Back again with my list of newly discovered books added to my Goodreads to-be-read shelf during the month of May! A slightly smaller list than previous months, but never fear, I’ve been adding books like mad in June so far so next month’s post may look a little more exciting! As always, the aim of these posts is to hopefully help others find something they think sounds interesting, so do let me know if you add any of these to your TBR!
(Small disclaimer: as mentioned before, I will only be sharing the books that are NEW to me rather than all the ones I forgot to add to my Goodreads beforehand)
Notes from the Burning Age by Claire North
Sci-fi • Fantasy • Adult • Post Apocalyptic
Synopsis: Ven was once a holy man, a keeper of ancient archives. It was his duty to interpret archaic texts, sorting useful knowledge from the heretical ideas of the Burning Age—a time of excess and climate disaster. For in Ven’s world, such material must be closely guarded so that the ills that led to that cataclysmic era can never be repeated.
But when the revolutionary Brotherhood approaches Ven, pressuring him to translate stolen writings that threaten everything he once held dear, his life will be turned upside down. Torn between friendship and faith, Ven must decide how far he’s willing to go to save this new world—and how much he is willing to lose.
I love love love North’s novel The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. I haven’t actually read anything else by her yet but I pre-ordered this one anyway because just look at that cover!
Ghostland: In Search of a Haunted Country by Edward Parnell
Nonfiction • History • Horror • Folklore • Biography
Synopsis: In his late thirties, Edward Parnell found himself trapped in the recurring nightmare of a family tragedy. For comfort, he turned to his bookshelves, back to the ghost stories that obsessed him as a boy, and to the writers through the ages who have attempted to confront what comes after death.
In Ghostland, Parnell goes in search of the ‘sequestered places’ of the British Isles, our lonely moors, our moss-covered cemeteries, our stark shores and our folkloric woodlands. He explores how these landscapes conjured and shaped a kaleidoscopic spectrum of literature and cinema, from the ghost stories and weird fiction of M.R. James, Arthur Machen and Algernon Blackwood to the children’s fantasy novels of Alan Garner and Susan Cooper; from W.G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn and Graham Swift’s Waterland to the archetypal ‘folk horror’ film The Wicker Man… Ghostland is Parnell’s moving exploration of what has haunted our writers and artists – and what is haunting him. It is a unique and elegiac meditation on grief, memory and longing, and of the redemptive power of stories and nature.
I saw Shona @spectralpages post about this one on Instagram and it sounds really interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever seen another book that mixes memoir with folklore and I love the sound of it!
Chouette by Claire Oshetsky
Fiction • Magic Realism
Synopsis: Tiny is pregnant. Her husband is delighted. ‘It’s not yours,’ she tells him. ‘This baby will be an owl-baby.’ Odd, lonely, haunted by a mysterious past, Tiny’s always been an outsider. And she knows her child will be different.
When Chouette is born, Tiny’s husband and family are devastated by her condition and strange appearance. Doctors tell them to expect the worst. Chouette can’t walk; she never speaks; she lashes out when frightened and causes chaos in public. Tiny’s husband wants to make her better: ‘Don’t you want our daughter to have a normal life?’ But though exhausted, shunned and bereft of her former life, Tiny thinks Chouette is perfect the way she is.
As Tiny and her husband fight over what’s right for their child, Chouette herself is growing. And in her fierce self-possession, her untameable will, she teaches Tiny to break free of expectations – no matter what it takes.
I found this one after the publisher, Virago, posted about it on their Instagram. It sounds really strange and kind of unsettling, totally my vibe! This comes out in November.
Eartheater by Dolores Reyes (translated by Julia Sanches)
Fiction • Fantasy • Magic Realism • Literary Fiction
Synopsis: Set in an unnamed slum in contemporary Argentina, Earth-eater is the story of a young woman who finds herself drawn to eating the earth—a compulsion that gives her visions of broken and lost lives. With her first taste of dirt, she learns the horrifying truth of her mother’s death. Disturbed by what she witnesses, the woman keeps her visions to herself. But when Earth-eater begins an unlikely relationship with a withdrawn police officer, word of her ability begins to spread, and soon desperate members of her community beg for her help, anxious to uncover the truth about their own loved ones.
So I’ve been binging Books and Lala’s YouTube Channel since early May, and she posted a video where she used a paid book recommendation service. I really liked this idea as I spend so much time trawling the web for new books to read, it would be quite interesting to see if I could completely pinpoint my bookish tastes to have a stranger recommend me books I’d actually like. I’m going to do a whole separate blog series about this but this is one of the books recommended!
My Brother by Karin Smirnoff (translated by Anna Paterson)
Fiction • Swedish Literature • Contemporary • Suspense
Synopsis: Jana is returning to see her twin brother Bror, still living in the small family farmhouse in the rural north of Sweden. It’s decrepit and crumbling, and Bror is determinedly drinking himself to an early grave. They’re both damaged by horrific childhood experiences, buried deep in the past, but Jana cannot keep running.
Another book as part of the paid recommendations! I love Swedish literature and the reviews of this are amazing!
A Luminous Republic by Andrés Barba (translated by Lisa Dillman)
Fiction • Horror • Spain
Synopsis: One day, the children begin to show up in the subtropical town of San Cristobal. Aged between nine and thirteen, the children are covered in dirt and hungry. They beg food, commit small acts of vandalism, play games that don’t seem to have any rules, and communicate with each other in a strange language. No one knows where they come from or where they disappear to each night. And then, they rob a supermarket and stab two adults, bringing fear to the town. Thus begins a fearsome and thrilling modern morality tale that retraces the lines between good and evil, the civilised and the wild, and drags our assumptions about childhood and innocence out into the light.
Can you tell I love translated fiction?! This one sounds onimous af and that cover!
The Lighthouse Witches by C.J. Cooke
Fiction • Paranormal • Thriller
Synopsis: Two sisters go missing on a remote Scottish island. Twenty years later, one is found–but she’s still the same age as when she disappeared. The secrets of witches have reached across the centuries in this chilling Gothic thriller from the author of the acclaimed The Nesting.
When single mother Liv is commissioned to paint a mural in a 100-year-old lighthouse on a remote Scottish island, it’s an opportunity to start over with her three daughters–Luna, Sapphire, and Clover. When two of her daughters go missing, she’s frantic. She learns that the cave beneath the lighthouse was once a prison for women accused of witchcraft. The locals warn her about wildlings, supernatural beings who mimic human children, created by witches for revenge. Liv is told wildlings are dangerous and must be killed.
Twenty-two years later, Luna has been searching for her missing sisters and mother. When she receives a call about her youngest sister, Clover, she’s initially ecstatic. Clover is the sister she remembers–except she’s still seven years old, the age she was when she vanished. Luna is worried Clover is a wildling. Luna has few memories of her time on the island, but she’ll have to return to find the truth of what happened to her family. But she doesn’t realize just how much the truth will change her.
Okay so this is another book I’ve added mainly for the cover. I’ve read another Cooke book before but only thought it average. This feels like a completely different type of book though so we’ll see if I enjoy it. This is publishing in October.
Phew! Another long list this month! Let me know if you’ve read any of these or have any on your radar, or even better, if you now have them on your radar!!