Looking Ahead: February Books

03 February 2014

I've got my eye on more February releases than I can possibly hope to read in one month (and a short month, at that!), but where would I be if I ever caught up on all the books I wanted to read? And so I'll keep adding more books to the mental list of "books-on-my-radar" and hoping that one day someone will just pay me to sit in my house and read all day:


Annihilation, by Jeff VanderMeer (FSG, February 4): The publisher blurb for this begins, "If J.J. Abrams, Margaret Atwood, and Alan Weisman collaborated on a novel . . . it might be this awesome." That's a big claim, but if it lives up to the hype, it really will be awesome. The first in a planned trilogy, the second and third volumes are due to be published in 2014, so the wait won't be long.

Marshlands, by Matthew Olshan (FSG, February 4): An unnamed man is released from an unidentified military prison to a country he no longer recognizes as his own. As this novel moves backwards in time, the man's crimes are revealed--as is the haunting world of a country at war with its occupiers. I've already read this one, and while it's rather quiet, it resonates with our current political situation despite its lack of identifying details.

The Secret of Raven Point, by Jennifer Vanderbes (Scribner, February 4): World War II history promising a "war saga capturing the experiences of soldiers after the battles have ended." And told from the perspective of a woman? Yes, please.



Strange Bodies, by Marcel Theroux (FSG, February 4): The Millions Most Anticipated Books of 2014 article stated, "This smart novel’s central conceit is that we are all, like books, made of words." What's not to love about that?

The Martian, by Andy Weir (Crown, February 11): One of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars is left behind by his crew... and will quickly become the first man to die on the surface of Mars. An interesting twist on our concept of "Martians," yes?

The News: A User's Manual, by Alain de Botton (Pantheon, February 11): Alain de Botton, founder of the School of Life (which has a corresponding book series worth checking out), tackles our obsession with the news in his latest work. In the age of the 24-hour-news cycle, this couldn't feel more relevant.


The Good Luck of Right Now, by Matthew Quick (Harper, February 11): The author of The Silver Linings Playbook is back in an epistolary novel told entirely in letters to Richard Gere. The letter-writer, Bartholomew, starts his missives after the death of his mother--and just keeps going. I've already read this one, and while it's not what I think people will be expecting, it's heartfelt and engaging.

Bark: Stories, by Lorrie Moore (Knopf, February 25): I've never read Lorrie Moore, but after all the praise that has been heaped upon her, I don't plan to miss this collection.

Kinder Than Solitude, by Yiyun Li (Random House, February 25): Another one picked up from The Millions' list of 2014 titles, this one promises to be a literary dive into the whodunit--or rather, the "what really happened" and the "does it even matter." I love novels that turn the classic crime story on its head, and this fits that bill in more ways than one.

13 comments :

  1. You're the second person in the last 24 hours who's mentioned that Annihilation book, which I hadn't even noticed before. Now I will be paying attention to it!

    What I liked about The Secret of Raven Point was that the primary relationship was a sibling one, which is unexpected in a WWII historical setting.

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    1. The Secret of Raven Point is high on my list for a lot of reasons, and the sibling angle is definitely one of them. Can't wait to get started on that!

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  2. I just put The Martian on my Nook so I can dig into this puppy in a BIG WAY. Cannot wait.

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  3. All of the books are now on my TBR. How will I ever live long enough to read all of the books?

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    1. I ask myself that very question on a daily basis these days.

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  4. I am dyyyying to read Marshalands. Not only is the cover gorgeous, it just has my name written up down and all over it.

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    1. It's really interesting - took me a while to adjust to the lack of identifying details, but ultimately I think that made it all the more memorable.

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  5. Lorrie Moore and M. Quick are on my never-ending list, too!

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    1. I've still not read either of these author's previous works, but I'll remedy that eventually...

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  6. Is it just me or are the covers in 2014 really knocking it out of the park? You've got some lovely lookers there :)

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  7. Not just you - I definitely agree!

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  8. I have been really excited about The Martian, I can't wait to read it! And Strange Bodies sounds really good too. Man February is a good month.

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