After finishing Stieg Larsson's fantastic (and heartbreaking) The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (the publisher's apostrophe, not mine), I had a tough time settling on what to read next. Everything I picked up made me diffident and cranky. Nothing was what I wanted.
Luckily, I came across Amy Bloom's short story collection Where The God of Love Hangs Out, and I was saved from my own impatience. You'll read more on Bloom here shortly, but here are some books to look forward to in the early months of 2010.
Noah's Compass, Anne Tyler: The author of The Accidental Tourist can hit (The Amateur Marriage and Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant) or miss (Ladder of Years). Into which camp will this new novel - about a man in his 60s reexamining his life - fall?
The Swan Thieves, Elizabeth Kostova: Even if it wasn't quite scary enough, Kostova's first novel The Historian - about a chase for the real Dracula! - lands this novel about a psychiatrist and his patient (who attacked a painting in the National Gallery) on the top of the to-read pile.
Shades of Grey, Jasper Fforde: The author of the hilarious scifi literary mashup Thursday Next novels starts a new series that is hopefully as absurdly satisfying as his others.
The Unnamed, Joshua Ferris: The followup from the author of the highly praised Then We Came to the End is about an otherwise normal guy who walks. And walks. And walks.
Wild Child, T.C. Boyle: More stories from the master, whose Sorry Fugu remains one of the
best modern short stories ever written.
A Dark Matter, Peter Straub: More than 20 years later, Straub's Ghost Story and Floating Dragon still cast a creepy spell. Early buzz on this new novel - about a group of high school students in the 1960s and a gruesome murder - indicates it's a must for horror fans.
Secrets of Eden, Chris Bohjalian: A murder-suicide rocks a town in the new novel from the author of the harrowing World War II drama Skeletons at the Feast.
Shadow Tag, Louise Erdrich: We're hearing this 13th novel, a family drama, from the chronicler of the Ojibwe population of North Dakota is something of departure.
The Heights: A newcomer disrupts life in a Brooklyn neighborhood in the new book from the author of What's Eating Gilbert Grape?
Solar, Ian McEwan: A physicist's marriage unravels as he tries to stop environmental disaster. How can we not be intrigued? From the author of Atonement.