50 Books We’re Looking Forward To in 2014 (Pt 1)

50pt1

  1. Dissident Gardens by Jonathan Lethem – ‘Readers may be either disappointed or relieved to find no superheroes, no aliens, not even a Tourette’s-afflicted self-appointed private detective,’ in Lethem’s latest book wrote Yiyun Li in the New York Times. ‘No genre-bending this time, the novel seems to say: spanning 80 years and three generations, it realistically portrays an enchanted — or disenchanted — garden of American revolutionaries.’
  2. Polina by Bastien Vives – We really enjoyed Vives’ last graphic novel A Taste of Chlorine and so we are chomping at the bit to get our hands on his latest, which follows the life of a Russian ballerina from her acceptance into a dancing school and focuses on her relationship with her teacher and her gruelling physical and mental regime. Fellow graphic novelist David Mazzuchelli (whose Asterios Polyp and City of Glass are both well worth a read) has made a short film to publicise the book…
  3. The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer – ‘The impossible happens once to each of us,’ writes Greer at the beginning of his latest, which concerns the eponymous Greta and an experiment that allows her to relive different versions of her life. Haven’t Kate Atkinson and Rachel Joyce both written books like that recently? Quite possibly but a new Greer is always a cause for celebration.
  4. The Free by Willy Vlautin – Another book with a video to get you excited, Vlautin’s fourth novel tells the tale of two intersecting characters, Leroy Kervin, a brain damaged Iraq war veteran and Pauline Hawkins, a nurse who has to confront her emotional detachment. If it’s anywhere near as good as his first three books we are in for a treat.
  5. Bark by Lorrie Moore – The first new collection of Lorrie Moore short stories since Birds of America. A literary event if ever there was one. Of the eight stories, some (such as ‘Debarking’) have seen the light of day before (in Moore’s recent Collected Stories) but we can reread the ones we are familiar with and soak up the newbies. It is all, as they say, gravy.
  6. Wildwood Imperium by Colin Meloy – Another one we are really looking forward to. We’ve been following Decemberist frontman’s books for a couple of years now and each instalment of Wildwood has cemented our fondness for the world. We can’t wait to see how he is going to resolve the whole thing – and we also love his good lady Carson Ellis’ terrific illustrations. The sooner Cannongate send us a copy, the happier we’ll be…
  7. Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer – Three books, all scheduled to be published in 2014, the first of which, Annihalation, concerns ‘Area X, which has been cut off for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer. This is the twelfth expedition.’ Vandermeer is a titan who should be a household name. These are the books that are going to do it for him…
  8. Arctic Summer by Damon Galgut – ‘A fictional exploration of the life and times of one of Britain’s finest novelists, his struggle to find a way of living and being, and a stunningly vivid evocation of the mysterious alchemy of the creative process,’ Galgut’s latest concerns EM Forster and the crafting of A Passage to India. Colour us intrigued…
  9. The Days of Anna Madrigal by Armistead Maupin – ‘The suspenseful, comic, and touching ninth novel in Armistead Maupin’s bestselling “Tales of the City” series, follows one of modern literature’s most unforgettable and enduring characters-Anna Madrigal, the legendary transgender landlady of 28 Barbary Lane-as she embarks on a road trip that will take her deep into her past.’ Maupin fans will be camping outside bookstores for this one.
  10. You Hide that You Hate Me and I Hide That I Know by Philip Gourevitch – The sequel to the 1998 book, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families, a work of nonfiction that continues to thrum in my head some 15 years after I read it. Gourevitch’s return to Rwanda sees him explore with great insight and intimacy a society in which killers and survivors live again as neighbors, grappling with the burdens of memory and forgetting.

Look out for part 2 of our 50 Books We’re Looking Forward to in 2014 tomorrow which features new uns from Anthony Doer, Bryan and Mary Talbot, Nicola Barker, Naomi Klein and Joshua Ferris, amongst others…


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