Thursday, January 31, 2013

New Year, New 30 Day Book Challenge, Day 28

 Day 28: Upcoming Books We're Excited About.


As we near the end of our thirty-day book challenge, we thought it might be nice to look ahead and see which books we are most excited about. Mostly right now though, I am excited for this damn thirty day challenge to end. Oy.

The Fight to Save Juarez by Ricardo Ainslie (April)
This will be of particular interest to those of us who live in a border state. This is a portrait of Mexico’s bloodiest city. It's a first hand perspective on the drug war that has claimed close to 60,000 lives since 2007. Yes, you read that correctly, 60,000.

TransAtlantic by Colum McCann (June)
I just learned that we would have a new McCann this morning and I am so thrilled. I believe, and I could be wrong, but think it’s a novel from his short story about the first non-stop transatlantic flight in 1919.  The short story was published in the New Yorker last year.  

The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout (March)
A family is haunted by an accident that has killed their father. The two sons move away from their small Maine town, leaving the sister behind, but years later she calls them home where their past must be dealt with.

A Thousand Pardons by Jonathan Dee (March)
An emotional drama of a marriage in crisis. I hope you read the Pulitzer Prize nominated novel The Privileges; it was absolutely fantastic and this sounds like a perfect follow up.

Benediction by Kent Haruf (March)
I’ve written about Kent Haruf a few times, he is just a beautiful writer. Haruf has used the town of Holt, Colorado again as in previous books, this time a family deals with a father’s diagnosis with terminal cancer.


Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell (February)
Karen Russell is a brilliant short story writer, and I'm a huge fan. I'm her #1 fan. Think Annie Wilkes from Misery. This stellar collection is playful, whimsical, and...frightening. Russell plays with horror here, and with great success. And don't forget that her novel Swamplandia! was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Ghostman by Roger Hobbs (February)
The last time I heard the Knopf folks so excited about a thriller, it was for a series of books written by Stieg Larsson. After a bank robbery goes wrong, the ghostman (normally the guy in heists who is so unmemorable that he's a ghost) is sent in to track down the robbers, the money, and the explanation for what happened. Think Ocean's Eleven meets Harvey Keitel's character from Pulp Fiction.

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud (April)
It's been awhile since Claire Messud had a new book, but this one is worth the wait. The woman upstairs is the quiet neighbor you don't notice except in passing in a halfway when you exchange half-smiles. She's the repressed woman who's given up her dreams. This is Messud's protagonist, a teacher who lives in solitude and fear until she meets a family that opens her eyes to her dreams deferred. I love this book.

The Antagonist by Lynn Coady (January)
Okay, so I'm cheating a little because this book is on sale now. I'm guessing that you're not hearing about it much, though, and that's a huge shame. It's crazy good. Here's the premise: A guy writes a novel. One of his college friends, Gordon "Rank" Rankin reads the book. Rank discovers that his friend has based the novel on Rank's life, and he, Rank, starts writing emails to the author--outraged, crazed, drunken, pleading, confessional messages. Rank is the opposite of Midas; everything he touches turns to shit. Fans of A Fraction of the Whole should take note. Really, this book is the best novel out there that's flying under the radar.

Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala (March)
While on vacation over Christmas a few years ago, Sonali Deraniyagala's life was destroyed when the tsunami wave killed her husband, two sons, and parents. One moment she was in a Jeep rushing away from the devastation, and the next moment she's coming to into ruins. Yeah, it's not an upbeat or easy read, but it is courageous and unflinching. It's gripping. 

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