Saturday, 29 August 2015

What to read in September & October 2015

What to read in September & October 2015
Every time one of these posts rolls around I'm shocked. How is it already the end of August?!

Purity by Jonathan Franzen - 1 September
‘A glancing encounter with a German peace activist leads Pip Tyler to an internship in South America with the Sunlight Project, an organization that traffics in all the secrets of the world – including, Pip hopes, the secret of her origins. TSP is the brainchild of Andreas Wolf, a charismatic provocateur who rose to fame in the chaos following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Andreas is drawn to Pip for reasons she doesn’t understand, and the intensity of her response to him upends her conventional ideas of right and wrong. Jonathan Franzen’s Purity is a grand story of youthful idealism, extreme fidelity, and murder.’

Arcadia by Iain Pears - 1 September
‘Henry Lytten - a spy turned academic and writer - sits at his desk in Oxford in 1962, dreaming of other worlds. He embarks on the story of Jay, an eleven-year-old boy who has grown up within the embrace of his family in a rural, peaceful world - a kind of Arcadia - who is launched on a life-changing journey. Meanwhile - in the real world - one of Lytten's former intelligence colleagues tracks him down for one last assignment. As he and his characters struggle with questions of free will, love, duty and the power of the imagination, Lytten discovers he is not sure how he wants his stories to end, nor even who is imaginary...’

Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick deWitt - 3 September
‘Lucien (Lucy) Minor is the resident odd duck in the bucolic hamlet of Bury. Friendless and loveless, young and aimless, he is a compulsive liar and a melancholy weakling. When Lucy accepts employment assisting the majordomo of the remote, forebidding castle of the Baron Von Aux he meets thieves, madmen, aristocrats, and a puppy. He also meets Klara, a delicate beauty who is, unfortunately, already involved with an exceptionally handsome partisan soldier. Thus begins a tale of polite theft, bitter heartbreak, domestic mystery and cold-blooded murder in which every aspect of human behaviour is laid bare for our hero to observe...’

The Watchers by Neil Spring - 24 September
‘At the height of the Cold War, officials at the Ministry of Defence conducted a highly secret investigation into unusual events that occurred along a strip of rugged coastline within the Pembrokeshire National Park nicknamed 'The Broad Haven Triangle'. Lights and objects hovering in the sky, ghostly figures peering into farmhouse windows, cowering animals, and poltergeists plaguing a terrified family of witnesses. Thirty years later, official files pertaining to these occurrences were finally released for public scrutiny at the National Archives. The disclosure prompted a new witness to come forward. This is his story.’

A Slanting of the Sun: Stories by Donal Ryan - 24 September
‘Donal Ryan’s short stories pick up where his acclaimed novels The Spinning Heart and The Thing About December left off, dealing with the human cost of loneliness, isolation and displacement. Sometimes this is present in the ordinary, the mundane; sometimes it is triggered by a fateful encounter or a tragic decision. At the heart of these stories, crucially, is how people are drawn to each other and cling on to love, often in desperate circumstances.’

List of the Lost by Morrissey - 24 September
There's no blurb for this yet, although there is all this which is... worrying... and the fact that a few days ago it was listed on Amazon as '#1 Best Seller in Gothic Romance', lol. I am extremely dubious about it but also very keen to see what it's like.

Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight - 24 September
‘Motherhood hasn't come at all easy for Molly Anderson. But she's finally enjoying life as mother to five-year-old Ella and as Arts reporter for the small but respectable Ridgedale Reader. That is, until a body is found in the woods adjacent to Ridgedale University's ivy-covered campus. This is a discovery that threatens to unearth secrets long buried by the town's most powerful residents, and brings Molly to two women who are far more deeply connected than they have ever realised...’

Ghostly: A Collection of Ghost Stories edited by Audrey Niffenegger - 6 October
‘Haunted houses, spectral chills, and of course, the odd cat… In this volume, Audrey Niffenegger has brought together her selection of the very creepiest, weirdest and wittiest ghost stories around. Scare yourself silly with old favourites by Edgar Allan Poe and M. R. James. Entertain the unnerving with tales from Neil Gaiman, Kelly Link and Audrey Niffenegger herself. And as bedtime nears, allay your fears with funny new writing from Amy Giacalone and the classic wit of Saki. When the nights draw in and the fire burns low, enjoy the eeriness, the dread and the comedy of all things ghostly.’

