Sunday, August 3, 2014

5 Novels to Look for This August

As the summer stretches into August, there is still lots of time to meet your summer reading goals. Maybe you're reading one of this summer's hot new thrillers or aiming to check out one of the books on the Man Booker Prize Longlist or maybe your still looking for something to sink your teeth into. If that last one is the case, one of these titles (released this month) may be for you.

The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an IKEA Wardrobe: A novel by Romain Puertolas (August 5th): I am pretty sure I have previously confessed my love for a book with an unnecessarily long title—so, here we go. This is "a funny, charming, feel-good story about a fake fakir from India who arrives in France to shop at IKEA and unwittingly embarks on a European tour like no other." Sounds like good, light, late summer read—and one that is recommended for readers who liked the similarly extended-titled The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. This is Peurtolas' debut novel, it was a bestseller in France where it was released in 2013. The library also owns the French language original.

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami (August 12): For a great many people (myself included) a new novel from Haruki Murakami is something to mark on the calendar and after the popular success of the English translation of his last novel 1Q84 I suspect there may be a few more people on the lookout for this latest. "Tsukuru Tazaki belongs to a tight-knit group of five friends in high school--three boys and two girls who form a perfect circle they imagine will stay together forever. But when Tsukuru returns home from college in Tokyo, he finds himself inexplicably rebuffed by the group. Something has changed, but nobody, not even his closest friends, will tell him what. Years later, Tsukuru, now a successful engineer, begins dating an older woman named Sara and confesses to her the shadow this betrayal has cast over his life. Sara urges Tsukuru to try to find his old group and to try to solve the mystery that has haunted him all these years: why did they suddenly turn on him?" Special note for readers who enjoyed the style of 1Q84 but maybe found all 925 pages hard to get through, at 400 pages,this latest is much shorter".

Chloe Sparrow by Lesley Crewe (August 15). Nova Scotia author Crewe returns with a breezy story set in the TV industry that seems like perfect summer reading. "Chloe Sparrow is a twenty-five-year-old TV producer with a hit show on her hands. The Single Guy is a popular new reality series, where dozens of women are trying to woo bachelor veterinarian Austin Hawke. As the filming gets underway, though, accident-prone Chloe finds herself in one predicament after another: a wayward puck hits her in the face during a hockey game, she sprains her ankle at a dude ranch, and she falls out of a boat at high speed. But Chloe has bigger problems. The stress of her home life with her nutty but lovable Gramps and Aunt Ollie is getting to her, her job is consuming her, and painful memories from her past threaten to overwhelm her. To top it off, her co-worker Amanda is pressuring her to find a boyfriend. It doesn't take long before Chloe realizes that not having all her wishes come true might not be such a bad idea." Attention fans! Lesley will be reading at the Keshen Goodman Library in late September, keep an eye on the library website for details.

Speaking of Canadian books, with Canadian Literary award season approaching, readers won't be surprised to hear of the imminent release of a number of books Canadian authors with past nominations for the Giller Prize, The Governor General Awards or the Writers Trust Awards under the belts. We'll finish with a few notable releases from some of those authors.

Sweetland by Michael Crummey (August 19). As with his previous book Galore, Michael Crummey uses the landscape of remote Newfoundland as a backdrop for his latest. "For twelve generations, when the fish were plentiful and when they all-but disappeared, the inhabitants of this remote island in Newfoundland have lived and died together. Now, in the second decade of the 21st century, they are facing resettlement, and each has been offered a generous compensation package to leave. But the money is offered with a proviso: everyone has to go; the government won't be responsible for one crazy coot who chooses to stay alone on an island. That coot is Moses Sweetland. Motivated in part by a sense of history and belonging, haunted by memories of the short and lonely time he spent away from his home as a younger man, and concerned that his somewhat eccentric great-nephew will wilt on the mainland, Moses refuses to leave. But in the face of determined, sometimes violent, opposition from his family and his friends, Sweetland is eventually swayed to sign on to the government's plan. Then a tragic accident prompts him to fake his own death and stay on the deserted island. As he manages a desperately diminishing food supply, and battles against the ravages of weather, Sweetland finds himself in the company of the vibrant ghosts of the former islanders, whose porch lights still seem to turn on at night."

Mãn by Kim Thuy (August 26). Just in time for Labour Day weekend reading is the latest from Canadian author Kim Thuy described as a "moving meditation on how love and food are inextricably entwined". Set in Vietnam and Montreal, it is the story of a woman who finds a passion for cooking and sharing food through a new life brought about by a marriage. Mãn is already available in a French language edition.

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