As exam season approaches, I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s craving an end to the work and well-earned time off after this strange year of university. As the good weather draws nearer and the world is starting to open up again, I personally can’t wait to trapse round some bookstores once again and add to my ever growing list of summer reads (of which I definitely don’t need anymore). Looking ahead to the next few months amidst all the ensuing uncertainty of the pandemic, I thought I’d share both some of the upcoming releases that I’m most looking forward to, as well as some recent releases.
- ‘Beautiful World, Where Are You’ by Sally Rooney
A big fan of Sally Rooney’s previous novels ‘Normal People’ and ‘Conversations with Friends’, the news of her new release on September 7th greatly excited me. Rooney’s literary voice has such a distinct quality because of the way in which she writes her characters, especially young adults, and ‘Beautiful World, Where Are You?’ also promises another novel about crossing lives, and the consequent friendships and romances that can occur. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this book when it’s out and be drawn into Rooney’s narratives once more; the upcoming BBC TV adaptation of ‘Conversations with Friends’ is also something to look out for.
- ‘The Midnight Library’ by Matt Haig
Released in paperback in February, I was desperate to get hold of a copy of this as soon as I could, and I'm eagerly awaiting the day I can abandon essay writing in favour of this book. While I haven’t read any of Haig’s previous novels, ‘The Midnight Library’ promises a tale about unlimited chances, and a library filled with books that enable the choice to relive life choices, and to search for a better ending. ‘The Midnight Library’ demonstrates the power of storytelling to shape a life, and a woman’s quest to discover which choices are really worth making.
- ‘Klara and the Sun’ by Kazuo Ishiguro
Only available in hardback at the moment, ‘Klara and the Sun’ has been the eagerly awaited first novel published by Ishiguro after his Nobel Prize win. Telling the story of Artificial Friend Klara, the novel explores modern development, looking at the ways in which humans feel and respond to the world around them in light of this. ‘Klara and the Sun’ promises an examination of what we mean when we describe being human, and how our understanding of this may change in futuristic versions of the world; a novel to watch out for if you are a fan of anything dystopian (or in fact scarily un-dystopian if you think about it).
- ‘Whereabouts’ by Jhumpa Lahiri
After first reading Lahiri’s ‘In Other Words’ this year for university, I found her writing beautiful, particularly that surrounding language and its power to serve as a tool of both connection, and sometimes, disconnection. Like ‘In Other Words’, ‘Whereabouts’ was also written in Italian, a language which Lahiri has taught herself. While ‘In Other Words’ was not self-translated however, ‘Whereabouts’ is the product of Lahiri’s own translation and tells the story of a woman’s solitude life in an Italian city. Lahiri’s writing questions the act of boundary crossing, be that surrounding language, culture, or both, and ‘Whereabouts’ does not promise to be any different.
- 'The Soul of a Woman' by Isabel Allende
Published in hardback in early March, Allende’s ‘The Soul of A Woman’ takes the form of part memoir/ part essay and follows Allende’s own journey with feminism. Raising questions around womanhood, love, family and sexuality, Allende’s new work narrates her experience with different waves of feminism, and her meditations on how present day feminism should progress. If you love other works by Allende, and are interested in discussions surrounding feminism, ‘The Soul of A Woman’ is one to watch out for, and Allende’s recent novel ‘A Long Petal of the Sea’ may also be of note if you prefer her more fictional works.