Year-end critics’ picks are a staple of the winter season. And with the new year upon us, it’s also an opportune time to look forward at what 2015 will bring.
Clay Smith, the Austin-based editor-in-chief of Kirkus Reviews, spoke to Texas Standard on 2015’s eagerly awaited literary works.
On Toni Morrison ‘s new book ‘God Help the Child,’ which received the Kirkus star:
“It’s big news that Toni Morrison, who has won the Nobel Prize, and is the author of ‘Beloved,’ is going to have a novel – a pretty slim book – that would be out at the end of April called ‘God Help the Child.’ It’s about a little girl who was born with skin so black that her mother won’t touch her. And so to try and get some attention from her mom, she tells a lie that puts a schoolteacher in jail for decades, and it has repercussions and it has mythic undertones, and of course it’s about race, like much of her work. We highly recommend it.”
On non-fiction author Erik Larson’s new book, ‘Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania:’
‘The Germans bombed the Lusitania, which was this very chichi ship in 1915, and the sinking of it by a torpedo influenced the onset of World War I. … His sense of detail is so fine and he goes into such intriguing detail with each of his books that he tells a much more universal story.”
On books to excite music fans:
“It’s going to be a great year in music books, not just because of Patti Smith and Kim Gordon [and their upcoming memoirs], but Robert Christgau and Richard Goldstein, who are really, two of the people, along with Ellen Willis, who kind of founded rock criticism – put it on the map at least – are both having memoirs out this year.”