Books to look out for in October 2014

There’s already a nip of autumn in the air in the UK – a bit unexpected but there it is – so it seemed appropriate to take a dekko at a few books to look out for in October. It used to be one of my favourite publishing months but if you’ve read my August and September posts you’ll know that schedules seem to have shifted a little, spilling over into earlier months rather like the summer sales. As a result, this is going to be a shorter post that I’d expected with only four novels that really push my literary buttons. As ever, a click on the link will take you to Waterstones synopsis should you want to learn more.

Cover imageLet’s start with the cherry on my particular cake: Colm Tóibin’s Nora Webster, set in the late ‘60s in the same small Irish town which Ellis Lacey left in Brooklyn. Left alone with four children, the fiercely intelligent Nora must start again after the premature death of her husband, returning to work and slowly building a life of her own. Brooklyn is one of my favourite novels. Written in gorgeous, elegant prose it’s a quiet masterpiece that will wring your heart. I caught wind of a new Tóibin novel some time ago and am delighted to see it in the October schedules. Lovely nostalgic jacket, too

Next in line is  If I Knew You Were Going to be This Beautiful, I Never Would Have Let You Go, a fine confident title that will no doubt be mangled when requested in bookshops. It’s a debut set in close-knit ’70s Long Island (that’s sold it to me immediately) and follows a group of young working-class people wrestling with life and all it brings in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Sounds right up my alley and I plan to review it here nearer publication.

My third book’s title is the antithesis of Judy Chicurel’s wordy but enticing debut: Daniel Kehlmann’s F tells the story of three brothers – one a faithless priest, one an artist without integrity, the third a poverty-stricken banker – all of whom are about to take a fateful step. I’ve read and very much enjoyed Kehlmann’s work before. Measuring the World is about two eighteenth century German mathematicians: Alexander von Humboldt who enthusiastically travelled the world measuring everything in sight willing to endure the most horrendous conditions accompanied by the long-suffering Bonpland, and the irascible but brilliant Carl Friedrich Gauss, reluctant to leave his own bedroom let alone cross a border. Very different from the playful, episodic Fame which satirises celebrity and is also immensely enjoyable.

Last but far from least – the second cherry if such a luscious cake exists – is Michel Faber’s Cover imageThe Book of Strange New Things. Fans of The Crimson Petal and the White won’t need any persuasion and if you shied away from that because of its doorstep proportions, please think again. It may be over 800 pages but it’s a rollicking good read which flies by. This one is literally a world away from the grimy nineteenth century slums of Crimson. Funded by a shadowy multinational, Peter is leaving his beloved wife behind, sent to a colony on another planet where he is to spread the word of God. It’s a book that addresses big questions, apparently, and has been described as ‘compelling and brilliant’.

That’s my somewhat abbreviated October post. Are there any authors whose next novel you’re eagerly anticipating?

24 thoughts on “Books to look out for in October 2014”

  1. I’m looking forward to Nora Webster – I’ve got it waiting on my Kindle, calling my name. I adored Brooklyn and imagine I will feel the same way about this. I read ‘If I Knew You Were Going to Be This Beautiful’ last month and will shortly be featuring it in my July round-up. I loved the idea of it but I felt the book was lacking something that I couldn’t put my finger on. Interested to hear what you think

    1. Tóibin’s one of my favourite writers – such elegant, understated prose. Hmm…I’ll be reviewing If I Knew.. sometime around the

  2. The Faber is on my list already, and I shall add the Judy Chicurel. I’ve just finished the first in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan trilogy – the final book comes out in September and I’m hoping the 2nd and 3rd are as good as the first which was brilliant.

    1. According to my neck of the Twitter woods you won’t be disapppinted, Annabel. Lots of people have loved the three that are out already.

      1. Annabel, not sure whether you’ll be excited or annoyed by this but it’s not the final one. The UK publishers revealed last week that there’s a fourth, as yet untranslated, book.

    1. Oh dear, ‘must read now’ – I’m not going to adopt that one! Fingers crosssd the Faber will be as good as Crimson, Fleur.

  3. Well as you know I am wondering what has happened to Rohinton Mistry – just a silence. A Fine Balance is up there in my top ten.

  4. I’m interested in Michel Faber’s new one, for sure. I haven’t read The Crimson Petal and the White, but loved Under the Skin (which I gobbled up last year before seeing the film). I’m hoping his new one might be in a similar vein…

    1. Crimson is so very different from Under the Skin that you’d think it was written by someone else! This one looks different,again.

    1. I’m an ardent fan of The Crimson Petal and the White hence my anticipation – it’s pretty chunky, though. Of the four Colm Tóibin is my undoubted favourite.

  5. Patricia Cornwell is my guilty reading pleasure, and I can’t wait for the next Scarpetta outing. But I’m particularly looking forward to the very first biog of Harper Lee coming out. It was meant to be published in the UK this month but has been delayed due to legal action in the US. Hope it comes eventually.

    1. I don’t have a strong enough stomach for Ms Cornwell but I know many crime fans love her. Interesting about the Harper Lee biography – I wonder what the objections were.

  6. Cornwell needs a strong a stomach! I think the legal action against the biog has come from Ms Lee herself. Apparently it was written by a so-called friend who has included stuff that was told in confidence by Lee and her sister.

    1. Oh dear! Someone aiming to get their pension pot boosted in a particularly nasty way by the sound of it.

  7. I’m sorry Susan, I didn’t mean to hijack your blog post to talk about Harper Lee’s biog – but if you are interested, here’s a link to the story about the book.

  8. Pingback: Books to look out for in November 2014 | A life in books

  9. Pingback: Paperbacks to Look Out for in November 2014 | A life in books

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