Monday, June 01, 2015

June 2015 Highlights

1. Saint Mazie (Serpent’s Tail, 2015) / Jami Attenberg
2. June (Harvill Secker, 2015) / Gerbrand Bakker
3. Summerlong (Ecco, 2015) / Dean Bakopoulos
4. Devotion (Oneworld Publications, 2015) / Ros Barber
5. The Barefoot Queen (Black Swan, 2015) / Idelfonso Falcones
6. The Italian Wife (Sphere, 2015) / Kate Furnivall
7. Our Souls at Night (Picador, 2015) / Kent Haruf
8. The Stories We Tell (St Martin’s Press, 2015) / Patty Callahan Henry
9. Language Arts (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015) / Stephanie Kallos
10. The Festival of Insignificance (trans. from the French by Linda Asher) (Harper/Faber & Faber, 2015) / Milan Kundera

11. The Mountain Story (Simon & Schuster, 2015) / Lori Lansens
12. Tightrope (Little, Brown, 2015) / Simon Mawer
13. Tender (Picador, 2015) / Belinda McKeon
14. As Night Falls (Ballantine Books, 2015) / Jenny Milchman
15. I Saw a Man (Faber & Faber, 2015) / Owen Sheers
16. The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty (Ecco, 2015) / Vendela Vida

First Novels
1. The Versions of Us (Widenfeld & Nicolson, 2015) / Laura Barnett
2. The Sunlit Night (Bloomsbury Circus/Bloomsbury USA, 2015) / Rebecca Dinerstein
3. Muse (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015) / Jonathan Galassi
4. In the Language of Miracles (Viking, 2015) / Rajia Hassib
5. Safekeeping (Fig Tree, 2015) / Jessamyn Hope
6. Death and Mr Pickwick (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2015) / Stephen Jarvis
7. The Unfortunates (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2015) / Sophie McManus
8. The Cherry Harvest (William Morrow, 2015) / Lucy Sanna
9. The Book of Speculation (St Martin’s Press, 2015) / Erika Swyler
10. In a Dark, Dark Wood (Scout Press/Gallery Books, 2015) / Ruth Wave

1. In the Country (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015) / Mia Alvar
2. Music for Wartime (Viking, 2015) / Rebecca Makkai

1. Heaven (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2015) / Rowan Ricardo Phillips

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Frustrations of a Book Editor in Malaysia

I HAVE YET TO FULLY RECOVER from producing a spate of horrendous books these couple of months. Yes, months of slow, mind-numbing torture. All right, let me be honest here, these are really bad books I am talking about. And I am not joking. Seriously. I am calling them “books” for lack of a better word. On second thought, “trash” would probably be a more appropriate word to use! (Regardless of what we think, any self-indulgent crap slap between two covers with an ISBN is technically a book.) Worst of all is being literally forced to produce books from manuscripts that have been rejected, but somehow clawed their way back from the depths of Hell to scare the bloody living daylights of Humankind. (These nightmarish books to end all nightmares are lethal enough to kill you instantly!) Publishing in Malaysia is like running on a treadmill; you just go nowhere even after much painstaking exertion. Here are some of my not-so-favourite things about being a book editor in Malaysia!

ONE, authors who are willing to (and actually do) pay others to write about them for them (in biographies or autobiographies) and praise them to high heaven. (In this age of self-absorption, self-aggrandisement and shameless self-promotion, there are indeed people who are so obsessed about seeing their names in print that they are willing to pay others to write their books for them!) Most enjoy praising themselves in their badly self-penned autobiographies!

TWO, authors who are ungrateful to their editors and waste their time when their so-called books fail to make a dent in the local (and global) marketplace. Somehow the possibility that their books are just not good enough never crosses their minds.

THREE, authors who plan their all-important book launches (and the food, of course!) without having completed writing their manuscripts or going through their final proofs. Book launches (at opulent five-star hotels and exclusive golf clubs, no less!) are planned even before the ink on the pages has dried—sometimes even before the book is written! (These are a dime a dozen.) It is so easy to get published in Malaysia; there is only one qualification you need: just write badly! Too many authors fall in this category. (I have edited some of the worst autobiographies not only on this planet but the whole galaxy.) And they are such a waste of precious life and prime retail space.

FOUR, psychotic authors who “hijack” the whole publishing process and behave like prima donnas and divas. (There are many of these prancing and strutting around like peacocks and peahens.)

FIVE, authors who think the publishing house belongs to their dearest daddies or granddaddies. Believe it or not, money does buy you everything nowadays—despite what they teach you in philosophy school!

SIX, authors who are under the delusion that they write better than V.S. Naipaul, Raja Rao, Mulk Raj Anand and R.K. Narayan all put together! (An indepth study definitely needs to be done to delve into this very strange Malaysian malaise.) This state of cockiness and overconfidence is frightening.

SEVEN, authors who are supposedly graduates of some of the finest universities on the planet, and yet are unable to string proper sentences together or organise their (unintelligible) prose into paragraphs. (Who was it who said that education makes one a well-rounded person? He obviously haven’t had the misfortune of meeting such a creature as a Malaysian. (“If you can’t do such simple things, you might as well flush your degree down the you-know-where,” a schoolmaster once told me in the late 1960s.)

EIGHT, authors who demand advances even though they have no manuscripts to show. (Go figure this one out!) For some reason or other, they also want to know their sales figures before sitting down to write the book they say they were put on this beautiful earth to write. And (this is a good one) they always want to know when their books will be available in the bookshops (when they have yet to write anything)! (Mama told me that this sort of behaviour is rooted in one or a combination of these: traumatic childhood experiences, psychological trauma or defective upbringing!)

NINE, authors who do not allow editors to edit their books (and who, for one reason or other, do not edit their own books themselves, usually due to pure laziness, pomposity or other human flaws which should make the Devil so proud of them). They also demand an assurance from the editor that as editor he will be personally responsible for reading every line or word of the atrocious manuscript to ensure that the book is perfect! They just love contradicting themselves, don’t they? (“Don’t you dare edit my work; you are solely responsible for every mistake that occurs in my book and make sure my author photograph is in colour; I want the graphs and tables to be in colour, too. What do you think? Ain’t it pretty?”) It’s no surprise to find more than one preface and/or five or six forewords in these books! This group of authors also loves launching their masterpieces and making a public spectacle of themselves! (On the other hand, there are authors who keep amending their work, even after their books have been on bookstore shelves for months!) Or how about this evergreen: “All my friends and relatives have read my manuscript and they all think it’s perfect; there’s no need for more editing to be done.” Or this chestnut: “Why so many rounds of editing-huh?” Or this: “I need the comma there. I dont feel comfortable without it.”

TEN, most potential authors just want to get published; it doesn’t really matter whether their writing is good enough. But it does matter in more ways than one as we all very well know.

