Books of the Future & Books of the Now

On Monday night I was lucky enough to get to have a wander behind the scenes at one of the UK’s big publishing houses. The kindly souls at Picador and Pan Macmillan has asked if I would attend (I dragged Novel Insights along with me) an evening in their new offices to listen to some of their authors reading. Baring you all in mind, as I always do, I made sure I got a cheeky snapshot of their fabulous book filled reception. I cannot tell you how hard it was not to get on that ladder and fill my man bag, I managed, I know not how.

As I mentioned we were there to have a listen to some authors who were; John Butler, Stuart Evers (who you may know from The Guardian, Twitter etc), Sunjeev Sahota and Naomi Wood. Now if you haven’t heard of these authors that might be because they are new authors, in fact I think all of these were debut novels/collections (I could be wrong), and also their books aren’t actually out until 2011.

I can say they all sounded rather exciting John Butlers being the adventures of a young man in San Francisco in the 1980’s – his reading made us all laugh, Stuart Evers debut collection looks to be a gem if the one tale  ‘What’s in Swindon’ is anything to go by. Sunjeev Sahota’s tale ‘Ours Are The Streets’ sounds like it could be quite a hard hitting yet very funny novel, plus he additionally won me over being from my homeland of Derbyshire. Naomi Woods novel then went and won both Polly and I over being set in Newcastle (where we went to school together) in an England we don’t recognise because it’s based on and England of extreme secularism. Sadly they weren’t all in print or proof stage but I did manage to smuggle two of them away which at the end of an evening of bookish chatter and wine was perfection…

Oh yes you may notice I have included a copy of ‘Caribou Island’ by David Vann (I did so like ‘Legend of a Suicide’) in the picture and that’s because it sparked my first mini theme in today’s post… books of the future, in this case books of 2011 specifically. I am hopeless at knowing what is coming out (I seem to have come off lots of publishers catalogue mail outs sadly) in the future, although 2011 is only actually 3 months away, so I wondered if there were any titles that you have started to get really excited about coming next year? I haven’t really got a buzz for any apart from the ones above.

I thought I would use this as an excuse to mention some books of NOW in the meantime as some lovely parcels have been popping through the letter box in the last fortnight or so and I love your thoughts on these loots so I thought I would share them with you. (Sorry for the picture quality, its dreary in London and my iPhone has no flash, I will try and do another anon.) Anyway I have had;

  • The Agatha Raisin Companion – which is perfect for me and came along with…
  • Agatha Raisin and the Busy Body by M.C. Beaton – this will be being read at Christmas as its got a Christmas setting, only I won’t be in the snow I will be in Copacabana, but where better to be resting with Agatha on the hunt for a murderer?
  • A Diary of The Lady by Rachel Johnson – When this arrived I was initially not sure what Penguin were trying to say by sending this (he says with two Agatha Raisin books above). However I was discussing this with Kimbofo when we went out on Thursday night and she said she thought it sounded like it could be really good. I then tried twenty pages and though the word ‘smug’ seems to be in my mind at the mo I am strangely addicted. It’s a great bathroom book, you know you can pick it up and pop it down at intervals. Erm, anyway, moving swiftly on…
  • Nourishment by Gerard Woodward – I actually won this in the Picador event raffle which left me feeling a bit smug as it was the one book (apart from the new Brett Easton Ellis) that I really, really wanted to walk away with. It’s set in the war and tells a very different tale of a husband and wife as the husband wants dirty letters, sounds brilliantly unique. I will be reading this soon.
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot – Many of you have said this is the best non fiction you have read in some time, it’s the tale of Henrietta Lacks and how unwittingly her cancerous cells were used by scientists and have made massive advancements in science and yet no credit has gone to her or any of the money made from this to her family. Funnily enough Picador/Pan Macmillan publish it so a massive small hint was dropped. I think I am going to be hooked by this and possibly outraged too.
  • Wait for Me by Deborah Devonshire – the autobiography of the youngest Mitford Sister, I need say no more. I will be reading that next after book group Nevil Shute choice.
  • Coco Chanel by Justine Picardie – I had a lovely email from the publishers of this after Justine had apparently told them she read this blog and would like me to read it if I wanted to.
  • Pereira Maintains by Antonio Tabucchi – I know nothing about this book, do any of you?
  • Air & Was by Geoff Ryman – Very excited about both of these, in particular Was which is another book I want to start instantly… but I can’t and nor can I read all the books I want to at once, its most vexing.
  • The Country Diaries edited by Alan Taylor – I have seen this around the blogosphere and been very intrigued by it (I use the word intrigued so much but it’s genuinely how I feel), this could be another bathroom book. You all know what I mean by a bathroom/toilet book don’t you? I’m not being rude or trying to offend in case anyone thinks I am being crass.

