Coming Up: 2011 and early 2012

The Millions has an excellent write-up of 66 of the most interesting titles coming between this July and April 2012. While most book groups prefer to wait for the possibility of paperbacks, these are titles worth putting on your radar and tracking in the upcoming year. Many of the titles have connections to past works or to concepts would be interesting for groups to explore.

I’m curious about Lev Grossman’s The Magician King, a sequel to The Magicians, which is in paperback and would make an excellent pick for groups willing to take a look at a literary fantasy. Curiosity is high about George R. R. Martin’s fantasy series now, and the publication of the fifth book, A Dance with Dragons, would be a good occasion to read the first book in A Song of Ice and Fire,  A Game of Thrones, or to debate the merits of the HBO series adaptation. One of our great short story writers, Steven Millhauser, has We Others: New and Selected Stories coming, and book groups might choose its publication as a chance to review his oeuvre of stories and short novels . Christopher Hitchens’ essay collection, Arguably: Essays, would make a great book group companion read for his memoir Hitch-22, which is out in paperback now. The Library of America will issue Philip Roth’s American Trilogy in omnibus, and a meeting about American Pastoral, I Married a Communist, and The Human Stain sounds like a fine discussion to me.

Arvind Adiga’s new Last Man in Tower would make a fine companion for his Booker Prize-winning The White Tiger, which is now out in paper. Or discuss the work of Philip Hensher, whose publication of King of the Badgers invites a look at his award winning 2008 novel, The Northern Clemency. William Kennedy is publishing his first novel in a decade, Chango’s Beads and Two-Tone Shoes, but you can use it as an excuse to explore his magnificent Albany Cycle. Jeffrey Eugenides’ first novel in nine years, The Marriage Plot might send book groups looking back at Middlesex or The Virgin Suicides. Michael Lewis’s Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World takes a look at the effects of economic collapse on several European economies and would make a fine companion read for The Big Short which chronicled the greed that led to America’s ongoing problems. Jose Saramago’s last novel Cain should encourage book groups to explore the career of the deceased Portuguese master.

These are just a few of the titles worth your notice in this exciting preview. Give it a look!



About the Author:

Neil Hollands is an Adult Services Librarian at Williamsburg Regional Library in Virginia, where he specializes in readers’ advisory and collection development. He is the author of Read On . . . Fantasy Fiction (2007) and Fellowship in a Ring: a Guide for Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Groups (2009).

1 Comment on "Coming Up: 2011 and early 2012"

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  1.' Fane says:

    George R.R. Martin makes a huge breakthrough with this well written, immediately engrossing, and incredibly intricate tale that keeps you hooked all the way through. Martin steps out on a limb as he writes a fantasy novel whose “good” characters are not invincible and sometimes bad things can and do happen. Most fantasy I’ve read involves the main characters in impossible situations that resolve themselves by dumb luck or the characters own super-human abilities. Martin goes above and beyond and writes a story that allows for inexperience in a characters fighting ability, both on the battle field and in the political arena. The protagonist does not always make the right decisions, and the good guy doesn’t always win.

    The lines between good and evil are blurred as Martin uses his impressive command of characters to present situations from different points of view. “Good” isn’t always good, and “Evil” isn’t always evil. Characters are given diverse personalities and therefore open up the possibility of role-reversal. It’s like these are real people making real decisions, and as in life, anything is possible.

    If your looking for a story that follows a one-dimensional track and is easily predictable, this is not the story for you. On the other hand, if you want a mature story that is filled with intricate characters and engrossing story lines that leave you guessing and begging for more, you’ve come to the right place. Hats off to this incredible author and the story that he has created.

    Have a nice day,
    Fane @

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