When I set out to create a blog, I intended to write about music, books, and movies, but haven't followed through. Music has been my primary focus, mainly because my reading has slowed over the past few years, down from 50-60 books a year, to just 19 last year. And in February, I decided to move on from my book club after almost 7 years of monthly meetings. If I finish 10 books this year, I'll be surprised. Despite the slowdown, there are 5 books set for release this year that I'm excited about.
1. Jonathan Carroll's 15th full length novel, Bathing the Lion, is slated for an October release. This will be his first novel since 2008's Ghost in Love, and a sight for sore eyes. I find it difficult to allow an unread Carroll book to sit on my bookshelf for very long, and this one will get read shortly after delivery. Mr. Carroll writes some spectacular magic realism, and often goes off on these wonderful side tangents that hit close to home. Each time I read a Jonathan Carroll title, I find myself flipping back to the dedication page because I swear the book has been written specifically for me.
Key titles: Land of Laughs, Voice of Our Shadow, Sleeping in Flame, and Outside the Dog Museum.
2. Keith Donahue's 4th novel, The Inside Boy is set for an October release as well, following up 2011's Centuries of June. I was blown away by his adult fairy tales, and have been a fan since his spectacular debut work, The Stolen Child.
3. Once you get past the first 20 pages of any Christopher Moore novel -- a barrage of shits and fucks, more like a shit-storm of make a sailor blush talk -- the reward is often a devilishly funny and touching novel. Mr. Moore constructs some of the most endearing characters in fiction today, fantastic every man/woman characters and odd birds, but he remains under-read. I picked up Practical Demonkeeping about 10 years ago, and then stormed through the rest of his titles in a few weeks.
Key titles: Bloodsucking Fiends, Island of the Sequined Love Nun, Lamb, The Stupidest Angel, and A Dirty Job.
4. I've never cared much for crime fiction -- police procedurals, or whodunits, or anything close to that style. The exceptions, anything by Ian Rankin and John Connolly. Their brand of tortured protagonist resonates with me, at the heart of each story is a dark heart trying to pollute its host. Their struggle to do the right thing is compelling. Unlike Rankin's Rebus, John Connolly's Charlie Parker series is written with a subtle supernatural element in mind. Charlie's a troubled man, lived through a murdered wife and daughter, and a separation, and all loads of trouble from both sides of the law. But, he's the man for any job where evil lurks.
The 12th book, The Wolf in Winter, in the Charlie Parker series is out in October.
Key titles: Bad Men, Every Dead Thing, The Black Angel, and his incredible fairy tale, The Book of Lost Things.
5. And to finish, out this month is Terry Pratchett's 40th Discworld offering. Despite being diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease in 2007, Mr. Pratchett continues to be prolific.
Raising Steam is out March 18th and jumps headfirst into locomotives for Discworld. According to my records, I'm but a handful of books away from being caught up. Now, if he'd just write another Witch novel or three I'd be happy, everyone loves Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax, right?
If Neil Gaiman and Tim Powers would grace us with a new release, all would be right in the world.