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, authors who cry and wail over the phone and who won’t take no for an answer because they have already invested so little time on the manuscript. (Somehow, they don’t seem to understand why I have rejected their yet-to be-written manuscripts. “I’ll only write it if you want it,” they lament!)

Ironically, authors who write well tend to give editors less problems than those who can’t write!

Rare though they are, I have had the privilege of working with authors (not many) who have become great friends over the years. Editing can be a very traumatic experience (for the editor), but when both writer and editor work well together, the end product is something to behold. I always look forward to working with writers who believe in and are not afraid of rewriting and revising their work; such writers are a joy to work with because they are really passionate about their work and are not afraid of pushing themselves beyond the boundaries.

Do you belong to any or a combination of these stereotypes? I hope not, because these are not exactly role models worth aspiring to!

Friday, May 01, 2015

May 2015 Highlights

1. A God in Ruins (Doubleday, 2015) / Kate Atkinson
2. Orient (Harper, 2015) / Christopher Bollen
3. The Far End of Happy (Sourcebooks, 2015) / Kathryn Craft
4. Paradise City (Bloomsbury Circus, 2015) / Elizabeth Day
5. The Green Road (Jonathan Cape, 2015) / Anne Enright
6. The Italian Wife (Little, Brown, 2015) / Kate Furnivall
7. Flood of Fire (John Murray, 2015) / Amitav Ghosh
8. Our Souls at Night (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015) / Kent Haruf
9. You Are Dead (Macmillan, 2015) / Peter James
10. The Mountain Story (Gallery Books, 2015) / Lori Lansens

11. The Black Snow (Little, Brown, 2014) / Paul Lynch
12. Tightrope (Little, Brown, 2015) / Simon Mawer
13. Hunters in the Dark (Hogarth, 2015) / Lawrence Osborne
14. The Daylight Marriage (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2015) / Heidi Pitlor
15. Early Warning (Alfred A. Knopf/Mantle, 2015) / Jane Smiley
16. Out of Place (Penguin U.K.) / Zadie Smith
17. Paris, He Said (Bloomsbury Publishing/Bloomsbury USA, 2015) / Christine Sneed
18. Quicksand (Sceptre, 2015) / Steve Toltz

First Novels
1. The Normal State of Mind (Parthian Books, 2015) / Susmita Bhattacharya
2. Burning Down George Orwell’s House (Soho Press, 2015) / Andrew Ervin
3. Death and Mr Pickwick (Jonathan Cape, 2015) / Stephen Jarvis
4. The Rocks (Riverbed, 2015) / Peter Nichols
5. Girl at War (Random House, 2015) / Sara Nović
6. The Book of Stone (Fig Tree, 2015) / Jonathan Papernick
7. The Improbability of Love (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015) / Hannah Rothschild
8. The Shore (Hogarth, 2015) / Sara Taylor
9. Look Who’s Back (trans. from the German by Jamie Bulloch) (MacLehose Press, 2015) / Timur Vermes

1. Beneath the Bonfire (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015) / Nickolas Butler

1. Two-Way Mirror: A Poetry Notebook (City Lights Books, 2015) / David Meltzer

1. Keeping An Eye Open: Essays on Art (Jonathan Cape, 2015) / Julian Barnes
2. Joan of Arc: A History (Harper, 2015) / Helen Castor
3. Lunch with a Bigot: The Writer in the World (Duke University Press, 2015) / Amitava Kumar
4. The Good Story: Exchanges on Truth, Fiction and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (Harvill Secker, 2015) / J.M. Coetzee & Arabella Kurtz
5. The Life of Saul Bellow: To Fame and Fortune, 1915-1964 (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015) / Zachary Leader
6. The Argonauts (Graywolf Press, 2015) / Maggie Nelson
7. Where I’m Reading From: The Changing World of Books (New York Review Books, 2015) / Tim Parks
8. A Solemn Pleasure (Bellevue Literary Press, 2015) / Melissa Pritchard
9. The Ocean, the Bird and the Scholar: Essays on Poets & Poetry (Harvard University Press, 2015) / Helen Vendler

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

April 2015 Highlights

1. The Dream Lover (Random House, 2015) / Elizabeth Berg
2. Orient (Simon & Schuster, 2015) / Christopher Bollen
3. The Infidel Stain (Fig Tree, 2015) / M.J. Carter
4. We That Are Left (Harvill Secker, 2015) / Clare Clark
5. Sophie and the Sibyl: A Victorian Romance (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015) / Patricia Duncker
6. The Librarian (trans. from the Russian by Andrew Bromfield) (Pushkin Press, 2015) / Mikhail Elizarov
7. Inside the O’Briens (Simon & Schuster, 2015) / Lisa Genova
8. The Wolf Border (Faber & Faber/Harper Press, 2015) / Sarah Hall
9. The Invention of Fire (William Morrow, 2015) / Bruce Holsinger
10. The Dig (Coffee House Press, 2015) / Cynan Jones

11. The Folded Clock: A Diary (Doubleday, 2015) / Heidi Julavits
12. The Lives of Women (Atlantic Books, 2015) / Christine Dwyer Hickey
13. Villa America (Picador, 2015) / Liza Klaussmann
14. Dancing in the Dark: My Struggle: Book Four (trans. from the Norwegian by Donald Bartlett) (Archipelago, 2014) / Karl Ove Knausgaard
15. The American People: Volume 1: Search for My Heart (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2015) / Larry Kramer
16. A Slant of Light (Bloomsbury Publishing/Bloomsbury USA, 2015) / Jeffrey Lent
17. Pleasantville (Serpent’s Tail, 2015) / Attica Locke
18. Last Night on Earth (Little, Brown, 2015) / Kevin Maher
19. Memphis Movie (Soft Skull Press, 2015) / Corey Mesler
20. The Field of the Cloth of Gold (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015) / Magnus Mills

21. Blood, Salt, Water (Orion, 2015) / Denise Mina
22. The Jazz Palace (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 2015) / Mary Morris
23. God Help the Child (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015) / Toni Morrison
24. Blood on Snow (Harvill Secker/Alfred A. Knopf, 2015) / Jo Nesbo
25. The Children’s Crusade (Scribner, 2015) / Ann Packer
26. The Dead Lands (Grand Central Publishing, 2015) / Benjamin Percy
27. I Refuse (trans. from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett) (Graywolf Press, 2015) / Per Petterson
28. The Lost Child (Oneworld Publications, 2015) / Caryl Phillips
29. Sleeping On Jupiter (MacLehose Press, 2015) / Anuradha Roy
30. The Last Pier (Hesperus Nova/Hesperus Press, 2015) / Roma Tearne

31. The Night Stages (McClelland & Stewart, 2015) / Jane Urquhart
32. The Discreet Hero (Faber & Faber, 2015) / Mario Vargas Llosa
33. The Boy Who Could Sea Death (Viking, 2015) / Sally Vickers

