Horizon for Books in 2009

I've had a deuce of a time finding a list of books to be published in 2009. Usually my local newspaper's book section spends a centerfold on it, but not this year. And I have a theory for the silence: it's fear. And I'm getting really tired of it.

At Christmas, stores came up short on many goods. While retailers are lamenting the dip in sales, I contend it's the stores keeping little stock on hand "just in case it doesn't sell." I purchased more books last year than the previous year, and plan to buy even more books this year. So I beg publishers to go ahead and decrease the frequency of lunches at the Ritz, but allow this year's catalog to be robust.

But enough of trying to write on this wobbly soapbox. Let's get to the matter at hand: books! We have some favorites who are publishing this year, and we will be at the front of the line when their books come to the shelves.

While I'd like to address these in order of publication date, I must blurt: Jasper Fforde! Okay, I feel better, now that I can herald the publication of his new book, Shades of Grey, which is scheduled to be ready just in time for Carole's birthday. (Isn't he thoughtful with his timing?)

Other books of interest are set for publication this year. (Thanks to an article or two in Wikipedia — and Carole, the real Wikipedia — for this information!)

Christopher Moore has a book due to be published in February: Fool. Let me have the author describe the book himself:
This is a bawdy tale. Herein you will find gratuitous shagging, murder, spanking, maiming, treason, and heretofore unexplored heights of vulgarity and profanity, as well as nontraditional grammar, split infinitives, and the odd wank . . . If that's the sort of thing you think you might enjoy, then you have happened upon the perfect story!
He had me at bawdy.

Find out how to Escape from Hell with Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle in February. This sequel to their clever 1976 novel Inferno will envision a science fiction writer as a modern-day Christ breaking the boundaries of Hell — with some help from Sylvia Plath. Talk about a conversation-starter!

Also in February, check out SUM: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman. This selection of vignettes about various afterlives offers what sounds like bizarre but oddly interesting ideas of what happens after we die.

Ariana Franklin has a new novel coming out in March, Grave Goods, third in her Mistress of the Art of Death series. I enjoyed her first novel, and her second novel, The Serpent's Tale, is on my nightstand (so look for a review soon!).

Joyce Carol Oates has a collection of short stories scheduled for release in March: Dear Husband, a series of stories centered on families and relationships. Carole named another Oates novel, We Were the Mulvaneys, as one of her favorites of 2008.

Sara Gruen, of Water for Elephants fame, is publishing a new novel in April: Ape House. This book features the bonobo ape, one of the species of apes with whom she spent time in 2007 at The Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Iowa.

Another April release is Turn Coat, 11th in The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. I recently discovered the wizard of Chicago, Harry Dresden, thanks to my brother-in-law's help and his DVDs of the single season of "The Dresden Files" on the SciFi Channel. I'm intrigued.

Brian Jacques will publish his 21st novel this autumn. The Sable Quean is proof positive that the author is keeping his promise: as long as people keep reading his novels, he will keep writing them. According to Jacques, quean is Old English for "wicked lady." I hope he tours with this novel so I can hear him read again — it's a great treat.

Margaret Atwood's novel A Year in the Flood is due for release in September. From what I can tell, it's an apocalyptic story about Earth in the future. I have thrilled at some of her other less conventional novels, so this one sounds like it might be right up my alley.

Stop me if you've heard this one: Stephen King is coming out with a long novel. This time it's about 1,000 pages and expected to hit bookstores in September. Under the Dome is about what happens when people are cut off from their society — and, King states, is more "allegorical" than The Stand. He's been hit and miss for me for a while, but I'm willing to give him another shot, as always. After all, he is Stephen King.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is getting a new installation to the, er, trilogy in October: And Another Thing.... written by Artemis Fowl author Eoin Colfer. It will be the sixth book in the series, and Colfer was given permission to write this book by Jane Belson, the widow of Douglas Adams. Should this give me less qualms about the book? I'm not sure. However, I'll give it a shot.

Another novel due in October is The Wild Things by Dave Eggers, who re-tells the Maurice Sendak tale in novel form. Look for the Spike Jonze movie this year, too.

Have we missed your most anticipated read? Let us know!

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