Friday, July 26, 2013

Best Book of the Year So Far: Emily Bruce

Well, I just love Emily. She can hand sell any book to anyone and is probably the smartest person I know in the book business. I know, if she's so smart why isn't she in a different business (ha ha ha....sad). Emily is a children's sales rep for Random House who is credited/blamed for getting me a job at Random House back in 2001. Emily is a rule breaker who refused to follow our simple directions of choosing one book (who in this business can't do that?); rebel until the end, she has chosen four.

Here are four of Emily's favorite books of 2013 so far:

When Gianna asked me to pick my favorite book of 2013 (so far), I thought it would be easy. I was wrong. As I started looking at the list of books I’ve read this year, I kept changing my mind…so I’m writing about a few and maybe she’ll decide I’m cool enough to include more than one:

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell – I will admit I picked up this book because of the cover. It’s set in 1986 and it’s about two teenagers who wind up falling in love. They’re both outcasts at school and they become friends over comic books and music. Eleanor’s home life is a mess and through her relationship with Park, she winds up finding her own voice. I loved the author’s writing style so much that I immediately picked up her previous book, The Attachments, and can’t wait for her next book, Fangirl. Eleanor and Park is shelved in the young adult/teen sections in bookstores but don’t let that deter you – it’s a great read, especially for anyone who wasn’t part of the cool kid group in high school (and nicely pairs with Stargirl, one of my all-time favorite books).

Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen – I read everything Carl Hiaasen writes – adult books, kids books – anything. Gianna might say I like him so much because he is good lookin’ (he is) but I also like him because his books are hilarious. His characters are colorful and his books perfectly capture the nuttiness that is the state of Florida – and bonus: the good guys always win in the end. I could tell you about the plot of this book – a cop with a human arm in his freezer, a wacko voodoo witch, real estate hijinks and of course, an incredibly bad monkey - but really, if you want a wickedly funny read, Bad Monkey is the book for you…and then go check out his kids books (Hoot, Flush, Scat and Chomp) where the kids always outsmart the adults.

Never Go Back by Lee Child – This doesn’t come out until September but there are plenty of Lee Child books available now to hold you over – and here is the good news: you don’t have to read them in any order. Pick one up and I’ll bet you’ll pick up another and another – if you like page turners, you can’t go wrong with Lee Child’s books. They all center on a character named Jack Reacher – a former military police officer who doesn’t have a home and travels around the United States with only a toothbrush, passport and his ATM card. He always seems to find himself in interesting situations – and those situations usually wind up with me staying up until the wee hours of the morning because I can’t put the book down. At a sales conference years ago, someone said “Jack Reacher is the man every man wants to be – and the man every woman wants to be next to” – and I couldn’t agree more…and I can’t wait for the next one.

Wonder – So technically, I didn’t read Wonder this year but I think it’s a book everyone should read (and if you’re making a list, please add Stargirl and All Over But the Shoutin’ to that must-read list). It’s a hard book to describe but I read it almost two years ago and I think about it almost every day – and I’ve been known to tear up when talking about it (awkward). Auggie, the main character, is born with a facial deformity and until now, he’s been home schooled. The book begins as he’s starting 5th grade in a new school – you’ll hold your breath, hoping for the best, watching him navigate friendships and bullies. It’s simply a beautiful story that will make you feel better about the world – and will remind you how a little kindness can go a long way.

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