Best New Fiction is a monthly segment dedicated to highlighting the most interesting and noteworthy releases that will be published over the next thirty days.
It’s time again for another edition of 10 Book Related Things…This Week. Sometimes it’s really hard for us to even come up with 10 things, while other weeks we’re hacking and slashing the list to get it down to size. This week we had only 9 things and had to scramble to fill the last spot. Can you tell which one we added last minute? Take your best guess using the comment form below.
This week the longlist for the IMPAC Literary Award was unveiled, Kaylie Jones was honored for her work opposing censorship, poets decided to remove their names from consideration for a prestigious award, Amazon upped their sleaze factor when it comes to competition, and as always, more. Why are we wasting time recapping our recaps!? Read on below.
The Opinionless Virtual Book Club is meeting on May 31st to discuss our official May selection, Nicole Krauss’ “The History of Love.” If you want to join us, but haven’t had a chance to yet, don’t worry, there’s still time. You can become a member of the group via the GoodReads website by clicking here.
Nine titles have been nominated for June. Each of their descriptions are listed below. Voting begins today and we’ll announce the winner at the end of our May meeting.
A Discovery of Witches
A Novel by Deborah Harkness
2011 / 579 Pages
The Setup: Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.
Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism. (from GoodReads)
A Novel by David Mitchell
2004 / 509 Pages
The Setup: From David Mitchell, the Booker Prize nominee, award-winning writer and one of the featured authors in Granta’s “Best of Young British Novelists 2003” issue, comes his highly anticipated third novel, a work of mind-bending imagination and scope.
A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan’s California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified “dinery server” on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation — the narrators of Cloud Atlas hear each other’s echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changed in ways great and small.
In his captivating third novel, David Mitchell erases the boundaries of language, genre and time to offer a meditation on humanity’s dangerous will to power, and where it may lead us. (from GoodReads)
A Memoir by George W. Bush
2010 / 481 Pages
The Setup: Decision Points is the extraordinary memoir of America’s 43rd president. Shattering the conventions of political autobiography, George W. Bush offers a strikingly candid journey through the defining decisions of his life.
In gripping, never-before-heard detail, President Bush brings readers inside the Texas Governor’s Mansion on the night of the hotly contested 2000 election; aboard Air Force One on 9/11, in the hours after America’s most devastating attack since Pearl Harbor; at the head of the table in the Situation Room in the moments before launching the war in Iraq; and behind the Oval Office desk for his historic and controversial decisions on the financial crisis, Hurricane Katrina, Afghanistan, Iran, and other issues that have shaped the first decade of the 21st century. (from GoodReads)
Heaven is for Real
A Novel by Todd Burpo
2010 / 163 Pages
The Setup: Heaven is for Real is the true story of the four-year old son of a small town Nebraska pastor who during emergency surgery slips from consciousness and enters heaven. He survives and begins talking about being able to look down and see the doctor operating and his dad praying in the waiting room. The family didn’t know what to believe but soon the evidence was clear.
Colton said he met his miscarried sister, whom no one had told him about, and his great grandfather who died 30 years before Colton was born, then shared impossible-to-know details about each. He describes the horse that only Jesus could ride, about how “reaaally big” God and his chair are, and how the Holy Spirit “shoots down power” from heaven to help us.
Told by the father, but often in Colton’s own words, the disarmingly simple message is heaven is a real place, Jesus really loves children, and be ready, there is a coming last battle. (from GoodReads)
A Novel by Alexander Yates
2011 / 339 Pages
The Setup: Mourning the recent loss of his mother, twentysome thing Benicio—aka Benny—travels to Manila to reconnect with his estranged father, Howard. But when he arrives his father is nowhere to be found—leaving an irritated son to conclude that Howard has let him down for the umpteenth time. However, his father has actually been kidnapped by a meth-addled cabdriver, with grand plans to sell him to local terrorists as bait in the country’s never-ending power struggle between insurgents, separatists, and “demo cratic” muscle.
