From her place in the store, Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, watches carefully the behaviour of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass in the street outside. She remains hopeful a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges that her circumstances may change for ever, Klara is warned not to invest too much in the promises of humans.
There are so many amazing books coming out in 2021, so I thought that I would start with five of my anticipated reads of the year that will be coming out in the Spring, I’m going to split this list into parts and post them throughout the year. These parts are grouped by release date so you know what is coming soon and won’t have to wait too long!
Publisher: Faber & Faber Release Date: 2 March 2021
“Klara and the Sun, the first novel by Kazuo Ishiguro since he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, tells the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, who, from her place in the store, watches carefully the behaviour of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass on the street outside. She remains hopeful that a customer will soon choose her.”
When I discovered earlier last year that Kazuo Ishiguro was releasing a new novel I was thrilled – I was less thrilled to see March 2021 as its release date but the wait is finally nearly over! I adored Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go so much to that it was one of the texts I analysed in my dissertation. The fact that the novel is set around AI (Artificial Intelligence), which fascinates me, has me even more eager to get my hands on it!
Publisher: Tinder Press Release Date: 25 March 2021
It’s a lonely life for Stan, at a new school that feels more ordeal than fresh start, and at home where he and his mother struggle to break the silence after his father’s death. When he encounters fearless, clever Charlie on the local common, all of that begins to change. Charlie’s curiosity is infectious, and it is Charlie who teaches Stan, for the first time, to stand on his own two feet. But will their unit of two be strong enough to endure in a world that offers these boys such different prospects?
Naomi Ishiguro actually has two books out this year that I will be picking up, both of which I am looking forward to (Escape Routes came out in hardback early 2020 but the paperback is released on 21 January 2021 which is what I’ve been waiting for!). I decided to highlight this one in particular as, not only is it being published for the first time this year but, I am a huge sucker for stories that focus on friendships, especially the hardships over the years. I’ve been lucky enough to receive a copy of this novel from NetGalley and I can’t wait to get stuck into it.
Publisher: Vintage Publishing Release Date: 6 April 2021
The eight masterly stories in this new collection are all told in the first person by a classic Murakami narrator. From nostalgic memories of youth, meditations on music, and an ardent love of baseball to dreamlike scenarios and invented jazz albums, together these stories challenge the boundaries between our minds and the exterior world. Occasionally, a narrator who may or may not be Murakami himself is present. Is it memoir or fiction? The reader decides.
One of my favourite authors is Haruki Murakami and I’m slowly working my way through his works. When I was checking out which books I had left to read I discovered that he has a new short story collection coming out this year. So, naturally, this has to make it onto this list. I especially love mysterious form so when it is unclear whether some of the narrators of these stories are Murakami himself – it just makes it even more exciting!
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Release Date: 22 April 2021
Seven students are avoiding going to school, hiding in their darkened bedrooms, unable to face their family and friends, until the moment they discover a portal into another world that offers temporary escape from their stressful lives. Passing through a glowing mirror, they gather in a magnificent castle which becomes their playground and refuge during school hours. The students are tasked with locating a key, hidden somewhere in the castle, that will allow whoever finds it to be granted one wish. At this moment, the castle will vanish, along with all memories they may have of their adventure. If they fail to leave the castle by 5 pm every afternoon, they will be eaten by the keeper of the castle, an easily provoked and shrill creature named the Wolf Queen.
This novel sounds like the perfect combination of fairytale and mystery all set (sort of) in my favourite city, Tokyo. I’m drawn in just by the description alone, it feels like it will be a magical read but not just because of its fantasy setting. I can’t wait to meet these characters and hear their stories.
As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur – Minos’s greatest shame and Ariadne’s brother – demands blood every year.
When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods – drawing their attention can cost you everything.
As many of you may have noticed, last year I was on a huge Greek mythology book kick – especially when it came to the women in Greek mythology. I was already somewhat familiar with the character of Ariadne due to Madeline Miller’s Circe, but I wanted to learn more about her – so when I found out about this novel on Twitter I immediately added it to my Waterstones’ wish list. Since then I have been lucky enough to be approved a copy of the novel on NetGalley – although the cover alone is worth getting a physical copy of this book too!
These are just a handful of titles I’m excited about to start the year off with! What releases are you excited about this year? Which books out of my five are you most interested in checking out?
This is my first full month blogging and I’m really happy with the way things are going so far! This month I also began reading two books at a time rather than my usual one book at a time, which has been working out much better than I thought it would.
In August I launched two different types of monthly content of my Top Five Friday and Thoughtful Thursday. If you have any suggestions on topics you’d like to see me cover in these posts, please let me know. In addition to that, I also became a Blackwell’s affiliate! This means that any Blackwell’s link you see on my blog (including the banners) is my affiliate link, at no extra cost to you I will earn a small commission on any order placed using my affiliate link. I would really appreciate it if you check it out for your next book buying spree!
Books read this month
This month I read a total of 16 books (9 physical books and 7 ebooks)
The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker As you can tell I’ve still been on a Greek myth retelling kick with this entry! I loved hearing a story from the Trojan war that I have never considered before, from both slave and warrior. The characters are wonderfully conflicted and developed which made it difficult not to fall for them. This novel captures everything that is great about Greek mythology and isn’t afraid to get violent.
Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami As I’ve mentioned before, Murakami is one of my favourite authors, so it’s not really a shock to see his novel on my favourites for this month! If you have never read a Murakami novel before this is a great one to start with to understand the brilliance of magic realism, whilst also uncovering a family mystery.
The Hungry Ghost by H.S. Norup This novel was such a refreshing read with unique characters and a fascinating tale steeped in Malay culture and superstition. What stood out the most for me about this novel were the characters, especially Freja the protagonist. Norup excellently captured the voice of her child characters and developed them beautifully. This novel is released on the 24 September 2020.
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern This novel was such a magical experience for me, not only is this novel a favourite for this month but it is one of my favourites in general. I don’t think any review I can write on this book (although one is coming) would do it justice. Morgenstern masterfully weaves together several different narratives and narrative styles which was delightful.