Sunday, March 13, 2005

New Book Roundup: January/February 2005

In my ongoing effort to keep in touch with what's being published, I read Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly and Library Journal for the first two months of 2005, which included a lot of Spring books coming out in April and May. Here are the highlights, at least as filtered through my reading taste. I may only get to read a few of these, but it's an interesting batch. (All books listed were well-reviewed unless otherwise noted.)


These are my personal first priorities:

Courtroom 302: A Year Behind the Scenes in an American Criminal Courthouse by Steve Bogira
A writer for the Chicago Reader spent a year in a Cook County Courthouse. Excellent reviews. I'm hoping it becomes a regional hit.

Bone (1-volume ed.) by Jeff Smith
A classic graphic novel that's being reissued.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
So what's with this author? Genuine talent? The first page was pretty addictive. I'll definitely be reading this at some point.

Saturday by Ian McEwan
I liked McEwan's Amsterdam, and I've been meaning to read more. This one sounds good.

A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin
I told myself I wouldn't read any Sherlock Holmes pastiches until I finished all of Doyle's original stories, but this story about Holmes in old age is getting strong reviews, much better reviews than Michael Chabon's recent similar effort. I might at least pick it up for later...


New Novels by Notable Authors

The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco, who also has a new art history book out, History of Beauty

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk
The only book I'm including that got consistently bad reviews, because Palahniuk is just cool.

More Notable New Fiction:

Rebels of Babylon by Owen Parry
A Civil War mystery thriller.

The Martian War: A Thrilling Eyewitness Account of the Recent Invasion as Reported by Mr. H. G. Wells by Gabriel Mesta
Yet another twist on the ever-growing genre of novels that reinvent classic novels.

Goodnight Steve McQueen by Louise Wener
Compared to Nick Hornby's books.

Snow White and Russian Red by Dorota Maslowska
A "Polish Trainspotting," apparently a big hit in Europa.

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
Mixed reviews.

Looped / Andrew Winston
Novel with a Chicago setting, but very mixed reviews.

War by Candlelight: Stories by Daniel Alarcon
Drool-worthy profile of the author in Publishers Weekly.

Last Night: Stories (not online yet) by James Salter

Controlled Burn: Stories of Prison, Crime, and Men by Scott Wolven

The Best of the Best: 20 Years of the Year's Best Science Fiction ed. Gardner Dozois

Notable Nonfiction

Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi
Satrapi follows up her Persepolis books.

A Short History of Progress by Ronald Wright
Jared Diamond's book Catastrophe is getting reviewed everywhere, but this similar book is getting possibly even better reviews.

The Botanist and the Vintner: How Wine Was Saved for the World by Christopher Campbell
If the movie Sideways got you curious about wine, this looks like the book for you.

The Guinness Book of Me: A Memoir of Record by Steven Church
Weird. Another book about a classic household reference book (after the recent The Know-it-All).

Break, Blow, Burn: Camille Paglia Reads Forty-Three of the World's Best Poems by Camile Paglia

The Singing Life of Birds: The Art and Science of Listening to Birdsong by Donald E. Kroodsma

The Power of Delight: A Lifetime in Literature: Essays 1962-2002 by John Bayley
Collected literary essays by Mr. Iris Murdoch.

Electric Universe: The Shocking True Story of Electricity by David Bodanis
I live for odd history topics like this.

The Scarith Of Scornello: A Tale of Renaissance Forgery by Ingrid D. Row
And weird stories from history like this.

The Unfolding of Language: An Evolutionary History of Mankind's Greatest Invention by Guy Deutscher

Perfect Soldiers: The Hijackers: Who They Were, why They Did It by Terry McDermott

1776 by David McCullough

Promises Betrayed: Waking Up from the American Dream by Bob Herbert
A new book by a very underrated New York Times columnist.

Japan 1945: A U. S. Marine's Photographs from Ground Zero by Joe O'Donnell

Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation by Jeff Chang
Getting excellent reviews.

Baghdad Burning: Girl Blog from Iraq by Riverbend
I noticed a real trend of books being published from popular blogs, esp. the personal diary kind.

Gay interest

The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde: An Intimate Biography by Neil McKenna
This new bio is getting praised AND panned (by various critics) because it focuses on the details of Wilde's sex life.

With or Without You by Lauren Sanders
Lambda Literary Award-winner's new pulpy novel, "a sendup of America's obsession with pop culture, B-list celebrities and prison life."

Nightcrawlers: A Nameless Detective Novel (Nameless Detective Mystery Series # 29) by Bill Pronzini
Detective in a long-running series learns his son's lover was gay-bashed.

Acqua Calda by Keith McDermott
"An impressive debut about an older gay actor facing mortality."

Misfortune by Wesley Stace
A rich, outrageous, Dickensian novel in the comic tradition of The Crimson Petal and the White about a boy raised as a girl in the richest home in 19th century England.



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