New Releases ~ October/November 2015

With the festive season almost upon us (Eeep!) we at For Reading Addicts thought it might be an idea to gather together some of the titles that are due to be released in November and are available for pre-order.

The Mare ~ Mary Gaitskill ~ Available Nov 3rd

Velveteen Vargas is eleven years old, a Fresh Air Fund kid from Brooklyn. Her host family is a couple in upstate New York: Ginger, a failed artist and shakily recovered alcoholic, and her academic husband, Paul, who wonder what it will mean to “make a difference” in such a contrived situation. Gaitskill illuminates their shifting relationship with Velvet over several years, as well as Velvet’s  encounter with the horses at the stable down the road—especially with an abused, unruly mare called Fugly Girl. With strong supporting characters—Velvet’s abusive mother, an eccentric horse trainer, a charismatic older boy who awakens Velvet’s nascent passion—The Mare traces Velvet’s journey between the vital, violent world of the inner city and the world of the small-town stable.

In Gaitskill’s hands, the timeless story of a girl and a horse is joined with a timely story of people from different races and classes trying to meet one another honestly. The Mare is raw, heart-stirring, and original.

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The Giveness of Things: Essays ~ Marilynne Robinson ~ Available Oct 27th

Marilynne Robinson has plumbed the depths of the human spirit in her novels, including the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning Lila and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilead, and in her new essay collection she trains her incisive mind on our modern predicament and the mysteries of faith. These seventeen essays examine the ideas that have inspired and provoked one of our finest writers throughout her life. Whether she is investigating how the work of the great thinkers of the past, Calvin, Locke, Bonhoeffer–and Shakespeare–can infuse our lives, or calling attention to the rise of the self-declared elite in American religious and political life, Robinson’s peerless prose and boundless humanity are on display. Exquisite and bold, The Givenness of Things is a necessary call for us to find wisdom and guidance in our cultural heritage, and to offer grace to one another.
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Not Available in the UK

Beatlebone ~ Kevin Barry ~ Available Oct 29th

He will spend three days alone on his island. That is all that he asks . . . John is so many miles from love now and home. This is the story of his strangest trip.

John owns a tiny island off the west coast of Ireland. Maybe it is there that he can at last outrun the shadows of his past.

The tale of a wild journey into the world and a wild journey within, Beatlebone is a mystery box of a novel. It’s a portrait of an artist at a time of creative strife. It is most of all a sad and beautiful comedy from one of the most gifted stylists now at work.
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The Big Green Tent ~ Ludmila Ulitskaya ~ Available Nov 10th 2015

The Big Green Tent dramatising a panorama of life in the USSR in the 1950s through the story of three friends — is a Russian novel, at the same time that it is a “Russian novel.”  An orphaned poet, a pianist, and a photographer each in his own way fights the post-Joseph Stalin regime; you might guess that the results are less than feel-good. This may be the Big Book of the year, and Library Journal is calling it “A great introduction to readers new to Ulitskaya,” who, along with being the most popular novelist in Russia, is an activist and rising voice of moral authority there.
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The Bazaar of Bad Dreams ~ Stephen King ~ Available Nov 3rd 2015

There are thrilling connections between stories; themes of morality, the afterlife, guilt, what we would do differently if we could see into the future or correct the mistakes of the past. “Afterlife” is about a man who died of colon cancer and keeps reliving the same life, repeating his mistakes over and over again. Several stories feature characters at the end of life, revisiting their crimes and misdemeanors. Other stories address what happens when someone discovers that he has supernatural powers—the columnist who kills people by writing their obituaries in “Obits;” the old judge in “The Dune” who, as a boy, canoed to a deserted island and saw names written in the sand, the names of people who then died in freak accidents. In “Morality,” King looks at how a marriage and two lives fall apart after the wife and husband enter into what seems, at first, a devil’s pact they can win.

Magnificent, eerie, utterly compelling, these stories comprise one of King’s finest gifts to his constant reader—“I made them especially for you,” says King. “Feel free to examine them, but please be careful. The best of them have teeth.”
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The Hairy Faerie ~ Joseph and Sparkle D’Lacey ~ Available Nov 28th 2015

What if you woke up one morning as hairy as a Yak? Worse, what if, when you tried to cut the hair off, it grew back even thicker? Worst of all, what if you couldn’t get rid of the hair without magic – and you didn’t know any spells? Waking up hairy is bad enough for hurnans, but Mary Moffett is a faerie and if anyone sees her like this she’ll be banished from the faerie kingdom forever. Unfortunately, the queen of the faeries is expecting Mary to deliver one of her famous mushroom and nettle crumbles. But Mary is so hairy she can barely see, let alone bake, and General Sleed of the Queen’s Brigade is on his way to arrest her with a troop of fifty heavily-armed faerie warriors! Luckily for Mary, her best friend, Deetle McBeetle, arrives first – but time is running out. Deetle knows someone who can help but it will require a perilous journey. Can Mary and Deetle make it past the Hogsquashers and Nugginpluckers in Midnight Wood? If they do, can they find the old faerie wizard known as Pink? Even if they can, will there be time to solve the mystery of where all Mary’s horrible hair came from and how to get rid of i before Mary is sent away from the kingdom forever? The Hairy Faerie is a story about how friendship and a bit of determination can create the kind of magic that will fix even the worst situations…
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Numero Zero ~ Umberto Eco ~ Available Nov 5th 2015

Almost as long as a Harper Lee gap, it’s taken 35 years for Umberto to release a second novel.

1945, Lake Como. Mussolini and his mistress are captured and shot by local partisans. The precise circumstances of Il Duce’s death remain shrouded in confusion and controversy.

1992, Milan. Colonna, a depressed hack writer, is offered a fee he can’t refuse to ghost-write a memoir. His subject: a fledgling newspaper financed by a powerful media magnate. As Colonna gets to know the team, he learns the paranoid theories of Braggadocio, who is convinced that Mussolini’s corpse was a body-double and part of a wider Fascist plot. It’s the scoop he desperately needs. The evidence? He’s working on it.

Colonna is sceptical. But when a body is found, stabbed to death in a back alley, and the paper is shut down, even he is jolted out of his complacency.

Fuelled by conspiracy theories, Mafiosi, love, corruption and murder, Numero Zero reverberates with the clash of forces that have shaped Italy since the Second World War. This gripping novel from the author of The Name of the Rose is told with all the power of a master storyteller.
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The Secret Chord ~ Geraldine Brooks ~ Available Nov 5th 2015

With more than two million copies of her novels sold, New York Times bestselling author Geraldine Brooks has achieved both popular and critical acclaim. Now, Brooks takes on one of literature’s richest and most enigmatic figures: a man who shimmers between history and legend. Peeling away the myth to bring David to life in Second Iron Age Israel, Brooks traces the arc of his journey from obscurity to fame, from shepherd to soldier, from hero to traitor, from beloved king to murderous despot and into his remorseful and diminished dotage. The Secret Chord provides new context for some of the best-known episodes of David’s life while also focusing on others, even more remarkable and emotionally intense, that have been neglected. We see David through the eyes of those who love him or fear him – from the prophet Natan, voice of his conscience, to his wives Mikal, Avigail and Batsheva, and finally to Solomon, the late-born son who redeems his Lear-like old age. Brooks has an uncanny ability to hear and transform characters from history, and this beautifully written, unvarnished saga of faith, desire, family, ambition, betrayal, and power will enthral her many fans.
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Hopefully there’s a title or two there that whet your fancy. I know there are two that are currently on my Wish List.

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