Monday, February 2, 2015

6 Titles to Look for in February

We've finally gotten some blasts of wintry weather and with our first official storm day of the season  behind us, maybe you've made it through your to be read pile a little more quickly than you'd expected. Need something new? Here are some promising looking titles being released in February.

The Glittering World by Robert Levy (February 10): From a playwright, an intriguing sounding supernatural thriller, with a Cape Breton setting. "When up-and-coming chef Michael “Blue” Whitley returns with three friends to the remote Canadian community of his birth, it appears to be the perfect getaway from New York. He soon discovers, however, that everything he thought he knew about himself is a carefully orchestrated lie. Though he had no recollection of the event, as a young boy, Blue and another child went missing for weeks in the idyllic, mysterious woods of Starling Cove. Soon thereafter, his mother suddenly fled with him to America, their homeland left behind."

Black Dog Summer by Miranda Sherry (Februrary 10): Don't see the word "summer" in the title and grab this up for a mid-winter pick-me-up, this début novel is a serious (and seriously-praised) story of a the aftermath of a tragedy. Murder on a farmstead in South Africa opens this story, which leaves Gigi an orphan living with her aunt and cousin and her mother Ann's spirit left in a limbo as she narrates this tale from the afterlife. Kirkus magazine called it a"hauntingly beautiful tale from a writer to watch"and The Times South Africa called it an "engaging tale of second chances, reconcilliation (sic), and allies in unlikely places".

How to Be a Heroine: Or, What I've Learned From Reading Too Much by Samantha Ellis (February 11): I don't think it is likely surprising to find a bookish title about books on a library blog about books: is a title that will be read by librarians? Yes. Only by librarians: I don't think so. "On a pilgrimage to Wuthering Heights with her best friend, Samantha Ellis found herself arguing about which heroine she liked best: Jane Eyre or Cathy Earnshaw. She was all for wild, free, passionate Cathy, but her friend found Cathy silly, a snob who betrays Heathcliff for Edgar and makes them all unhappy -- while Jane makes her own way. And that’s when she realised that all her life she’d been trying to be Cathy when she should have been trying to be Jane... So she decided to look again -- and harder –-- at all the heroines she'’d loved through her life ...These were the girls, the women, the books, that had shaped her ideas of how to live, of what kind of woman she wanted to be. But had she always chosen the wrong heroines? Should she abandon them, or did they have more to teach her about being the heroine of her own life? How to Be a Heroine is her funny, touching, inspiring exploration of the role of heroines, and our favourite books, in all our lives."

Welcome to Braggsville by T. Geronimo Johnson (February 17): Like satire? Here's one that should be on your radar. The second novel from a PEN/Faulkner award finalist it's "a dark and socially provocative Southern-fried comedy about four UC Berkeley students who stage a dramatic protest during a Civil War reenactment." This one's reviews come with a lot of words like "ambitious", "edgy" and "provocative": it may not be for everyone but as Booklist notes it is "a provocative exploration of contemporary America that is likely to be a hit with adventurous readers". I've seen more than one comparison to The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz -- fans of that author in particular may want to take note.

Girl in a Band: A Memoir by Kim Gordon (February 24): I once sat two seats over from Kim Gordon at a talk being held a music festival - it was difficult not to be awestruck and a little hard to concentrate on what was being said on stage.  Best known as a founding member of Sonic Youth, Gordon is a multitalented artist, experimental in style, producing music and art that has been consistently challenging for audiences. The publisher blurb for this book calls Gordon, among other accolades, a "role model for a generation of women" -- and it's a generation I'm undoubtedly a part of, I can't wait to read this memoir of a woman who is talented, articulate, and seemingly effortlessly cool.

I Am Radar by Reif Larsen (February 24): Finally a follow up novel from Reif Larsen, who penned the melancholic yet whimsical début The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet. As with his previous book, this one focuses on a child protagonist, Radar Radmanovic, born black despite both his parents being white. As with Larsen's previous book, I Am Radar is sweeping with a hard to pin down plot. A globe-trotting affair that goes from New Jersey to Scandinavia, warn torn Yugoslavia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Publisher's Weekly said "This is a sprawling, engrossing novel about the ravages of war and the triumph of art. Larsen is an effortless magician, and his performance here is a pure delight."

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