bridge is back. Helen Fielding's neurotic yet amusing 90s heroine will be revived later this year in an as-yet untitled novel that is said to cover “a different phase in Bridget’s life”. Will modern Bridget's musings be typed into a Twitter feed instead of a diary? Will her guilt-laden fags be replaced with e-cigarettes? We'll have to wait until the winter to find out.

    Release date: Autumn

  • Courtney Love: The Autobiography

    Set to be the most explosive autobiography of the year, Courtney Love has plenty of material to cover. The Hole singer is likely to address her drug problems, marriage to the late Kurt Cobain, rumours about what she did with the Nirvana frontman's ashes, her fractured relationship with her daughter, lawsuits, money troubles and a string of affairs with rock stars - and Steve Coogan.

    Release date: Autumn