Books for the year ahead27 February 2013
THE TENTH OF DECEMBER, GEORGE SAUNDERS, OUT JAN 8
Featured in The New Yorker and McSweeney’s, Saunders is often lauded as one of the most talented and original short-fiction writers in America. His stories, often unsettling and absurd, perfectly balance humour with a powerful and often lingering emotional impact. Why should you be excited? The New York Times has already declared the collection “the best book you’ll read this year”. It’s out now. Buy it.
THE CHILDHOOD OF JESUS, J.M. COETZEE, OUT MARCH 7
The semi-mythical tale of a young boy who, after being separated from his parents, travels by boat to a new country. Accompanied by the man who has taken it upon himself to look after him, the boy begins the search for his mother in an unknown and foreign land. Why should you be excited? Coetzee has won the Nobel Prize, twice won the Booker Prize, and is an Australian citizen.
NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL, LENA DUNHAM, NO RELEASE DATE YET
Dunham’s debut book (for which she received a $3.7m advance) will be a collection of essays on life and relationships. Dunham is lauded and despised in equal measure for her HBO series Girls, and I think it’s safe to assume that her book will be just as divisive. Why should you be excited? Beyond the book, the collective internet meltdown that will occur upon its release will be both entertaining and infuriating.
LET’S EXPLORE DIABETES WITH OWLS, DAVID SEDARIS, OUT APRIL 23
Already claiming the crown for best title, this book of personal essays is Sedaris’ first collection of travel writing. His fan base is large and dedicated, and for good reason: Sedaris has the uncanny ability to single out moments that are both hilarious and meaningful. Why should you be excited? When it comes to entertaining travel memoirs, Bill Bryson will finally have some competition.
THE DEMOCRACY PROJECT, DAVID GRAEBER, OUT IN APRIL
Anthropologist David Graeber’s latest book studies the rise of ‘new generation’ activists in today’s protest climate. Looking at the history of democracy through the lens of the Occupy movement, the focus is squarely on how a radical approach is now the only method available to achieve global democracy. Why should you be excited? As one of the founding members of the Occupy movement, Graeber is in a unique position to combine a comprehensive theoretical treatise with a first-hand, inside account of a contemporary global movement.
ENON, PAUL HARDING, OUT SEPT 10
Harding was responsible for Tinkers, a poignant and poetic novel in which a clock repairman lies on his deathbed, recounting his life story and that of his father. Enon, his second novel, follows the life of his daughter Kate and grandson Charlie. Why should you be excited? Tinkers was a devastatingly perfect first novel (it won the Pulitzer Prize in 2010), and we should expect no less from Enon.
THE UNKNOWN UNIVERSITY, ROBERT BOLAÑO, OUT, MAY 24
Bolaño, a celebrated Chilean writer, has found cult status and critical adoration since the translation of his sprawling road novel, The Savage Detectives, in 2007. After The Romantic Dogs and Tres, The Unknown University will be Bolaño’s third poetry collection to be published in English. Why should you be excited? While he is known primarily as a novelist, Bolaño saw himself as a superior poet. He was probably right.