Summer ends and the beach reads go back on the shelf for another season, but it doesn’t mean it’s time to put the books away all together. Grab a sweater and a hot cup of tea, curl up under a blanket and embrace the increasingly chilly weather by settling down to read one of these new releases.
We’ll start this month with a book that isn’t getting a lot of major press attention, but is popping up a lot of blog reviews, particularly those that have an interest in the fantastical. “Kabu Kabu – unregistered, illegal Nigerian taxis – generally get you where you need to go, but Nnedi Okorafor’s Kabu Kabu takes the reader to exciting, fantastic, magical, occasionally dangerous, and always imaginative locations.” This is a first short story collection from a professor and author of previous novels who according to her website counts “Octavia Butler, Stephen King, Philip Pullman, Tove Jansson, Hayao Miyazaki and Ngugi wa Thiong’o” as her muses. Fans of those authors (and director) should take note.
I think I first read about this book back in January or February, the publisher is hoping I think to ride the coattails of the popularity of Downton Abbey: an upstairs/downstairs story with a Jane Austen connection that fans may pick up on. It’s been out in the UK for 6 weeks or so, it hits Canadian shelves this month.
“The servants at Longbourn estate–only glancingly mentioned in Jane Austen’s classic–take centre stage in Jo Baker’s lively, cunning new novel. Here are the Bennets as we have never known them: seen through the eyes of those scrubbing the floors, cooking the meals, emptying the chamber pots. Our heroine is Sarah, an orphaned housemaid beginning to chafe against the boundaries of her class. When the militia marches into town, a new footman arrives under mysterious circumstances, and Sarah finds herself the object of the attentions of an ambitious young former slave working at neighboring Netherfield Hall, the carefully choreographed world downstairs at Longbourn threatens to be completely, perhaps irrevocably, up-ended. From the stern but soft-hearted housekeeper to the starry-eyed kitchen maid, these new characters come vividly to life in this already beloved world. Jo Baker shows us what Jane Austen wouldn’t in a captivating, wonderfully evocative, moving work of fiction.”
The Goldfinch (M)
by Donna Tartt (October 22)
One of the biggest debuts of October, if not of the whole autumn book season, is the latest from American author Donna Tartt. Tartt’s 1992 debut The Secret History catapulted her to success and is considered a must read thrillers for many fans of the genre. Tartt is not a prolific writer, but her books thusfar have been successes. Her second novel The Little Friend was published a decade after The Secret History, but readers still lined up for it. Another decade later, Tarrt’s publisher is clearly expecting a hit. With an initial print run of 250000, expect to see this one on shelves everywhere (including the library!). “A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an accident that takes the life of his mother. Alone and abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by a friend’s family and struggles to make sense of his new life. In the years that follow, he becomes entranced by one of the few things that reminds him of his mother: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the art underworld.”
Debut author Yates’ bio is almost as interesting sounding as his new book’s description. After training to be a lawyer, Yates decided instead to pursue a career in puzzles–not the picture kind, but the logic kind. He’s worked as a puzzle editor and compiler and even represented the UK in an international puzzle competition. Now he lives in the US and has written a thriller that has a sinister competition at its centre. “One game. Six students. Five survivors. In the intimidating surroundings of Oxford University a group of six friends begin to play a game — an elaborate variant on truth or dare, in which the loser of each round has to perform an embarrassing challenge. The eventual winner stood to walk away with a sizable prize, not simply the money that each had contributed to the pot from their student grants, but a substantial sum staked to them by a mysterious campus organisation known as the Game Society, provided that the students agreed to keep both the Game and its sponsorship secret. But the game quickly assumes a life of its own”
Case of the Love Commandos (M)
by Tarquin Hall (October 29)
If you haven’t already succumbed to the charms of series of mysteries featuring Vish Puri, Most Private Investigator, than the arrival of the fourth book chronicling the adventures of this Indian detective could be a catalyst for you. David first blogged about the series here at The Reader back in 2010 when the series had just debuted. If you like a whodunit with a strong sense of place, you may want to start with The Case of the Missing Servant –the first book in the series–and if you are already a fan, you’ll want to mark your calendar for the release of this latest.