Benicio’s search for Howard reveals more about his father’s womanizing ways and suspicious business deals, reopening the old hurts that he’d hoped to mend. Interspersed with the son’s inquiry and the father’s calamitous life in captivity are the high-octane interconnecting narratives of Reynato Ocampo, the local celebrity-hero policeman charged with rescuing Howard; Ocampo’s ragtag team of wizardry-infused soldiers; and Monique, a novice officer at the American embassy whose family still feels feverishly unmoored in the Philippines. (from GoodReads)
A Novel by Kenn Bivins
2010 / 264 Pages
The Setup: Those who know Carpious Mightson would probably describe him as friendly, hard-working, and God-fearing. Little do his neighbors, co-workers, and girlfriend know that almost two decades ago, Carpious was serving a twenty-year sentence for murder.
When Ian Kaplan, a registered sex-offender who has some idea of Carpious’s past, moves into the community of Mechi Lane, the homeowners’ association ”volunteers” Carpious to compel Ian to put his house back on the market and leave. Carpious doesn’t want to turn down the request, but can he take the chance that Ian might start telling everyone about his past?
While Carpious struggles to maintain his idyllic life, his addict ex-wife resurfaces, attempting to extort money from him. Desperate, she threatens to expose his past to everyone if he doesn’t comply to her demands. (from GoodReads)
Stories I Only Tell My Friends
An Autobiography by Rob Lowe
2011 / 320 Pages
The Setup: A teen idol at fifteen, an international icon and founder of the Brat Pack at twenty, and one of Hollywood’s top stars to this day, Rob Lowe chronicles his experiences as a painfully misunderstood child actor in Ohio uprooted to the wild counterculture of mid-seventies Malibu, where he embarked on his unrelenting pursuit of a career in Hollywood.
The Outsiders placed Lowe at the birth of the modern youth movement in the entertainment industry. During his time on The West Wing, he witnessed the surreal nexus of show business and politics both on the set and in the actual White House. And in between are deft and humorous stories of the wild excesses that marked the eighties, leading to his quest for family and sobriety.
Never mean-spirited or salacious, Lowe delivers unexpected glimpses into his successes, disappointments, relationships, and one-of-a-kind encounters with people who shaped our world over the last twenty-five years. These stories are as entertaining as they are unforgettable. (from GoodReads)
Talking to Girls About Duran Duran
A Memoir by Rob Sheffield
2010 / 288 Pages
The Setup: The author of the national bestseller Love is a Mix Tape returns, with a different-but equally personal and equally universal- spin on music as memory. “No rock critic-living or dead, American or otherwise-has ever written about pop music with the evocative, hyperpoetic perfectitude of Rob Sheffield.” So said Chuck Klosterman about Love is a Mix Tape, Sheffield’s paean to a lost love via its soundtrack. Now, in Talking to Girls About Duran Duran, Sheffield shares the soundtrack to his eighties adolescence. When he turned 13 in 1920, Rob Sheffield had a lot to learn about women, love, music and himself, and in Talking to Girls About Duran Duran we get a glimpse into his transformation from pasty, geeky “hermit boy” into a young man with his first girlfriend, his first apartment, and a sense of the world. These were the years of MTV and John Hughes movies; the era of big dreams and bigger shoulder pads; and, like any all-American boy, this one was searching for true love and maybe a cooler haircut. It all here: Inept flirtations. Dumb crushes. Deplorable fashion choices. Members Only jackets. Girls, every last one of whom seems to be madly in love with the bassist of Duran Duran. Sheffield’s coming-of-age story is one that we all know, with a playlist that any child of the eighties or anyone who just loves music will sing along with. (from GoodReads)
A Memoir by Carrie Fisher
2008 / 176 Pages
The Setup: The apparently tipsy drinker on the cover of Carrie Fisher’s memoir sports Princess Leia’s tightly knotted “cinnamon bun” hairstyle. That shouldn’t surprise us: Fisher has acted in dozens of films and television shows, but her visage seems inextricably connected with her role as Leia in the Star Wars epic. In fact, the media-beleaguered actress once quipped that if she went senile, she would probably slip into her Jedi persona. Wishful Drinking doesn’t, however, dwell long on Skywalker lure; because of her drinking and drug problems, Fisher’s preoccupations have always been much more personal than interstellar. This memoir possesses the raw power and sharp edge of her fiction, especially her debut novel, Postcards from the Edge. (from GoodReads)
Current members, the polls are open! Everyone else, come join the club and let your voice be heard as well. Once again, you can find us by clicking here to visit the GoodReads website. Don’t have a GoodReads account? Don’t worry, they are easy to setup and totally free. If you run into any trouble registering or joining our group just leave a comment below and I’ll be glad to help you out.