Hyper Hyped: Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel
Spiegel & Grau (April)
Early reports had it that Mr. Martel's follow-up to Life of Pi was about a donkey and a monkey who survive a genocide. Instead, it's about a novelist and taxidermist who write a play about a donkey and a monkey who survive a genocide. Meta does not necessarily mean better.
Hyper Hyped: Anthill by E.O. Wilson
Mr. Wilson, a distinguished Harvard biologist, answers the oft-asked question, why don't scientists write novels?
Hyper Hyped: Imperial Bedrooms by Bret Easton Ellis
The spectacle of the '80s teen stars of John Hughes' movies paying tribute to their mentor at the Oscars was equal parts awkward and depressing. Could Mr. Ellis' attempt to follow the characters of Less Than Zero into middle age be any different?
Hyper Hyped: The Pregnant Widow by Martin Amis
Once the crown prince of the British comic novel, Mr. Amis has been in a transitional phase for at least the past decade. It's a good sign that he's gone back to the '70s for his subject matter, but we're still waiting for a return to form, à la his father's Booker winner The Old Devils.
Hyper Hyped: A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Ms. Egan's requiem for aging hipsters follows members of a band called the Flaming Dildos into middle age. See Mr. Ellis.
Don't Forget About: The Fires: How a Computer Formula Burned Down New York City-and Determined the Future of American Cities, by Joe Flood
Who set the Bronx aflame in the '70s? Turns out it was the best and brightest of the RAND Corporation.
Don't Forget About: Absence of Mind: The Dispelling of Inwardness from the Modern Myth of the Self, by Marilynne Robinson
One of our premier novelists contemplates the mystery of human consciousness.
Don't Forget About: Portrait of the Addict as a Young Man, by Bill Clegg
Little Brown (May)
Mr. Clegg was one of the top literary agents in town until his crack habit brought him low. He returned to win back his clients and tell the tale.
Don't Forget About: Nothing Happened and Then It Did: A Chronicle in Fact and Fiction, by Jake Silverstein
W.W. Norton (April)
Texas Monthly editor Mr. Silverstein attempts a high-wire hybrid act, weaving together his incandescent journalism--he wrote the classic Harper's feature "What Is Poetry? And Does It Pay?"--within a fictional framework about the reporter hunting down the stories.
Don't Forget About: Hitch 22: Some Confession and Contradictions, by Christopher Hitchens
The columnist you hate to love takes a break from beating the drum for war and shaking his fist at (the nonexistent) God and turns his attention to his best subject, himself.