Thursday, December 20, 2012

NYT's Top 10 Books of 2012

If you haven't seen it, the list has been posted.

Glad to see Zadie Smith's NW on the list (I thought it was brilliant).  And I've got Hilary Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies on my list of books to read, too, as I really enjoyed 2009's Wolf Hall.  Anything on there strike your fancy?

Ok, now I'll really see you after the first of the year.  Happy holidays, and happy reading!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Reading Ahead: January 2013, part 5

Anyone else ready to hang up the holiday craziness already, and just settle in with a good book for some down time?  I know I am, although, I'm always ready for some quiet time and great reading material.  Here is the last of next month's list of big titles, with a bit of something for everyone. 

A Memory of Light, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

Battle of Kings, by M.K. Hume

Dream Eyes, by Jayne Ann Krentz

Until the End of Time, by Danielle Steel

Easter Bunny Murder, by Leslie Meier

Robert Jordan has been gone for five years, but his legacy of The Wheel of Time series lives on.  A Memory of Light, written by Brandon Sanderson using Jordan's notes, is the final installment of the series, and fans will most definitely want to check it out.  

Now, if you're a fan of George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series (Game of Thrones who watched the show before starting the books), you may be in the winter doldrums, waiting for season three of the series (03/31/13, by the way) and, longer still, the next book (to be titled The Winds of Winter, tentatively slated for release in...2015.  I hate waiting.).  Looking for something in a similar vein to fill the void?  M.K. Hume's Battle of Kings has been getting rave reviews.  I know I've got it on my reading list.

Finally, News from Heaven, by Jennifer Haigh.   Volumes of interconnected short stories are becoming more popular lately, and this is a must-read for fans of Haigh's 2005 novel, Baker Towers.  Haven't read it yet?  Get on that.  I'll wait.

Done?  Excellent.  News from Heaven picks up the threads of several characters readers met in Baker Towers, following how one's roots affect how we grow, the constant ties to home, and the desires to both escape and remain connected. 

I'll be back after the first of the year to talk about new books, what I've been reading, and take a look at the last year's reading challenge.  Wishing all of you happy and healthy holidays, and as always, Happy Reading.

(Note: Edited to update the last three title links to reflect entries in the library's catalog.)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Reading Ahead: January 2013, part 4

I'm beginning to think I ought to be calling this month's Reading Ahead series "The January Onslaught" or something, because of the sheer overwhelming number of books on the list.  Every time I think I've caught up, I find out that there are still more titles coming.  Buried alive by books?  Sounds a bit like an episode of The Twilight Zone.  Today's portion of the list, however, is much more humor, if still a little strange...

Insane City, by Dave Barry

Here I Go Again, by Jen Lancaster

The Husband List, by Janet Evanovich & Dorien Kelly

Insane City, Dave Barry's first solo fiction outing in more than a decade, is perhaps a little darker than fans might expect, but no less madcap and bizarre.  Seth keeps waiting for the other shoe to drop.  He's on his way to his destination wedding with the out-of-his-league-hot Tina, having managed to survive a Groom Posse prank in the airport.  The worst is behind him and the best yet to come, right?  Well, sort of.  He'll have more than a few more hurdles (rioters, angry strippers, and an eleven-foot albino Burmese python named Blossom, among others) to get through before the big day.  I'd say this would be a definite must for fans of Carl Hiaasen, Christopher Moore, or Tim Dorsey.

And regular blog readers probably know by now that I have a soft spot for Jen Lancaster.  In this, her second fiction title (after 2011's If You Were Here), readers meet Lyssy, a thirty-seven year old divorcee who's had to move back in with her parents.  Pining for her high school glory years, when she was popular and feared, Lyssy gains a little perspective and seeks to right some of those mean-girl wrongs from her past.  Bound to be funny and feel-good.

