Monday, June 6, 2011

Great Books Coming Soon

[Liz writing:]  So my life has been a little crazy with the Gianna leaving Random House and then the travel season leading me to tornado zones...and flood zones...and fire zones (my territory butts up to the gates of hell), and yet still 238 people visited our little blog last month.  It begs the question, "How bored are the various web-surfers of the world???"  Anyway, we're getting back into the swing of things and I'm sure that we'll have more Gianna antics soon since it's too hot in Texas to wear proper clothing right now.  Since we haven't posted anything lately, though, we thought we'd catch you up some of the new releases just out or coming soon.

The Devil All the Time is one of the most disturbing books I've ever read...and I loved it.  Donald Ray Pollock burst onto the literary scene a few years ago with his short story collection Knockemstiff, and his new novel traverses the same down-on-its-luck landscape.  Fans of Dan Chaon's Await Your Reply, Flannery O'Connor, and Cormac McCarthy should love this story of religious zealots and serial killers and one boy maneuvering between a moral life and the life to which he seems destined when his mother dies despite his father's ritual sacrifices.  If you're intrigued by a the image of a man and his son kneeling at a prayer log in the woods night and day, surrounded by crosses and the ground covered in the blood sacrifices they've offered God, praying for a miracle to save the boy's mother, this book is for you.  It's not for the feint of heart, but I loved every page.  The Devil All the Time goes on sale July 12th.

Summer is blockbuster season in the book world as well as Hollywood.  This year the Robopocalypse is coming.  Think about it--EVERYTHING in our modern world is controlled by computers, and in Daniel Wilson's thriller, the end of the world is upon us when a scientist crosses the threshold from smart technology to thinking technology and a computer named ARCHOS begins to take over the world.  A computer virus goes out to all of those phones and cars and computers and toasters out there and no one is safe.  Imagine you're driving down the highway in your Prius and suddenly the computer in your car steers you into a wall.  And that computer in the air traffic control tower?  It decides that smacking planes into each other would be a great way to dispose of a few hundred humans.  And you receive a call on your cell phone telling you to rush home because your child is sick...except that the call is computer-generated and luring you toward an untimely end.  A group of intrepid humans begin to fight back.... If you liked The Matrix and the movie version of Minority Report, you'll welcome the Robopocalypse; in fact, Steven Spielberg optioned the rights to the robo-thriller before Daniel Wilson had even finished writing his novel.

[And now a word from Gianna....]

I left Random House a few months ago to work for UT Press so I won't be writing about Random House books anymore trust me! Except …. this one time.

Vaclav and Lena by Haley Tanner: I don’t want to over sell this but, if you miss reading this novel… well you will end up ruining your summer. Seriously. No, wait…I will ruin your summer (threats are better).

This is an amazing love story about two young Russian immigrants living in Brooklyn--Vaclav dreams of becoming a famous magician and Lena will be his lovely assistant--and then she is taken away, suddenly and without warning. The story is filled with an almost fairy tale quality, the writing is so pitch perfect (and by pitch perfect please just pick the book up and read the first few pages of the grade school Vaclav and Lena going through their magic routine…the Russian accents are wonderful). It really is a perfect book.

Okay so one more Random House book and that’s it, seriously –

The Storm at the Door by Stefan Merrill Block

I am not going to make a huge deal about this book. I am not going to make a fool of myself like I did with Story of Forgetting. I mean I really think people thought I lost my mind I talked about that book so much (by the way I totally lost my mind because of that book)[She's right; she's crazy. And she never shut up about that book]. Okay. Story of Forgetting was very good. It was excellent. This book is better. It’s more mature and the writing is better. It’s heartbreaking, in fact. Like Stefan’s first book this novel is based in part on his family (his grandparents' marriage) which makes it all the more interesting. Think Revolutionary Road. Yes, it is that good. He will be at BookPeople on July 12th. Give him some love – he is amazing.

So that’s it for me and Random House. I won’t be writing about RH titles anymore! Was that more or less believable than Congressman Weiner’s “certitude” comment? [Less.  And Gianna has sent me some incriminating pics in her time....]

Bright’s Passage by Josh Ritter

I love this fucking book. (And let that be a quote on any jacket – it's called class). I read this book in a fury of passion. I would not put it down; everything else could wait. The story of Henry Bright (and what can only be described as his journey) is so vivid, beautiful, funny, and passionate…ahhh I sound crazy already. Anyway it will stay with you long after the novel ends. It is as haunting as it is luminous (and Liz…. I never say that about a book do I? In fact when someone calls a book luminous I run, but don’t run because I never use that word!) [We make fun of people who use the word 'luminous' to describe books.  Does it glow in the dark?  Doubtful.  This is a very good book though.] This small book has so much going for it: set during the First World War, a battle between good and evil, it's only $22, and of course it's a love story. It’s a first novel to be sure, but my God what a wonderful novel. [I think I am Gianna's God.] Oh and be on the look out – Ritter is on tour (hint hint).

These 3 books will appear on my year end list…I just know it….damn lists.

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