Wishin’ and Hopin’

19 Feb

I’ve been trying to be really diligent and conscientious about how much money I spend on new books and also how little space I have for those new books on my bookshelves. (I should really post a picture of my shelves here so when I talk about the epic number of books I own, you won’t think I’m exagerating, just for effect.)

Anyway, I’ve also been restricting myself lately because going to BEA ’10 means coming home with TONS of free Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs). Where am I going to put all of them?? Who knows, but I have a feel ANOTHER bookcase will need to be purchased. I have several of these and I love them. They take up such a small amout of wall space  but display hardcovers in particular really well. I’m already planning ahead for BEA ’10 but it appears I might need to make room before that.

For Valentine’s Day, my mom gave me a $200 gift card from Barnes & Noble. Which is amazing and awesome and everything that goes with it.

So what did I do? I went window shopping at www.bn.com and managed to come up with a list of books that I want to get. There are 31 books on that list, and almost all of them are hardcover. Needless to say, that’s way more than $200 worth. Part of me thinks that I should save it for when I need to buy schoolbooks in May for next semester (I think that’s kind of what my mom was hoping I would do too). But the other part? The part that loves to buy new books? Is DYING to spend the whole gift card RIGHT NOW! Thankfully most of the books I added to my wish list are future releases so I’m forced to temper that impulse.  The Millions released their list of the most anticipated books of 2010, and while it’s pretty great, it’s also full of books and authors I haven’t dipped into yet, and full of books that frankly are way too intellectual for me (hello, three Roberto Bolaño releases? I haven’t even cracked the spine of 2666 so I think I’ll hold off on the mass of posthumous publications for now.) Pretty much everyone is talking about Point Omega from Don DeLillo, but I got my first taste of DeLillo in college with White Noise, and I will never touch him again. Post-modernist literature is just not my cup of tea. But all that browsing did make me realize how many great books are coming out this year, and how many I missed or was late to the party on, in 2009.

Just as I did for Best of ’09, my list includes some that are just new to me and some that aren’t necessarily on anyone else’s more fancy schmancy lists. So here’s my Can’t-Wait-to-Read-in-2010 list:

Mockingjay (Hunger Games, #3)Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins — Release date: Aug. 24, 2010: This is first on my list for a reason. I blew through the first two books, The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, in this series so quickly that I felt a little bit empty inside when I didn’t have a conclusion to pick up. August is so long to wait for Collins’ follow-up, but I’m dying to know who Katniss ends up with (Team Gale!) and what happened to District 12. Beyond the hanging plot points, I’m looking forward to more of Katniss — her narrative voice is unique and strong, and her character is such a reflection of that voice. It’s rare to find a teenage female character that doesn’t fit a lot of the cliches we expect from YA literature.

The Wife's Tale: A Novel

The Wife’s Tale by Lori Lansens — Release date: Feb. 10, 2010: I read and love Lori Lansens’ The Girls which was published in 2005, and I’m excited for this story about a wife whose husband leaves her and the self-exploration she goes on, in her attempt to find and get him back. I’ve seen a few reviews of this, that have honestly been mixed, especially when she actually decides to jump on a plane to bring his ditching behind back. But knowing how much I liked the style and voices in The Girls, I’m willing to give this a shot at the very least. The premise sounds great, and honestly much more relatable than her story from conjoined twins.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot — Release date: Feb. 2, 2010: I’ve been hearing nothing but great things about this book. People are entranced and stunned by this non-fiction story about a woman whose cells are stolen from her — cells that were then used for some of the most significant health care advances ever in medicine. Booklist gave it a starred review with this: “Writing with a novelist’s artistry, a biologist’s expertise, and the zeal of an investigative reporter, Skloot tells a truly astonishing story of racism and poverty, science and conscience, spirituality and family driven by a galvanizing inquiry into the sanctity of the body and the very nature of the life force.” This might be the very first thing I buy with my gift card.

The Infinities

The Infinities by John Banville — Release date: Feb. 23, 2010: The literary gimmick of all literary gimmicks — telling the story through the eyes of the god Hermes — is at work here in the follow-up to the Booker prize-winner The Seas. Imaginative for sure, I’m looking forward to how well this gamble pays off for Banville. If nothing else, the gimmick makes me want to pick up this novel, which is more than I might’ve done if it were just another family melodrama. Seeing The Infinities on a lot of 2010 lists has also made me want to pick up The Seas. Banville was writing crime fiction under the psyuedonym Benjamin Black, and while I own Christine Falls, I haven’t read it yet, so I’m curious to read Banville as Banville before I read him trying to do something out of his genre.

Union Atlantic

Union Atlantic  by Adam Haslett — Release date: Jan. 19, 2010: Obviously I’m big on first lines, and this one has a doozy: “Their second night in port at Bahrain someone on the admiral’s staff decided the crew of the Vincennes deserved at least a free pack of cigarettes each.” Haslett is getting a lot of attention for this book that’s so relavant to the current financial crisis that American Banker is covering its release. This is Haslett’s first novel, after he won acclaim for his collection of short stories You Are Not a Stranger Here which also was a National Book Award finalist, and it’s interesting that he’s attempted the Great American Novel about so immediate a subject. But very smart people are point to Union Atlantic as the defining story of “right now.”

Here are a few more that are on my list for 2010 (click on the cover for a link to their descriptions on Goodreads):

Blame: A Novel A Common Pornography: A Memoir (P.S.) The Male Brain Stitches: A Memoir  So Much for That Never Tell Our Business to Strangers: A Memoir Once A Spy: A Novel 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction Blooms of Darkness: A Novel Next: A Novel The Postmistress Every Last One: A Novel Beatrice and Virgil: A Novel I Curse the River of Time: A Novel Solar An American Type: A Novel Private Life The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had To (Vintage Contemporaries) The Girl Who Fell From the Sky The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag (The BuckShaw Chronicles, #2) The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1)  What I Thought I Knew: A Memoir The Swan Thieves The Man from Beijing Scarlett Fever

The list (since I like bulleted lists):

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7 Responses to “Wishin’ and Hopin’”

  1. Greg Z February 19, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

    Helluva list. Just added several of these to my own wishlist – including Union Atlantic which sounds real good! And I actually just picked up “36 Arguments…” today. Looks like it may take a fair amount of cerebralalitiness…

    • Rachel February 22, 2010 at 10:09 am #

      I could probably do with a bit of cerebralitiness with books like Scarlett Fever and Mockingjay on the list to offset them.

  2. Barbara On the Bookcase March 1, 2010 at 5:23 pm #

    great wish list! so similar to mine. I’ve read The Postmistress last month and just started Beatrice and Virgil. can’t wait for Solar.

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