Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Coming Attractions: Books

I know this isn't a subject that draws raves from the readers of this blog, but I don't give a crap. Worm University is founded on words—mine, yours, books—and, as Head Cheese (ick), I intend to carry on the tradition whether or not anyone likes it.

Unfortunately, two of my favorite authors will not be publishing again this year: Charles Dickens and William Faulkner. (Linda K., tell me you love me.) Likewise, Khaled Hosseini, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Mahbod Seraji (just for kicks, say these names three times, really fast, with a half-chewed sour pickle in your mouth.)

Okay, now that you've cleaned the sour pickle off the wall, here are six of my favorites that have been announced.

Tabloid City by Pete Hamill
Little, Brown & Company
Hardcover, 288pp
ISBN-13: 9780316020756
Release date: May 5, 2011

Synopsis from Barnes & Noble:

In a stately West Village townhouse, a wealthy socialite and her secretary are murdered. In the 24 hours that follow, a flurry of activity circles around their shocking deaths: The head of one of the city's last tabloids stops the presses. A cop investigates the killing. A reporter chases the story. A disgraced hedge fund manager flees the country. An Iraq War vet seeks revenge. And an angry young extremist plots a major catastrophe.

The City is many things: a proving ground, a decadent playground, or a palimpsest of memories—a historic metropolis eclipsed by modern times.

To me, Pete is New York. But like his book Forever, this one may require some suspension of belief. For 288 pages, I'll take a chance. And isn't "palimpsest" a great word?

A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin
Random House Publishing Group
Hardcover, 1056pp
ISBN-13: 9780553801477
Release date: July 12, 2011

Here it is. Finally. Book 5 of the fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. Idiots like me have been waiting for this since Book 4, A Feast for Crows, was published in November, 2005. Martin has been messing with We the Idiots for nearly five-and-a-half years, announcing release dates and then reneging on them for another year or two.

Wandering Coyote and I have had some serious discussions about Martin's assholeness regarding his disregard for his loyal fans. But all will be forgiven when, on July 12 at 12:01 a.m., Dragons will be downloaded to my Nook and I will reacquaint myself with the cast of a thousand characters, storylines galore, and the best fantasy series since Tolkien. Unless, that is, Martin reneges again.

Needless to say (but I'm saying it anyways), before you can enjoy this book you must read the 4,000 or more words that came before it. To check out A Dance with Dragons, go to Barnes & Noble poop sheet.

The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina
Little, Brown & Company
Hardcover, 352pp
ISBN-13: 9780316069335
Release date: September 26, 2011

Synopsis from Barnes & Noble:

When a notorious millionaire banker hangs himself, his death attracts no sympathy. But the legacy of a lifetime of selfishness is widespread, and the carnage most acute among those he ought to be protecting: his family.

Meanwhile, in a wealthy suburb of Glasgow, a young woman is found savagely murdered. The community is stunned by what appears to be a vicious, random attack. When Detective Inspector Alex Morrow, heavily pregnant with twins, is called in to investigate, she soon discovers that a tangled web of lies lurks behind the murder. It's a web that will spiral through Alex's own home, the local community, and ultimately right back to a swinging rope, hundreds of miles away.

Denise Mina is, by far, my favorite Scottish mystery writer. A native Glaswegian who still lives there, Mina writes no-holds-barred stories that are gritty, profane, and (so far) feature female protagonists. This is her second DI Alex Morrow novel, which I believe can be read as a stand-alone; only her wonderful Garnethill trilogy needs to be read in order.

Feast Day of Fools by James Lee Burke
Simon & Schuster
Hardcover, 448pp
ISBN-13: 9781451643114
Release date: September 27, 2011

Synopsis from Library Journal on Barnes & Noble:

Burke visits southwest Texas with Sheriff Hackberry Holland, last seen in 2009's Rain Gods. When alcoholic ex-boxer Danny Boy begs to be locked up in the drunk tank, though he's clearly sober, Hack and his young deputy wring a confession from him: Danny Boy has witnessed a gruesome torture killing in the desert. Hack tracks the bad guys to the home of a (predictably) mysterious Chinese woman named Anton Ling, who's either in danger—or dangerous. Burke always delivers; consider multiples.

