Thursday, July 19, 2007

The 2007 List: New (or Newish) Fiction

Fiction recommendations published more recently (in the past few years):

Boomsday Christopher Buckley -- "If you liked the satire 'Thank you for Smoking,' you’ll like Boomsday, about a 29-year old blogger who turns the Washington political establishment on its end by suggesting 'voluntary transistioning' (aka suicide) for Baby Boomers to solve the nation’s looming fiscal crisis."

Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje, author of The English Patient. “It’s beautifully written, very vivid. Sometimes dark but I have enjoyed it.” The Washington Post reviewed this. See here.

The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian. This book is pretty flawed (see "old favorites for a review of Midwives by Bohjalian, which is way better). You could wind up annoyed at forking over the cost of hardback, rather than waiting for paperback. That said, it is a pretty psychological thriller, and I read it in a matter of days.

Esperanza Rising and Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Munoz Ryan. "Two great, 'pre-teen,' page-turners for the young at heart!" (Only one of these qualifies as new fiction, but they were reviewed as one).

Gravedigger’s Daughter by Joyce Carol Oates. One of you had it on deck, and it was reviewed in the Washington Post (here). Reminds me that I also recently read "The Falls," by Oates. She's a good storyteller, and this was no exception.

I'm Not Scared by Niccolo Ammaniti. This thriller is a quick read and very engaging. Sparely written. (It's translated from Italian -- it was evidently an enormous hit in Italy. They made a movie out of it.)

The Inheritance of Loss- by Kiran Desai. “A beautifully written story. Takes place in US and India.”
The Memory Keepers Daughter by Kim Edwards. I had to look back at the old lists, thinking this must have appeared before, but it apparently hadn't. I know many of you have read and enjoyed this book.

Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife: Pride and Prejudice Continues by Linda Berdoll. "I haven’t read it yet, but everyone in my book club was talking about by it. For those who enjoy Pride and Prejudice. Supposed to be very racy, so a nice summer read."

On Chesil Beach by Ian McKewan -- "I have not read it, but I love everything he writes so I am going on faith." … "Beautiful prose as you would expect from him. Short quick read." FYI, Jonathan Yardley reviewed this book in Washington Post. Click here for that review.
Popco by Scarlett Thomas. Borrowed from an Amazon reader review: "If you want a fast-paced action adventure story with lots of movement and dialogue, this isn't it. Instead, this story explores fascinating topics well and with depth, while keeping several mysteries humming along. Cryptology, the hierarchies of teen girls, marketing, virtual worlds, math, religion..." I haven't read it, but the cover is appealing!

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I'm kind of surprised this never made the list before -- at least I don’t think it did. It's REALLY engaging and fun. Has a slight DaVinci code thing going on, although I almost hate to say that since it makes it sound like a Davinci Code knock-off, which it's not. A couple of you mentioned it. I loved it.

Shantaram. "It's awesome. I'm 700 pages into it (it's about 1000 pages) Good story, thought provoking and fascinating. My husband's reading it too and loving it."

Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. Several of you recommended this book. "GREAT summer READ!! Loved it! Beautiful tale of two women in China...hard to put down, easy read." Someone also mentioned enjoying the new novel Peony in Love by the same author.

Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier (Cold Mountain). “I am enjoying it. While it's got a good love story, would not call it a chick lit by any means.”

Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich. "The latest in the adventures of Stephanie Plum, lingerie buyer turned bounty hunter. A hoot."

Water for Elephants: A Novel by Sara Gruen. "The tale of an old man reflecting on his life, including the time he joined the circus during the Depression. Excellent writing." … "Great book and fun summer read!" … "Borrowed review: I really have no right to proclaim that one day this book will be a classic, but I am going to stick my neck out. What a powerful read. This book puts you into circus life in the Depression, shakes you until you are groggy and then wakes you up to find that you can't stop thinking about the story.”

Wild Fire Nelson Demille --- "Not his best effort. U.S. businessmen conspire to launch a nuclear attack of the Middle East." (See the Old Favorites section below for more titles by Nelson Demille … the quintessential beach book author.)

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