Yes, I buy more books than I read – blame being in graduate school and writing a thesis – but that hasn’t stopped me from buying books and trying to steal a few chapters on the weekends.
NW: Many readers of Zadie Smith describe her fiction as “hit-or-miss” at best. While everyone drooled over her debut novel White Teeth, I can barely remember the characters. Her universally panned The Autograph Man was one that I liked and On Beauty is considered her masterpiece. Yet despite this novel’s so-so reviews, I’m an unrelenting Zadie Smith fan. Though not as mature in her prose as Toni Morrison, Smith is excellent in describing the anxieties of the middle-class in the 21st century.
The Devil in Silver: I got hooked on Victor LaValle by an NPR segment on his previous novel, Big Machine. Like his previous works, there is a monster haunting the main character and it’s up to him to either escape or defeat the monster. I know many people aren’t into genre fiction, especially where they are monsters and supernatural figures, but his books are so well written that the monster(s) become characters themselves.
The Stranger’s Child: This was another book and author (Alan Hollinghurst) that I heard so much about that as soon as it came out I had to have it…until I saw that the hardcover had those ragged edges and that’s a book pet peeve of mine. The book spans from WWII to present day England. A young poet, who died during the war, has been revealed to have been gay. Despite all the reviews of the book, I’ve managed to stay away from them because I like to be surprised.
The Casual Vacancy: Everyone was hoping the title was rouse and J. K. Rowling’s eleventh book would truly be Harry Potter and the Missing Wand Replacement Acquisition Form. But sadly, it is not and I have to come to terms with the notion that Harry Potter is over.
This is How You Lose Her: I read Junot Diaz’s other novel for a class last year and was moderately pleased by it. I really hadn’t thought of buying his new one (especially in hardback) until other friends said how wonderful the collection of interconnecting stories where. Clearly I’m a sucker for good reviews.