Monday, October 4, 2010
What's on your radar this fall/winter? Here's a Top 10 list (in no particular order) of books on mine right now:
10. Skippy Dies — There have been positive review 'aplenty regarding this 600+ book, whose main character is actually killed off...in the title! I'm excited to learn how Irish author Paul Murray can keep us interested for so long, when we already know the ending. The novel is about the day-to-day lives of boys at a boarding school school in Dublin.
9. Nemesis— Philip Roth's new novel comes out tomorrow! ...and there was much rejoicing. It's a slim novel (much like his last few) about a polio outbreak in Newark in the mid-1940s. Sounds pretty typical Roth. And here's a rare interview with Roth in the LA Times.
8. Great House — Sadly, Nicole Krauss' follow-up (and sequel?) to her fantastic The History of Love has been pretty well pooped on by critics so far. Entertainment Weekly calls it "loftily conceived, ultimately confounding." Hey, Debbie Downer, shut it! I'm still excited about it...
The Instructions — I saw this shelf-bending, 1,000+ page McSweeny's-published book at B&N yesterday, and had to damn near knock myself out to resist the temptation of making a rather expensive impulse buy. The back cover blurb says Adam Levin's novel "combines the crackling voice of Philip Roth with the encyclopedic mind of David Foster Wallace." Maybe it's just marketing, but if that's even 12 percent true, I'm in! Need to start saving...
6. To The End Of The Land — Here we have the prototypical winter read. David Grossman's novel about a woman who wanders around Israel, hoping to avoid bad news, is dense and slow-moving, by most accounts. But if you read The New Yorker profile of Grossman, and were as fascinated by it as I was, then this novel is a must-read.
5. C — Tom McCarthy's Booker Prize-shortlisted novel establishes him as "a contemporary champion of the experimental novel and heir to the postmodern stylists of the late 20th century," according to the blurb. That's certainly intriguing, but even more so — and also amusing — is the fact that on the same day it was shortlisted for the Booker, Michiko Kakutani wrote sort of the book review equivalent of a yawn in the NY Times. Not sure about you, but a bad (or even indifferent) review from Kakutani is actually a plus in my book.
4. Fall of Giants — This is the ginormous first novel in a Ken Follett-penned trilogy traversing the 20th century. It's also another prime example of a target by the moronic whiners who feel it necessary to leave one-star reviews on a novel to protest its e-book pricing — a vast majority of the 136 one-star reviews on amazon are to cry about the $19.99 Kindle pricing. Nothing gets my blood boiling more than these idiots who denigrate what is probably a great novel (most reviewers who are actually reviewing the novel itself speak positively about it) because they're unwilling to shell out a few bucks to read it. Seriously, shut up.
You Lost Me There — How could you not be intrigued by a novel written by a fella named Rosecrans Baldwin?! But the concept is even more intriguing: A comedic, some say Tropper-esque, look at the unreliable memory of a neuroscientist and Alzheimer's researcher.
2. Room — A creative premise — a boy who's lived his entire life in a single room — combined with dozens of overwhelmingly positive reviews combined with some big-name blurbs (Audrey Niffenegger, Michael Cunningham) combined with a Booker Prize shortlisting all make Emma Donoghue's new novel extraordinarily intriguing.
1. Washington: A Life — Let's end with a big 'ol winter-reading biography. Ron Chernow, who several years ago brought us the brick of a biography of Alexander Hamilton, returns with an equally outsized look at George Washington's life. If you're not intrigued by George Washington, go back to Russia, comrade! ;)
Any of these stick out for you? Read any of them? What's on your list these days?
Posted by Greg Zimmerman at 2:33 PM