I must like JLB a lot because I have 27 books of his in my library—28 when Feast Day is released. Rain Gods was an excellent book featuring Hackberry Holland, progenitor of Billy Bob Holland's 4 novels, but where oh where is Dave Robicheaux and Clete Purcell? Were we right, Linda K.?

Whatever date Burke chooses as the Feast Day of Fools, I'm going to adopt it; I've needed my own Feast Day for a looong time. But never mind my foolishness; I think the title of the book is beautiful.

UK Cover
The Burning Soul by John Connolly
Atria Books
Hardcover, 352pp
ISBN-13: 9781439165270
Release date: September 6, 2011 (Oops, got my dates out of order.)

Synopsis from

Randall Haight has a secret: when he was a teenager, he and his friend killed a 14-year-old girl.

Randall did his time and built a new life in the small Maine town of Pastor's Bay, but somebody has discovered the truth about Randall. He is being tormented by anonymous messages, haunting reminders of his past crime, and he wants private detective Charlie Parker to make it stop.

But another 14-year-old girl has gone missing, this time from Pastor's Bay, and the missing girl's family has its own secrets to protect. Now Parker must unravel a web of deceit involving the police, the FBI, a doomed mobster named Tommy Morris, and Randall Haight himself.

Because Randall Haight is telling lies . . .

John is a very funny Irishman (I've met him twice) who lives in Dublin and writes very dark mysteries: This is number 10 in the Charlie Parker series. To look at John, he appears quite normal; his Parker series, however, is connected by a supernatural club of very sick and perverted dead perverts— similar to "The Gentlemen" of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame. John delivers the thrills and chills, but I found his last book, The Whisperers, lacking a bit in both.

I don't worry about John, though. He's Irish, so he's bound to hit paydirt in the darkness department.

11/22/63 by Stephen King
Hardcover, 960pp
ISBN-13: 9781451627282
Release date: November 8, 2011

Partial synopsis from

On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? Stephen King’s heart-stoppingly dramatic new novel is about a man who travels back in time to prevent the JFK assassination—a thousand page tour de force.

This is the iff-iest book of the bunch. Anyone worth his or her salt knows that you cannot go back in time and change history. I mean, it's just not allowed. Will this be a tour de force or a tour of force? I believe I'll wait for 10,000 maniac reviews before I invest my time in what my friend Tui calls a "thumper": the sound a 1,000 page book makes when you slam it closed.

A message to Wandering Coyote: I know you hate King so I just saved you a comment telling me you hate King. Depending on how this book turns out, it might be time for Steve to take a rest in a nice rest home.


Kid-at-heart said...

Charlie, I love you. Also, I love Pete Hamill and James Lee Burke. I hope you can live with the competition.

Kid-at-heart said...

Oh, and btw, on Burke's webpage there's a Q&A in which he claims (as recently as January) that he doesn't know himself whether we were "right" or not. He said, in part "Creation is really a matter of incremental discovery, a gradual discovery of what already exists. In life itself, as in literature, it’s a terrible vanity, a terrible assumption to make plans."

Wandering Coyote said...

I hate King.

Sorry, I couldn't resist!

Anyway, fucking Amazon Canada does not have ADWD available for pre-order yet, so I have no idea what they are waiting for. It's so annoying. You can order the audio book, but not the book book. I'm getting peeved.

The HBO series, BTW, is totally ridiculously AMAZING. I cannot say enough good things about it! I am about to watch episode 3. Thank God for downloading!

Bibliophilebythesea said...

I loved this post Charlie, and many of your favorite authors are my favorites as well. Tabloid City sounds awesome. Looking forward to that one. Hope u r having a great week.