First Novels
1. Pond (Stinging Fly Press, 2015) / Claire-Louise Bennett
2. Her Name is Rose (St Martin’s Press, 2015) / Christine Breen
3. Academy Street (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2015) / Mary Costello
4. The Sweetheart Deal (Little, Brown, 2015) / Polly Dugan
5. The Turner House (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015) / Angela Flournoy
6. The Fair Fight (Riverbed Books, 2015) / Anna Freeman
7. Preparation for the Next Life (Oneworld Publications, 2015) / Atticus Lish
8. The Glorious Heresies (John Murray, 2015) / Lisa McInerney
9. What Becomes of Us (Hachette Books Ireland, 2015) / Henrietta McKervey
10. The Sympathizer (Grove Press, 2015) / Viet Thanh Nguyen

11. The Fishermen (Little, Brown, 2015) / Chigozie Obioma
12. Orhan’s Inheritance (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2015) / Aline Ohanesian
13. The Given World (Simon & Schuster, 2015) / Marian Palaia
14. Tiger Milk (trans. from the German by Tim Mohr) (Head of Zeus, 2015) / Stefanie de Velasco
15. Adeline: A Novel of Virginia Woolf (Virago/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015) / Norah Vincent

1. Pond (Stinging Fly Press, 2015) / Claire-Louise Bennett
2. What You Need (Invisible Publishing, 2015) / Andrew Forbes
3. Voices in the Night (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015) / Steven Millhauser
4. The Boy Who Could See Death (Viking, 2015) / Sally Vickers
5. The Water Museum (Little, Brown, 2015) / Luis Alberto Urrea
6. My Documents (trans. from the Spanish by Megan McDowell) (McSweeney’s, 2015) / Alejandro Zambra

1. Deep Lane (W.W. Norton, 2015) / Mark Doty
2. Collected Poems (The Figures, 2015) / Michael Gizzi
3. Bone Song (Briery Creek Press, 2015) / Bunny Goodjohn
4. Collected Poems (Penguin, 2015) / Tony Harrison
5. Sentenced to Life (Picador, 2015) / Clive James
6. The Lunatic (Ecco, 2015) / Charles Simic
7. What About This: Collected Poems of Frank Stanford (ed. Michael Wiegers) (Copper Canyon Press, 2015) / Frank Stanford
8. Map: Collected and Last Poems (trans. from the Polish by Clare Cavanagh and Stanisław Barańczak (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015) / Wislawa Szymborska
9. Junction City: Selected Poems 1990-2015 (Salmon Poetry, 2015) / Eamonn Wall
10. Alive: New and Selected Poems (NYRB Poets, 2015) / Elizabeth Willis

1. Alfred Hitchcock (Chatto & Windus, 2015) / Peter Ackroyd
2. After the Tall Timber: Collected Nonfiction (New York Review Books, 2015) / Renata Adler
3. The Light of the World: A Memoir (Grand Central Publishing, 2015) / Elizabeth Alexander
4. Freedom Regained: The Possibility of Free Will (Granta Books, 2015) / Julian Baggini
5. Coastlines: The Story of Our Shore (Granta Books, 2015) / Patrick Barkham
6. The Road to Character (Allen Lane, 2015) / David Brooks
7. Life Is Short—Art Is Shorter: In Praise of Brevity (Hawthorne Books, 2015) / David Shields & Elizabeth Cooperman
8. The Narrow Edge: A Tiny Bird, An Ancient Crab, and An Epic Journey (Yale University Press, 2015) / Deborah Cramer
9. The Story of Alice: Lewis Carroll and The Secret History of Wonderland (Harvill Secker, 2015) / Robert Douglas-Fairhurst
10. Einstein: His Space and Times (Yale University Press, 2015) / Steven Gimbel

11. Words Without Music: A Memoir (Liveright, 2015) / Philip Glass
12. Bonaparte (trans. from the French by Steven Rendell) (Belknap Press, 2015) / Patrice Gueniffey
13. James Merrill: Life and Art (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015) / Langdon Hammer
14. Man in Profile: Joseph Mitchell of The New Yorker (Random House, 2015) / Thomas Kunkel
15. Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen (W.W. Norton, 2015) / Mary Norris
16. The Shepherd’s Life: A Tale of the Lake District (Allen Lane, 2015) / James Rebanks
17. On the Move: A Life (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015) / Oliver Sacks
18. The Life of Images: Selected Prose (Ecco, 2015) / Charles Simic
19. The Nearest Thing to Life (Jonathan Cape/Brandeis University Press, 2015) / James Wood

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Rotten Durian Awards & Other Malaysiana Miscellany

