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More 2008 books I want to read

May 30, 2008
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In yet more evidence of how much of a procrastinator I am, I started this list in April. Anyway, I kept all the books that made my original list here, even if they’ve since been published (Dororo) or I’ve received an ARC of the book.

Categorized again, but not in alphabetical order. And I’m including adult books this time.

MUST READS
No Choirboy: Murder, Violence, and Teenagers on Death Row by Susan Kuklin – first, there’s the title. Then there was what Susan Kuklin wrote about it in her first newsletter, which does not seem to be completely archived on her website. I can’t remember exactly what she said, but it made me want to read the book even more. Here’s what she says about the book on her website: “My new book, No Choirboy, takes you into America’s prisons and allows inmates sentenced to death as teenagers to speak for themselves. In their own voices – raw and uncensored – they talk about their lives in prison and share their thoughts and feelings about how they ended up there.”

Out of the Pocket by Bill Konigsberg – gay high school quarterback. ‘Nuff said. Wait, I do have one more thing to say: I really, really hope it turns out along the lines of what happened to Corey Johnson, but I’ll still read it even if it doesn’t.

The American by Justin Allen – because of this description in the Penguin Young Readers Group Fall 2008 catalog:

The American tells the story of Yen Tzu-lu, a child of immigrants unwillingly pressed into service beside a gang of roughnecks, bent on stealing a gold mine from a shadowy villain deep in the western wilderness. Along for the ride are Jack Straw, a famed gunslinger and mystic, Henry Jesus, a former Union soldier and freed slave turned buffalo hunter, Chino, a Mexican outlaw from California whose very country was yanked out from under him, John MacLemore, a Confederate ex-patriot gone west, and his daughter, a true wild child of the western frontier. They must cross the continent: through desert and plains, canyon and forest, Union soldiers and vicious Indians, wild animals and deadly storms. If they make it, they’ll be rich. If they don’t, they’ll almost surely be dead.

And some adult books (warning: excessive use of exclamation marks ahead)
The Fire by Katherine Neville!!!!! – it’s been, what, over ten years since her last book was published? Plus, it’s the sequel to The Eight!!!! Finally!!! Because I love that book! And Neville’s other two books, too, even if they weren’t as good.

Bone by Bone by Carol O’Connell!!!!! – it’s not a Mallory book, which disappointed me for a couple of seconds, because Find Me was excellent (and, wow, all that info about Mallory’s parents!). Then I remembered that the only other standalone O’Connell has written is the awesome Judas Child, which I absolutely love. And, holy cow, does this book sound good! Oren’s brother was murdered twenty years ago. The murder was never solved, and now Josh’s body is being returned…one bone at a time, left at the family’s door.

Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain – with Archie! and Gretchen! Because Heartsick was so, so good.

Curse of the Pogo Stick by Colin Cotterill – no exclamations here, even though I am looking forward to this book. Mostly I’m listing it because Cotterill’s Dr. Siri Paiboun series is fabulous and more people should be reading it. Like, NOW. Septuagenarian doctor in 1970s Laos, pressed into service as the national coroner, and a shaman to boot.

I LOVE THAT SONG!
Dishes by Pulp Rich Wallace

Stolen Car by Beth Orton Patrick Jones

REPRINTS
The Secret Circle by L.J. Smith – I mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again. Plus, she’s working on a 5th Vampire Diaries book! Oh, what the hell? !!!!!

SPORTS BOOKS
Box Out by John Coy – because I really liked Crackback. And I think the subject of sports and religion, in this case about a basketball player who objects to the team prayers mandated by his coach, is very timely. (I wrote this comment a couple of weeks ago, and look what just hit the news.)

FANTASY
Impossible
by Nancy Werlin – I think I’d read it even if the plot didn’t sound great just because of the suspense/fantasy/romance blend.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore – a girl who can kill people with her bare hands? Yeah, I’ve got to read this.

IN TRANSLATION
Tiger Moon by Antonia Michaelis – I read about it in this PW Children’s Bookshelf, where it was described as “a fairy-tale-like romance, set in colonial India, in which a young thief and his sidekick, a white tiger with a phobia of water, must rescue a princess from marriage to a demon king.” I admit that the tiger part makes me a bit wary, but the rest has me intrigued.

