Last year, I didn’t do so well with my Fall Preview. The post was fine, but I didn’t end up reading a lot of the books. I aimed a little too high, I think, trying to compete with the 49th Shelves and Quill and Quires of the world. Rather than trying harder to stick to a TBR, I’m going to aim low and round up the books I have already started or will almost certainly read. You know, as Homer J says, if something is hard to do, don’t try.
Local Reads: Edmonton and Alberta
- Sistering by Jennifer Quist (August): I’m so excited about this book that I’m already planning a read-along with my sister, and have asked the author out on a date so I can get my copies signed. This is serious. Quist’s first novel, Love Letters of the Angels of Death, is my go-to recommendation for anyone looking for a love story, or a story about marriage, or dark humour.
- Meadowlark by Wendi Stewart (September): Okay, so Stewart lives in Nova Scotia, but I wanted to highlight local publisher NeWest Press. Their Nunatak First Fiction series rarely disappoints. Meadowlark features a great, strong female main character. I mean strongly written and well-imagined, not like this.
- 40 Below Project Volume 2 (November, cover art to come): I really enjoyed the first volume and look forward to more frigid tales, this time from all over Alberta. In the meantime, check out editor Jason Lee Norman on the Best American Poetry scandal and how he considers pieces for his anthologies.
- Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick deWitt (September): Already read and reviewed! *sigh of relief*
- Martin John by Anakana Schofield (September): I was fifth in line at the library when I got my birthday book money, so now I’m waiting on a preorder. Malarky was one of my favourite reads of 2014, so expectations are sky-high.
- Pillow by Andrew Battershill (October): A BEA score that came with a chocolate coin which apparently ties into the story somehow, but who cares, it’s chocolate! I’m getting a Spat the Dummy vibe from this one.
Watch for Part Two: Literary Events next week!
If you follow literary publications like Publishers Weekly, Quill and Quire, or 49th Shelf you’ve probably noticed a bunch of “Most Anticipated Fall Books” lists lately. I find these lists really overwhelming! There are tons of books and they don’t seem to be listed in any kind of order. Here’s my attempt to impose some order on the situation. Geographically, anyway. This is also a handy preview of what you’ll see reviewed here on Reading in Bed over the next little while.
Disclosure: I received reviews copies of most of the Canadian books. Also, I’m panicking about writing all these reviews.
Last year, I wondered if it was normal to have SO MANY Edmonton authors launching SO MANY great books all at once, and indeed, it may have been an anomaly. I had a hard time finding books to list here. I assume everyone’s just working on their next novel. Actually, I know Todd Babiak is working on a sequel to Come Barbarians and Jennifer Quist finally named her next novel, but hasn’t revealed the title just yet. No pressure guys (just kidding, lots of pressure!)
- The only Edmonton book I am certain to review is Blind Spot by Laurence Miall. I’ve already read it and I’m trying to figure out whether I liked it or not! I’m not one to dismiss a novel because of an unlikable character, but man, this guy is unlikeable. Check out Another Book Blog’s review while I sort out my feelings. The book launch is September 5th at The Black Dog, which features prominently in the book!
- Every Blade of Grass by Thomas Wharton is eco-lit (which I don’t always love) and epistolary (which I usually do love,) but I kind of want to read his first novel, Icefields, first. The librarian who sold it to me at the library book sale was SO EXCITED about it.
- Lightfinder by Aaron Paquette is a YA novel, but I’m feeling the need to shake things up a bit. Sometimes YA is just the ticket.
- Edited to add: Northeast by Wendy McGrath, a rare novel because it is written by someone who lives in Edmonton, and is actually set in Edmonton! It’s about a working class family in the 1960s and I have heard McGrath’s writing described as more like a poem than prose; I am really curious about this book and the first in the series, Santa Rosa.
- I devoured Between by Angie Abdou while I was slogging my way through Outlander. Actually, I devoured a number of books while forcing myself to read Outlander. That could be it’s own post. Anyway, this book forced me to relate to an unlikeable character and it was uncomfortable and shocking and dark, and these are all compliments! Review to come and book launch September 12 in St. Albert and September 13 in Edmonton (7:00 p.m. at Audreys, see you there).
- I got a review copy of Man by Kim Thuy in ebook format, but I bought the hardcover anyway, because
I’m crazyit’s beautiful. It’s a novella that’s almost written in verse and it’s unlike anything I’ve read. I’m just getting started so check out Hello Hemlock‘s review while I finish up.
- Did you know SportLit is a thing? The things you learn on Twitter. In Girl Runner, author, blogger, and The M Word contributor Carrie Snyder writes about a woman at the end of her life remembering the days when she could run.
- I feel like Sweetland by Michael Crummey has been out for a while. because of all the hype, but it was just released so I’ll call it a fall book. I love island settings, so this story of a dying community in Newfoundland should do just fine.
- Between Clay and Dust by Musharraf Ali Farooqi was published in India a couple years back to great acclaim and is being published in Canada this year by Freehand books. I’ve heard it’s like a classic, like a fable, like a myth – ok, sign me up!
- Detachment by Maurice Mierau provides a little non-fiction balance to this list. It’s an adoption memoir written from a father’s perspective – a perspective I’ve been missing from the parenting books I’ve reviewed of late.
- Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Marukami (Japan) because I’m not immune to hype. Also, look at this review by The Heavy Blanks. Just look at it. It’s perfect.
- A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride (Ireland). The good reviews make me want to read it. The bad reviews make me want to read it. Just give it to me already!
- The Wallcreeper by Nell Zink (US). A wildcard pick. It’s blurbed by Jonathan Franzen and this bit of the synopsis tells me why: “Life becomes complicated with affairs, birding, and eco-terrorism.” That’s classic Franzen. It’ll either be great or have great snark potential.
Yes, I do plan to read a few! I might have to do a Classics Club spin or something. I was thisclose to jumping on the #readWP (that’s War and Peace) bandwagon but the first page was mostly French and I just wasn’t in the mood. What to do?
- Suck it up and read War and Peace?
- Shirley and/or The Professor by Charlotte Bronte? I could finish off my outstanding Bronte novels this year…
- Remains of the Day is pretty hot right now…
What are you most excited to read and review this fall?