SOME MANUSCRIPTS are so bloody horrendous that I literally get sick editing them! I feel feverish, headachy and all-over-the-body-achy. Seriously, one of these days we must consider giving out a slew of ROTTEN DURIAN AWARDS for the crappiest Malaysian books of the year—books we absolutely could not care less about, much less read. I know for sure there won’t be a dearth of contenders for these uniquely Malaysian awards where MEDIOCRITY is the ONLY yardstick of greatness and celebrated with customary poop (pomp) and ceremony! Perhaps I will start the ball rolling with that pathetic attempt at a book ... yes, that particular pseudo-book! It reminds me of the opening lines to Keir Alexander’s excellent novel, The Ruby Slippers (Corsair, 2014): “She stinks. It has to be said. Stinks to high heaven.” She does, believe me.
WHEN WILL Malaysian education start focusing on understanding and critical thinking skills? Will it ever? There is a serious dearth of these basic skills: reading, writing, creative thinking, questioning, criticism, creativity and imagination; there is also an absolute lack of interest or intellectual curiosity or empathy about the world we live in. We desperately need graduates who can not only eat but spell chocolate! Education per se is quite irrelevant; one must have the right mindset to use the knowledge acquired and make one’s life useful and meaningful to society. The idea of education is to make every one of us into critical, empathetic, intelligent, logical and thinking beings. If not, what’s the point of existence? What’s really the point of education if we do not produce intelligent, efficient and productive nation builders?
SERIOUSLY, do we really have a publishing industry in Malaysia? I sometimes wonder, more often lately. A SAD FACT: Malaysian writers can’t write and don’t want to be edited at all. Those who can, the writing is hollow, bland, shallow, lifeless, insipid, puerile, dispirited, uninspiring and lackadaisical. ANOTHER SAD FACT: Editors don’t know how to edit. (Editing is not just about punctuation, grammar and spelling.) Most of them lack the most basic of editing skills (grammar and spelling); if they can’t even handle basic editing, surely they are in the wrong profession, no? Editors are unwilling to learn and tend to miss more than they spot errors (and constantly introducing new ones at the same time). And many are averse to research, checking facts and solving problems. Punctuating dialogue is also another major weakness. Most of them lack intellectual curiosity and have no idea why they are doing the things they are doing. Many are not (and will never be) aware of the important aspects of book production like bibliography, footnotes, endnotes, indexing, etc. Also, not many editors have a nose for business or finance. The fact is, publishing is not just about PUBLISHING bad books; it is also about SELLING the bad books you publish. Both are equally important to sustain the business. ANOTHER SAD FACT: Designers don’t know how to typeset books and design covers. Most of them are not designers; when you think about it, they are really more typesetters than designers. Most, sadly, have no grasp of the aesthetics, whether in the design of covers or typesetting of pages, are not open to constructive criticism and lack basic language skills. (“The kind of designs you don’t exactly need to go to design school to learn. The idea is to do it blindly.”) There is absolutely no passion to push boundaries or to have higher expectations. ANOTHER SAD FACT: Translation standards are abysmal. (Translation is not just about translating words to another language; it’s also about translating cultural and other creative nuances; the translated text must make sense. A good translator must not only possess a solid grounding in both languages but a strong grasp of the idioms as well.) A vicious cycle. So, do we really have a publishing industry in Malaysia? I believe what we have here is more akin to some kind of stunted, constipated offshoot of public relations, rather than publishing as we know it. It never fails to amaze me how publishers always find reasons to justify the publishing of substandard books as though producing as many such books as possible is some kind of noble calling or something!
EVIL, THEY SAY, NEVER DIES ... it claws its way back from the pits of hell to haunt the living. We are in the midst of editing the worst manuscript on the planet … rejected by all who had a chance to look at it but somehow foisted on us editors for the stupidest of reasons. And to think that the British once colonised us, you would expect a certain standard of English. After the last disaster of a book, we thought we had seen the last and worst of horrendous books. No-o-o-o … that’s too good to be true. Ladies and gentlemen, Evil is back in business and is here to haunt the living daylights out of us. Just goes to prove that there are some things money can’t buy … for instance, to write well and tell a wonderful story (fiction or otherwise). Some publishers claim they publish these rejected manuscripts under the pretext of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). Seriously, you can call them anything you want; I prefer to pile them under POO and flush them down the LOO where they belong for all eternity. Of course, under normal circumstances these manuscripts would not see the light of day but the dark of the sewers. I fail to understand what joy these author-wannabes derive from being published under such circumstances!
AND THEN there are those so-called Malaysian authors who insist that we do not comply with standards and conventions when editing their so-called manuscripts! As the Backstreet Boys would croon back in the late 1990s, They want it that way! You can have it any way you want, Sweetheart, as long as you pay the production costs and buy up all the stocks and keep them locked up in your room! And maybe toss them in with the carrots, potatoes, onions and tomatoes when Mummy makes chicken soup for the whole family. The books will also come in handy if you have plans for house extensions. Books, after all, are not just books; they make hardy bricks, too.
REMEMBER THE GOOD OLD DAYS when we used to have meals and lovely conversations without interruptions? We used to eat and talk, and eat and talk, all the while enjoying ourselves. Those were the days when we used to really talk with one another and conversations were long, and there were jokes and laughter, and time just passed without us realising it. Those days are long gone. People nowadays are more interested in their smartphones, internet, text messaging, etc., and seem to prefer to communicate with people not dining at the table but elsewhere, reading news updates, taking photos of themselves in all manner of poses, etc. You may have the whole wide world at your fingertips, but you don’t seem to be aware of the immediate world around you. Once in a while, think about the person sitting opposite you.
POMPOUS LASS: Only native speakers can edit my manuscript! No Malaysian editors for me, please!
Publisher: You mean someone from Good Olde Mother England?
Pompous Lass: Of course—if English is their mother tongue!
Publisher: Why’s that?
Pompous Lass: Because my book is for the wonderful people of this planet. I want it to be perfectly edited for all my readers from around the world …
Publisher: Would you like to bear the cost of getting someone from England to edit it then?
Pompous Lass: Will that be cheap?
Publisher: What do you think? Everything is cheap except you?
Pompous Lass: I wouldn’t want to spend my money on that! If it’s too expensive, a local editor should be all right, I guess!
WATERLILY: I want to talk to the editor?
Receptionist: Who’s calling?
Waterlily: Lily!
Receptionist: Lily who?
Waterlily: Water “I-can’t-tell-you-my-real-name” Lily!
Receptionist: How can I help you?
Waterlily: I want to talk to the editor about my manuscript?
Receptionist: What’s your manuscript about?
Waterlily: I can’t tell you that! I don’t know who you are. You may just steal and profit from my hard work! I want to speak to the editor!
Editor: Could you send us samples of your work, Water?
Waterlily: I can’t do that either.
Editor: So what can you do, Water?
Waterlily: Why do you need samples of my work?
Editor: Duh! So that we could assess your writing and decide whether we want to publish it or not!
Waterlily: Why do you want to review it? I am a famous writer and my work is quoted in all the leading journals all over the galaxy!
Editor: That’s nice and all and I’m happy for you. However, we would still like to assess it.
Waterlily: Will you be distributing my book in the U.S. and the U.K.?
Editor: No. We only sell foreign rights to those markets. And over the internet.
Waterlily: Looks like you are not the right publisher for me then. Goodbye!
Editor: Good riddance.
AUTHOR: Would you like to publish my manuscript?
Publisher: Well, it depends …
Author: Depends on what?
Publisher: Well, whether you have a written manuscript?
Author: I haven’t written one. Can you get it written for me?
Publisher: Why is that?
Author: I can’t write.
Publisher: But you have studied for a couple of foreign degrees … and you have lived overseas for many years. With your fake accent and all, I’m sure you could write English.
Author: I’m very bad at grammar. Could you get me a writer whom I could talk to, take down notes and put them all in a book for me? I can talk very well. I just can’t write.
Publisher: I can’t imagine how you manage to pass all your exams over the years!
AUTHOR: Can you label me a bestselling author on the cover of my new book?
Editor: No! You are not a bestselling author. And you’ve never have been one.
Author: It’s a way of MARKETING the book!
Editor: I don’t think that’s MARKETING; that’s CONNING. Your first book sold less than a thousand copies in over five years. That, to me, is a disaster of epic proportions!
AUTHOR: And on what grounds are you rejecting my manuscript?
Editor: Well, it sucks, for one!
Author: What! How dare you insult me! Everyone who has read it thinks it is a magnificent piece of work!
Editor: Who, pray tell, read your magnum opus?
Author: My darling husband and children, friends and relatives! And my dearest mummy and daddy, too!
Editor: Of course!
Author: So can I take it that you are not interested in publishing my manuscript?
Editor: De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da ... Duh!
AUTHOR: Yahoo! My book is a runaway bestseller!
Editor: How’s that possible?
Author: I got every one of my best friends to buy 500 copies of my book. Yahoo! Time for a reprint?
Editor: What do you expect them to do with all the copies of your book?
Author: Who cares what they do with them? Hide them under the stairs? Perhaps they can make beef or vegetable stew with them?
AUTHOR: I would like you to publish my book?
Editor: Your manuscript, you mean? Well, it all depends on the quality of your manuscript.
Author: What? I know your Financial Controller and the Top Guy, you know!
Editor: Ooh, I’m shivering! Of course, we will publish your book—even though it sucks big time!
Author: What?
Editor: Isn’t that what you want?
WISDOM, they say, comes with age. I once thought that wisdom was the exclusive province of the elderly. Now that I am all grown up, I have come to realise that that’s all balderdash. Wisdom is the province of those who possess it; age is simply immaterial. Over the years, I have had the good fortune to meet young people who are wise beyond their years, and I have also had the MISFORTUNE of meeting old people who have absolutely no wisdom at all.
AUTHOR: I don’t like my marriage photo in the book. We look so bloody fat.
Editor: Of course, both of you look well fed. So, what do you want me to do? Both of you should have gone on a diet before getting married. Well, you could always get married again.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

