If they do you will be the first people I ask about what I should be wearing for cocktails on the poop deck.
So time to look ahead and see what I'm looking forward to reading this year and, if the 'new arrivals' shelves are anything to go by there seems to be plenty of reading excitement in store. I am becoming increasingly disciplined about shelving the books under month of publication after an initial browse, or I just want to read everything the minute I lay eyes on it....there's a lot of oohing and aaahing over the post right now so I'll share the latest arrivals every so often.
It's not quite Sunday Confessions but almost.
I have a proof copy of Lives Like Loaded Guns, Emily Dickinson and Her Family's Feuds
by Lyndall Gordon to be published by Virago in February and let me tell
you it's a scorcher and I can't wait to settle down with it.
Now would I be so shallow as to read a book just because I liked the feel of it?
Yes I would I'm afraid and I'm wondering why it has taken so long for the softhardpaperback to arrive in the UK when I've been getting books from New Zealand in this format for some time?
Even the Dogs by Jon McGregor, and having really enjoyed So Many Ways to Begin I am really looking forward to this one...a man's body is found lying in his ruined flat, the dispassionate state inquest starts to reveal a stark story, love, loss, despair and a glimpse of redemption. That'll cheer up the January days.
Then just a few more
In March a new title from a favourite author Stevie Davies, Into Suez, 1949, the Cold War passionate love and murderous violence and a story for our times.
In April three titles which look intriguing.
We, The Drowned by Carsten Jensen, and someone from Denmark has already e mailed me having seen this in the sidebar and offered to buy it off me as he's desperate for his English wife to read it, had to say no. Voted the best Danish novel of the past 25 years, in 1848 a motley crew of Danish sailors set out to fight the Germans, not all of them return and those who do will never be the same again. The novel spans four generations, two world wars and a hundred years and nearly 700 pages so I may be gone some time. It's the e mail from Denmark that's sold me on it.
A new novel from Maggie O'Farrell, The Hand That First Held Mine .... fresh out of university and in disgrace, Lexie Sinclair is waiting for life to begin, 1950s Soho art scene and in the present day a couple reeling from the difficult birth of their first child and an extraordinary portrait of two women is revealed. Good, because I loved The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox so I have high hopes for this one.
From Helen Dunmore, The Betrayal, a sequel to The Seige which I might have to read again because I think I gave up when everyone was boiling their shoes to eat, that sort of thing always does for me, I moved onto the Gillian Slovo's The Ice Road where they boiled other things, just not shoes.
I have read in several reviews of What's To Come in 2010 that The Widow's Tale might be the breakthrough book for Mick Jackson. I just didn't get Ten Sorry Tales, I think I was being too grown-up and out of touch with my inner child about it so I plan to try harder with this one.
Finally also out in April, The Reluctant Tommy, Ronald Skirth's extraordinary memoir of the First World War. This one looks important and is getting a big advance publicity wind up, including this from Jon Snow,
'one of the few "Tommies" who not only experienced and survived the First World War, but also managed to write vividly about it. The memoirs of the officers and politicians are legion; the offerings of the underclass are sparse...one of the rarest of perspectives...a man who came to hate the killing and who came to find the mechanisms for frustrating it. He misdirected his guns to give the enemy a chance of escape.'
My proof copy has a beautiful handwritten letter of thanks to the publisher, Macmillan from Ronald's daughter Jean, enough to make me well up before I've even started.
I'll do a few more next week.