Another year, another mountain (both real and virtual) of books to read. Checking out upcoming publications is a little like being in a candy store. Without wanting to gorge myself on literary lollies, I’ve put together a list of things I’m looking forward to reading this year, as well as website and blogs I’d like to spend more time browsing.
Increasingly, I’m reading online. And yes, last year I bought a nasty Kindle and I’m enjoying the hell out of it – especially all the subscription-based content they’ve got on there, like New York Review of Books for just a couple of dollars a fortnight.
Check out Byliner.com if you haven’t already. Their curation of quality long-form non-fiction makes for some inspiring reading. And I’ve only just discovered the brilliant The Stranger from Seattle, full of all kinds of art and culture, dealt up with a delightfully zany (sometimes angry) bent. And I can’t go past The New Yorker, of course – it’s the online subscription that just keeps on giving. Their podcasts are a particular treat.
Closer to home, in good old-fashioned hard-copy form, are The Lifted Brow and newbie The Nose. The Brow is recently under the new editorship of Sam Cooney, and I’m looking forward to see what’s published in this quirky and nonconformist bimonthly newspaper in 2013. In the same vein, The Nose makes for a welcome addition to local journalism with its ‘reminding you that everything you like sucks’ manifesto. Interestingly, these guys successfully crowd-funded their most recent issue, No. 4, through Pozible.
On more bookish matters, Lionel Shriver has a new novel due out this year. A chronicler of the American family, Shriver is a polarising figure in international fiction. One of her earliest novels, before she shot to fame with her controversial novel, We Need To Talk About Kevin, was A Perfectly Good Family. Her new addition to this running theme is Big Brother, a novel based in part on her own late brother’s experiences with morbid obesity.
Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell is the next book on my list. This is Russell’s second collection of short stories. Have you read Swamplandia? If not, get to a bookshop now. It’s a brilliant novel set in a gator theme park deep in the Florida Everglades, with a memorable host of whacky characters – a bit The Orchid Thief, a bit Modern Family.
Having sunk my teeth into some cheesy crime over the recent holidays, I’m also keen to read more Japanese literary fiction in translation this year, and I’m going to start with Revenge by the prolific writer Yoko Ogawa. This collection is reportedly elegant and creepy.
KYDers past and present are having a good run in the publishing stakes this year. Former associate editor Jo Case’s first book, Boomer and Me, is coming out in April. It’s a moving, informative, and at times downright hilarious memoir about Jo’s experiences raising her son, who in primary school was diagnosed with Aspeger’s syndrome.
Is there anything Dave Eggers can’t do? KYD regular contributor Caroline Hamilton writes eloquently on Eggers’ enduring popularity in the current issue, posing some interesting questions about his celebrity and author branding. But I can’t help getting excited at the prospect of his collection of travel writing, Visitants, out in March.
And last but not least is my KYD colleague Hannah Kent’s extraordinary debut novel, Burial Rites, which has got everyone in publishing excited. The novel explores the final days of the last woman to be beheaded in Iceland, in 1830. The idea for the novel was dreamed up nearly ten years ago when Hannah lived in Iceland. She’ll be detailing this process – from juggling writing and research with her PhD to the sometimes chaos of international publishing– in our lead feature in the April 2013 issue of Kill Your Darlings. Stay tuned for that one, it’s sure to make for a fascinating read.
Rebecca Starford is editor and co-founder of Kill Your Darlings.