Sunday, May 03, 2009

An Eight-Book Week - Followed by a Seven-Book Week!

I knew they were coming but the sight of seven more new books arriving in the mail this week filled me with a combination of anxiety and glee. I can't remember ever receiving so many promising books in such a short period of time.

This week I welcomed:
The Turnaround by George Pelecanos - Pelecanos is one of the finest writers of urban crime fiction and this 2008 novel (now in trade paperback) got nice critical reviews last year. Pelecanos is described as a "literary crime writer," and this is the story of some naive young people who stray into the wrong Washington D.C. neighborhood with tragic results. Their story, covering several decades, is one I am really anxious to start.

In the Land of Cotton by Martha A. Taylor - This is a look at life in the Deep South just as the Civil Rights Movement is beginning to pick up steam. It is one little girl's story but I'm curious to see how closely it parallels my own memories of what life was like in the South during the late 1950s.

The Last Child by John Hart - I really enjoyed Hart's Down River and I've recently picked up a free e-book version of his first novel, The King of Lies, from his publisher. This one will be released on May 12 with a first printing of 175,000 copies and lots of high hopes. It is about a 13-year-old boy who decides to search, on his own, for his twin sister who has disappeared.

Border Songs by Jim Lynch - This one promises to be quite a character-driven novel about an American Border Patrol officer working the Canadian border. The publisher, Alfred A. Knoph, seems to be particularly excited about this title, so I'm being tempted to jump right in. Just picking it up long enough to write this bit has, in fact, made me even more anxious to get to it.

The Winter Vault by Anne Michaels - My quest for Canadian fiction drew me to this one. It is the story of a Canadian couple, archeologists, who go to Egypt to help save as much of ancient Egypt as they can before engineers flood the area via the new Aswan Dam. Tragedy (of some sort) strikes and they return to Canada as much different people than they were before.

Annie's Ghosts by Steve Luxenberg - This is the true story of Beth Luxenberg, believed to be an only child by everyone who knows her, including her own son, who when she is 80-years old suddenly speaks of having had a disabled sister. Her son, both shocked and intrigued by his mother's late revelation, decides to find out the truth of his missing aunt.

The Last Paradise by Michael Kasenow - I couldn't pass up the chance to read this one since it is a novel about the great hurricane that wiped out Galveston, Texas in 1900. I've lived most of my life within 75 miles in one direction or another from Galveston and have always been intrigued by the storm that killed at least 5,000 people and almost wiped the island clean. I've been especially interested in what happened in 1900 since Hurricane Ike came through and smashed Galveston last year. I started reading this one today.

So there you have it, fifteen books received in a two-week period, and I don't smell a clunker among them. Excuse me while I find a comfortable spot to read...


  1. Ahhh.... one lone Canadian in the mix.
    I am interested in hearing what you think of Anne Michaels.
    I love Canadian fiction.
    Have not read her.

  2. some of the bookworms throughout history in A Gentle Madness had to sneak books in the back way, through a window or when their wives weren't looking so they wouldn't catch, well you know. Do you have that problem? Is your wife a 'worm, too? Or just resigned to your bibliomania?

  3. Cip, I'm always on the lookout for Canadian lit - it's just hard to spot it sometimes because I don't know the authors. One of the other books takes place, at least in part, in Canada, too...

  4. My wife is a reader, Suzi, but not at nearly the pace that I keep. She reads two or three books a month and has a list of favorite authors from which she doesn't stray too far. But, after 39 years of marriage, she's come to tolerate my own addiction and just shakes her head as she hands me the latest package that hits the front door. I guess a person can get used to anything. :-)

  5. I was just getting ready to pick my next read and, after seeing your latest Amazon delivery, I decided to go with my copy of Pelecanos' The Turnaround. I've read most of his "Nick" series and have really enjoyed his other books as well.

  6. I'm curious to see what you think of the Pelecanos book. I almost started it yesterday but decided to go with another in my stack instead - one that I've had longer. But I'm definitely looking forward to reading it soon.