To begin the month, my round-up of forthcoming books that have caught my eye:

Hugh Aldersey-Williams, Periodic Tales

Subtitled ‘The Curious Lives of the Elements’, this book promises to range across art and history as well as science in exploring the chemical elements. Sounds interesting, and a great cover too.

Aimee Bender, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

I love fiction that brings a tinge of fantastication to the everyday, so this sounds right up my street: a girl discovers that food carries for her a taste of people’s emotions.

Francesca Beauman, Shapely Ankle Preferr’d

I like books that look at history from an unusual angle, and this history of the lonely hearts ad sounds like just such a book.

Carol Birch, Jamrach’s Menagerie

Canongate publish some great books, and this seafaring historical adventure looks promising.

Ellen Bryson, The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno

It’s the setting — Barnum’s American Museum — that intrigues me about this one.

Lucy Caldwell, The Meeting Point

This Bahrain-set novel sounds as though it could have some interesting contrasts.

Jon Courtenay Grimwood, The Fallen Blade

Grimwood turns from science fiction to fantasy, and I’m interested to see what he’ll do with the genre in this tale of vampires in 15th-century Venice.

Sophia McDougall, Romanitas

A reissue (revised, I believe) of the first volume of McDougall’s trilogy in which the Roman Empire has survived to the present day. I missed it the first time around, but am curious to see what this is like.

Matthias Politycki, Next World Novella

I would read this because the synopsis intrigues me (‘shifting realities’ as a man gains a new view of his marriage after the death of his wife), but I’d also read it just because it’s published by the reliably-excellent Peirene Press.

Gordon Reece, Mice

There’s quite a buzz about this tale of suspense centred on a mother and daughter who have retreated to the countryside, and then find their cottage broken into — it sounds to be  worth a look.

Jane Rogers, The Testament of Jessie Lamb

I read a couple of very good books from Sandstone Press last year (Up the Creek Without a Mullet and Love, Revenge & Buttered Scones), so I’ve high hopes for this new title of theirs, a novel about a girl living in a world affected by bio-terrorism.

Nat Segnit, Pub Walks in Underhill Country

A novel written (at least at first) in the form of a walkers’ guide. I’m interested to see how that works.