Thursday, July 23, 2009


Here's a great look ahead at the biggest Fall list in some time. Some BIG names and some BIG books are just around the corner (and a few are already out)--Richard Russo, Lorrie Moore, Margaret Atwood, Audrey Niffenegger, some guy named Dan Brown (never heard of him), Lethem, Chabon, Eggers. Yoi!

Get ready and start saving your dough.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

So behind...such guilt

I think I'm going to try to make a clean slate of it by doing a quick and dirty catch-up/cop-out:

What I Was by Meg Rosoff.

Starts promisingly but builds to a crescendo where I ended up saying, "You call this a crescendo? Bah!"

Outliers: The St
ory of Success by Malcolm Gladwell.
Typical Gladwell
and I mean that in the best possible ways. Equally thought-provoking and yet fascinatingly simple and that I mean in the best possible ways, too. I kept saying to myself, "Well, sure. If I had thought of it like that, of course this story would turn out this way." The trick is I don't think of it that way until Gladwell brings these examples to my attention and makes me think of it his way. Then it all flows out. From the reasons behind the best hockey players to rice paddy success, to learning that Gladwell is JamaiCanadian, Outliers is, like its subjects, a great, big, bestselling success.

It Feels So Good When I Stop by Joe Pernice.
I got to re
ad the uncorrected manuscript and think it shows a lot of promise. At the same time, I'm anxious to see what a good editor is going to do with some of the less polished spots. It comes out next month so I'll find out soon enough. Still, I'm intrigued and look forward to the finished book.

I'm Not Sidney Poitier by Percival Everett.
I had high hopes for this one but finished it and felt like it's all been done before and done better. NEXT!

The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry. This was terrific and clever and confusing and rewarding (mostly). Plus, it reminded me of Jasper Fforde and how many authors you can say that about? (Few, actually). Was this set in the future or the past? London or the States? Was this sci-fi or a mystery? Did it resolve itself or is it the starting point for more books in a series or at least a sequel? I don't know but I think this is one of the most novel novels I've read in years and I enjoyed it immensely. More please, Mr. Berry. And soon.

The Giant's House by Elizabeth McCracken

I loved Niagara Falls All Over Again and was haunted by the story of Rocky and Mose, so it's a surprise it took me this long to get back to McCracken's earlier novel. I'm sorry I waited but I'm so glad I read it.

Subtitled, "a romance", The Giant's House is most certainly a love story but it's also a story of family and finding a sense of place. Peggy Cort, the small town, Cape Cod librarian is an unusual narrator but one whose quirks and humanity are endearing. Our giant, James Carlson Sweatt, is growing and growing from the time we meet him as an eleven-year old until he can grow no more. McCracken shines in the telling of
how the two become linked with gentleness and grace, two qualities neither Peggy nor James would be identified by. Lovely, sad, sweet and moving.