Rawblood by Catriona Ward - 24 September
‘For generations they have died young. Now Iris and her father are the last of the Villarca line. Their disease confines them to their lonely mansion on Dartmoor; their disease means they must die alone. But Iris breaks her promise to hide from the world - she dares to fall in love. And only then do they understand the true horror of the Villarca curse...’

Dictator by Robert Harris - 8 October
‘There was a time when Cicero held Caesar’s life in the palm of his hand. But now Caesar is the dominant figure and Cicero’s life is in ruins. Exiled, separated from his wife and children, his possessions confiscated, his life constantly in danger, Cicero is tormented by the knowledge that he has sacrificed power for the sake of his principles. His comeback requires wit, skill and courage – and for a brief and glorious period, the legendary orator is once more the supreme senator in Rome. But politics is never static and no statesman, however cunning, can safeguard against the ambition and corruption of others.’

City On Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg - 20 October
‘It’s New Year’s Eve, 1976, and New York is a city on the edge. As midnight approaches, a blizzard sets in – and amidst the fireworks, an unmistakable sound rings out across Central Park: gunshots. The search for the shooter will bring together a rich cast of New Yorkers, from the newly arrived and enchanted, to those so sick of the city they want to burn it to the ground. All these lives are connected to one another – and to the life that still clings to that body in the park. Whether they know it or not, they are bound up in the same story – a story where history and revolution, love and art, crime and conspiracy are all packed into a single shell, ready to explode.’

The Lake House by Kate Morton - 22 October (Reviewed here)
‘June 1933, and the Edevane family's country house, Loeanneth, is polished and gleaming, ready for the much-anticipated Midsummer Eve party. But by the time midnight strikes, the Edevane family will have suffered a loss so great that they leave Loeanneth forever. Seventy years later, after a particularly troubling case, Sadie Sparrow is sent on an enforced break from her job with the Metropolitan Police. She retreats to her beloved grandfather's cottage in Cornwall but soon finds herself at a loose end - until she stumbles upon an abandoned house surrounded by overgrown gardens and dense woods, and learns the story of a baby boy who disappeared without a trace...’

Slade House by David Mitchell - 27 October (Reviewed here)
‘Turn down Slade Alley - narrow, dank and easy to miss, even when you're looking for it. Find the small black iron door set into the right-hand wall. No handle, no keyhole, but at your touch it swings open. Enter the sunlit garden of an old house that doesn't quite make sense; too grand for the shabby neighbourhood, too large for the space it occupies. A stranger greets you by name and invites you inside. At first, you won't want to leave. Later, you'll find that you can't...’

The Familiar, Volume 2: Into the Forest by Mark Z. Danielewski - 27 October
‘In Into the Forest, the lives of the disparate and dynamic nine characters introduced in One Rainy Day in May begin to intersect in inexplicable ways, finding harmonies and echoes in each other. What once seemed remote and disconnected draws closer toward something inevitable... At the center of it all is Xanther, a twelve-year-old girl, for whom the world around her seems to be opening, exposing doors and windows, visions and sounds, questions and ideas previously unknown. With each passing day, she begins to glimpse something she does not understand but unequivocally craves—the only thing that will bring her relief and keep her new friend alive.’

You can tell it's autumn (soon) when you look at the covers of this lot, all those dark colours. I've only read two of these, and of those I can enthusiastically recommend Slade House - it's going to make a perfect Halloween book. There's still plenty of books from July and August I haven't got to yet, but I'm interested in reading Purity (even though most of what I've read about it seems to have been written with the aim of encouraging the opposite), The Watchers and Dictator.

It seemed to be harder than usual to find titles to add to this list. There must be stuff I've missed, so please add suggestions in the comments if you know of any more (especially if they're ghost stories!)

Twitter | Goodreads | Tumblr | Bloglovin’ | Shop

0 comments:

Post a Comment