Pat said...

I always find your reviews helpful but I have three books waiting to be read and one on order - two by bloggers - so shall resist temptation for the moment:)

Attila the Mom said...

Love me some Denise Mina! Can't wait!

hope said...

Thanks for sharing what I may be missing as I plod through my own reading list at present...not to mention the "listening" I do on the way home.

Yep, I think King has scrapped the bottom of the barrel on this one. As much mayhem as he writes about, he should KNOW you can't mess with the past without disturbing the future...and he does do DISTURBING things in his world. ;) I think I will see this one as a Tour de Farce and steer clear...thanks!

TechnoBabe . said...

James Lee Burke is in our top ten list of authors.

You have a pretty good list of upcoming reading in this post.

We have been reading about the upcoming Stephen King read. We always give what he writes a read and he hasn't let me down yet.

Charlie Callahan said...

You betcha I can live with the competition! All three of us were drunks together at different times, but at least when they sobered up they knew how to write.

Sorry about "Bill" not publishing any longer, may he R.I.P.

Charlie Callahan said...

I'm not certain I understand what he's saying, but I''ll check out his site and think about it.

To tell you the truth, it was the perfect ending . . .

Charlie Callahan said...

Am I to understand, then, that you dislike Steve King?

If worse comes to worst, I'll buy ADWD and send it aaaaall the way to Canada. We'll work out payment, like maybe Christmas cookies or something.

Now I gotta see the HBO series!

Charlie Callahan said...

I'm sorry, Diane, for ignoring you (like everyone else). Tabloid City downloaded to my Nook this a,m., but I GOTTA finish another book before I start it.

And thanks again for not being a book snob. Boy, there's a lot of them "out there."

Charlie Callahan said...

These aren't necessarily book recommendations, but rather books I'm looking forward to for the rest of the year. I surely understand being backed up on books waiting to be read—I have about eight right now.

Charlie Callahan said...

I didn't know you were a Mina fan, Mom. I thought you were into Nora R.

I take it you've read the Garnethill and Paddy Meehan trilogies.

Try Kate Atkinson: she's English but lives in Edinburgh, and she writes great mysteries with a ton of humor.

Charlie Callahan said...

I'm glad that JLB is one of your faves.

I too am a King fan, having missed a couple, but I'm merely mentioning
here that the story line of 11/23/63 seems a bit strange to me. But of
course, I'll read it. Or let you read it and tell me what you think.

Kid-at-heart said...

Can't let that pass, know how to write pretty damn good yourself.

Kid-at-heart said...

I thought so too, but the temptation to keep turning out books is probably pretty strong..

Wandering Coyote said...

Oh, is frequently behind the times so I'm sure it'll get up there eventually - like, you know, the day before it's released.

I just watched episode three of the HBO series and it was sooooooo goooooood.

Eryl Shields said...

I love book chat so looks like I made my sporadic drop by at exactly the right time. The only 'fantasy' I've ever read is Tolkien and I didn't love it. Actually, I did love the Hobbit but was only about twelve. I've just read King's On Writing and have to say, I'm now in love with him. Not read any of his fiction yet though. I've heard good things about Pete Hamill, but not read him either, do you have a recommendation for a first read?

I once started a blog called Palimpsest but didn't put anything on it. I think the greatness of the word rendered me verbally impotent.

Charlie Callahan said...

Be careful about listening in the car: Kid-at-heart was driving from Massachusetts to PA but almost ended up in NJ—she wasn't paying attention to her driving, U C.

Like I tell TechnoBabe below, the story line of King's upcoming book seems a bit strange to me, but I'll probably end up reading it anyway. Over the years, I've read so much good stuff by him.

Charlie Callahan said...

Whenever you sporadically drop by, Eryl, it's the right time for me. (I'm flirting.)

I didn't like Tolkien either, loved the Hobbit as an adult, and I still read parts of King's On Writing. I think his best writing was The Gunslinger, the slim first volume of his epic The Dark Tower series.

