For 2014 there are two big ones I cannot wait to read. One of them makes up part of another challenge I'm attempting and the other is an absolute must-read the second it's published.
The first of the books I cannot wait for is
Timur Vermes' Look Who's Back - although I've also seen it called He's Back. Either way it's Hitler and he's back! I simply cannot wait for this book which has apparently divided the critics. I think it should be available in around March from a little bit of searching and it's just completely exactly my kind of thing:
Summer 2011. Berlin. Adolf Hitler wakes up on a patch of ground, alive and well. Things have changed - no Eva Braun, no Nazi party, no war. Hitler barely recognises his beloved Fatherland, filled with immigrants and run by a woman. People certainly recognise him, though - as a brilliant, satirical impersonator who refuses to break character. The unthinkable, the inevitable, happens, and the ranting Hitler takes off, goes viral, becomes a YouTube star, gets his own TV show, becomes someone who people listen to. All while he's still trying to convince people that yes, it really is him, and yes, he really means it.
Look Who's Back is a black and brilliant satire of modern media-bloated society, seen through the eyes of the Führer himself. Adolf is by turns repellent, sympathetic and hilarious, but always fascinating. Look Who's Back is outrageously clever, outrageously funny - and outrageously plausible.
Imagining Hitler in the 21st century is fascinating. Would he still be as compelling as he once was? Will anyone believe him. I guess I'll have to wait.
The other big one of 2014 is the next instalment from Murakami. There is hope that Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage will be available in English by the end of the year and it's sitting firmly at the top of my must have list. I just adore him and this novel has been a huge hit in Japan (no surprises there) so I'm sure will be just as happily received across the world. There is something magical about Murakami's writing that millions agree - I think I enjoy it because it's intrinsically Japanese. It makes me feel like I've somehow experienced Japan without ever having even the slightest opportunity to set foot there, or even have a conversation with a Japanese person!
There are some other books I'm looking forward to this year, maybe not quite as much but definitely want to give them a shot:
The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult - I am not naturally a Picoult fan, in fact I've never finished one of her novels but The Storyteller is a Holocaust novel.
Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi - I have a love/hate relationship with Helen Oyeyemi. Most of her novels don't really work for me, there's something too experimental which doesn't work but then on the other hand The Icarus Girl is beautiful and where I found my girl's name. I will be giving Boy, Snow Bird a go in February.
Also, finally, another shout for Christos Tsiolkas' Barracuda. I've read it and loved it but it's out TOMORROW and it is brilliant. Read it OK?
There are more lots more and I hope to enjoy as many as possible over the next year. In fact, despite previous commitment to reading less I've actually decided to push myself on with an even bigger challenge of more. 200 books in 2014 anyone?