True Confessions Thursday: A list of the books I’ve pre-ordered in 2012 (by Jill)

Another challenge we have set up for ourselves here at PfP is to post more often.  Ideally we will post SOMETHING every day.  Since writing reviews is contingent on how fast we finish books, it goes without saying that publishing a review every day is likely out of the question.  I thought it might be nice to tell you guys about some of the books I’m excited about getting in the mail over the next few months, because it may be a while before I get to reading/writing about them, what with all the PfP “required” reading we’ve assigned ourselves.  Maybe you can read them and tell me about them.  

Without further ado, here are the books I’m waiting with bated breath to arrive.  Alphabetical by author, because it seemed like the most sensible thing to do.  The blurbs are copied from amazon.com.

The Diviners, Libba Bray (Hardcover Release Date: 9/18/12)

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City–and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult–also known as “The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies.”

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer–if he doesn’t catch her first.

Lightning Rods, Helen DeWitt (Paperback Release Date: 10/18/12)

Described as “the most well-executed literary sex comedy” of our time by Salon.com, and “a wickedly smart satire that deserves to be a classic” by Bookforum, Helen DeWitt’s Lighting Rods is a novel that will leave you laughing for more. Follow one steady rise to power in corporate America as down-and-out salesman Joe curtails sexual harassment in the office and increases productivity with his mysterious, mind-blowing invention.

The Round House, Louise Erdrich (Hardcover Release Date: 10/2/12)

One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened, either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and thirteen-year-old son, Joe. In one day, Joe’s life is irrevocably transformed. He tries to heal his mother, but she will not leave her bed and slips into an abyss of solitude. Increasingly alone, Joe finds himself thrust prematurely into an adult world for which he is ill prepared.

While his father, who is a tribal judge, endeavors to wrest justice from a situation that defies his efforts, Joe becomes frustrated with the official investigation and sets out with his trusted friends, Cappy, Zack, and Angus, to get some answers of his own. Their quest takes them first to the Round House, a sacred space and place of worship for the Ojibwe. And this is only the beginning.

Written with undeniable urgency, and illuminating the harsh realities of contemporary life in a community where Ojibwe and white live uneasily together, The Round House is a brilliant and entertaining novel, a masterpiece of literary fiction. Louise Erdrich embraces tragedy, the comic, a spirit world very much present in the lives of her all-too-human characters, and a tale of injustice that is, unfortunately, an authentic reflection of what happens in our own world today.

The Woman Who Died A Lot: A Thursday Next Novel, Jasper Fforde (Hardcover Release Date: 10/2/12)

The Bookworld’s leading enforcement officer, Thursday Next, has been forced into a semiretirement following an assassination attempt, returning home to Swindon and her family to recuperate.

But Thursday’s children have problems that demand she become a mother of invention: Friday’s career struggles in the Chronoguard, where he is relegated to a might-have-been; Tuesday’s trouble perfecting the Anti-Smote shield, needed in time to thwart an angry Deity’s promise to wipe Swindon off the face of the earth; and the issue of Thursday’s third child, Jenny, who doesn’t exist except as a confusing and disturbing memory.

With Goliath attempting to replace Thursday at every opportunity with synthetic Thursdays, and a call from the Bookworld to hunt down Pagerunners who have jumped into the Realworld, Thursday’s convalescence is going to be anything but restful as the week ahead promises to be one of the Next family’s oddest.

The Kingmaker’s Daughter, Philippa Gregory (Paperback Release Date: 4/9/13)

The Kingmaker’s Daughter is the gripping story of the daughters of the man known as the “Kingmaker,” Richard, Earl of Warwick: the most powerful magnate in fifteenth-century England. Without a son and heir, Richard uses his two daughters as pawns in political games, and they grow up to be influential players in their own right. In this novel, her first sister story since The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory explores the lives of these two fascinating young women.

At the court of Edward IV and his queen, Elizabeth Woodville, Anne grows from a delightful child to become ever more fearful and desperate when her father makes war on his former friends. Only a girl she is married and then left widowed and fatherless, with her mother in sanctuary and her sister married to the enemy. She escapes by marrying Richard, Duke of Gloucester, but her choice will set her on a collision course with the power of the royal family, sacrificing the lives of those she loves most in the world, including her only son, Prince Edward. Ultimately, the kingmaker’s daughter will achieve her father’s greatest ambition.