As far as Hamill goes I've enjoyed all of his books, but I suggest either Snow in August or North River.

And what, no Denise Mina? The Garnethill trilogy is so much more than amateur sleuthing—I just loved it, Scot dialect and slang included.

'Til next time, a happy palimpsest to you and yours.

Eryl Shields said...

Thanks Prof, my Kindle is going to be on fire with downloading tonight, Denise Mina and all, I know Garnethill.

Wandering Coyote said...

Squeeeeeeeeeee! I woke up this morning to an email from letting me know that ADWD is now available for pre-order! And I of course have pre-ordered it! Woo-hoooooo!!!!

Charlie Callahan said...

Squeeeeeeeeeee! you say?

Jerry@GentlySaid said...

I immediately focused in on James Lee Burke. I'm pretty sure I have read all of his books, and I'm looking forward to reading this one.

Robert tje Skeptic said...

Glad to see you are up and posting again.

barbara said...

How odd! I have been hearing the word palimpsest all over the place this weekend. Is this the newest it word that somebody forgot to send me a memo about?

M Witzl said...

I find out about so many good books on your blog, Charlie. We have similar tastes, so if you've recommended something, I'm positive I'll like it. And I second what Kid-at-heart says about your writing.

Tiffin said...

I don't know what made me come over here because I thought your blog was well and truly kaput but here you are, writing away about books with little sidebars of Irishness. I don't know if I could read any of these, Charlie...they look like they'd scare the tar out of me. Most of my reading is at bedtime these days because it's gardening season. If I read about murders, hangings and the like, I'd be sleeping with the light on and a hammer under the pillow. But so good to see you, Charlie!

Madame DeFarge said...

A fine bunch, reminds me I need to read proper books with proper words and everything.

lisleman said...

Hey thanks for the new word - palimpsest. A few more of those and I'll stop limping.

From the descriptions I would go for "The End of Wasp Season". I typically read non-fiction.

Charlie Callahan said...

If you read the last Robicheaux novel, The Glass Rainbow, I'd sure like to know what you thought of the ending. Big controversy, you know.

Charlie Callahan said...

We're a couple of tough young birds, Robert. It's gonna take more than hearts and lungs to take us out. Thanks for commenting.

Charlie Callahan said...

Consider this your memo.

Charlie Callahan said...

Thank you for the compliments, Mary, especially the second one: It means a lot to me, coming from a lingüista like you.

Charlie Callahan said...

Hiya, Tui, hiya, hiya! Neither my blog nor me are kaput yet, but I sure don't post like I use to.

You have nightmares because of books, and Martha because of horror movies. I make up my own nightmares.

A hammer under your pillow? You'd never have a chance to reach it before the monster got you.


Charlie Callahan said...

My dear Madame, an excellent idea. Comic books get so boring sometimes.

Charlie Callahan said...

Watching the old Don Knotts movie "Mr. Limpett" might also help with your limp.

Men read more non-fiction than fiction—I'm not one of them. I read perhaps two or three non-fiction books a year, usually biographies. The biography of Mr. Limpett is up next.

Belgie said...

I wanted to write you a
quick comment to express my thanks. I've been following your blog for a month
or so and have picked up a ton of good information as well as enjoyed the way
you've setup your blog. I am attempting to run my own blog but I think it's far
too general. I want to focus more on more specific topics. Being all things to
all people is not all that its cracked up to be. Many thanks.

Alice said...

Will be adding all these to my Goodreads to-read list, which gets longer faster than it gets shorter.  Since watching HBO's Game of Thrones, I was going to put Martin on there anyway. 

Charlie Callahan said...

The "To Read" lists NEVER get shorter, so it's no biggie adding a couple more. In 50 or so years, when you're a gray-headed redhead, you may get to read a few.

And I'm jellus of watching GoT on HBO. Guess I'll have to wait for the DVD set, like I did the Sopranos.