It's the first month of a new year, which means there's plenty of new books in the offing. So, if you're looking to boost the wishlist or have gift vouchers to spend, the five listed here may be of interest.
The books have been arranged in alphabetical order according to author's surname.
Ten Things I've Learnt About Love by Sarah Butler
Hardback, Picador (31 January)
"Alice has just returned to London from months of travelling abroad. She is late to hear the news that her father is dying, and arrives at the family home only just in time to say goodbye. Daniel hasn’t had a roof over his head for years, but to him the city of London feels like home in a way that no bricks and mortar ever did. He spends every day searching for his daughter; the daughter he has never met. Until now. Heart-wrenching and life-affirming, this is a unique story of love lost and found, of rootlessness and homecoming and the power of the ties that bind. It is a story for fathers and daughters everywhere."
I love the sound of this debut novel by literary consultant Sarah Butler. If you live in London, you might like to attend the launch. Check the author's website for details.
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis
Hardback, Hutchinson (17 January)
"When Hattie clambered from a train, her skirt still hemmed with Georgia mud and the dream of Philadelphia sitting round as a marble in her mouth, she couldn't guess that two years later, aged sixteen, she'd be fighting to keep her baby twins alive. Saddled with a husband who will bring her nothing but disappointment, she raises nine children with grit and monumental courage, but no tenderness. She knows the world will not be kind to them and wants to prepare them as best she can. As her sons and daughters buck against their fates, she feels every one of their triumphs and heartbreaks, for they are all bound together. This is a searing portrait of twentieth century America told through the story of an unforgettable family, a transfixing drama of bitterness and love and a ferocious vision of humanity at its rawest."
I first heard about this debut novel when I attended a publisher's party last October. The author, who is American, was in attendance and gave a short reading. Ever since then, this book seems to have been getting lots of attention — Oprah Winfrey has chosen it for her book club, which pretty much guarantees this is going to be a best-seller, even before it's published!
The Sorrow of War by Bao Ninh
Paperback and ebook, Vintage (10 January)
"Kien's job is to search the Jungle of Screaming Souls for corpses. He knows the area well — this was where, in the dry season of 1969, his battalion was obliterated by American napalm and helicopter gunfire. Kien was one of only ten survivors. This book is his attempt to understand the eleven years of his life he gave to a senseless war. Based on true experiences of Bao Ninh and banned by the communist party, this novel is revered as the 'All Quiet on the Western Front for our era'."
I've read several books about the Vietnam War (most long before I started this blog) but they have all been from the perspective of American or Australian soldiers. This one sounds like required reading, if you wish to know the other side of the story.
The Tale of Raw Head & Bloody Bones by Jack Wolf
Hardcover, Chatto & Windus (3 January)
"The year is 1750. Tristan Hart, precociously talented student of medicine practising under the legendary Dr William Hunter. His obsession is the nature of pain and preventing it; the relationship between mind and matter and the existence of God. A product of the Age of Enlightenment, he is a rational man on a quest to cut through darkness and superstition with the brilliant blade of science. Tristan Hart, madman and deviant. His obsession is the nature of pain, and causing it. A product of an age of faeries and goblins, gnomes and shape-shifting gypsies, he is on a quest to arouse the perfect scream and slay the daemon Raw Head who torments his dark days and long nights. Troubled visionary, twisted genius, loving sadist. What is real and what imagined in Tristan Hart's brutal, beautiful, complex world?"
You may remember I went to the pre-publication party for this book and I've been itching to read it ever since but haven't had the time — yet.
"A suitcase of stolen cash has brought three criminals together. One has a bullet in his side. One has blood on his hands. One has vengeance on his mind. Each has run from their past. Each will now fight for their future. A modern noir thriller, The Low Road highlights our desire to outrun our demons, and the dark consequences we face when we are forced to confront them."
I read Womersley's award-winning Bereft last year — and loved it. This one is his debut novel — to be published in the UK for the first time.
Please note that the release dates quoted are for the UK and are subject to change.
Are there any on this list that have piqued your interest?