Arcadia, Lauren Groff (Paperback Release date: 10/2/12)

In the fields of western New York State in the 1970s, a few dozen idealists set out to live off the land, founding a commune centered on the grounds of a decaying mansion called Arcadia House. Arcadia follows this romantic utopian dream from its hopeful start through its heyday. Arcadia’s inhabitants include Handy, the charismatic leader; his wife, Astrid, a midwife; Abe, a master carpenter; Hannah, a baker and historian; and Abe and Hannah’s only child, Bit. While Arcadia rises and falls, Bit, too, ages and changes. He falls in love with Helle, Handy’s lovely, troubled daughter. And eventually he must face the world beyond Arcadia.

The Red House, Mark Haddon (Paperback Release Date: 3/5/13)

The set-up of Mark Haddon’s brilliant new novel is simple: Richard, a wealthy doctor, invites his estranged sister Angela and her family to join his for a week at a vacation home in the English countryside. Richard has just re-married and inherited a willful stepdaughter in the process; Angela has a feckless husband and three children who sometimes seem alien to her. The stage is set for seven days of resentment and guilt, a staple of family gatherings the world over.

But because of Haddon’s extraordinary narrative technique, the stories of these eight people are anything but simple. Told through the alternating viewpoints of each character, The Red House becomes a symphony of long-held grudges, fading dreams and rising hopes, tightly-guarded secrets and illicit desires, all adding up to a portrait of contemporary family life that is bittersweet, comic, and deeply felt. As we come to know each character they become profoundly real to us. We understand them, even as we come to realize they will never fully understand each other, which is the tragicomedy of every family.

Ever After, Kim Harrison (Hardcover Release Date: 1/22/13)

Ever notice that with some popular authors or book series the publisher doesn’t feel compelled to release a blurb about the book prior to publication because they know that rabid fans will buy it whatever it’s about?  Yeah, that’s the deal with Ever After.

Into the Woods: Tales from the Hollows and Beyond, Kim Harrison (Hardcover Release Date: 10/9/12)

For centuries, the woods have been a pivotal part of the wonder and danger of fairy tales, for once you enter anything can happen. Elves, druids, fairies—who knows what you will find once you dare step into the forest?

And now, New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison ventures into these mysterious, hidden lands of magic and mystery in her first short-story collection. Into the Woods brings together an enchanting mix of brand-new, never-before-published stories and tales from Harrison’s beloved, bestselling Hollows series.

The tales here include an original Hollows novella, Million-Dollar Baby, about Trent Kalamack’s secret elven quest in Pale Demon; two original short stories, “Pet Shop Boys” and “Temson Woods,” that explore just what happens when humanity and the supernatural collide; and two novelettes, “Spider Silk” and “Grace,” set in new worlds of imagination and adventure. Into the Woods also contains all of the previously published Hollows short stories—together in one volume for the very first time.

The House of Velvet and Glass, Katherine Howe (Paperback Release Date: 1/29/13)

Still reeling from the deaths of her mother and sister on the Titanic, Sibyl Allston is living a life of quiet desperation with her taciturn father and scandal-plagued brother in an elegant town house in Boston’s Back Bay. Trapped in a world over which she has no control, Sybil flees for solace to the parlor of a table-turning medium.

But when her brother is suddenly kicked out of Harvard under mysterious circumstances and falls under the sway of a strange young woman, Sibyl turns for help to psychology professor Benton Jones, despite the unspoken tensions of their shared past. As Benton and Sibyl work together to solve a harrowing mystery, their long-simmering spark flares to life, and they realize that there may be something even more magical between them than a medium’s scrying glass.

From the opium dens of Boston’s Chinatown to the opulent salons of high society, from the back alleys of colonial Shanghai to the decks of the Titanic, The House of Velvet and Glass weaves together meticulous period detail, intoxicating romance, and a final shocking twist in a breathtaking novel that will thrill readers.

Here I Go Again, Jen Lancaster (Hardcover Release Date: 12/31/12)

Twenty years after ruling the halls of her suburban Chicago high school, Lissy Ryder doesn’t understand why her glory days ended. Back then, she was worshipped…beloved…feared. Present day, not so much. She’s been pink-slipped from her high-paying job, dumped by her husband and kicked out of her condo. Now, at thirty-seven, she’s struggling to start a business out of her parents’ garage and sleeping under the hair-band posters in her old bedroom.

