Reasons to be Cheerful (2): Books to look out for in February 2014

February is often such a dull, grey month here in the UK that you might just as well stay in and read as venture outside. Lots of new novels to keep you entertained if that’s your choice. Cover image As with yesterday’s post, a click on the title should take you to Waterstones for a more detailed synopsis.

I’m particularly taken  with the prospect of Katherine Hill’s first novel The Violet Hour which follows ‘a 21st century family through past and present’ –  just the kind of hook that sets me up for a self-indulgent loaf on the sofa, and it has a lovely cover, too. Not such an easy read, I’m sure, is Jennifer Clement’s Prayers for the Stolen which takes us to Mexico, land of the Narcos, where pretty young girls are routinely abducted never to be seen again: then one comes back, tattooed and pierced. Never Mind Miss Fox by Olivia Glazebrook brings us back home with one of those ‘past comes back to haunt you’ tales which looks very promising indeed. Some more familiar names also have novels out this month: Jill Dawson’s The Tell-tale Heart plays with the idea of how it might feel to have another person’s heart inside you; Hanif Kureishi’s The Last Word sees a biographer tussling with his subject (and his publishers) on how the subject’s story should be presented to the world and Helen Oyeyemi’s Boy, Snow, Bird, set in small town America, explores the connection between Boy, a young woman looking for a new life, Snow, the daughter of the man she moves in with and Bird, the daughter they have together. Knowing Oyeyemi’s writing it’s unlikely to be a straightforward relationship. Another, less well known, author whose work I’ve enjoyed is Willy Vlautin whose Lean on Pete was an unexpectedly moving coming of age tale. His new novel The Free explores what it’s like to come home from war through the experiences of young soldier, Cover image wounded in Iraq. Brian Payton’s The Wind is Not a River, set in 1943, also looks at the effects of war as a wife sets off in search of her journalist husband whose mission to expose the Japanese invasion and occupation of the Aleutian Islands has gone horribly wrong. I’ve long been interested in the Shakers so Rachel Urquhart’s debut The Visionist, in which fifteen-year-old Polly and her brother seek refuge in a Shaker community caught my eye. Hailed as a visionist Rachel must prove her moral purity. Finally, and a somewhat off the wall choice for me, I’m intriuged by Felix Gilman’s The Revolutions also set in the 19th century but this time in London. It’s billed as a fantasy which explores the period’s obsession with the occult and promises to take us into Edgar Rice Burroughs and Aleister Crowley territory. Just the thing for a dank February night.

Bit of a whistle-stop tour of February which looks like a very promising month indeed. Spring’s on the horizon with March books tomorrow.

4 thoughts on “Reasons to be Cheerful (2): Books to look out for in February 2014”

  1. Another Oyeyemi fan! A friend of mine has used Oyeyemi’s novels as the basis for much of her research work. I’m sure she will know this s on the way, but I must make sure to tell her just in case.

    1. That must have been fascinating. She was so young when she wrote The Icarus Girl. I commissioned a review of it in which the reviewer finished by declaring herself so terrified that she couldn’t switch her bedside light off. Seemed a little over the top to me – then I read it. Mr Fox was excellent, too.

  2. One book already on my wishlist (The Violet House) and three to add (Glazebrook, Oyeyemi, and Urquart). I’m telling myself now that the point is to read the best books, be they new or be they on my shelf already …

  3. It’s hard for those TBRs not to turn into a pressure some times I find but, as you say, the point is to read the best and what pleases you.

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