From Zak M. Salih Email him at zak[AT]borderstan.com.
Chances are if youâ€™re a reader, the holidays have made you the proud owner of a bookstore gift card or excess gift cash just waiting to be spent on books. And you could just go out now and buy whateverâ€™s currently on the shelves. Or you could take a look at some of the promising books slated for publication in the coming months.
Thereâ€™s a lot, for sure. But these particular selections promise to be edgy, engaging, offbeat, insightfulâ€¦you get the point. One unique and relatively short read for each month. That should be enough to make a few more months of cold seem like not such a bad idea at all.
by George Saunders (out now):
There are two kinds of people in this world: those who love David Foster Wallace and those who donâ€™t. Readers who belong to the former camp have probably heard of George Saunders, whose stories read like a calmer version of Wallaceâ€™s. This latest collection from Saunders features stories on everything from bizarre pharmacological experiments and child abduction to post-war trauma and the final moments of a cancer patient. Uplifting stuff, no doubt. But with Saunders at the wheel, theyâ€™re sure to make for fascinating journeys.
by Karen Russell (February 12):
Fresh off her debut novel, Swamplandia! (one of three finalists for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize that failed to crown a winner), Karen Russell returns with her second collection of humid southern gothic tales that combine great storytelling with imaginative new takes on night-bumping things. Human silkworms, savaged scarecrows, magical tattoos, lovey-dovey bloodsuckers in the titular storyâ€™s lemon grove; Halloweenâ€™s coming pretty early this year.
by Anne Carson (March 5):
If you havenâ€™t read Autobiography of Red, the poet Anne Carsonâ€™s intriguing mythological reimagining of the classical Greek monster, Geryon (who in Carsonâ€™s modernization falls in tempestuous love with that other Greek hero, Hercules), then do it. Itâ€™s a fascinating work of poetry and a necessary read for this sequel work â€” an experimental piece that continues Geryonâ€™s adventures.
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