“Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”
As we face up to a fresh start, a new year, it is time for me to renew my bookselling vows. Primary among these is to find the ‘books of worth’ to put in front of our customers. Some of these books will garner much attention, some less so; some will sit atop the bestseller lists, some will only sell a few; some will have the full resources of a major publishing house put behind them, some will be published by a one man band.
Here then is the first tranche of books that I am looking forward to becoming acquainted with for the first time this year:
A bittersweet recommendation this as it is the last complete work from that most-loved friend of booksellers Maurice Sendak. A veneration of his brother, Jack, this is guaranteed to have added poignancy with the death of the author last year. Due for publication on 31st January.
From one of our greatest living historians comes the story of the first Anglo Afghan war. No doubt there will be parallels to be drawn between this disastrous episode and the current situation. As ever with Dalrymple you will get a rollicking history dripping in authentic detail
James Wood is undoubtedly one of the pre-eminent literary critics of our generation. Expect this collection of 23 essays to fizz off the page – he writes about a variety of influential writers from George Orwell to Michel Houellebecq, Cormac McCarthy to Thomas Hardy. Due for publication on 7th February.
The author was a pioneer of web 2.0 but is now the most credible dissenting voice of the less appealing society that new technologies are likely to mould. Taking off from where his previous book, You Are Not A Gadget, left off this book is a political, technological manifesto for a better future. Due for publication on 7th March
If you like your writing to be imaginative, creative and thrilling then Anne Carson is for you. Her new book is a sequel to the verse-novel ‘An Autobiography of Red’ that was published in 1998. Quite a wait (although not as long a wait as a later entry in this list!) but I have no doubt that it will be worth it as the story of Geyron – “who was red and had wings and fell in love with Herakles” – carries on later in his life.
This looks to be a beautiful book albeit with a salutary tale – this is taken from the author’s Bumblebee Conservation Trust ‘In the last 80 years our bumblebee populations have crashed. Two species have become nationally extinct and several others have declined dramatically’
One for the bibliomaniacs to look forward to here – the story of a ring of thieves in 1920s America who stole thousands of rare books to order for secondhand book dealers
From the brilliant Dalkey Archive Press comes an unexpected treat; a collection of shorts by Flann O’Brien, many included in book form for the first time as well as his last, unfinished, novel ‘Slattery’s Sago Saga’ I shall have a large glass of something full-bodied and round to hand in readiness for this
Danny Torrance is back – 36 years after he survived The Shining. It is safe to say that this is the most anticipated novel of 2013. The quality of some of the writing of Stephen King is now, rightly, acknowledged as having literary merit above and beyond his extraordinary popularity. Due for publication on 24th September.
This is just a glimpse at some of the gems coming your way this year and, of course, we would love to hear what books are making you quiver in anticipation. Happy New Year!
Already the need to add to this list has arisen – and how! The concluding part of Patrick Leigh Fermor’s legendary 1930s walk as an eighteen year old from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople is being published in September. ‘A Time of Gifts’ and ‘Between the Woods and the Water’ are, rightly, revered as Travel Writing at its absolute best and although ‘The Broken Road’ is unfinished it is gleaned from an early draft he wrote and his diaries.
And then this
There is no information other than this, but this information is enough to set many hearts afluttering…
Penguin Press to publish new Thomas Pynchon novel this fall called BLEEDING EDGE.—
Ron Charles (@RonCharles) January 04, 2013