Hang in there--one more round to go!  I'll be back next Tuesday with the last of January's list, so in the meantime, happy reading.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Reading Ahead: January 2013, part 3

I think January has to be one of the biggest months for suspense and thrillers for the year.  Granted, there are eleven more months for me to be proven wrong, but let's take a look at the second half of the thrillers debuting next month.  (Click here to take a look at the first half of the list.)

Footprints in the Sand, by Mary Jane Clark

The Fifth Assassin, by Brad Meltzer

Suspect, by Robert Crais

Blood Money, by James Grippando

Daddy Love, by Joyce Carol Oates

Kinsey and Me: Stories, by Sue Grafton

There's a lot to choose from here, but a couple in particular I'd like to mention.   First is Sue Grafton's offering.  Author of the Alphabet Mysteries featuring heroine Kinsey Millhone, Grafton offers nine stories covering Millhone's character origins, as well as stories of Grafton's own life after losing her mother.  While this may seem bittersweet, it offers a glimpse of how an author's own experience might affect her writing life, and also, with Grafton's typically deft touch, allow readers into the creative process.  This is an absolute must-read for fans of the long-running series.

Second is Daddy Love, by Joyce Carol Oates.  I will warn readers that this is going to be some uncomfortable subject matter, but if you're looking for a literary thriller with a deft touch regarding said subject matter, this is going to be one to try.  Oates, prolific and versatile, is getting major critical accolades for this one, and I'm willing to venture a guess that if you were a fan of Emma Donoghue's Room, this should be on your list of books to read.

See you back here on Thursday for part 4 of the list (we're not done, yet!), and in the meantime, happy reading.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Reading Ahead: January 2013, part 2

I do have more of the list of thrillers and suspense novels coming out in January, sure, but I thought I'd switch it up a little and share the historical fiction also being published next month.  There's so much to look forward to, especially for a history buff like me!

1356, by Bernard Cornwell

The Last Runaway, by Tracy Chevalier

Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, by Jennifer Chiaverini

The Bughouse Affair, by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini

Enough variety to make your head spin, even if it is all technically historical fiction, right?   First on the list is The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, which is a debut novel from Anya Mathis with some huge buzz behind it.  Following the Great Migration of the 1920s through the eyes of one extraordinary family, this is being slated as a novel of determination and heartbreak, recommended for readers who loved The Help.  Definitely on my list!  

I'm a huge fan of Tracy Chevalier's (Girl with a Pearl Earring, Falling Angels, The Lady and the get the idea.) so I am super excited about The Last Runaway.  Chevalier, who normally sets her novels in Europe, has moved her locale to the US in this novel, circa 1850.  Honor Bright, mild-mannered English Quaker, moves to Ohio in the wake of personal disappointment and becomes involved with the Underground Railroad.  Reviews have been very promising, so I'm hopeful.

And finally, the late Robert B. Parker's western series reins have been taken up by Robert Knott, which should be a huge relief for fans.  Happy reading!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Reading Ahead: January 2013, part 1

If you felt like December didn't hold too many new titles for you, I hope you're ready for the complete opposite come January.  There are SO MANY new fiction books slated for publication, I had to break out the caps.  I decided to try something a little different this month and group them, loosely, by genre.  So here is the first round of titles, all of them generally thriller/suspense fiction.  Are you ready?  I hope so!

Private Berlin, by James Patterson & Mark Sullivan

Shadow Woman, by Linda Howard

Collateral Damage, by Stuart Woods

The Wrath of Angels, by John Connolly

The Third Bullet, by Stephen Hunter

Anything that strikes your fancy?  I don't know about you, but The Third Bullet by Stephen Hunter sort of piques my interest, and I think it'll do the same with those who are history buffs or enjoy a little conspiracy theory with their fiction.  Bob Lee Swagger,  legendary former Marine sniper, picks up just the trace of a hint about what happened on November 22, 1963, and it's enough to get him to dig into those events and start asking questions.  But the cloud of dust he raises is enough to send those with secrets into defense mode, and now Swagger's in the cross-hairs.  Looks like it will be a great read!