2015: An Anticipation in Books

January approaches swiftly, meaning a whole new year to appear on copyright pages. Working in publishing gives me the distinct pleasure of getting to read books before their releases, which means I’ve already made a dent in the titles headed to a bookstore near you in 2015. In the first half of 2015, four new releases have caught my attention.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

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Release date: January 6, 2015

I read All the Bright Places (then under a different title) the week it went out on submission, finishing before Knopf Books for Young Readers snapped it up. When I turned the last page, I put it down and decided I would take a break from reading for a couple days; I didn’t want to let it go too soon. Summed up in a single tagline, the novel is about “a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.” Violet and Finch are indelible characters, and I can’t wait to see how readers connect with them come January 6. There are very few books I recommend to wide swaths of people; this is one of them. Expect it to become big.

 

Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar

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Release date: December 30, 2014

I know, I’m cheating a bit, but books always release on Tuesdays, books that go on sale the week containing January 1 usually count as January books.

Vanessa and Her Sister tells the fictional story of Vanessa and Virginia Stephens, later known by their married names, Bell and Woolf, respectively. Historical fiction imagining the lives of real– not to mention famous– people often irks me. Parmar smartly focuses on the sisters’ lives and relationship prior to Virginia’s meeting Leonard Woolf (although Vanessa marries Clive Bell). Vanessa serves as the primary protagonist, though letters from Virginia and other members of the Bloomsbury Group are scattered throughout the narrative. I came away from the novel with a better sense of both Vanessa and Virginia and the complicated bonds between sisters. This sets a new standard for historical fiction depicting the lives of real people.

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

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Release date: March 3, 2015

I feel lightheaded just thinking about a new book from Kazuo Ishiguro. His books never disappoint. This will be his first novel in ten years, his first since Never Let Me Go, one of my five favorite books. Like the general public, I know little to nothing about the book’s content.

Below is the online description:

“‘You’ve long set your heart against it, Axl, I know. But it’s time now to think on it anew. There’s a journey we must go on, and no more delay . . .’

The Buried Giant begins as a couple set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen in years.

Sometimes savage, often intensely moving, Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel in nearly a decade is about lost memories, love, revenge, and war.”

I am sure that I will savor every second of Ishiguro’s latest as soon as I get my hands on it.

 

The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell

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Release date: March 3, 2015

I read for two reasons: entertainment and knowledge. I can seldom resist a book that unites the two. I loved Ian Caldwell’s debut, The Rule of Four (co-written with Dustin Thomason), so I had high expectations for his first book in over a decade. The Fifth Gospel did not disappoint. The story unites the lives of two brothers, both Vatican priests belonging to different sects, Catholic and the little-known Greek Catholic, as they unravel a dangerous plot involving an ancient relic, a mysterious book, and warring factions within the Vatican itself. Along the way I earned more about the Vatican and religious history than I ever expected to know. Though listed at 450 pages, I finished The Fifth Gospel in one manic day; I could not put it down.

I’m sure more will come to my attention as the year continues.

Happy 2015, all!

And happy reading.

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  1. […] Hoping to post later this month with a list of books I’ve read and loved so far this year. Out of curiosity, has anyone read any of the book recommended in my last post? […]



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