March 2015 Highlights

1. The Shut Eye (Bantam Press, 2015) / Belinda Bauer
2. The Sellout (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2015) / Paul Beatty
3. The Harder They Come (Ecco/Harper, 2015) / T.C. Boyle
4. Before the Fire (Picador, 2015) / Sarah Butler
5. The Dream of My Return (trans. from the Spanish by Katherine Silver) (New Directions, 2015) / Horacio Castellanos Moya
6. Notes From a Dead House (trans. from the Russian by Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky) (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015) / Fyodor Dostoevsky
7. A Place Called Winter (Tinder Press, 2015) / Patrick Gale
8. At the Water’s Edge (Spiegel & Grau, 2015) / Sara Gruen
9. The Wolf Border (Faber & Faber, 2015) / Sarah Hall
10. The Other Joseph (Ecco, 2015) / Skip Horack

11. The World Before Us (Hamish Hamilton/Hogarth, 2015) / Aislinn Hunter
12. The Buried Giant (Faber & Faber, 2015) / Kazuo Ishiguro
13. The Tusk That Did the Damage (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015) / Tania James
14. She Will Build Him a City (Bloomsbury USA, 2015) / Raj Kamal Jha
15. Dancing in the Dark: My Struggle: Book Four (trans. from the Norwegian by Donald Bartlett) (Harvill Secker, 2014) / Karl Ove Knausgaard
16. The Last Word (Scribner, 2015) / Hanif Kureishi
17. The Unloved (Bloomsbury Press, 2015) / Deborah Levy
18. Satin Island (Jonathan Cape, 2015) / Tom McCarthy
19. The Faithful Couple (Little, Brown, 2015) / A.D. Miller
20. The Dirty Dust (trans. from Irish by Alan Titley) (Yale University Press, 2015) / Máirtín Ó Cadhain

21. The Illuminations (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2015) / Andrew O’Hagan
22. Will & Tom (The Borough Press, 2015) / Matthew Plampin
23. The Lost Child (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2015) / Caryl Phillips
24. The Kindness (Bloomsbury Circus, 2015) / Polly Samson
25. Epitaph: A Novel of the O.K. Corral (Ecco, 2015) / Mary Doria Russell
26. A Time for Friends (Simon & Schuster, 2015) / Patricia Scanlan
27. The Architect’s Apprentice (Viking, 2015) / Elif Shafak
28. Aquarium (Atlantic Monthly Press/William Heinemann, 2015) / David Vann
29. A Little Life (Doubleday, 2015) / Hanya Yanagihara
30. The Wisdom of Perversity (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2015) / Rafael Yglesias

First Novels
1. The Boatmaker (Tin House Books, 2015) / John Benditt
2. Whisper Hollow (Other Press, 2015) / Chris Cander
3. The Strangler Vine (G.P. Putnam’s, 2015) / M.J. Carter
4. The Well (Canongate Books, 2015) / Catherine Chanter
5. The Only Ones (Two Dollar Radio, 2015) / Carola Dibbell
6. Hausfrau (Random House, 2015) / Jill Alexander Essbaum
7. Our Endless Numbered Days (Tin House/House of Anansi Press, 2015) / Claire Fuller
8. The Girl in the Red Coat (Faber & Faber, 2015) / Kate Hamer
9. The A-Z of You and Me (Doubleday, 2015) / James Hannah
10. Signs Preceding the End of the World (trans. from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman) (And Other Stories, 2015) / Yuri Herrera

11. Small Mercies (Viking, 2015) / Eddie Joyce
12. Where All Light Tends to Go (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2015) / David Joy
13. Soil (Simon & Schuster, 2015) / Jamie Kornegay
14. Call Me Home (Hawthorne Books, 2015) / Megan Kruse
15. The Poser (Viking, 2015) / Jacob Rubin
16. The Shore (William Heinemann, 2015) / Sara Taylor
17. The Last Flight of Poxl West (St Martin’s Press, 2015) / Daniel Torday

1. The Musical Brain (trans. From the Spanish by Chris Andrews) (New Directions, 2015) / César Aira
2. Young Skins (Black Cat/Grove Press, 2015) / Colin Barrett
3. Crow Fair (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015) / Thomas McGuane
4. Daydreams of Angels (HarperCollins Canada, 2015) / Heather O’Neill
5. The Four Books (trans. from the Chinese by Carlos Rojas) (Chatto & Windus/Grove Atlantic, 2015) / Yan Lianke

1. The Last Two Seconds (Graywolf Press, 2015) / Mary Jo Bang
2. Like the New Moon, I Will Live My Life (White Pine Press, 2015) / Robert Bly
3. The Days of Surprise (Harvill Secker, 2015) / Paul Durcan
4. The Opposite House (Louisiana State University Press, 2015) / Claudia Emerson
5. Snake Train: Poems 1984-2013 (Shearsman Books, 2015) / Edwin Frank
6. From the New World: Poems 1976-2014 (Ecco, 2015) / Jorie Graham
7. How to be Drawn (Penguin Books, 2015) / Terrance Hayes
8. The Invisible Gift: Selected Poems (Carcanet Press, 2015) / David Morley
9. The Beautiful Librarians (Picador, 2015) / Sean O’Brien
10. Made in Detroit (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015) / Marge Piercy

11. Elegy for a Broken Machine (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015) / Patrick Phillips
12. Couldn’t Prove, Had to Promise (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015) / Wyatt Prunty
13. Night at the Fiestas (W.W. Norton, 2015) / Kirstin Valdez Quade
14. Blood Work (University of Wisconsin Press, 2015) / Matthew Siegel
15. The Tijuana Door of the Dead (Soft Skull Press, 2015) / Luis Albert Urrea

1. Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now (Harper, 2015) / Ayaan Hirsi Ali
2. Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London (Verso Books, 2015) / Matthew Beaumont
3. There Is Simply Too Much to Think About: Collected Nonfiction (ed. Benjamin Taylor) (Viking, 2015) / Saul Bellow
4. Mark Rothko: Toward the Light in the Chapel (Yale University Press, 2015) / Annie Cohen-Solal
5. Young Eliot: A Biography (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2015) / Robert Crawford
6. Universal Man: The Seven Lives of John Maynard Keynes (William Collins, 2015) / Richard Davenport-Hines
7. The Impossible Craft: Literary Biography (Penn State University Press, 2015) / Scott Donaldson
8. The Third Reich in History and Memory (Oxford University Press, 2015) / Richard J. Evans
9. Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People (Hill and Wang, 2015) / Elizabeth A. Fenn
10. Chasing Lost Time: The Life of C.K. Scott Moncrieff: Soldier, Spy, and Translator (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, SG, 2015) / Jean Findlay

11. The Soul of the Marionette: A Short Enquiry into Human Freedom (Allen Lane, 2015) / John Gray
12. Follies of God: Tennessee Williams and the Women of the Fog (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015) / James Grissom
13. Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015) / Jane Hirshfield
14. Bettyville: A Memoir (Viking, 2015) / George Hodgman
15. Those Who Write for Immortality: Romantic Reputations and the Dream of Lasting Fame (Yale University Press, 2015) / H.J. Jackson
16. Poetry Notebook: Reflections on the Intensity of Language (Liveright, 2015) / Clive James
17. H is for Hawk (Grove Press, 2015) / Helen Macdonald
18. Landmarks (Hamish Hamilton, 2015) / Robert Macfarlane
19. Curiosity (Yale University Press, 2015) / Alberto Manguel
20. Moral Agents: Eight Twentieth-Century American Writers (New York Review Books, 2015) / Edward Mendelson

21. The Tears of the Rajas: Mutiny, Money and Marriage in India, 1805-1905 (Simon & Schuster, 2015) / Ferdinand Mount
22. American Ghost: A Family’s Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest (Harper, 2015) / Hannah Nordhaus
23. The Best Travel Writing Volume 10: True Stories from Around the World (Travelers’ Tales, 2015) / James O’Reilly, Larry Habegger & Sean O’Reilly (eds.)
24. The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East (Basic Books, 2015) / Eugene Rogan
25. Confucius: And the World He Created (Basic Books, 2015) / Michael Schuman
26. Madness in Civilization: From the Bible to Freud, from the Madhouse to Modern Medicine (Thames & Hudson, 2015) / Andrew Scull
27. John Aubrey: My Own Life (Chatto & Windus, 2015) / Ruth Scurr
28. Seeing Things as They Are: A Theory of Perception (Oxford University Press, 2015) / John R. Searle
29. Ordinary Light: A Memoir (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015) / Tracy K. Smith
30. Judas: The Troubling History of the Renegade Apostle (Hodder & Stoughton, 2015) / Peter Stanford

31. A Curious Friendship: The Story of a Bluestocking and Bright Young Thing (Macmillan, 2015) / Anna Thomasson
32. Why Acting Matters (Yale University Press, 2015) / David Thomson
33. On Elizabeth Bishop (Princeton University Press, 2015) / Colm Tóibín
34. Seneca: A Life (Allen Lane, 2015) / Emily Wilson
35. Alfred Hitchcock: The Man Who Knew Too Much (New Harvest, 2015) / Michael Wood
36. Boswell’s Enlightenment (Belknap Press, 2015) / Robert Zaretsky
37. The Mad Boy, Lord Berners, My Grandmother and Me: An Aristocratic Family, a High-Society Scandal and an Extraordinary Legacy (Harper, 2015) / Sofka Zinovieff

Sunday, February 01, 2015

February 2015 Highlights

1. After Birth (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015) / Elisa Albert
2. Widows and Orphans (Arcadia, 2015) / Michael Arditti
3. A History of Loneliness (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2015) / John Boyne
4. Half a Lifelong Romance (trans. from the Chinese by Karen S. Kingsbury) (Vintage Books, 2015) / Eileen Chang
5. Odysseus Abroad (Oneworld Publications, 2015) / Amit Chaudhuri
6. The Librarian (trans. from the Russian by Andrew Bromfield) (Pushkin Press, 2015) / Mikhail Elizarov
7. The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty (W.W. Norton, 2015) / Amanda Filipacchi
8. The Exit (Faber & Faber, 2015) / Helen FitzGerald
9. I Regret Everything (Europa Editions, 2015) / Seth Greenland
10. The Nightingale (St Martin’s Press, 2015) / Kristin Hannah

11. Lies, First Person (trans. from the Hebrew by Dalya Bilu) (Open Letter, 2015) / Gail Hareven
12. Funny Girl (Riverhead, 2015) / Nick Hornby
13. The Evening Chorus (Mariner Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015) / Helen Humphreys
14. Neverhome (Chatto & Windus, 2015) / Laird Hunt
15. The Laughing Monsters (Harvill Secker, 2015) / Denis Johnson
16. Welcome to Braggsville (William Morrow, 2015) / T. Geronimo Johnson
17. I Am Radar (Penguin Press, 2015) / Reif Larsen
18. The Half Brother (Doubleday, 2015) / Holly LeCraw
19. The Hunger of the Wolf (Simon & Schuster, 2015) / Stephen Marche
20. Satin Island (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015) / Tom McCarthy

21. Tender (Picador, 2015) / Belinda McKeon
22. Dorothy Parker Drank Here (Putnam, 2015) / Ellen Meister
23. The Country of Ice Ceam Star (Ecco, 2015) / Sandra Newman
24. The Lovers of Amherst (published as Amherst in the U.S.) (Quercus/Simon & Schuster, 2015) / William Nicholson
25. Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League (Maiden Lane Press, 2015) / Jonathan Odell
26. The Illuminations (Faber & Faber, 2015) / Andrew O’Hagan
27. Vanessa and Her Sister (Bloomsbury Circus, 2015) / Priya Parmar
28. The Whites (Henry Holt, 2015) / Richard Price (writing as Harry Brandt)
29. The Damned (Simon & Schuster, 2015) / Andrew Pyper
30. Lamentation (Mulholland Books, 2015) / C.J. Sansom

31. The Last Good Paradise (St Martin’s Press, 2015) / Tatjana Soli
32. The Kind Worth Killing (William Morrow, 2015) / Peter Swanson
33. Canary (Mulholland Books, 2015) / Duane Swierczynski
34. The Way Things Were(Picador, 2015) / Aatish Taseer
35. Anna Karenina (trans. from the Russian by Marian Schwartz) (Yale University Press, 2015) / Leo Tolstoy
36. Prudence (Riverhead, 2015) / David Treuer
37. The Tongues of Men or Angels (Corsair, 2015) / Jonathan Trigell
38. A Spool of Blue Thread (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015) / Anne Tyler
39. Second Life (Doubleday, 2015) / S.J. Watson
40. The Four Books (trans. from the Chinese by Carlos Rojas) (Grove Press, 2015) / Yan Lianke

