December 26, 2009

2010 is Upon Us! Great, But What Will We Read?

Are you as excited about the coming year of reading as I am? It doesn't matter how many books already in publication I have yet to read, the promise of new stories told make me giddy with anticipation! Here are the books slated for the new year that I would love to have. So far, that is...


~The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson by Jerome Charyn, published by W.W. Norton & Co. An astonishing novel that removes Emily Dickinson’s own mysterious mask and reveals the passions and heartbreak of America’s greatest poet. What if the old maid of Amherst wasn’t an old maid at all? Her older brother, Austin, spoke of Emily as his “wild sister.” Jerome Charyn, continuing his exploration of American history through fiction, has written a startling novel about Emily Dickinson in her own voice, with all its characteristic modulations that he learned from her letters and poems. The poet dons a hundred veils, alternately playing wounded lover, penitent, and female devil. We meet the significant characters of her life, including her tempestuous sister-in-law, Susan Gilbert; her brooding father, Edward; and the Reverend Charles Wadsworth, who may have inspired some of her greatest letters and poems. Charyn has also invented characters, including an impoverished fellow student at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, who will betray her; and a handyman named Tom, who will obsess Emily throughout her life. Charyn has written an extraordinary adventure that will disturb and delight. 9 illustrations.

~Wench: A Novel by Dolen Perkins-Valdez, published by HarperCollins. This is startling and original fiction that raises provocative questions of power and freedom, love and dependence. An enchanting and unforgettable novel based on little-known fact, Wench combines the narrative allure of Cane River by Lalita Tademy and the moral complexities of Edward P. Jones’s The Known World as it tells the story of four black enslaved women in the years preceding the Civil War.

~Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier, published by Penguin Group. From the moment she's struck by lightning as a baby, it is clear that Mary Anning is marked for greatness. On the windswept, fossil-strewn beaches of the English coast, she learns that she has "the eye"-and finds what no one else can see. When Mary uncovers an unusual fossilized skeleton in the cliffs near her home, she sets the religious fathers on edge, the townspeople to vicious gossip, and the scientific world alight. In an arena dominated by men, however, Mary is barred from the academic community; as a young woman with unusual interests she is suspected of sinful behavior. Nature is a threat, throwing bitter, cold storms and landslips at her. And when she falls in love, it is with an impossible man. Luckily, Mary finds an unlikely champion in prickly Elizabeth Philpot, a recent exile from London, who also loves scouring the beaches. Their relationship strikes a delicate balance between fierce loyalty, mutual appreciation, and barely suppressed envy. Ultimately, in the struggle to be recognized in the wider world, Mary and Elizabeth discover that friendship is their greatest ally. Remarkable Creatures is a stunning novel of how one woman's gift transcends class and social prejudice to lead to some of the most important discoveries of the nineteenth century. Above all, is it a revealing portrait of the intricate and resilient nature of female friendship.

~Small Wars: A Novel by Sadie Jones, published by HarperCollins. Fresh off her triumphantly assured debut novel The Outcast, award-winning author Sadie Jones has again delivered a quiet masterpiece in Small Wars. Set on the colonial, war-torn island of Cyprus in 1956, Jones tells the story of a young solider, Hal Treherne, and the effects of this “small war” on him, his wife Clara, and their family. Reminiscent of classic tales of love and war such as The English Patient and Atonement, Jones’s gripping novel also calls to mind the master works of Virginia Woolf and their portrayal of the quiet desperation of a marriage in crisis. Small Wars is at once a deeply emotional, meticulously researched work of historical fiction and a profound meditation on war-time atrocities committed both on and off the battlefield.

~Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Camille Rose Garcia, Lewis Carroll, published by HarperCollins. This edition of Alice′s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, one of the most popular works of children′s literature of all time, follows in the track of a recent successful Collins Design title: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald, illustrated by Calef Brown and published in sync with the release of David Fincher′s film starring Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt. This new edition of Carroll′s cult classic, designed in a compelling package and priced affordably, will publish in sync with the release of one of 2010′s major Hollywood films. According to Variety, Tim Burton′s forthcoming movie is generating a lot of buzz as one of the year′s biggest. And it′s got an all-star cast to draw in audiences and position our book nicely in the market: Johnny Depp (Mad Hatter), Alan Rickman (Caterpillar), Helena Bonham-Carter (Red Queen), Anne Hathaway (White Queen), Michael Sheen (White Rabbit), Crispin Glover (Knave of Hearts) and Australian actress Mia Wasikoska (Alice). The style of Camille Rose Garcia′s work has a dark yet Disneyesque sensibility that strongly recalls Burton′s aesthetic, so book buyers and readers will both readily make that visual connection, which should help both buy-in and sell-through. Think Alice goes Goth, and you′ve got the magic of this special book.

~Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian, published by Crown Publishing Group. The morning after her baptism into the Rev. Stephen Drew’s Vermont Baptist church, Alice Hayward and her abusive husband are found dead in their home, an apparent murder-suicide. Stephen, the novel’s first narrator, is so racked with guilt over his failure to save Alice that he leaves town. Soon, he meets Heather Laurent, the author of a book about angels whose own parents’ marriage also ended in tragedy. Stephen’s deeply sympathetic narration is challenged by the next two narrators: deputy state attorney Catherine Benincasa, whose suspicions are aroused initially by Stephen’s abrupt departure (and then by questions about his relationship with Alice), and Heather, who distances herself from Stephen for similar reasons and risks the trip into her dark past by seeking out Katie, the Haywards’ now-orphaned 15-year-old daughter who puts into play the final pieces of the puzzle, setting things up for a touching twist. Fans of Bohjalian’s more exotic works will miss learning something new, but this is a masterfully human and compassionate tale.

~The Fifth Servant: A Novel by Kenneth Wishnia, published by HarperCollins. A brilliantly imagined, beautifully written combination of scrupulously researched historical novel and riveting suspense thriller, Kenneth Wishnia’s The Fifth Servant carries readers back to 16th century Prague in the shadow of the Papal Inquisition—and introduces a uniquely unforgettable protagonist, a young Talmudic scholar who has three days to solve a heinous murder before official reprisals decimate the city’s Jewish community. A richly atmospheric tale of religion, mystery, and intrigue, The Fifth Servant recreates life in the era when Emperor Rudolph II occupied the throne—a time of uncertainty and fear viewed through the eyes of an intrepid rabbinical student on a quest for truth and justice.


~Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead: The Frank Meeink Story by Frank Meeink and Judy M. Roy, published by Hawthorne Books. This is the story of Frank Meeink’s raw telling of his descent into America’s Nazi underground and his ultimate triumph over drugs and hatred. Frank’s violent childhood in South Philadelphia primed him to hate, while addiction made him easy prey for a small group of skinhead gang recruiters. By 16 he had become one of the most notorious skinhead gang leaders on the East Coast and by 18 he was doing hard time. Teamed up with African-American players in a prison football league, Frank learned to question his hatred, and after being paroled he defected from the white supremacy movement and began speaking on behalf of the Anti-Defamation League. A story of fighting the demons of hatred and addiction, Frank's downfall and ultimate redemption has the power to open hearts and change lives.

~The Only Thing Worth Dying For: How Eleven Green Berets Forged a New Afghanistan by Eric Belhm, published by HarperCollins. Eric Blehm, author of the award-winning The Last Season, is back with another true adventure story, The Only Thing Worth Dying For. Set in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, The Only Thing Worth Dying For chronicles the untold story of the team of Green Berets that conquered the Taliban and helped bring Hamid Karzai to power in Afghanistan. In the tradition of Black Hawk Down, The Only Thing Worth Dying For is, in the words of former Congressman Charlie Wilson (from Charlie Wilson’s War), “the one book you must read if you have any hope of understanding what our fine American soldiers are up against in Afghanistan.”

~This Book is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All by Marilyn Johnson, published by HarperCollins. In This Book is Overdue!,The Dead Beat, discovers offbeat and eloquent characters in the quietest corners. In defiance of doomsayers, Johnson finds librarians more vital and necessary than ever, as they fuse the tools of the digital age with love for the written word and the enduring values of truth, service to all, and free speech. This Book Is Overdue! is a romp through the ranks of information professionals who organize our messy world and offer old-fashioned human help through the maze.

~Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert, published by Penguin Group. A sequel to her bestselling memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, Gilbert’s new book is the story of how she and Felipe, the man she met and fell in love with at the end of Eat, Pray, Love, grapple and ultimately make peace with the notion of marriage, long after each of them has endured an ugly divorce and sworn off the institution.

