Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Our Most Anticipated of 2014

Every year The Millions does two Most Anticipated Books of the Year posts and it is one of the best bookish posts anybody does about anything. They touch on the big names, they find the hidden gems, and they organize it by month of publication. There is something so invigorating about knowing that all of these great books are still ahead of us. If you are a reader, it is not to be missed. But it also can be a bit daunting. They list dozens of books, all of which sound amazing. (And they’ve only done half the year so far!) So instead of sharing everything, I’ve picked one book a month through June as my most anticipated, all of which are available for pre-order so you can get them the day they are released.

http://www.portersquarebooks.com/book/9780307908483Silence Once Begun by Jesse Ball. This one is scheduled for release in late January so I made it my February staff pick and nominated it for the IndieNext list. Jesse Ball is one of my favorite living writers and continues to baffle and amaze. In Silence Once Begun, an innocent man gambles his way into confessing to a mysterious crime. He is arrested and convicted, and yet remains almost completely silent through his whole trial and incarceration. The narrator is a journalist who interviews the man’s family and friends in an effort to understand his own deteriorating marriage. And in the end...well...what I love about Ball’s work is how slippery it is, how hard to hold it is, how mysterious it can be, even after (or especially after) you’ve finished it. Silence Once Begun is his first hardcover release and I hope it will be his break out novel.


http://www.portersquarebooks.com/book/9780307594136 Bark by Lorri Moore. I know. This is an obvious choice, but it is an obvious choice for a reason. If you look back through the history of the American short story, there are a few defining writers whose stories fundamentally changed how we write and read short stories and Moore is one of them. And this is her first short story collection since Birds of America, which, if you can believe it, came out fifteen years ago!


http://www.portersquarebooks.com/book/9780812995787 Every Day Is for the Thief by Teju Cole. Open City, his first novel, was thoughtful and cerebral; both interior and exterior; and, challenging yet accessible. I really like to recommend it to teenagers reading at a more sophisticated level; younger minds in the early stages of developing an intellectual sensibility. Every Day is for the Thief seems like it’s going to take a similar meditative approach to a different setting and set of experiences. Now that we know what to expect from Cole, I’m excited to see where he takes his unique literary voice.


http://www.portersquarebooks.com/book/9780374118587 Can’t and Won’t by Lydia Davis. Speaking of “a few defining writers whose stories fundamentally changed how we write and read short stories” Lydia Davis’s new collection is my most anticipated book coming out in April. Honestly, she has been writing innovative, experimental, philosophical, and beautiful stories and poems for decades... and she’s translated Flaubert... and Proust. She should really have streets named after her in cities across the country. This is her first collection since the release of her Collected Stories in 2010 (which is on your bookshelf next to the complete Flannery O’Connor, Elizabeth Bishop, and Emily Dickinson, right?). I can’t wait to find out where she has gone and what she has found since then.

Faces in the Crowd by Valeria Luiselli. Get used to hearing me talk about this book. I’ve nominated it for the IndieNext list and will make it a staff pick when it comes out. Faces in the Crowd is a subtle, sophisticated examination of identity, authenticity, and poetry. The narrator, a young married writer and mother of two, shares the struggle of writing a novel about an obscure Mexican poet and the time in her life when she became obsessed with said obscure Mexican poet. Luiselli braids these narrative currents into a brilliant meditation on the nature of creation. Translation hoax. Ghosts on the subway. The demonstrative vocabulary of a clever toddler. The mix of fact and fiction on the page and in the mind. With her first novel, Luiselli has established herself as a brilliant explorer of voice, self, and art. I read this for the Indies Introduce Debut Authors panel I was on last summer and have been dying to put it in readers' hands ever since.

My New Friend is So Fun by Mo Willems. OK, this one probably seems a little out of character, but honestly, I read every single Elephant and Piggie as soon as it comes in. They’re charming and funny without being saccharine. They’re simple and accessible without talking down to children and they deal with the real world joys and anxieties children (and booksellers) face. And, Willems even wrote a fantastic metafiction Elephant & Piggie. And now, it looks like Willems will be turning something of a corner in this installment. So, yes, though there are a ton of fantastic books coming out in June, every new Elephant & Piggie is a little dollop of joy so it’s the book I’m most anticipating for June.

Look for the second half of the year later in the Spring. Feel free to share what you’re looking forward to in the comments. (And seriously, check out The Millions list.)

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