The Poison Ape by Arimasa Osawa – adult mystery. I thought this was supposed to be published in August? In any case, this is the second book in the Detective Samejima series (the first book is Shinjuku Shark). I thought we got way too much of Samejima’s backstory too early in Shinjuku Shark (like, we learned more about Samejima in the first couple of chapters than we’ve learned about Mallory’s entire life in nine books by Carol O’Connell. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but not by much), but it must have worked because flawed as I found the book, it got me hooked enough to want to read The Poison Ape.

MANGA/GRAPHIC NOVELS
Gimmick by Youzaburou Kanari and Kuroko Yabuguchi – even if I’m no otaku, I like manga. Largely because they have the kind of plots and/or characters that you never see in Western fiction. Like Hikkatsu! (which also has the great subtitle of Strike a blow to vivify), about a guy who decides to make the world a better place by perfecting a karate chop that will repair things. And he meets a girl who goes around with a pigeon her head. I repeat, a pigeon on her head. Anyway, Gimmick is about a makeup/special effects expert helping others with his talents, by the author of The Kindaichi Case Files, which is, let’s see, one of only four manga series that I’ve managed to keep reading into double-digit volumes.

Sugar Princess: Skating to Win by Hisaya Nakajo – figure skating!

Dororo by Osamu Tezuka – I’ve never read Tezuka before, and this sounds a lot more appealing to me than his other manga that are currently available in English. Demons? 48 of them? Who need to be defeated for a boy to get all of his body parts back? I’m there. Check out the free preview on the Vertical site.

SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS
Revealers by Amanda Marrone – I liked Marrone’s Uninvited, and this one’s about witches.

Sleepless by Terri Clark – another book about a girl with paranormal dreaming ability.

OTHER
Love is Hellum, did you see the authors involved? Even if Prom Nights from Hell (albeit with a different set of authors) was more miss than hit.

Getting the Girl: A Guide to Private Investigation, Surveillance, and Cookery by Susan JubyI adored Juby’s last book, Another Kind of Cowboy. Also, I like the title. Well, subtitle, actually. And, yes, I really am that shallow.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. May 31, 2008 8:59 am

    Thank you for the news about the Katherine Neville book FINALLY having a publication date. I love The Eight – I’ve read it twice, and given it to friends. I also adore the Carol O’Connell series, so that one is excellent news, too. Judas Child is a book that I still think about occasionally … it was fascinating and surprising.

  2. May 31, 2008 2:16 pm

    Originally I wasn’t going to include adult books on this list. Then I looked up Katherine Neville on Amazon just to see if anything new was listed (I remembered reading about the deal at Sarah Weinman’s blog, which indicated a 2008 pub date), and there it was. Then I had to include adult books, since I’m so excited about this and the Carol O’Connell book.

  3. June 3, 2008 1:04 pm

    Both of those are going on my posted wish list, too, Trisha! I’ve actually had feedback from readers that they want to hear about upcoming adult titles that I’m interested in, in addition to the children’s/YA titles. And certainly you listing these two was of interest to ME. Hope you enjoy them both!

  4. Justin permalink
    July 7, 2008 6:19 am

    Dear Trisha,

    I just discovered your inclusion of The American in must reads for 2008. I am honored that you thought so much of the description, and hope you will like the book as much when you get it. Thanks so much for being the first person (other than maybe my Mom) to give me a mention for this book. It is a great surprise.

    By the way, as an expert, what did you think of the cover art? I assume that was in the catalog?

    Thanks a heap.

    Justin Allen

  5. July 7, 2008 10:07 pm

    Justin – Yes, it is. Unfortunately, I only have access to the catalog in PDF, which has low-res images, so I can make out horses, buildings, the title, and your name, but that’s about it. So my impression is that the cover is not bad, but not particularly eye-catching, either. And it’s dark. Really, it’s the description that caught my attention, the fact that it sounds like the main character is Chinese.

    And am I really the first person to mention it?

  6. July 9, 2008 5:07 am

    Hi Trisha,

    Yes, so far as I know, you are the very first to make any mention of The American. And yes, the main character is Chinese. Actually Chinese-American, I suppose.

    Thanks for your input on the cover. I agree about its being dark, but wanted a trained, and unbiased eye. Since you seemed naturally inclined toward the book, I thought you might be just the person for the job.

    Thanks so much. If you wouldn’t mind, I might as you some other questions sometime. I would gladly repay the favor any way I could.

    Justin

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