I love books, and I love lists, so when you can combine the two, even better. And sure, everyone’s got a “Best Books of 2010” list (except for Chris Flynn, who has compiled an ace round-up of the year’s best short stories) but what really gets me excited is lists about books NOT EVEN RELEASED YET. As a bookseller, there is nothing we love more then getting our hands on the hottest book that either
1) everybody wants (I actually hid the advance copy of Jonathan Franzen’s “Freedom” in my bag after I got it), or
2) nobody knows they want yet but yeah I read that a few months ago and it was pretty good but what you really should be reading is… You get the idea.
With the horrific death-screech of Christmas retail almost at an end, I’m starting to cast my eyes into the crystal ball of 2011 publishing, and thinking about the books that are going to excite me most. Here are some that have grabbed my interest in recent weeks.
An Uncertain Place
by Fred Vargas
During one of my numerous and ill-advised trips to a discount book store I stumbled across a crime book called Have Mercy On Us All
by some French dude. Read it, loved it, and discovered that the dude was a lady. Fred Vargas is the pseudonym of French author, historian and archaeologist Frédérique Audoin-Rouzeau, who has won the Crime Writers’ Association’s International Dagger a record three times, with the 2007 win coming for her astonishingly good book Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand
(just about my favourite crime novel ever).I don’t go out of my way to read crime, but the prospect of a new book featuring Vargas’s shambolic-yet-somehow-Zen detective Commissaire Adamsberg is too good to refuse. Plus, this one contains severed feet left in shoes, and Serbian vampire hunters. What more could you want?
The Pale King
by David Foster Wallace
What can I say about this except I will be killed by a marauding pack of hipsters if I get my hands on an advance copy of this. Literary Journal “nice guy” Ronnie Scott has already admitted to me that if he saw me with a copy of this book before its release date, he would “cut up my pretty face real good” and steal it (the book, not my face). For those of you who can’t wait a moment longer to get a taste, I would suggest you cut up the pretty face of anyone who owns the sold out 6th “Atlas Edition” of The Lifted Brow,
which contains within it an excerpt from The Pale King
. Or you could read this book
to get you good and ready for what promises to be THE international literary event of 2011.
Past the Shallowsby Favel Parrett
Favel is a dear friend of mine, but that is about to change. Her brilliant, brilliant book (which I have actually read, after hounding my Hachette rep over and over for an advance copy) is coming out at exactly the same time as mine, and I wish it weren’t, because I want May 2011 to be a literary wasteland, save for one book. Unfortunately for me, Past the Shallows is a haunting, lyrical story set in the unique coastline of Tasmania, teaching us of the boldness and fragility of growing up. If you like the writing of Tim Winton, you will love this book. And just look at this freaking gorgeous cover:
Part Two of my 2011 picks coming sooooon…..
But until then, what 2011 books are YOU looking forward to?