Three for Thursday

I really feel that 2011 is one of the most outstanding years to be a reader I’ve ever experienced. Everywhere I turn, there are more books I must read. With rare exceptions, those books released this year that I felt I had to read have not disappointed.

I usually write about books I have read, so I thought it would be nice to highlight three books I’m looking forward to reading in the early fall.

Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman

Date of Publication:  August 9, 2011 (less than a week!)

If you’re an avid reader, chances are you have at least a couple “go to” publishers or imprints for excellent and engaging reads. Harper Perennial is just such an imprint for me. Most novels they publish appeal to me on some level. Some appeal to me on all levels (Hello, Simon Van Booy!).

A while back I received an email informing me about author would be making an appearance at One More Page Books and More in Arlington, VA. As much as I wanted to attend the event, DC is too far to travel round trip in one day. I was very disappointed. Not only Domestic Violets published by Harper Perennial, it sounds fantastic. Here’s an overview from the publisher:

Tom Violet always thought that by the time he turned thirty-five, he’d have everything going for him. Fame. Fortune. A beautiful wife. A satisfying career as a successful novelist. A happy dog to greet him at the end of the day.

The reality, though, is far different. He’s got a wife, but their problems are bigger than he can even imagine. And he’s written a novel, but the manuscript he’s slaved over for years is currently hidden in his desk drawer while his father, an actual famous writer, just won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. His career, such that it is, involves mind-numbing corporate buzzwords, his pretentious archnemesis Gregory, and a hopeless, completely inappropriate crush on his favorite coworker. Oh . . . and his dog, according to the vet, is suffering from acute anxiety.

Tom’s life is crushing his soul, but he’s decided to do something about it. (Really.) Domestic Violets is the brilliant and beguiling story of a man finally taking control of his own happiness—even if it means making a complete idiot of himself along the way.

Speaking of Harper Perennial, in August they have 20 of their backlist eBooks on sale for 99 cents! I already have Bad Marie, which is a steal at 99 cents. So far I’ve picked up Who By Fire by Diana Spechler (loved Skinny!),  The Gospel of Anarchy by Justin Taylor, Postcards from a Dead Girl by Kirk Farber and Town House by Tish Cohen. Check out Harper Perennial’s Facebook page for the full list!

If Jack’s In Love by Stephen Wetta

Date of Publication:

For those of you who missed my wild adoration for Peter Bagnanni and The House of Tomorrow on Twitter or in my review, I absolutely adored this story about a teenager coming of age despite his rather odd and cloistered upbringing. After reading Miss Entropia and the Adam Bomb soon afterwards, I have come to realize that there is something about a coming of age novel that works well for me, especially if the young man is quirky.

After mentioning my love for The House of Tomorrow on Twitter last month, my friends at Putnam turned me on to a fall book coming out from the same imprint as the House of Tomorrow, Amy Einhorn Books. I checked out the summary and I was sold. I have my ARC sitting right next to me on my nightstand and I can’t wait to dive in. Here’s an overview from the publisher:

It’s 1967. Jack Witcher is a twelve-year-old boy genius living in a Virginia suburb at an address the entire neighborhood avoids. Jack’s father has lost his job-again-and he’s starting fights with other fathers. Jack’s mother, sweet but painfully ugly, works as a cashier at a local market. Jack’s older brother is a long-haired, pot-smoking hippie.

If all of that isn’t bad enough, Jack’s brother suddenly becomes the main suspect in the disappearance of the town’s golden boy. And to make matters even worse, Jack is in love with the missing boy’s sister, Myra. Mr. Gladstein, the town jeweler and solitary Jew, is Jack’s only friend; together, they scheme to win Jack Myra’s love. But to do that, Jack must overcome the prejudices, both the town’s and his own, about himself and his family.

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

Date of Publication: October 4, 2011

Hillary Jordan’s novel Mudbound was one of the first audiobooks I read after becoming a more serious listener. It was an engaging story. So much so that I wanted to shoot one of the characters dead. He made me that mad. When I finished the book, I wanted to read more from her. Since it was her first novel, I had to wait. I’ve been on the lookout for another book ever since.

When the fall catalog from Algonquin Books arrived in the mail, my prayers were answered. Not only has Jordan published her second novel, but the premise of the book gave me the shivers. I knew that every second I waited for another novel was well worth it. I stopped looking through the catalog and requested a copy of the book immediately. It is also sitting on my nightstand waiting to be devoured. Her is an overview from the publisher:

Hannah Payne’s life has been devoted to church and family, but after her arrest, she awakens to a nightmare: she is lying on a table in a bare room, covered only by a paper gown, with cameras broadcasting her every move to millions at home, for whom observing new Chromes—criminals whose skin color has been genetically altered to match the class of their crime—is a new and sinister form of entertainment. Hannah is a Red; her crime is murder. The victim, according to the State of Texas, was her unborn child, and Hannah is determined to protect the identity of the father, a public figure with whom she’s shared a fierce and forbidden love.