Lissy finally realizes karma is the only bitch bigger than she was. Her present is miserable because of her past. But it’s not like she can go back in time and change who she was…or can she?

Bring Up the Bodies: A Novel, Hilary Mantel (Paperback Release Date: 3/26/13

The sequel to the Man Booker-winning Wolf Hall. By 1535 Thomas Cromwell, the blacksmith’s son, is far from his humble origins. Chief Minister to Henry VIII, his fortunes have risen with those of Anne Boleyn, Henry’s second wife, for whose sake Henry has broken with Rome and created his own church. But Henry’s actions have forced England into dangerous isolation, and Anne has failed to do what she promised: bear a son to secure the Tudor line. When Henry visits Wolf Hall, Cromwell watches as Henry falls in love with the silent, plain Jane Seymour. The minister sees what is at stake: not just the king’s pleasure, but the safety of the nation. As he eases a way through the sexual politics of the court, its miasma of gossip, he must negotiate a ‘truth’ that will satisfy Henry and secure his own career. But neither minister nor king will emerge undamaged from the bloody theatre of Anne’s final days. In ‘Bring up the Bodies’, sequel to the Man Booker Prize-winning ‘Wolf Hall’, Hilary Mantel explores one of the most mystifying and frightening episodes in English history: the destruction of Anne Boleyn. This new novel is a speaking picture, an audacious vision of Tudor England that sheds its light on the modern world. It is the work of one of our great writers at the height of her powers.

Bethany has already read and reviewed this book.  Check out her review here.

Home, Toni Morrison (Paperback Release Date: 1/8/13)

America’s most celebrated novelist, Nobel Prize-winner Toni Morrison extends her profound take on our history with this twentieth-century tale of redemption: a taut and tortured story about one man’s desperate search for himself in a world disfigured by war.

Frank Money is an angry, self-loathing veteran of the Korean War who, after traumatic experiences on the front lines, finds himself back in racist America with more than just physical scars. His home may seem alien to him, but he is shocked out of his crippling apathy by the need to rescue his medically abused younger sister and take her back to the small Georgia town they come from and that he’s hated all his life. As Frank revisits his memories from childhood and the war that have left him questioning his sense of self, he discovers a profound courage he had thought he could never possess again.

A deeply moving novel about an apparently defeated man finding his manhood—and his home.

Also you should read Bethany’s wonderful review of this book, here.

The Healing, Jonathan Odell (Paperback Release Date: 11/13/12)

Plantation mistress Amanda Satterfield’s intense grief over losing her daughter crosses the line into madness when she takes a newborn slave child as her own and names her Granada. Troubled by his wife’s disturbing mental state and concerned about a mysterious plague that is sweeping through the plantation’s slave quarters, Master Satterfield purchases Polly Shine, a slave woman known as a healer who immediately senses a spark of the same gift in Granada. Soon, a domestic battle of wills begins, leading to a tragedy that weaves together three generations of strong Southern women.

Rich in mood and atmosphere, The Healing is a powerful, warmhearted novel about unbreakable bonds and the power of story to heal.

The Casual Vacancy, J.K. Rowling (Hardcover Release Date: 9/27/12)

When Barry Fairbrother dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…. Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town’s council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations? Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.

Beautiful Ruins, Jess Walter (Paperback Release Date: 4/2/13)

The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying.

And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio’s back lot—searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

What unfolds is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, spanning fifty years and nearly as many lives. From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Walter introduces us to the tangled lives of a dozen unforgettable characters: the starstruck Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love; the heroically preserved producer who once brought them together and his idealistic young assistant; the army veteran turned fledgling novelist and the rakish Richard Burton himself, whose appetites set the whole story in motion—along with the husbands and wives, lovers and dreamers, superstars and losers, who populate their world in the decades that follow. Gloriously inventive, constantly surprising, Beautiful Ruins is a story of flawed yet fascinating people, navigating the rocky shores of their lives while clinging to their improbable dreams.

There they all are!  I’ve received J.K. Rowling’s latest since starting this post, but wanted to make sure everyone knew how excited I was about that one.  Hardcovers always get higher reading priority because I feel like if I’m going to spend extra money to get it when it first comes out, I’m going to read it before it’s available in paperback (one of my many book-buying rules).  I hope everyone finds this list a helpful source of future wonderful reading adventures.  🙂 

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