Sunday, January 3, 2010

Groupie Post-I Muse Over Vroman's Blogger's Year in Books, Because it's Such a Good List

I must link to Patrick at Vroman's blog right now. His year-in-books roundup pieces have been something I've been looking forward to, if for no other reason than I read and liked four of his suggestions, and that made me think I should read some of the others. The links are not to the Boswell website, but to the piece on the Vroman's blog.

Await Your Reply, by Dan Chaon. Another take, another rec. Patrick claims that on a recent writers' survey, Await Your Reply showed up more than any novel of 2009. I'm glad to see that our yearend push on this book got it into lots of folks' hands who might just now be putting it on their best-of list.

Blame, by Michelle Huneven. Another book I loved this year--his posting has a spoiler alert. Also, a complaint about the publisher giving too much away. Honestly, nobody knows why they did this and I would love to hear her editor Sarah Crichton's point of view on this. I'm not criticizing her--after all, she acquired and edited the book (as well as Kathleen Dunn's seemingly favorite book of the year, David Finkel's The Good Soldiers. To hear her interview, follow the link and head to November 19th) I just want to know why they revealed the twist in such a straightforward way. It's like publishing a mystery and detailing whodunit. Oh, yes, that's called a thriller.

Don't Follow me, I'm Lost: A Memoir of Hampshire College in the Twilight of the 80's, by Richard Rushfield. One of the most eclectic people I went to high school with attended in the late 70's. I don't know how her memoir would have turned out. Let's put this in perspective--we were on the math team together, and she was the odd one out. The math team--yes, every subgroup has its pecking order, even the ones that are themselves at the bottom of the totem. We raised money for team jackets by selling bagels. That sounds like a post in itself, doesn't it?

The Great Perhaps, by Joe Meno. This was in the running for my three-book push at the end of the year, and I hoped that if it didn't hit mine, it would hit Sharon's. We actually had a respectable sale on this in cloth, and it was also the GLIBA (Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association) novel of the year. I'm looking forward to the paperback. I won't forget you, Joe!

How I Became a Famous Novelist, by Steve Hely. Both Jason and I read this, but couldn't seem to get its momentum going. I can't wait for paperback because it's a paperback original. It's very insidery, but I get the feeling a lot of our customers like insidery. Lanora read and liked it too--I wonder, I wonder how Next Chapter or Vroman's sold it. That's four bookseller recs right there--maybe it's worth checking out.

Last Night in Montreal, by Emily St. John Mandel. Debut novel of three confused characters, playing with language. Was this novel overlooked because it sounded too much like John Irving's? If I were a critic, I'd review them together!

Sag Harbor, by Colson Whitehead. I will someday read this book. I feel like I missed out.

My vow in 201o is to read more nonfiction.


Patrick said...

Thanks for the write-up, Daniel. I thought this was such a great year for books, especially by relative newcomers like Mandel and Hely and even Joe Meno (even though he's been around awhile). I feel privileged to sell their books.

Anonymous said...

I managed to sell 17 copies of How I Became a Famous Novelist off my staff rec shelf, but none in the past 6 weeks. I probably should put it back there!