2014: So Many Good Books So Little Time

Photo credit: ProfDEH Wikimedia Commons
I felt a little overwhelmed when I read the National Post's 25 of the most anticipated books of 2014. Not only did it list the Literary Editor's picks, it also listed many other books that would be released this year. And truth be told, it is going to be a stellar year for books, even better than last year. I immediately spotted five that I was dying to get my hands on. Here they are:

Stone Mattress, by Margaret Atwood, publisher and release date to be announced
Last year was a great year for short fiction with Alice Munro's Nobel Prize. As a lover of short fiction, I'm looking forward to Margaret Atwood's Stone Mattress collection. After seeing her and Sheila Heti at the Drawn and Quarterly-sponsored event in early December, I remembered how much I enjoyed Surfacing in my final year of high school. I went on to read everything available by Atwood at the time, but I haven't read anything by her recently. Seeing the witty literary giant on stage reignited my interest in her work. What will a master storyteller's short fiction be like? I can't wait to see.

Ellen in Pieces, by Caroline Adderson, HarperCollins, September
Canadian novelist and short story writer, Caroline Adderson is a gifted writer. Although well-known among avid readers and Canadian literary circles, she has not yet made that break into the mainstream. Ellen in Pieces is a collection of connected short stories that centers around the life of Ellen, a young Vancouver woman stricken with cancer but who still has a healthy sexual appetite. It contains a story entitled "Erection Man," which was long-listed for the world's richest (£30,000) short story prize, Britain's Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award. Let's hope this book brings Adderson the recognition she deserves.

Margaret Atwood and Sheila Heti at D&Q event
Boy, Snow, Bird, by Helen Oyeyemi, Penguin Canada, March  
Boy, Snow, Bird is Oyeyemi's fifth novel, the first of which she wrote while writing her final high school exams. The Cambridge graduate has also published two plays. Not bad for someone who is not yet 30. In 1953, Boy Novak, a woman obsessed with beauty, leaves New York to live in a small Massachusetts town where she marries a widower and becomes the stepmother to the gorgeous Snow Whitman. When Boy gives birth to dark-skinned child, she discovers that the Whitmans are light-skinned African Americans passing for white. It will be interesting to see how Oyeyemi treats the cultural constructs of race and beauty in the Pre-Civil Rights era New England, more than 30 years before the Nigerian-born, London-based author was born.

The Girl That Was Saturday Night, by Heather O'Neill, HarperCollins, May
Here is the long-awaited follow-up to O'Neill's 2007 international bestseller Lullabies for Little Criminals. This time, O'Neill tackles celebrity. Noushcka and Nicolas Tremblay are beautiful twins who live in a sordid apartment on St-Laurent Boulevard with their grandfather. As the offspring of famous bon vivant folksinger Étienne Tremblay, the inseparable twins are media darlings as children. However, their self-destructive behaviour on the eve of their 20th birthday attracts the attention of a journalist who unearths some disquieting secrets. It has been said that this book is classic, unforgettable Heather O'Neill.

The Fledglings, by David Homel, Cormorant Books, April
The Fledglings is award-winning translator David Homel's seventh novel. It is about the daughter of a Jewish bootlegger in Prohibition-era Chicago. What could be more interesting than a tale set in the days of Al Capone, particularly when it is written by a native Chicagoan? What might be even more interesting is to see how convincingly Homel writes from the point of view of a woman protagonist.

Other book-related reviews
Lily and Taylor by Elise Moser
World of Glass by Jocelyne Dubois
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
Letting It Go by Miriam Katin
My Mother, the Nazi Midwife and Me by Gina Roitman
Stony River by Tricia Dower
Susceptible by Geneviève Castrée
Studio Saint-Ex by Ania Szado
Bombay Wali and other stories by Veena Gokhale
The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier
Gay Dwarves of America by Anne Fleming


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