A fair few friends and family members have recently asked me what books I am really looking forward to this year. It is also the talk of some blogs, book forums and of course the book pages of the broadsheets last weekend where devoted to it. It’s something I have to admit I didn’t normally used to read in papers or think of as I hadn’t been the biggest fan of hardback books until last year and I never got the catalogues in advance however that has all changed so here are some of the books I am looking forward to in 2009...
A fair few big named authors are bringing out books this year; I do feel James Patterson’s eight is slightly excessive. Possibly one of the books that I am most excited about is the long awaited new novel of Carlos Ruiz Zafron’s The Angel’s Game (Orion), this will feature the ‘Cemetery of Forgotten Books’ which I wanted to get lost in The Shadow of The Wind again. Jane Harris will be following up one of my favourite reads of 2007 The Observations with Gillespie and I (Faber) set in the late 1800’s and in the 1930’s looking at the lives of artist Gillespie and Helen Baxter and the mystery around how they met and what happened next. Another one to really look out for is one of my favourite authors Sarah Waters who is going all ghostly in Georgian times with The Little Stranger (Virago). My guilty pleasures can be continued with two Tess Gerritsen releases the first being Keeping The Dead (Bantam) and the second to be announced.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is bringing us The Thing Around Your Neck (Fourth Estate) a collection of short stories which sound very interesting and after the amazing Half of a Yellow Sun I am expecting a lot, I must read Purple Hibiscus this year. Sophie Hannah is bringing The Other Half Lives which I am sure with be another crime thriller with amazing twists. Tom Rob Smith brings us the follow up to Child 44 with The Secret Speech (Simon & Schuster) and John Boyne follows the spectacular The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas with another tale told by a young boy The House of Special Purpose (Doubleday). Finally there are Xiaolu Guo’s latest novel the wonderfully titled The UFO in Her Eyes (Chatto & Windus) and Jake Arnott’s The Devils Paintbrush (Sceptre).
Debuts am excited about this year are The Outlander by Gil Adamson (Bloomsbury), True Murder: A Novel by Yaba Bado (Bloomsbury) and The Ghost Lover by ex-editor of the Literary Review Gillian Greenwood (John Murray). One you should get excited about, and I have already read and reviewed, is The Sweetness At The Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (Orion), I so hope that he makes another as the heroine of the books is just wonderful. Books that sound right up my street (but by authors I have never heard of before) are The Book of Negro’s by Lawrence Hill (Doubleday) which sounds epic, some Mormon murder with David Ebershoff’s The 19th Wife (Doubleday) and Indian Jones meets Life of Pi in Pandora in the Congo by Albert Sanchez Pinol (Canongate).
In terms of translations everyone is already discussing the unfinished ‘masterpiece’ 2666 by Roberto Bolano (Picador) I am unsure but might give it a go. I have Eve’s Alexandria to thank for some added inspiration. I will be getting Gentlemen by Klas Ostergren (Canongate), The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Little (Chatto & Windus), Greed by Elfriede Jelinek (Serpents Tail) and one they haven’t mentioned The Seamstress (Bloomsbury) by Frances De Pontes Peebles (possibly one of the best author names ever, I love it).
Vintage are re-issuing some books that I would love to read like The Count of Monte Christo by Dumas, The Murders at Rue Morgue by Poe, The Master and The Margherita by Bulgakov and pretty much all of the works of Charles Dickens.
Books to film this year that we should all watch out for are The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, Richard Yates modern classic Revolutionary Road (both Vintage), F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Penguin), Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons (Corgi Books), Gregory David Roberts Shantaram (Abacus). Also coming to the big screen (but I have read) are Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones (Picador), and of course the yearly Harry Potter (Bloomsbury).
Finally after my first year really giving non fiction my attention I have a seen a fair few books that look like they could increase my non fiction reading even further in 2009. The Scouring Angel by Ben Gummer (The Bodley Head) which looks at the Black Death and its relationship and time with the British Isles. The memoirs of author Christopher Fowler in Paper Boy: A Memoir and the biography of Muriel Spark by Martin Stannard. Something seems to be popular in non fiction this year is the look at mental institutes (is that the pc way to say it) with Sectioned: A Life Interrupted by John O’Donoghue (John Murray) and Voluntary Madness: My Year Lost And Found in the Loony Bin by Nora Vincent (Chatto & Windus).
Phew – and that’s only from the catalogues, newspapers and blogs I have managed to get my mitts on so far, seems like there is quite a tear of reading ahead.