Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Hopes ride high

Here are 20 titles coming down the pike in the first months of 2014

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In a classic case of hope trumping experience, publishers release thousands of new books each year.

Things will not be any different in 2014.

The vast majority of titles will sink without a trace, or they'll stay on shelves for a couple weeks before being replaced by the next crop.

Yet hope remains intact. Below are 20 titles listed chronologically by release date. Half of them are fiction, the other half non-fiction, but publishers are placing their bets for success on all of them in the first months of the new year.

 

FICTION

 

The Invention of Wings

by Sue Monk Kidd (releasing Jan. 7)

The Secret Life of Bees author enters into the territory of The Help and 12 Years a Slave with a story about a 19th-century American woman who becomes a feminist and abolitionist.

 

Radiance of Tomorrow

by Ishmael Beah (Jan. 7)

African writer Ishmael Beah's 2007 memoir about being a boy soldier, A Long Way Gone, established him as a formidable voice. He debut novel centres on two longtime friends who return to their hometown in Sierra Leone after the civil war.

 

The Days of Anna Madrigal

by Armistead Maupin (Jan. 21)

This is the ninth and final volume in the U.S. author's Tales of the City series chronicling gay life in San Francisco. The title character, the transgender landlady of 28 Barbary Lane, embarks on a road trip at age 92.

 

Bark

by Lorrie Moore (Feb. 25)

The Wisconsin-based literary writer, best known for her 1998 story collection Birds of America, returns with a new collection of eight stories depicting various aspects of the contemporary U.S. experience.

 

Boy, Snow, Bird

by Helen Oyeyemi (March 4)

With four earlier novels already under her sash, this Afro-British author has established herself as one of the more commanding voices in modern fiction. Small-town Massachusetts is the setting for her contemporary reworking of the Snow White fairy tale, in which race plays a key role.

 

Fire in the Unnameable Country

by Kahlib Islam (March 11)

This Canadian debut comes with the seal of approval from literary grande dame Margaret Atwood, who taught the author creative writing at the University of Toronto. A parable about political oppression and surveillance, the novel is supposed to combine elements of Williams S. Burroughs, Philip K. Dyck and The Arabian Nights.

 

All My Puny Sorrows

by Miriam Toews (April 15)

The Toronto-based CanLit star and former Winnipegger tackles her family demons again in a novel that follows two Mennonite sisters in their 40s, one of whom is successful and suicidal, while the other is divorced and broke and "wants to keep her sister alive."

 

The Confabulist

Steven Galloway (April 29)

The life and death of magician Harry Houdini provides the template for this piece of historical fiction from the Vancouver-based literary writer, who is best known for his 2008 novel, The Cellist of Sarajevo.

 

The Girl Who Was Saturday Night

by Heather O'Neill (May 6)

In the works for some time has been this sophomore effort from the Montreal writer whose debut novel, Lullabyes for Little Criminals, was a CanLit hit in 2007. The new one follows the adventures of a pair of Montreal twins who are the daughters of a famous but fictional Quebec folksinger.

 

The Rise and Fall of Great Powers

by Tom Rachman (May 27)

From the Canadian-born author of The Imperfectionists, the poignant 2011 comedy set in an English-language European newspaper, comes a story about a female bookseller "who travels the world to make sense of her puzzling past."

 

NON-FICTION

 

Unsinkable

by Silken Laumann (releasing Jan. 14)

The advance publicity on this belated memoir by the Canadian Olympic champion hints at a "much darker hidden story" than merely overcoming the physical challenges of her 1992 rowing accident.

 

My Journey

by Olivia Chow (Jan. 21)

The Toronto left-wing city council and widow of NDP leader Jack Layton offers a memoir that touches on her Hong Kong childhood and deals with her relationship with her abusive father.

 

Call Me Burroughs: A Life

by Barry Miles (Jan. 28)

From the author of the authorized life of Paul McCartney comes the first major biography of Beat writer William S. Burroughs in more than 25 years, published to coincide with the centennial of his birth.

 

Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story

by Robyn Doolittle (Feb. 4)

This tell-all about the mayor of Toronto is by the Toronto Star reporter who has been instrumental in airing the big man's dirty laundry in recent months. It's hard to imagine there being still more to tell, but we shall see.

 

Tales From Beyond the Tap

by Randy Bachman (March 25)

The former Winnipegger, pop-music legend and CBC Radio program host offers a sequel to his 2011 bestseller, Randy Bachman's Vinyl Tap Stories, with more insight and background into the life of a music-industry professional.

 

Culture and the Death of God

by Terry Eagleton (March 25)

Those looking for an antidote to the atheist tub-thumping of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens will want to check out the highbrow pro-religion musings of this respected British literary scholar.

 

Otherhood

by Melanie Notkin (April 3)

The Montreal-born entrepreneur and author stands up for childless women everywhere in this work of pop sociology, which argues that being a mother is not -- and should not be -- the reason why every woman was put on Earth.

 

Updike

by Adam Begley (April 8)

The great American author John Updike, who died in 2009, was the embodiment of the term "man of letters." This literary biography will cover his life and prolific output in novels, poetry, short stories and criticism.

 

Secrets of a Hutterite Kitchen

by Mary-Ann Kirkby (April 15)

The Saskatchewan author and journalist, who had a national bestseller with her self-published memoir I Am Hutterite, returns to "unveil the rituals, traditions and food of Hutterite culture."

 

The Dylanologists

by David Kinney (May 13)

Failing, yet again, the arrival of the long-overdue second volume of his Chronicles memoir, Bob Dylan fans will likely snap up this close-up look at the singer-songwriter's truly more obsessive followers.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 28, 2013 A1

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