As a bookseller I live in a constant state of anticipation. I'm always excited about a newly discovered author or the latest title from one of my favorite authors. Thankfully since I am a bookseller I also have the perk of receiving advanced copies of books from publishers. I don't get to read everything I want to in advance, but it's always nice when something I really want to read ends up in my hands a few months before publication.
Last night I finished reading Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. I loved Gladwell's first book, The Tipping Point, and I thought his second book, Blink, was good enough. I was hoping Outliers would be as good as The Tipping Point so when we finally received it in the store I borrowed a copy and started it right away. Outliers was not nearly as good as The Tipping Point. I wouldn't go so far as to say I am disappointed but I think his research is in this one is pretty shaky. Gladwell has to reach and stretch and pull things together clumsily to make a lot of his points. However, I think this would be a good book club book because after finishing it I have a lot of discussion questions and as I read the book I said "Huh?" quite a few times.
So there's an example of a book falling short of the mark for me. Following is a list of books that I am really, really excited to read. I hope they don't disappoint, but if they do I will probably still read the author's next book.
I read a lot of young adult and middle reader books so I only have one adult title I am looking forward to. However, I must say that a lot of really good young adult novels are coming out right now. I know some adults are reluctant to wander into the young adult section because they think the writing will be too young for them, but I know lots of adults who frequent that section and find amazing books there.
On June 16, 2009 Carlos Ruiz Zafon's new book The Angel's Game will be released. Zafon wrote The Shadow of the Wind which almost everyone on staff has read, and loved. A customer came in yesterday and asked when Zafon's next book was coming out. We started talking about how good Shadow of the Wind was and the customer was very excited to hear another book was coming out soon. It's out in Spanish and we have it in our store in the Spanish language section. Oh, how I wish I could read Spanish!
Graceling by Kristin Cashore is my current obsession right now. This book is the perfect transition book for fans of Stephanie Meyer and I think it has a better message for teen girls. Plus, teen boys will like it better than the Meyer books. Graceling was just published in October, but I already can't wait for Cashore's next book. Her writing is incredible. I read this book in one sitting; I was up until 3:00 in the morning, but I couldn't bear to put it down before I knew what happened to the characters.
The 39 Clues by Rick Riordan is difficult to explain so I'll just tell you that it is the perfect book for middle readers who liked the Mysterious Benedict Society, Harry Potter, or the Magyk series by Angie Sage. It is also a good pick for reluctant readers because it encourages participation. The second book comes out Dec. 2nd and I can't wait to read it even though I know it will leave me hanging too. This is a 12 book series that will be released over the next 2 years and kids will love it.
Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman comes out February 10, 2009. I read the advanced copy last month and I have to admit this is one scary middle reader novel. This is a true mystery novel for kids that incorporates reading one character's journal (the actual book) and watching a second character's movies online. Unfortunately the mystery isn't solved in this book. I can't wait for the next book to be released so I can find out what happened!
Finally I cannot wait for the next book in The Hunger Games trilogy. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is an amazing book that young adults and kids will devour. Collins has created a very intense series which gives us an idea of where our society may be years from now. This is a very compelling read, but I don't recommend it for teens below 14.