Sunday, June 1, 2014

7 Fiction titles to Watch for in June

Need a new book to read? Why not consider one of these titles, all released this month.

There are a couple authors-who-need-no-introduction titles coming this month Stephen King releases Mr. Mercedes on June 3, Diana Gabaldon continues her Outlander series with Written in My Own Heart's Blood on June 10 and Robert Galbraith (AKA JK Rowling) returns with The Silkworm on June 19th. With those inevitable blockbusters arriving, its hard to imagine why anyone else would want to throw their book in the ring this June: here's 4 brave folks who have.

The Farm by Tom Rob Smith (June 3): A new book from an author who gets acclaim in both genre and literary fields. Child 44, the first book his action-packed cold war era Leo Demidov thrillers was named one of the top thrillers of the year by NPR in 2008 and it was long listed for the Man Booker prize. His latest has been described by The Times as a "absorbing, unsettling, multilayered novel" about a family in distress: descriptions usually begin with these ominous words from the main characters' mother: "If you refuse to believe me, I will no longer consider you my son." Check out the trailer to get a preview of this chilling story.

What is Visible by Kimberly Elkins (June 3): "A vividly original literary novel based on the astounding true-life story of Laura Bridgman, the first deaf and blind person who learned language and blazed a trail for Helen Keller. At age two, Laura Bridgman lost four of her five senses to scarlet fever. At age seven, she was taken to Perkins Institute in Boston to determine if a child so terribly afflicted could be taught. At age twelve, Charles Dickens declared her his prime interest for visiting America. And by age twenty, she was considered the nineteenth century's second most famous woman, having mastered language and charmed the world with her brilliance. Not since The Diving Bell and the Butterfly has a book proven so profoundly moving in illuminating the challenges of living in a completely unique inner world."

The Rise and Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman (June 10): I've yet to read Canadian author Rachman's 2011 novel The Imperfectionists but I have a friend who raves about it so it has long be on my To Be Read List. That endorsement also led me to give a bit of extra notice to Rachman's latest which seems to have a good chance of appearing on Canadian bestseller lists and prize lists come summers's end. "...An intricately woven novel about a bookseller who travels the world to make sense of her puzzling past. Tooly Zylberberg tells a story: as a child, she was stolen from home, stashed at a den of thieves, then adopted by crooks there, who ended up raising her and even using the little girl in capers around the globe. But Tooly understands only fragments of what happened in Thailand, Italy, New York and beyond. Then, a desperate message reaches her musty bookshop in Wales, and she is lured into a journey that will reveal the secret of her childhood. Celebrated for his ingenious plotting, humanity and humor, Tom Rachman has written a novel that will amplify his reputation as one of the most exciting young writers today."

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey (June 10): M.R. Carey is Mike Carey, a popular author of graphic novels and the occult mystery series featuring Felix Castor. A chilling thriller that is getting early buzz, the publisher's blurb seems more like a teaser trailer for a movie than a book synopsis: "Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her 'our little genius'. Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favourite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad." Page turning reading to keep you up on summer nights.

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