2014 was a fantastic year for new books by some of my favourite authors including ‘Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage‘ by Haruki Murakami, ‘The Paying Guests‘ by Sarah Waters, ‘Us‘ by David Nicholls and ‘The Book of Strange New Things‘ by Michel Faber. 2015 is also shaping up to be a bumper year for long-awaited new novels from both established authors and debut novelists alike. Here are the ones to watch in 2015:
Following the Man Booker Prize-winning ‘Wolf Hall‘ and ‘Bring Up the Bodies‘, the final part of Mantel’s acclaimed trilogy about the life of Thomas Cromwell, ‘The Mirror and the Light’ isn’t due to be published until the end of next year at the very earliest. Presumably brought out to keep Mantel’s fans satisfied in the meantime, ‘The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher’ is a collection of ten short stories, her second collection after ‘Learning to Talk’ was published in 2003. Having read three of Mantel’s novels and her memoir, I was keen to see how her shorter works of fiction compared.
One of of my reading resolutions this year has been to get through more of the books I already have on my shelves and Kindle. I have been making some slow and steady progress recently but, as always, I still have my eye on the latest books. Here are a few I am particularly looking forward to which have not yet been published:
Generally, I avoid picking up books which I don’t think I will enjoy. However, that doesn’t mean I always have super high expectations for everything I read. Here is my list of books I initially thought I would struggle with but actually liked a lot.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
I wasn’t sure if I would like a book as ‘philosophical’ as this one but I did. It’s still a pretty weird book and might be viewed as pretentious, but as I said in my review, it’s a very readable sort of pretentiousness. Continue reading
‘Giving Up the Ghost’ is Hilary Mantel’s memoir first published in 2003, six years before she won the Booker Prize in 2009 for ‘Wolf Hall‘. The ghosts in question are the ghost of her step-father, the ghost she saw in the garden at the age of seven and the ghost of the child she could never have. Continue reading
I have just watched the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2013 live stream broadcast on the Huffington Post website. In the build-up towards the big announcement when Miranda Richardson said that the judges were looking for originality, accessibility and excellence, I thought: “It’s got to be ‘Flight Behaviour’! Or ‘Bring Up the Bodies’! Or ‘Life After Life’! One of those three will definitely win it!”
Last night, I went to the Women’s Prize for Fiction Shortlist Readings event at the Southbank Centre in London and it was every bit as awesome as I hoped it would be.
Over the last couple of months, I have read five out of the six books on this year’s shortlist. In summary, ‘May We Be Forgiven’ by A.M. Homes was the most dysfunctional (i.e. my least favourite), ‘Flight Behaviour’ by Barbara Kingsolver was beautifully written, ‘Life After Life’ by Kate Atkinson had an intriguing concept which was handled very well, ‘NW’ by Zadie Smith had excellent dialogue and ‘Bring Up the Bodies’ by Hilary Mantel was an impressive interpretation of historical events. Sadly, I haven’t had a chance to read ‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’ by Maria Semple yet but I will try and seek out a copy in the future.
Anyway, this is my ticket for which I paid the princely sum of £6 (gotta love student discounts). I also took my copies of ‘NW’ and ‘Bring Up the Bodies’ with me.