I also discovered these good-looking 2010 reads over at
The Compulsive Reader:
~The Six Rules of Maybe by Deb Caletti, published by S&S
~Violet Eyes by Debbie Viguie, published by S&S
~Keep Sweet by Michele Green, published by S&S
~Mercury by Hope Larson, published by S&S

**And these are just the ones I didn't know about prior to searching around! Here are a couple more that I look forward to:

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World by Abigail Reynolds
Secrets of the Tudor Court: Between Two Queens by Kate Emerson
The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova
Tea with Hezbollah: Sitting at the Enemies Table, Our Journey Through the Middle East by Ted Dekker
Mr. Darcy's Great Escape: A Tale of the Darcys and the Bingleys by Altman
O' Juliet by Robin Maxwell
Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther by Ginger Garrett
Something About You by Julie James
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith (who brought us P&P and Zombies)
The Betrayal of the Blood Lily (Pink Carnation Series #6) by Lauren Willig
I Am Ozzy by Ozzy Osbourne

Are there books you are looking forward to reading in 2010? Any you have found that I missed that you think I'll enjoy? 'Tis the season for sharing, people! :)


  1. The Emily Dickenson looks good as does Secrets of Eden. I have sworn off all Jane Austen-inspired books, though. There are so many good ones. I'm waiting for a few sequels, especially the one to The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. I'll never get all the books read what I want because I will find new ones each week!

  2. I'm waiting for some sequels as well - the Alan Bradley one as well as the Pink Carnation #6. Did you see that not only do we get the Betrayal of the Blood Lily in early 2010 but there is a Christmas one scheduled as well? How exciting!

  3. You've come up with a great list! I would add the new Joshilyn Jackson book - I think it's called Backseat Saints.

  4. Many of these look very good. I have Bohjalian's new book on my tbr list in 2010. I've just finished Before You Know Kindness and I loved Double Bind so I'm hoping this one is good too. I may add The Fifth Servant, this is the first I've heard of it. I have The Swan Thieves on my list too, can't wait for that one to arrive. There really is no end to good books. Happy reading.

  5. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland illustrated by Camille Rose Garcia stopped me dead in my tracks. I love her work so that is a must buy for me!

  6. The Secret Life of Emily Dickensen sounds pretty freaking awesome. I might have to read that one. :)

    I'm really excited about Meghan Whalen Turner's next release. She only publishes books once in a while, so it's super-special when it happens. :)

  7. I've seen a few reviews for Alice I Have Been already and it looks awesome.

    Personally I'm waiting for Lord Sunday by Garth Nix, the final in his series, which is due in March.

  8. I'm also looking forward to Remarkable Creatures and Alice I Have Been. My reading goals for 2010 include hitting the classics hard and working my way through my tbr piles. But oh how those new books call to me!

  9. I'm also looking forward to Remarkable Creatures and Alice I Have Been. My reading goals for 2010 include hitting the classics hard and working my way through my tbr piles. But oh how those new books call to me!

  10. You have an amazing list, many that I am waiting on as well-Alice I have Been, The swan Thieves, Remarkable Creatures.

    I am most excited for The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. I have to wait until April for this one. She is an Australian author. She wrote The House at Riverton and The Forgotten Garden, both favorites of mine!
    Check her out.

    Take care,

  11. Wow! These look really amazing. I haven't read any of Chevalier's stuff since Girl with a Pearl Earring (could never get into anything else), but Remarkable Creatures is going high on my want list. I'm also very interested in The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson and Committed.

  12. My only goal for 2010 is to make sure my reading for the year is 90% from my TBR. Given the breadth and depth of my TBR, this shouldn't be difficult.

  13. Your enthusiasm is refreshing! Me, I'm just hoping to make my way through my current stack faster than I acquire new books.

  14. Thanks for picking my forthcoming book on your list and for spreading the word... You can check out the book trailer that HarperCollins put together on YouTube, or via the book's website at:

    Kind regards,

    Eric Blehm, Author
    The Only Thing Worth Dying For

  15. Merry Christmas! It looks like you have some fabulous reading ahead.

  16. So many good books on your list! I haven't even looked around to see what books are coming out in the new year but I have to say that Overdue book sounds so delightful!

  17. It looks like 2010 is going to be an outstanding reading year!!!

  18. Wow ... you found some really neat ones that I'm excited about now... too bad I resolved not to buy any books in 2010!!

  19. I am glad that you brought to my attention the Emily Dickinson book. That looks really interesting and I am looking forward to it.

  20. ooh, its too exciting, theres a new Elizabeth Kostova book coming! I loved, The Historian. And the sequel to Eat Pray Love, MUST get my hands on the two of those.
    Ah the joy of reading;-)

  21. Thank you for mentioning my forthcoming novel WENCH. I hope you like it!!


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