First Novels
1. Green on Blue (Scribner, 2015) / Elliot Ackerman
2. Jam on the Vine (Grove Press, 2015) / LaShonda Katrice Barnett
3. She Weeps Each Time You’re Born (Pantheon, 2015) / Quan Barry
4. Spill Simmer Falter Wither (Tramp Press, 2015) / Sara Baume
5. Find Me (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2015) / Laura van den Berg
6. Glass (Serpent’s Tail, 2015) / Alex Christofi
7. Some Other Town (Harper Perennial, 2015) / Elizabeth Collison
8. Wolf Winter (Hodder & Stoughton, 2015) / Cecilia Ekbäck
9. Our Endless Numbered Days (Fig Tree, 2015) / Claire Fuller
10. The Ship (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2015) / Antonia Honeywell

11. The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell (St Martin’s Press, 2015) / William Klaber
12. Fate Moreland’s Widow (University of South Carolina Press, 2015) / John Lane
13. Arab Jazz (trans. from the French by Sam Gordon) (MacLehose Press, 2015) / Karim Miské
14. The Fishermen (One/Pushkin Press, 2015) / Chigozie Obioma
15. The Chimes (Sceptre, 2015) / Anna Smaill
16. Mainlander (Fourth Estate, 2015) / Will Smith
17. Disgruntled (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2015)Z / Asali Solomon
18. Ismael and His Sisters (Granta Books, 2015) / Louise Stern
19. The Anchoress (Faber & Faber, 2015) / Robyn Cadwallader
20. My Sunshine Away (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2015) / M.O. Walsh

1. Five Selves (trans. from the Hebrew by Emanuela Barasch-Rubinstein) (Holland House, 2015) / Emanuela Barasch-Rubinstein
2. There’s Something I Want You to Do (Pantheon, 2015) / Charles Baxter
3. Over Our Heads (Penguin, 2015) / Andrew Fox
4. Single, Carefree, Mellow (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015) / Katherine Heiny
5. Lucky Alan and Other Stories (Doubleday, 2015) / Jonathan Lethem
6. Get in Trouble (Random House, 2015) / Kelly Link
7. Making Nice (Henry Holt, 2015) / Matt Sumell
8. The American Lover (W.W. Norton, 2015) / Rose Tremain
9. Mischief (Head of Zeus, 2015) / Fay Weldon

1. Ask the Moon: Collected Poems, 1948-2015 (Hutchinson, 2015) / Dannie Abse
2. SOS: Poems 1961-2013 (ed. Paul Vangelisti) (Grove Press, 2015) / Amiri Baraka
3. Barely Composed (W.W. Norton, 2015) / Alice Fulton
4. Empty Pockets: New and Selected Stories (Coffee House Press, 2015) / Dale Herd
5. Disinformation (Picador, 2015) / Frances Leviston
6. Poems (Little, Brown, 2015) / Iain Banks & Ken MacLeod
7. We Mammals in Hospitable Times (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2015) / Jynne Dilling Martin
8. Shingle Street (Chatto & Windus, 2015) / Blake Morrison
9. The Do-Over (Sarabande Books, 2015) / Kathleen Ossip
10. Summer Requiem: A Book of Poems (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2015) / Vikram Seth

11. Complete Poems (eds. John Glover & Kathryn Jenner) (Northern House/Carcanet Press, 2015) / Jon Silkin

1. It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War (Penguin Press, 2015) / Lynsey Addario
2. Machiavelli: A Portrait (Harvard University Press, 2015) / Christopher S. Celenza
3. Young Eliot: From St Louis to The Waste Land (Jonathan Cape, 2015) / Robert Crawford
4. Why Not Say What Happened: A Sentimental Education (Liveright, 2015) / Morris Dickstein
5. Leaving Before the Rains Come (Harvill Secker/The Penguin Press, 2015) / Alexandra Fuller
6. Love Songs: The Hidden History (Oxford University Press, 2015) / Ted Gioia
7. Discontent and its Civilizations: Dispatches from Lahore, New York, and London (Riverhead, 2015) / Mohsin Hamid
8. Kaufman’s Hill: A Memoir (Bancroft Press, 2015) / John C. Hampsey
9. Mr and Mrs Disraeli: A Strange Romance (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2015) / Daisy Hay
10. Where Have You Been?: Selected Essays (Faber & Faber, 2015) / Michael Hofmann

11. Eleanor Marx: A Life (Bloomsbury Press, 2015) / Rachel Holmes
12. Accidence Will Happen: The Non-Pedantic Guide to English Usage (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2015) / Oliver Kamm
13. Screening Room: Family Pictures (Pantheon, 2015) / Alan Lightman
14. Love and Lies: An Essay on Truthfulness, Deceit, and the Growth and Care of Erotic Love (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2015) / Clancy Martin
15. In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland and the Transformation or Rural China (Bloombury, 2015) / Michael Meyer
16. The Fish Ladder: A Journey Upstream (Bloomsbury Circus, 2015) / Katharine Norbury
17. The Authumn Balloon (Grand Central Publishing, 2015) / Kenny Porpora
18. Hell and Good Company: The Spanish Civil War and the World It Made (Simon & Schuster, 2015) / Richard Rhodes
19. The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East, 1914-1920 (Allen Lane, 2015) / Eugene Rogan
20. This Divided Island: Stories from the Sri Lankan War (Atlantic Books, 2015) / Samanth Subramanian

21. The Coming of the Terror in the French Revolution (Belknap Press, 2015) / Timothy Tackett
22. European Intellectual History from Rousseau to Nietzsche (Yale University Press, 2015) / Frank M. Turner
23. Edward Thomas: From Adlestrop to Arras: A Biography (Bloomsbury Continuum, 2015) / Jean Moorcroft Wilson
24. Boundless: Tracing Land and Dream in a New Northwest Passage (Jonathan Cape, 2015) / Kathleen Winter
25. Creatures of a Day: And Other Tales of Psychotherapy (Basic Books, 2015) / Irvin D. Yalom

Thursday, January 01, 2015

January 2015 Highlights

1. See How Small (Little, Brown, 2015) / Scott Blackwood
2. Amnesia (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015) / Peter Carey
3. Sweetland (Liveright, 2015) / Michael Crummey
4. Outline (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2015) / Rachel Cusk
5. Blood-Drenched Beard (trans. from the Portuguese by Alison Entrekin) (Penguin Press, 2015) / Daniel Galera
6. Binary Star (Two Dollar Radio, 2015) / Sarah Gerard
7. Vigilante (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2015) / Shelley Harris
8. The Big Seven (Grove Press/Atlantic Monthly Press, 2015) / Jim Harrison
9. The Season of Migration (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2015) / Nellie Hermann
10. A Pleasure and a Calling (Picador USA, 2015) / Phil Hogan

