So 2016 is slithering to a close. It's been a year, eh?

Let's look ahead.

Here are some books coming up in the first half of 2017 that you should watch for. Good books every month, but, as always, April is jam-packed:


"Difficult Women," by Roxane Gay. (Grove Press, Jan. 3.) A collection of short stories in which women fight chauvinism and trauma, by the prodigiously talented author of "Bad Feminist" and "An Untamed State."

"Days Without End," by Sebastian Barry. (Viking, Jan. 24.) The story of a young Irish lad who flees the famine only to end up fighting Indian wars and the Civil War in the United States.


"Lincoln in the Bardo," by George Saunders. (Random House, Feb. 14.) A novel in voices — mainly ghostly voices — observing as Abraham Lincoln returns to the crypt to embrace his dead young son, Willie. The first novel from a celebrated and highly original short-story writer.

Saunders will be at the Parkway Theater, 4814 Chicago Av., Mpls., at 7 p.m. March 1, sponsored by Rain Taxi. Tickets are $35.


"The Hearts of Men," by Nickolas Butler. (Harper, March 7.) Set in northern Wisconsin, this follows two boyhood friends whose lives have been deeply affected by an act of evil. By the author of "Shotgun Lovesongs."

Butler will be at Magers & Quinn on March 13.

"The Idiot," by Elif Batuman. (Penguin Press, March 14.) This novel centers on the lives of three immigrant students during their freshman year at Harvard in 1995.


"A Little More Human," by Fiona Maazel. (Graywolf Press, April 4.) A nursing assistant and mind-reader (bear with me — it's Maazel!) finds photographs of himself assaulting a woman — an incident he does not remember.

"What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky," by Lesley Nneka Arimah. (Riverhead, April 4.) A debut collection of short stories by a Minneapolis writer, winner of the African Commonwealth Prize.

Arimah will launch the book at the Loft Literary Center on April 26.

"Once in a Blue Moon Lodge," by Lorna Landvik. (University of Minnesota Press, April 11.) Nora, the daughter of Patty Jane (from "Patty Jane's House of Curl"), heads to northern Minnesota but circumstances then take her to Norway, where she learns about her grandmother's past.

Landvik will have many local events, including a book launch April 18 at Excelsior Bay Books.

"The Long Dry," by Cynan Jones. (Coffee House Press, April 11.) Welsh writer Cynan Jones' slender novels have been on many best-of-the-year lists. In this book, a farmer heads out to find his missing cow on a day when everything is on the cusp of change.

"I'd Die for You: And Other Lost Stories," by F. Scott Fitzgerald. (Scribner, April 25.) These stories were never truly lost, just uncollected and sometimes unpublished. This collection is edited by Fitzgerald scholar Anne Margaret Daniel.

"Anything Is Possible," by Elizabeth Strout. (Random House, April 25.) A companion to "My Name Is Lucy Barton," this new novel explores the lives of some of the people Lucy Barton and her mother discussed while Lucy lay in her hospital bed.

Strout will be at Pen Pals in Hopkins on March 30 and 31. Tickets are $40.


"House of Names," by Colm Toíbín. (Scribner, May 9.) A retelling of the story of Clytemnestra.

"Broken River," by J. Robert Lennon. (Graywolf Press, May 16.) A family moves into a house, and the daughter and mother become obsessed by the murders that took place there years earlier. By the author of "Castle."

Laurie Hertzel is the Star Tribune senior editor for books. On Twitter: @StribBooks. On Facebook: