The Need to Read Episode 2: Random House Unboxing November 2014

Books Mentioned in This Episode

The Tusk That Did the Damage

The Work: My Search for a Life That Matters

Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley

Hyacinth Girls

Viper Wine

The Buried Giant


Hey everybody, it’s Jessica with The Need to Read. And today I’m going to do an unboxing, something I don’t get to do very often. So I am a member of the Early Word Galley Chat, a group of people, mostly librarians, who get together and talk about upcoming books and what we like. And we get a few perks, one of which is that every month or so I get a nice little box from the lovely people at Random House, and I thought I would share with you what came in the box that I found on my doorstep yesterday.

So first off this book is The Tusk that Did the Damage. This is by Tania James and it’s coming out in March 2015 from Knopf. My favorite publisher to pronounce. So this book I think I’m gonna have to put this on my must-read list because even though it looks a little interesting and elephants aren’t necessarily my thing, it is blurbed by both Karen Russell and Jonathan Safran Foer, pretty impressive. The other thing that really grabbed my attention are the three narrators in this book, one of them is a poacher, one is a filmmaker, and the other is an elephant. Yeah, I think I’m gonna have to go for that. I really loved the gorilla narration in God what was that book, Children of Paradise? That came out this past year that was a really interesting kind of Jonestown-like scenario with a gorilla that had some narration. That was great. So yeah, now I’m really interested in this book which apparently is about the poaching industry and some stuff like that. So small, pretty short, but I will definitely have to check it out.

Okay, next up: The Work by Wes Moore, author of The Other Wes Moore. This, as you can see these Random House boxes tend to be a real hodge podge of interesting stuff, so this is a memoir, it’s a second memoir from Wes Moore. And this is actually blurbed by Arianna Huffington and Suze Orman. So it’s covering, I guess, the adulthood after his first memoir was about his childhood, and includes time in Afghanistan, working in the White House, and being a banker on Wall Street during the financial crisis. So if you like memoirs and maybe some inspiration-y memoirs, this may be a good pick. Personally that’s not really my jam, I read very few memoirs and the ones that I do read generally don’t have that kind of hook per se. But definitely looks like an interesting one, this is coming out in January from Spiegel & Grau. I have no idea if I’m pronouncing that correctly either. Why do all these imprints have such terrible names?

Okay, next up, this one doesn’t really have a cover yet, you can’t see it properly, it’s just a galley cover. It’s called Romantic Outlaws: the Extraoardinarly lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and her Daughter Mary Shelley by Charlotte Gordon. Looks like this one is coming from Random House and will be out in May, so you’ve got a while to wait for that one. It’s a big fat book but I know there are a lot of you who are going to be interested in this one. There’s really been a bunch of interesting biographies about historical women in the last little while, I feel like we’re in kind of a nice place for that recently if that’s something that you like. So yeah, I would add this to your list, it’s gonna be a wait, but you may want to put an advance hold on it at the library, maybe in about February or March, put it on your calendar.

Alright, next Hyacinth Girls by Lauren Frankel. This is a debut novel, kind of a psychological thriller with a women’s fiction bent, lot of those right now, very popular genre. This one is about a mother and daughter, the daughter has been accused of bullying, the mother has some kind of teenage tragic history and is trying to figure out who is the bully, who is the victim, and save these girls from impending terrible tragedy. So this one is debut novel blurbed by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore who wrote Bittersweet which came out this last year, not quite the mother-daughter but a similar kind of psychological women’s fiction kind of book that I enjoyed. It was pretty good. So this looks like it’s gonna be in that same vein, interesting, it comes out in May, another late release, from Crown Publishing.

Next, okay we’re getting to the good stuff here, at least the stuff that I’m excited about, so Viper Wine by Hermione Eyre. First of all, let’s look at that cover, I really hope this is the actual cover because it is amazing. Second, can we talk about the name Hermione Eyre? Is this a real name? This cannot be a real name. Like this is just the best British literary name ever. Maybe she just had really fantastic parents. So it sounds – this is her first novel, she has done a lot of writing, she’s been a journalist, and this is a historical novel that is about I believe a real woman, Venetia Stanley, I haven’t done my research so don’t trust me. Venetia Stanley who’s a great beauty, was inspirational to poets and painters  and has a fancy rich husband and everything but as she’s getting older she’s getting nervous about losing her looks and so she enlists a very sneaky apothecary to make her some kind of beauty and anti-aging potion of sorts and things get kind of crazy because, as you know, these kinds of magicks always have bad consequences. Yeah, so this is called Viper Wine, it is coming out from Hogarth Books in April. And this is definitely going on my to-read pile. I think it sounds amazing, even though I’m not much of a historical person, I’m very very intrigued.

Alright, last book. When this book was in my pile, when I was going through the little box and just having to pull out each book to see what the next book was, this was when I let out an audible squee. Because it’s a new Kazuo Ishiguro called The Buried Giant. I know nothing about this book and I’m keeping it that way. I don’t know who’s blurbing it, I don’t know the story, I don’t know anything. I just know that it’s by Kazuo Ishiguro, who I love. I have read –maybe I’ve missed one of his novels, but I’ve read all the other ones. I, I’m gonna forget all their names now, I’ve read his early work, I have read When We Were Orphans, and kind of his middle work, I’ve read Remains of the Day of course, I’ve read Never Let Me Go and his more recent stuff. I’ve read everything, I love The Unconsoled, I love all of them, all of them. I think he’s amazing and brilliant and a genre shifter like no other. You know, I think David Mitchell for example, owes a lot to Ishiguro in the way that he just kind of fluidly moves between genres. Ishiguro does a lot of the same stuff and a lot of the same unexpected genre melding. So I am so excited. I am so excited. A new Ishiguro does not happen often. What has it been, like a decade? Yeah. So I’m pretty pumped about that one.

And it is coming out in March, so not too long. I know, it’s like 5 months. But still, not too long, not too bad. Probably one you want to put a hold on as soon as it shows up on your library list because you know there’s gonna be a long wait for that one. So yeah, this is definitely going near the top, if not the very top, if I can hold off, of my TBR pile. And I will, you know, keep you posted on how these go as I’m reading them.

So that was pretty exciting. It was an interesting box, thanks to the lovely people at Random House for sending these to me, always exciting to see what’s coming up, what’s new. So yeah, thanks for following along with this unboxing here at The Need to Read. Bye!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *