Things To Look Forward To 

David Gaunt has owned Gleebooks with partner Roger Mackell since 1976.

March 2019

 - Tuesday, February 26, 2019
I get a lot of books, all the time, from publishers eager to share their upcoming publications. It’s quite hard, you know there’s no way you can do them all justice. Fiction and nonfiction, memoirs, poetry, established and fresh writers, deserving attention and respect—and, in most cases, endorsement. The familiar phrase of the committed reader—too many books, too little time—is multiplied on a monthly basis for the committed bookseller. No pity, I know, from the committed reader. ‘All those lovely, exciting, free, new books, lucky duck’, I hear you say. So check out what’s currently on (or in neat-ish heaps next to) my bedside table. And this isn’t all of it, only accumulated since the new year, and just the ones I’ve fond hopes of getting to. With some abbreviated description, here’s what I’ve read or am hoping to knock over in the next few weeks:
 
Just finished: West by Carys Davies: moral complexity woven  into an American 19th century frontier story. Not a wasted word, deep insight and macabre humour. Read it (out now). 
The Scholar by Dervla McTiernan: This is a strong follow-up to her debut, The Rúin, featuring Galway-based detective, Cormac Reilly. A compelling and cleverly constructed whodunit. She’s great. (Also out now)
Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak: I needed a holiday to focus on this. Don’t be daunted by the length—Zusak is a wonderful writer who has fashioned this utterly original tale of five brothers essentially raising themselves. Full of sub-plots and wandering fictional adventure, it’s sometimes difficult to follow—however, it’s nonetheless a profound and beautiful work (out now, of course)
Beyond Words by Jacqueline Kent: She’s a splendid biographer (Beatrice Davis, Hephzibah Menuhin) and this memoir of her time with the author of Wake in Fright, Kenneth Cook, doesn’t disappoint. I loved its evocation of time and place and relationship (February).

Next—what I’m in the middle of reading (yes, I often read more than one book at once):
The Friend by Sigrid Nunez: National Book Award winner for 2018: a lovely, quiet, intelligent novel about a woman saddled with an unwanted dog after the death of a close friend and mentor.
The Yield by Tara June Winch: This could be the most exciting novel of the year (only started, so more to say). But we’ve waited more than ten years since Swallow the Air, and in The Yield Tara has given us a stunning and exquisitely written story, reclaiming her indigenous language in the most original way (due in June)
Exploded View by Carrie Tiffany: just two slender novels since 2005 (Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living and Mateship with Birds)—I loved both. And I am loving this. (Released this month)
Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan: I really think he is getting better with age—certainly he continues adventurous and bold in subject and style. This is a love story set in a an 80s Britain where Britain’s lost the Falklands War and Alan Turing has made an astonishing breakthrough in AI. Audacious and provocative (April)
Hare’s Fur by Trevor Shearston: This is a tender and heartfelt novel set in the Blue Mountains, about grief and trust and remaking life, from an astute observer of life and the natural world. (this month)

And once I’ve moved the above from the bedside pile to the shelf, I am looking forward to:
Underland by Robert MacFarlane: a big, ambitious exploration of our geological history from the best writer I know about landscape and humanity’s  relation to it. (May)
How to Lose a Country: The Seven Warning Signs of Rising Populism by Ece Temelkuran: Temelkuran, a brilliant Turkish journalist ponders political disconnect and populism in Turkey, Brexiting UK and Trump’s America. (in the shop now)
Extraordinary Insects by Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson: the subtitle ‘Weird, Wonderful, Indispensable’ says it all.

And still, there’s much, much more. To paraphrase the incomparable Roy and HG, when too many books is barely enough. David Gaunt