Cold Feet, Warm Pages

As I put away my sandals and bid a sad goodbye to my super-sexy farmer’s tan, my thoughts turn to the long, dreary, cold, miserable winter ahead. What are my coping tactics for surviving such a cruel month? Well…booze, primarily. But also books – lots and lots of books.

My Kindle pre-order list has grown excitingly unwieldy and is full of the publishing equivalent of Vitamin D. Here’s what literary nourishment will be sustaining me during the upcoming hibernation months.

Oh the sweary swear words that tumbled from my mouth when I heard someone was going to try to write a new Hercule Poirot story. There aren’t many Poirots I haven’t read: his fussy egotism is always entertaining and I’m constantly in awe of Agatha Christie’s clever crimes, twisty plots, red herrings and neat as a pin resolutions. I secretly wanted a new Poirot, but I dared not get my hopes up that this would come even close to the original.
 
And then I read this review and wondered if it could possibly happen: could a new Poirot be – maybe not as good – but almost as good as the original? So I let myself dream. And I let myself pre-order. And at approximately 12.10am this morning, Sophie Hannah’s brave and stupid and potentially fabulous attempt at reviving the Belgian sleuth downloaded onto my Kindle.
 
I’m currently on week three of struggling through the alternately brilliant and boring (so. many. union stories.) City of Nets and, while I hate to put it to one side for a spell (because I’ll probably never go back and finish it), Hercule and his ‘little grey cells’ are too tempting to resist much longer. Publication date: Out now!
 
This is described as a coming-of-age story in a crematory. There’s no way I could pass that up. Doughty was in her twenties with a degree in medieval history when she took a job in a crematory. Now she’s a licensed mortician with her own funeral practice. This sounds like an honest, funny and thoughtful look at her experiences in between and how we, as a society, deal with our inevitable end. I also hope it talks about zombies. Publication date: September 15, 2014.
 
Waters’ The Little Stranger was wonderfully creepy and atmospheric and this sounds like it has the potential to match that. It’s another book set in post-war, genteel England, where a widow and her daughter live a pleasant, if mundane, life until they take in a pair of lodgers who change everything. This should be a great book to curl up with under a fuzzy blanket with a nice cuppa tea. Publication date: September 16, 2014.
 
Jacobson’s new novel made the shortlist for the 2014 Man Booker Prize (his novel The Finkler Question won in 2010) and seems to revolve around a love story, a topic I normally wouldn’t touch even with someone else’s fingers. But this is a love story in a dystopian, post-catastrophe world full of danger and secrets and bayonet-wielding killer bees (I probably made that last part up), so count me in.  Publication date: October 14, 2014.
 
I have a thing for old Hollywood (and a blog too) and this book details the murky 1922 murder of William Desmond Taylor, an actor and director in the very earliest days of the movie industry.  There were a number of suspects in Taylor’s death, including actress Mabel Normand, but no one was ever arrested. His death, along with a plague of other Hollywood scandals at the time (including the rape trials of Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle), led to film studios including morals clauses in the contracts of their stars.
 
The Amazon description calls this an ‘untold’ story, which isn’t quite true – there’s been lots written about it. But it will be interesting to see if Mann has uncovered any new evidence or theories. Publication date: October 14, 2014.
 
If I had children, I would not hesitate to sell my favorite one to get advanced copies of these books. I was lucky enough to see Poehler interviewed by Short at this year’s Book Con in New York City and it was every bit as perfect as you would imagine. Poehler is funny, sharp and full of actual real-life good advice, which should translate great into a book she describes as a “missive from the middle of my life,” and what it’s like to feel “young and old at the same time.” Publication date: October 28, 2014.
 
Martin Short is never not funny and his book promises to be chock full o’ amazing showbiz anecdotes as he charts his progress from Canada to Hollywood, including his time on Saturday Night Live (which chapter I shall read in the voice of Ed Grimley) and hit movies Father of the Bride and Three Amigos. It will also apparently detail some of the sadder parts of that journey, including the loss of his wife to cancer. Publication date: November 4, 2014.
 
Leave a comment and let us know what you’ve got planned for cold weather reads!