I can’t believe it’s August already! That means there a whole month of exciting new releases to add to my wishlist (thank goodness for the internet, otherwise my notebooks would be overflowing). Here are the books I’ve picked for the month that I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on. Please note that all these are Australian release dates – if you’re elsewhere, you might be lucky enough to have these available already (or need to wait a bit longer).
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
From the publisher (Random House):
Tsukuru Tazaki had four best friends at school. By chance all of their names contained a colour. The two boys were called Akamatsu, meaning ‘red pine’, and Oumi, ‘blue sea’, while the girls’ names were Shirane, ‘white root’, and Kurono, ‘black field’. Tazaki was the only last name with no colour in it.
One day Tsukuru Tazaki’s friends announced that they didn’t want to see him, or talk to him, ever again.
Since that day Tsukuru has been floating through life, unable to form intimate connections with anyone. But then he meets Sara, who tells him that the time has come to find out what happened all those years ago.
My thoughts: It’s Murakami. It’s going to be strange and awesome. I’ve already planned the morning of 12th August to ensure I get this at the first available opportunity.
The Golden Age by Joan London
From the publisher (Random House):
This is a story of resilience, the irrepressible, enduring nature of love, and the fragility of life. From one of Australia’s most loved novelists.
He felt like a pirate landing on an island of little maimed animals. A great wave had swept them up and dumped them here. All of them, like him, stranded, wanting to go home.
It is 1954 and thirteen-year-old Frank Gold, refugee from wartime Hungary, is learning to walk again after contracting polio in Australia. At The Golden Age Children’s Polio Convalescent Hospital in Perth, he sees Elsa, a fellow-patient, and they form a forbidden, passionate bond.
The Golden Age becomes the little world that reflects the larger one, where everything occurs, love and desire, music, death, and poetry. Where children must learn that they are alone, even within their families.
Written in Joan London’s customary clear-eyed prose, The Golden Age evokes a time past and a yearning for deep connection. It is a rare and precious gem of a book from one of Australia’s finest novelists.
My thoughts: Polio was a fear that consumed my parents and grandparents, yet to people my age it’s a forgotten disease. I can’t wait to learn more about this time, especially as it’s set in Perth.
In Love and War by Alex Preston
From the publisher (Allen & Unwin):
A tale of love, heroism and resistance set against the stunning backdrop of 1930s Florence, In Love and War weaves fact and fiction to create a thrilling portrait of a man swept up in the chaos of war.
Desperate to prove himself to his politician father, Esmond Lowndes is sent to Italy to forge ties between the British Union of Fascists and Mussolini’s government. He is also escaping the disgrace of a scandalous love affair. In Florence, he discovers art and passion amongst eccentric expatriates and glamorous locals.
But with the coming of war, he leaves his past behind and joins the Florentine resistance. He falls in love with a fellow freedom fighter and together they take on the malevolent Mario Carita, head of the Fascist secret police. Esmond is at the centre of assassination plots, shoot-outs and car chases, culminating in a final mission of extraordinary daring.
A novel of art and letters, of bawdy raconteurs and dashing spies, In Love and War takes you deep into the hidden heart of history. It is a tale both epic and intimate, harrowing and life-affirming.
My thoughts: I’ve been hearing a lot about this book lately from bookish people in the UK. It looks like the perfect mix of historical fiction and romance.
This is How I’d Love You by Hazel Woods
From the publisher (Penguin):
As the Great War rages, an independent young woman struggles to sustain love—and life—through the power of words.
It’s 1917 and America is on the brink of World War I. After Hensley Dench’s father is forced to resign from the New York Times for his anti-war writings, she finds herself expelled from the life she loves and the future she thought she would have. Instead, Hensley is transplanted to New Mexico, where her father has taken a job overseeing a gold mine. Driven by loneliness, Hensley hijacks her father’s correspondence with Charles Reid, a young American medic with whom her father plays chess via post. Hensley secretly begins her own exchange with Charles, but looming tragedy threatens them both, and—when everything turns against them—will their words be enough to beat the odds?
My thoughts: I’m enjoying reading about World War I this year. This book has popped up on lots of US bloggers’ lists and I’m excited to read it here soon.
The Seventh Miss Hatfield by Anna Caltabiano
From the publisher (Hachette):
Rebecca, a 15-year-old American, isn’t entirely happy with her life, comfortable though it is. Still, even she knows that she shouldn’t talk to strangers. So when her mysterious neighbour Miss Hatfield asked her in for a chat and a drink, Rebecca wasn’t entirely sure why she said yes. It was a decision that was to change everything. For Miss Hatfield is immortal. And now, thanks to a drop of water from the Fountain of Youth, Rebecca is as well. But this gift might be more of a curse, and it comes with a price. Rebecca is beginning to lose her personality, to take on the aspects of her neighbour. She is becoming the next Miss Hatfield. But before the process goes too far, Rebecca must travel back in time to turn-of-the-century New York and steal a painting, a picture which might provide a clue to the whereabouts of the source of immortality. A clue which must remain hidden from the world. In order to retrieve the painting, Rebecca must infiltrate a wealthy household, learn more about the head of the family, and find an opportunity to escape. Before her journey is through, she will also have – rather reluctantly – fallen in love. But how can she stay with the boy she cares for, when she must return to her own time before her time-travelling has a fatal effect on her body? And would she rather stay and die in love, or leave and live alone? And who is the mysterious stranger who shadows her from place to place? A hunter for the secret of immortality – or someone who has already found it?
My thoughts: This looks a bit quirky. I like the idea that Miss Hatfield is immortal and that Rebecca has to become her. Plus the cover is gorgeous!
Have you read any of these books? What do you think of my choices?