When She Woke is a fable about a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate an America of a not-too-distant future—where the line between church and state has been eradicated and convicted felons are no longer imprisoned and rehabilitated but chromed and released back into the population to survive as best they can. In seeking a path to safety in an alien and hostile world, Hannah unknowingly embarks on a path of self-discovery that forces her to question the values she once held true and the righteousness of a country that politicizes faith.

Those are three books I’m salivating over between now and early October. I hope your TBR pile has grown by three if those books weren’t already there. And, since turnabout is fair play, what’s on your list? I’d love for my pile of must reads get bigger. What do I care if there is an avalanche? My husband is a good man. He’ll dig me out.


  • At 2011.08.04 01:45, Marg said:

    I am planning to start Domestic Violets tonight. I am really looking forward to it, and I want to read When She Woke too!

    • At 2011.08.04 07:08, Sandy said:

      I think I have had one of the best years of reading in my life this year. Crazy crazy stuff, threatening to make my head explode! Well, since I so loved The House of Tomorrow, I’m going to have to investigate this one. And When She Woke is on my Skype book club list for later this year. Yes!

      • At 2011.08.04 07:24, Beth Hoffman said:

        Domestic Violets grabbed my attention right away. I’m adding it to my list!

        • At 2011.08.04 07:53, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

          I’m excited about all of these books too!

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          • At 2011.08.04 08:24, Meghan said:

            I really want to read all of these books – fantastic choices Jennifer! (I should also mention that you are the sole cause of my first Simon Van Booy acquisition … )

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            • At 2011.08.04 08:43, rhapsodyinbooks said:

              I agree about 2011 seeming to be especially wonderful!

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              • At 2011.08.04 09:14, Jenn's Bookshelves said:

                I LOVED Domestic Violets! I’m really looking forward to When She Woke as well. It was the first galley I grabbed at BEA. Still waiting to get my hands on a copy of If Jack’s In Love. Hello, it’s set in VA! I HAVE to read it!

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                • At 2011.08.04 09:54, JD said:

                  I agree that 2011 seems a particularly good year for books. Thanks for the suggestions. I read House of Tomorrow after your review and really enjoyed it. I have pre-ordered Domestic Violets and look forward to starting it next week.

                  • At 2011.08.04 11:09, bookmagic said:

                    I have Domestic Violets from NetGalley and plan to read that as soon as I finish The Night Circus (which is awesome)

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                    • At 2011.08.04 12:53, Ti said:

                      I am reading Domestic Violets now. At first, the self-deprecating huimor was getting to me but now it’s sitting better with me.

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                      • At 2011.08.04 15:24, Amy said:

                        I’m reading Domestic Violets now and loving it. I have Hilary Jordan’s book on my tbr list, it sounds amazing. If Jack’s in Love sounds like another good one.
                        Incidentally, I’m thrilled to read you loved House of Tomorrow, I hope to be reading it very soon!

                        • At 2011.08.04 19:13, jenn aka the picky girl said:

                          I just reviewed Domestic Violets yesterday, and I have been telling people about it since I finished it in May! Love this book so much. So smart and so darn funny.

                          Hadn’t heard of the second one, but When She Woke I grabbed at BEA. My sis already read it and raved about it, so I’m looking forward to it, even though it isn’t my usual schtick..

                          • At 2011.08.04 22:15, Jennifer said:

                            Oh, I’m so glad you’re all as excited as I am about these books. It sounds like Domestic Violets is on just about everyone’s list.

                            Meghan, I hope you love Simon Van Booy as much as I do. Such beautiful writing…

                            Bookmagic, I’m adding The Night Circus to my pile. So far, it hasn’t started collapsing. 🙂

                            Amy, I did absolutely and truly love The House of Tomorrow. Let me know what you think when you’ve read it.

                            Jenn, I’m going to check out your review this weekend. I missed going through blogs last week, so I’ve got a lot of catching up to do Saturday morning. I can’t wait to go out and buy Domestic Violets!!!

                            • At 2011.08.04 22:26, softdrink said:

                              I’m really looking forward to When She Woke as well. Mudbound is a favorite, and this one looks so different!

                              (Required, will not be published)

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