11. The Crooked House (Sphere, 2015) / Christobel Kent
12. In Real Life (Canongate Books, 2015) / Chris Killen
13. 10:04 (Granta Books, 2015) / Ben Lerner
14. Fear the Darkness (Minotaur Books, 2015) / Becky Masterman
15. Runaway (Quercus, 2015) / Peter May
16. The Offering (Sceptre, 2015) / Grace McCleen
17. The Sacrifice (Ecco/Fourth Estate, 2015) / Joyce Carol Oates
18. West of Sunset (Viking, 2015) / Stewart O’Nan
19. Serpents in the Cold (Little, Brown, 2015) / Thomas O’Malley & Douglas Graham Purdy
20. Curtain Call (Jonathan Cape, 2015) / Anthony Quinn

21. Happy Are the Happy (trans. from the French by Sarah Ardizzone) (Other Press, 2015) / Yasmina Reza
22. Lurid & Cute (Jonathan Cape, 2015) / Adam Thirlwell
23. The Same Sky (Ballantine Books, 2015) / Amanda Eyre Ward
24. Watch Me Go (Putnam, 2015) / Mark Wisniewski
25. The Lightning Tree (Faber & Faber, 2015) / Emily Woof
26. The Seventh Day (trans. from the Chinese by Allan H. Barr) (Pantheon, 2015) / Yu Hua

First Novels
1. Bonita Avenue (trans. from the Dutch by Jonathan Reeder) (Hogarth, 2015) / Peter Buwalda
2. The Serpent Papers (Quercus, 2015) / Jessica Cornwell
3. The Devil You Know (Touchstone, 2015) / Elisabeth de Mariaffi
4. A Small Indiscretion (Random House, 2015) / Jan Ellison
5. An Untamed State (Corsair, 2015) / Roxane Gay
6. One Night, Markovitch (trans. from the Hebrew by Sondra Silverston) (Pushkin Press, 2015) / Ayelet Gundar-Goshen
7. Black River (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015) / S.M. Hulse
8. The Vegetarian (trans. from the Korean by Deborah Smith) (Portobello Books, 2015) / Han Kang
9. The Girl On the Train (Riverbed Books/Doubleday, 2015) / Paula Hawkins
10. This Place Holds No Fear (trans. from the German by Anne Posten) (Haus Publishing, 2015) / Monika Held

11. Etta and Otto and Russell and James (Fig Tree, 2015) / Emma Hooper
12. Descent (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2015) / Tim Johnston
13. The First Bad Man (Scribner, 2015) / Miranda July
14. The Magician’s Lie (Sourcebooks Landmark, 2015) / Greer Macallister
15. Against the Country (Random House, 2015) / Ben Metcalfe
16. Arrows of Rain (Soho Press, 2015) / Okey Ndibe
17. Alice and the Fly (Hodder & Stoughton, 2015) / James Rice
18. Don’t Let Him Know (Bloomsbury Publishing/Bloomsbury USA, 2015) / Sandip Roy
19. The Secret Wisdom of the Earth (Grand Central Publishing, 2015) / Christopher Scotton
20. Migratory Animals (Harper Perennial, 2015) / Mary Helen Specht

21. The Winter War (trans. from the Finnish by Tiina Nunnally) (Serpent’s Tail, 2015) / Philip Teir
22. The Liar’s Chair (Mantle, 2015) / Rebecca Whitney
23. Weathering (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015) / Lucy Wood

1. Refund (Counterpoint Press, 2015) / Karen E. Bender
2. Almost Famous Women (Scribner, 2015) / Megan Mayhew Bergman
3. The Hollow Land (Europa Editions, 2015) / Jane Gardam
4. Settlers of Unassigned Lands (University of Michigan Press, 2015) / Charles McLeod
5. Honeydew (Little, Brown/John Murray, 2015) / Edith Pearlman
6. Wrote for Luck (Galley Beggar Press, 2015) / D.J. Taylor

1. One Thousand Things Worth Knowing (Faber & Faber, 2015) / Paul Muldoon
2. Station Zed (Graywolf Press, 2015) / Tom Sleigh

1. On Writers and Writing (previously published as Negotiating with the Dead) (Virago, 2015) / Margaret Atwood
2. Van Gogh: A Power Seething (New Harvest, 2015) / Julian Bell
3. On the Wilder Shores of Love: Sketches from a Bohemian Life (ed. Georgia de Chamberet) (Virago, 2015) / Lesley Blanch
4. Darius in the Shadow of Alexander (trans. from the French by Jane Marie Todd) (Harvard University Press, 2015) / Pierre Briant
5. The Girl From Human Street: Ghosts of Memory in a Jewish Family (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015) / Roger Cohen
6. Young Eliot: From St Louis to The Waste Land (Jonathan Cape, 2015) / Robert Crawford
7. The Devil Wins: A History of Lying from the Garden of Eden to the Enlightenment (Princeton University Press, 2015) / Dallas G. Denery II
8. My History: A Memoir of Growing Up (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2015) / Antonia Fraser
9. The Middle Ages (trans. from the German by Peter Lewis) (Belknap Press/Harvard University Press, 2015) / Johannes Fried
10. Entertaining Judgment: The Afterlife in Popular Imagination (Oxford University Press, 2015) / Greg Garrett

11. Publishing: A Writer’s Memoir (Bloomsbury Press, 2015) / Gail Godwin
12. Mr and Mrs Disraeli: A Strange Romance (Chatto & Windus, 2015) / Daisy Hay
13. The Italians (Allen Lane/Viking, 2015) / John Hooper
14. When the Facts Change: Essays, 1995-2010 (The Penguin Press, 2015) / Tony Judt
15. Quite a Good Time to be Born: A Memoir, 1935-1975 (Harvill Secker, 2015) / David Lodge
16. One Nation, Under Gods: A New American History (University of Wisconsin Press, 2015) / Peter Manseau
17. The Romani Gypsies (Belknap Press, 2015) / Yaron Matras
18. Demokrasi: Indonesia in the 21st Century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) / Hamish McDonald
19. Northrop Frye and American Fiction (University of Toronto Press, 2015) / Claude Le Fustec
20. Philosophy of Language: The Classics Explained (Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 2015) / Colin McGinn

21. The Fall of Language in the Age of English (trans. from the Japanese by Mari Yoshihara & Juliet Winters) (Columbia University Press, 2015) / Minae Mizumura
22. Between Gods: A Memoir (Tinder Press, 2015) / Alison Pick
23. Alphabetical: How Every Letter Tells a Story (Counterpoint, 2015) / Michael Rosen
24. The Young T.E. Lawrence (published as Young Lawrence: A Portrait of the Legend as a Young Man in the U.K. in 2014) (W.W. Norton, 2015) / Anthony Sattin
25. A Man of Good Hope (Jonathan Cape, 2015) / Jonny Steinberg
26. The Poet’s Tale: Chaucer and the year that made The Canterbury Tales (Profile Books, 2015) / Paul Strohm
27. Culture Crash: The Killing of the Creative Class (Yale University Press, 2015) / Scott Timber
28. Does Altruism Exist?: Culture, Genes, and the Welfare of Others (Yale University Press, 2015) / David Sloan Wilson