The year ahead in books

16:00, Jan 08 2011

 

FICTION

Owen Marshall's new novel, The Larnachs, based on a true story set around Otago's Larnach Castle, will appear mid-year. Lloyd Jones, no literary slouch himself, blurbs that he loved the "imaginative derring-do" of Wulf, the first novel by Hamish Clayton. With mythological swirls of even older regimes, the book concerns 19th-century chief Te Rauparaha and an English trader trying to do business with him during tribal warfare. Sue Orr has a new collection of short stories out in February titled From Under the Overcoat, as does Fiona Kidman, while Emma Neale and Sarah Quigley have novels due. Jungle Rock Blues, a book by Nigel Cox that used to have the words Tarzan and Presley in its title, is being reissued. Sarah-Kate Lynch has a new novel due, which may or may not involve romance, travel and food. Young adult fiction writer Bernard Beckett has written the philosophical thriller August, due in March. Detective Sam Shephard finds a businessman victim of a brutal home invasion is not all he seems to be in Vanda Simon's latest crime thriller, Bound.

ON THE BESTSELLER LISTS ...

If you are feeling the Dan Brown-Justin Cronin gap this year and looking for something in the spooky thriller category, check out Sanctus by Simon Toyne. It's got action, intrigue, ancient orders, conspiracies. On the otherworldly front, Auckland-based international supernatural romance specialist Nalini Singh is due out with Archangel's Consort, and Matt Haig has a wry vampire drama in The Radleys. Those who feed the bestseller lists should expect new books this year from Clive Cussler, Lynda La Plante, Philippa Gregory, Jackie Collins, Michael Dobbs, Marian Keyes, Jodi Picoult, James Patterson, Simon Kernick, Joanna Trollope, Susan Lewis, Jacqueline Wilson, Katie Fforde, David Lodge, Douglas Kennedy, Anne Enright, Annie Proulx, Robert Harris, Stefan Merrill Block, Joyce Carol Oates, Terry Pratchett, Kathy Reichs, Martina Cole and many others.

HISTORY AND SOCIETY

Advertisement

Garth McVicar has written Justice, about how his role in setting up lobby group the Sensible Sentencing Trust. A history of the trust is also scheduled for later in the year. Journalist David Cohen's Little Criminals asks hard questions about boys' homes in New Zealand. Domestic social history comes to the fore in journalist Frances Grant's A History of the New Zealand Housewife. In time for Anzac Day, Glyn Harper's Letters from Gallipoli reveals what our soldiers wrote to their loved ones back home.

Anne Lister, who lived in the Regency period in Yorkshire, defied not only the usual social rules of the time – industrialist, landowner, traveller – but also lived with her female lover. Her extensive diaries, written partly in code, have been made into Helen Whitbread's The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister. Historian Niall Ferguson argues in Civilization that the West overtook the East from the 15th century because of six important virtues, but that the competitive advantage may now be at an end. Poser, meanwhile, is a clear-eyed personal exploration of yoga-as-modern-obsession by writer Claire Dederer, who first got into position after putting her back out when breastfeeding. The Churchills is a portrait of an extraordinary family with Winston at its centre. It's fiction, but Leslie Cannold's The Book of Rachael, about the sister of a young preacher in Nazareth in 30AD, will intrigue those who enjoy a mix of speculation and spirituality.

SCIENCE

Jonah Lehrer says that some of our most celebrated artists, writers and composers discovered truths about the human mind that science is only now realising, in Proust Was a Neuroscientist. Also due out are Super Co-operators, about the mystery of co-operation in a biological world in which only the fittest survive, and Incognito, about the depths of the unconscious, from David Eagleman, who wrote the bestselling work of fiction Sum. Future Babble, about why expert predictions are often wrong but we believe them anyway, is out in March. Deep Future is about a paleoclimatologist looking ahead from the 21st century to see how what we're doing to the planet will have an impact 100,000 years into the future. If you are a devoted fan of museums, The Owl that Fell from the Sky, about the strange stories hidden in the collections of our museums, is due out mid-year. Wilful Blindness, about why we ignore the obvious at our peril, appears in March.

REAL LIFE

Prize-winning British author Geoff Dyer has a new collection of essays and journalism out in the next few weeks called Working the Room. Goodbye Sarajevo tells of two Bosnian sisters with incredible wartime stories, and an amazing Kiwi connection. The Murder Room follows three of the world's best forensic investigators as they try to solve the world's most baffling cold cases. The macabre story of Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme was brought to life by Peter Jackson in Heavenly Creatures, and lawyer Peter Graham revisits their murder of Pauline's mother in 1954 in Awa Press's So Brilliantly Clever. Parents will have plenty of help in 2011, with a Kiwi guide to the ridiculous expectations mothers now face, an Australasian "survival guide" for grooms, and The Mum Who Roared, an A-Z of mind and body after baby arrives, and You Sexy Mother, which is fairly self-explanatory. Julia Hartley Moore, meanwhile, explodes the myths around cheating partners in Infidelity.

CELEBRITY

The profits from Madeleine, written by Kate and Gerry McCann and to be released on the fourth anniversary of their daughter's disappearance, will go towards her search fund. Comedian Billy Connolly and his therapist wife Pamela Stephenson have Sex Life coming out. Film star Rob Lowe reveals if not all then some, in Stories I Only Tell my Friends. I Dream of Jeannie's Barbara Eden and Shania Twain both have biographies due, as does Julia Gillard (Allen & Unwin). Avowed clairvoyant Lisa Williams explores what she says is evidence of the afterlife in The Survival of the Soul. US Journalist Neil Strauss has interviewed everyone from Lady Gaga to Johnny Cash, and collects his 120 best in Everyone Loves You When You're Dead.

COOKBOOKS

The winner of MasterChef NZ, Brett McGregor, has the culinary tourist-themed Taste of a Traveller on the way. And expect the book of the second series in the middle of 2011. Julie Le Clerc's Simple Cafe Food collects her favourite cafe-style recipes in a revised version of this much-reprinted title. Judith Tabron, proprietor of swanky Viaduct restaurant Soul has the straightforwardly titled Soul Cookbook due later in the year. Having clearly got the taste for foodie books, chef Al Brown has two new titles out this year, one about al fresco cooking, the other about fresh produce. Jo Seager travelled to Italy and came away with a fancy hardback cookbook. Simon Gault shares his favourite recipes towards the end of the year, and Aunt Daisy rises from the grave and has a baking book out in April. If you're a fan of game meat, the well-named butcher Darran Meates is out with The Game Butcher in April.

Fans of seafood specialist Rick Stein will look forward to his Spanish Odyssey. For fans of slow cooking who can't afford expensive cuts of meat and who love food but hate washing up, Clarissa Dickson Wright, half of the Two Fat Ladies, is coming out with Potty, a one-pot cookbook. French-Australian chef Manu Feildel reveals the fare of Brittany in Manu's French Kitchen. The Original River Cottage Cookbook is also due from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

ART AND MUSIC

The Art of Peter Siddell brings together 150 of the painter's intricately detailed works of New Zealand urban scenes and landscapes. Dick Frizzell has written a guide to art due out later in the year. Fantastica: The World of Leo Bensemann is out in February. Art Sang of the bro'Town team has produced a graphic novel called Shaolin Burning about two very different kung fu fighters during the Qing dynasty, and cartoonist Chris Slane has another about NZ soldiers during WWI. How to Hear Classical Music is a welcome addition to Awa Press's Ginger series, written by musician and academic Davinia Caddy.

MONEY AND SPORT

Michael Lewis's The Big Short, about how a small group who saw that the US's enormous credit bubble was about to burst and bet against it, arrives in February. On that note, Andrew Ross Sorkin goes inside the battle to save Wall St with Too Big to Fail and Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz looks to our financial future in Freefall. You wouldn't think you'd need any help, but well-known sports writer Spiro Zavos's How to Watch the 2011 Rugby World Cup is out just in time for the tournament of a lifetime.

POETRY

Local poets will possibly be wondering if they made the cut of Bill Manhire and Damien Wilkins' The Best of Best New Zealand Poetry, and new collections from Brian Turner and Jenny Bornholdt are also coming. AUP New Poets 4 is out in March. Fans of Elizabeth Smither should enjoy her writer's "journey" through quotations, and there's a guide to the novels of Janet Frame.

NATURE AND TRAVEL

Butterflies of the South Pacific reproduces these beautiful insects at full size in a large-format book, from Samoa's swallowtails to our cabbage-loving white butterfly. The prolific Neville Peat has The Bird Man, a bio of seabird conservationist Lance Richdale. This month, four of Eric Newby's hugely popular travel titles are reprinted from the 1950s.

Sunday Star Times