I'm pretty excited about what lies ahead for us bookies in 2010. A few of my favorite authors are publishing this year. Rarely are there that many pre-published books on my wish list, but this year appears to be the start of interesting times.
My friend (and fellow book lover) Carole and I started out the year with one of our favorite authors in hand: Jasper Fforde published his latest novel, Shades of Grey, in late December 2009. I'm taking my time reading this one, and not just because it's complex and intricate. It's also original and humorous. I can't wait to visit the author as he reads/signs at Politics and Prose January 16. (Carole's schedule may necessitate an emergency trip to the UK for a signing, or at least New York.) Fforde's Web site is a marvelous thing to behold and visit repeatedly, not only because he's as clever on the Web as he is on the page, but because there always is something different to experience.
Elizabeth Kostova's second novel, The Swan Thieves, is scheduled to hit the shelves January 12. Modern psychology, French Impressionism and women are at the heart of this book. I won't read much more lest it spoil surprises (and many book jackets and reviews are guilty of just that). Let me tell you how silly I was about her first book, The Historian: I read a small blurb about it in the The New Yorker and decided I wanted to read it. I called My Borders and asked if they had it on the shelves, and the amused bookseller paused only slightly before saying, "Uh, yeah." "Should I ask you to set aside a copy for me?" I asked, and he replied, again with only a moment's hesitation, "No, I think there will be copies when you get here." What can I say: it was summer, I wasn't paying attention to what was the hottest novel of the summer. And it confirmed my suspicion that The New Yorker was the best magazine on the planet. (Don't tell People.)
Professor Dunworthy returns to the page, thanks to Connie Willis and Blackout, due February 2. I first encountered her work in a short story collection devoted to time travel, and a fellow book geek on the Web recommended Doomsday Book. Then there was To Say Nothing of the Dog: identical and similar characters in slightly different circumstances (with great indebtedness to Jerome K. Jerome). I started reading Lincoln's Dreams, only to have to return it to the library (which promptly lost it, but that's another story altogether).
Horns is the long-awaited novel by horror fiction writer Joe Hill to be released February 16. David and I had to read Heart-Shaped Box together because it was too scary for me to read alone. We both loved it. In his new novel, Hill will examine how a man with horns approaches a murder investigation.
Seth Grahame-Smith is following up Pride and Prejudice and Zombies with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, set for release March 2. Those who will be in the D.C. area on March 9 can catch Grahame-Smith with Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters author Ben H. Winters at the Smithsonian, according to Quirk Press (pending confirmation from the Smithsonian).
Speaking of Elizabeth Bennett and martial arts, look for the PPZ prequel by Steve Hockensmith: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls. It is expected to shuffle to the shelves on March 30.
Dresden Files author Jim Butcher's newest installment, Changes, is personal — and will be released April 6. I love the premises of his series, and I hope to actually dive into one of his books soon.
Sara Gruen's newest release, Ape House: A Novel, is scheduled to hit the shelves September 21. I know she's more than Water for Elephants, but few books are so powerful that they remain with me for so long as that one did.
The renown Philip Roth has a novel scheduled for release in 2010: Nemesis, about how polio affects a small community in 1944 in Newark.
We'll discuss other scheduled releases and book tours as the year progresses. And remember: these dates are in the future, which means they're subject to change. Do not purchase a ticket to travel to East Carmine for a book signing without confirmation from the publisher or bookstore. And support Wikipedia, a great source of information!