Another 50 books we’re looking forward to in 2014 (Part 3)


  1. Shark by Will Self – novels may well be dead (Will Self has acknowledged as much) but still he writes them and still (an ever dwindling) number of us read. Shark turns upon an actual incident in the Second World War when the ship which had delivered the fissile material to the south Pacific to be dropped on Hiroshima was subsequently sunk by a Japanese submarine with the loss of 900 men, including 200 killed in the largest shark attack ever recorded.
  2. The Establishment by Owen Jones – Behind our democracy lurks a powerful but unaccountable network of people who wield massive power and reap huge profits in the process. In exposing this shadowy and complex system that dominates our lives, Owen Jones sets out on a journey into the heart of our Establishment, from the lobbies of Westminster to the newsrooms, boardrooms and trading rooms of Fleet Street and the City. Exposing the revolving doors that link these worlds, and the vested interests that bind them together, Jones shows how, in claiming to work on our behalf, the people at the top are doing precisely the opposite. In fact, they represent the biggest threat to our democracy today – and it is time they were challenged.
  3. This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein – another important bit of nonfiction to look forward to (and a work seemingly not a million miles away from Owen Jones’ book – great minds etc etc). This Changes Everything argues that the deep changes required should not be viewed as punishments to fear, but as a kind of gift. It’s time to stop running from the full implications of the crisis and begin to embrace them. .
  4. Two More Pints by Roddy Doyle – Readers of Two Pints will have an idea what to expect from Doyle’s latest slim volume of pub banter. It’ll be light, it’ll contain chuckles and you’ll no doubt be able to read it in about an hour and a half.
  5. The Children’s Act by Ian McEwan – Yes, yes, we know. Ian McEwan is such a popular novelist that there are people who will no longer take him seriously. We do take him seriously though. His latest concerns, “Fiona Maye is a respected High Court judge, renowned for her exactitude and calm professionalism. But when her husband of thirty years standing shocks her with an unreasonable request, she finds her life in crisis. At precisely the same time, she is ordered to try a new case. It is an urgent matter of life and death, bringing science and religion into direct conflict – and at its centre is a beautiful adolescent boy with the whole of his life ahead of him. Exactly the kind of case where a small error of judgement might have grave and lasting consequences.” We’ll be reading – and you probably will too.
  6. Dear Thief by Samantha Harvey – The third novel from the author of The Wilderness and All is Song is about “a letter of friendship that turns into something more revealing and recriminating. By turns a belated outlet of rage, an act of self-defence, and an offering of forgiveness, the letter revisits a betrayal that happened a decade and a half before, and dissects what is left of a friendship caught between the forces of hatred and love.” Colour is piqued…
  7. An Event in Autumn by Henning Mankell – whilst we don’t quite know the chronology yet (ie whether this novella is after the ‘last’ Wallander book, The Troubled Man), a new (or newly translated) Wallander story is something we’re looking forward to…
  8. The Secret of Evil by Roberto Bolano – “Included in this one-of-a-kind collection is everything he was working on just before his death in 2003. A North American journalist in Paris is woken at 4 a.m. by a mysterious caller with urgent information. For V. S. Naipaul, the prevalence of sodomy in Argentina is a symptom of the nation’s political ills. Daniela de Montecristo (of Nazi Literature in the Americas and 2666) recounts the loss of her virginity. Arturo Belano – Bolano’s alter ego – returns to Mexico City and meets a band called The Asshole of Morelos. Belano’s son Geronimo disappears in Berlin during the Days of Chaos in 2005. Memories of a return to the native land. Argentine writers as gangsters. Zombie schlock as allegory …”
  9. Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood – “A recently widowed fantasy writer is guided through a stormy winter evening by the voice of her late husband. An elderly lady with Charles Bonnet’s syndrome comes to terms with the little people she keeps seeing, while a newly-formed populist group gathers to burn down her retirement residence. A woman born with a genetic abnormality is mistaken for a vampire. And a crime committed long-ago is revenged in the Arctic via a 1.9 billion year old stromatalite.” That’ll be a new collection of short stories from Margaret Atwood then.
  10. The Wrenchies by Farel Dalrymple – One of the most eagerly anticipated graphic novels of the year (at least in our house), The Wrenchies is “a sprawling, intense science fiction tale that has at its heart the uncertainty and loneliness of growing up”. Dalrymple previously drew the critically acclaimed super hero comic book, Omega the Unknown for author Jonathan Lethem – and we loved that. So: we’re at the front of the queue for this one.

In Part 4 of Another 50 Books…, we’ll be looking at newbies from Murakami, Toibin, Eggers, Rachel Joyce. That kind of thing.


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