Best of 2014: Books
Arifa Akbar picks this year’s must-read book releases
Arifa Akbar is literary editor of The Independent and i newspapers. She has worked at The Independent since 2001 as a news reporter and arts correspondent before joining the books desk in 2009. She was a judge for the Orwell Prize for books 2013, and the Fiction Uncovered Prize 2014.
Friday 03 January 2014
Down to the Sea in Ships by Horatio Clare
Travel writer Horatio Clare’s romantic prose in A Single Swallow made us fall in love with the swallow’s flight. Now he takes to the high seas to travel on cargo ships to witness the battle between man and the great waters. Chatto & Windus, January
On Such a Full Sea by Chang-rae Lee
The winner of the Hemingway Foundation/Pen Award, with a bestselling novel – Native Speaker – under his belt, Lee offers a provocative tale of a woman’s quest in a dystopian future America. Little, Brown, January
The Last Word by Hanif Kureishi
Juggling screenwriting with novels, Hanif Kureishi’s latest offering is billed as an outrageous, clever and very funny story of sex, lies and art. It revolves around an Indian-born writer in his autumnal years whose reputation is fast fading. Faber & Faber, February
Frog Music by Emma Donoghue
Following her international bestseller, Room, the Man Booker Prize-shortlisted author now gives us a tale of intrigue and murder set during a heat-wave in the San Francisco of 1876. Expect Parisian circus stars, exotic dancers and eroticism. Picador, March
Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid
As a gritty crime writer from Scotland, this reworking of Jane Austen’s classic must be a challenge like no other for McDermid, but also one that will undoubtedly be worth waiting for. The writer is set to turn the gothic novel into a suspenseful thriller for teenagers, and vampires will apparently feature in there somewhere. HarperCollins, March
The Snowden Files: The True Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man by Luke Harding
This highly-anticipated study by an award-winning investigative reporter will profile the man – and fugitive – responsible for the biggest leak in history, as well as those around him. Faber & Faber, April
The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt
A novel from the celebrated New York author in which the central character – an artist – conceals her female identity behind three male ‘fronts’. The story is told through evidence compiled following her death. As inventive in its telling as it is in its concept and subject matter. Sceptre, March
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
The ever protean author of Cloud Atlas, among others, tells a characteristically colourful story of mortality, survival – and a cult of soul-decants – in which his female protagonist, living in the west of Ireland (where Mitchell himself lives), looks back at her life. Sceptre, September
The Paying Guest by Sarah Waters
Sarah Waters follows up her 2009 creepy ghost story, The Little Stranger, by returning to her roots with this historical novel, set not in the Victorian era of Tipping the Velvet, but in 1920s London, where disillusioned ex-servicemen, impoverished widows and spinsters abound. Virago, Autumn 2014
TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success
tvU2’s latest record has been accused of promoting sex between men
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Which country would be hardest to invade?
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 4 Royal baby girl born: Duchess of Cambridge's second child will be a princess thanks to Queen
- 5 Uploading pictures to find out how old you are gives Microsoft the right to post them wherever they want
Daredevil, Netflix, TV review: Marvel wins first fight in bid for television domination with Charlie Cox's superhero vigilante
London art exhibition features portrait of Iraqi migrant shot dead in Iraq after being refused UK asylum
Grace Dent on TV: Peter Kay's Car Share made me genuinely LOL
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
London Marathon: Best running songs from Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar to 'Uptown Funk'
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
Indonesia executions live: 'Hysterical' families heard prisoners being shot dead by firing squad
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds