Becoming Jane Eyre, by Sheila Kohler, is apparently an attempt to get into the mind of the wonderful Charlotte Bronte, which is really intriguing. It was recommended by the equally wonderful and intriguing Joyce Carol Oates, so it’s got to be great. It’s in the shops just before Christmas, so I think it’ll be the first book I’ll read in 2010.
Ghosts and Lightning is Trevor Byrne’s first novel, published in June 2009. It will be published in paperback in May 2010.
I’m a diary junkie, which is why, in the past, I’ve enjoyed Alan Taylor’s two anthologies for Canongate, The Assassin’s Cloak and The Secret Annexe (ed’s note: The Secret Annexe was reissued as Those Who Marched Away in October); so I was thrilled to see that he’s produced another anthology, this one The Country Diaries, obligingly divided into a passage for every day in the year. I look forward to journeying through 2010 with it by my bedside.
Richard Holloway is a broadcaster and author of many acclaimed books of non-fiction. His latest, Between the Monster and the Saint, is available in paperback.
Richard Yates by Tao Lin (Melville House, 2010) – Tao Lin is one of my favourite writers. I’ve read a few excerpts and it promises to be very funny and smart and easy to read. My other tip for 2010 is My Hair Will Defeat You by Brandon Scott Gorrell (3:AM Press, 2010) – I read an early draft of this short novel/novella last year and was ‘blown away’. Really feel like Brandon Scott Gorrell is doing some exciting new things in fiction.
Chris Killen’s debut novel, The Bird Room, was published in 2009. The paperback will be available in January 2010.
I have two books I’m saving for the new year when I hope I’ll have some quality spare time to read them – The Apple in the Dark by Clarice Lispector, just published in translation, and given to me as a birthday present because I’ve raved about her The Hour of the Star since I read it a few years ago; a book in Welsh by Sian Melangell Dafydd, Y Trydydd Peth, which won the prose medal at this year’s National Eisteddfod, and looks to be a moving meditation on life through the eyes of an old man who decides to swim the length of the Dee; and I’m looking forward to the publication of Louise Welsh’s new novel Naming the Bones in the spring, because I enjoyed her first novel The Cutting Room so much.
Mari Strachan’s debut novel, The Earth Hums in B Flat , was published in March 2009. The paperback will be published in May 2010.
I am most looking forward to reading In The Summertime, a novel by a young Liverpool writer, Patricia Caliskan. It’s a gorgeous coming-of-age story who’s fifteen-year-old protagonist – the spiky, cynical and ostensibly unworldly Stephanie Dean - is struggling to deal with the stillbirth of her half brother, her grieving mother and her angry, violent stepfather. But for all the big and serious themes it touches upon - the loss of a baby, domestic violence, the every day emotional abuse of children by their parents - it’s a wonderfully, uplifting read. I read a very early draft last year and I can’t wait to read this book in print.