- We like Mary Gaitskill, not only because she started writing as a result of being “indignant about things” (we get indignant too!), but also because she has now built up a body of work which means that serious people should take her seriously (but they don’t quite as much as she warrants). Like Willy Vlautin’s novel, Lean on Pete, her latest, The Mule, is a novel about a protagonist and a horse but like Lean on Pete we’d also expect this to be about a lot more than a protagonist and a horse.
- You already know that we are fans of Stephen King here at Bookmunch Towers (which we broadcast because we know that snobbier book sorts will dismiss us, which is fine with us) and his latest novel (number eight million and four if we are keeping count correctly) is End of Watch, the end of the trilogy that began with Mr Mercedes, continued with Finders Keepers and ends, we presume with the resurrection of Brady Hartsfield and quite possibly the most supernatural entry into a trilogy that has seen King try his hand at more straightforwardly crime fare…
- Yuki Chan in Bronte Country reminds us a little of Dan Rhodes’ book Gold (on reading the fly leaf) but we know he’ll take it in a direction we can’t possibly expect. We’ll also be speaking to Mick in one of the first of our soon to be launched podcasts in the new year so look out for that one…
- It may be that you only know Brix Smith because she appears (or appeared, I don’t know) on one of Gok Wan’s TV shows. If you’re of a certain age and a certain inclination, however, you’ll know her as Mrs Mark E Smith, and the lady who helped to make The Fall one of those bands you simply had to have an opinion on back in the day. It may be that The Rise, The Fall, The Rise is the latest woman in rock memoir to grace our shelves, but we’d expect this one to be more Viv Albertine than Carrie Brownstein. Also: essential for Fall fans we think.
- Helen Ellis is behind the anonymous ‘American Housewife’ twitter account (@WhatIDoAllDay) which she credits for getting her into writing stories. In 2012 she began submitting some of her stories to literary magazines and each was plucked out of slush and published in various online and print journals including The Rumpus, The Normal School, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Five Chapters. American Housewife, published in January, is her debut collection and Kirkus Review says these tales are “guffaw out loud”. Who are we to argue?
- Now. We don’t know if we are going to get this in 2016 (it’s in the same country as the new George RR Martin). But we’ve heard about it and we are excited and we know it’s been a long time coming and, yeah, ok, he’s stolen his title from our own debut novel (but you never know, there might be some sales we pick up on the back of it, right? Don’t answer that) or the Antonioni movie (but probably the novel, right?). The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy is filed in the HIGHLY ANTICIPATED category.
- Another one that we seem to have been waiting on for a long time is Philip Gourevitch’s sequel to We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With our Families, his justly celebrated exploration of the atrocities committed in Rwanda almost 20 years ago now. You Hide that you Hate Me and I Hide That I Know is due out in July 2016 and we will be reading.
- We liked Curtis Sittenfeld’s last book, Sisterland, a great deal (and at this point in the history of the world, her magnum opus American Wife, is sitting on our shelves waiting to be read – we’ll aim to get round to it before her latest, Eligible, hits bookshops). Eligible is Sittenfeld riffing on Pride & Prejudice, which makes us nervous, we have to admit, but we will be checking it out nevertheless (and letting you know what we think, as well).
- We can’t tell you how thrilled we were (and we were thrilled, genuinely) when we learned that Rick Moody’s latest Hotels of North America is being published by Serpent’s Tail in the UK early 2016. Moody is another writer we have followed for a long time (from The Ice Storm back in 1994) and we appear to be at odds with the Dale Pecks of the world. But we’re fine with that. We’re also in talks with Serpent’s Tail to get Mr Moody on the Bookmunch podcast too so keep your fingers crossed on that one…
- Last but not least for today, we bring you Dinosaurs on Other Planets by Danielle McLaughlin, a book that has elecited the following quote from Anne Enright: “This is not a debut in the usual sense; a promise of greater things to come. There is no need to ask what Danielle McLaughlin will do next, she has done it already. This book has arrived. I think it will stay with us for a long time.” We’re excited.
Look out for Part 2 of our 50 Books We’re Looking Forward to in 2016 list tomorrow, which features Clare Morrall, Ian Sansom, Aliya Whitely, Steve Sherrill and Joe Hill, among others.