So what are you reading at the moment? What books have you got your eyes on? What books have you been bought/borrowed/found/treated yourself to recently? Are you already anticipating a book that’s coming out in 2011? What are you up to this weekend?

12 Comments

Filed under Book Thoughts

12 responses to “Books of the Future & Books of the Now

  1. Oh, the Coco Chanel book. I have heard many people gushing about it on twitter lately. I hope you’ll enjoy it!

  2. Agatha Raisin is such lively fun, isn’t she? I keep her around and read her now and again and she always makes me smile and mumble at her vanity.

    Deborah Devonshire and Wait for Me should be of interest, but then, your whole list is interesting.

    We are reading One Thousand White Women, The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus for our next book discussion. A work of fiction, it is based on a request by the Cheyenne of 1,000 women to become brides of their warriors and bear children in an effort to keep the tribe going. The proposal was real and the government did not act upon it, but it gave Fergus an idea for a book when he discovered it.

  3. I have only read one Agatha Rasin and was not impressed, but that was a while ago – perhaps it is worth rediscovering her again.

    I have so many books to read on my floor at the moment and with the prospect of a birthday and Christmas coming up, I know this will increase because I have a list I issue to my mum!

    I am intrigued by the Coco Chanel book by Justine Picardie, I enjoyed her previous book so that could be interesting.

  4. I’m going to a book release party tonight for a book about riot grrrl (the 90’s feminist punk movement) and I COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED. I will be posting about this soon, and reading the book as soon as I pick it up.

  5. Love Picador’s reception!

    I’ve heard such good things about Nourishment and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was a recent choice by my (other) book group although sadly I didn’t have a chance to read it as the library request arrived too late – again, though, great things have been heard about it and I enjoyed the discussion nonetheless.

  6. What a great collection of books. The event sounds fantastic, as do the books that they read out of. As for the list of books, I’m most interested in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, because I’ve been hearing about it 🙂

  7. Very Nice 🙂
    I will be your subscriber.

  8. Oh Henrietta Lacks – jealous! That started off getting blogger buzz at some of my favourite places, then the mainstream press really took it to heart and now it seems to be everywhere, which is just fantastic when you think this is a story of serious scientific injustice.

    Right now I’m looking forward to (and have preordered because I am bad) Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves who is one of my new favourite YA writers. I’ve also pre-bought something that might be more your sort of thing Under the Poppy by Kathy Koja (alright that’s out this month but I feel like I’ve been wiating ages) which sounds like a dark magical realist Victorian novel – with opium and a big creep factor. Delicious.

  9. Rob

    The reason you may not have had 2011 catalogues yet is that generally these get produced for the Frankfurt Bookfair which starts this week. I would guess you’ll be flooded with them shortly. You will get ours.

    Buzz for 2011: A Visit From The Goon Squad
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/11/books/review/Blythe-t.html

  10. I actually think it’s better if you know nothing about Pereira Maintains before you read it!

  11. Pingback: Ours Are The Streets – Sunjeev Sahota « Savidge Reads

  12. Pingback: The Godless Boys – Naomi Wood | Savidge Reads

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