What are the most exciting books for next year? BookExpo America (BEA), the national book convention that takes place every year, is the place to find out. This year, three of our employees are traveling all the way to New York for the convention, which starts next week: Allison, our President; Jen, who works in Promotions; and Sherri, who works with the Buyers. To kick off our coverage for the event next week, Allison has some early (super early!) book recommendations for you!
Every year, in the weeks leading up to the convention, publishers send out advance reader’s editions for books they’re really excited about. The idea is to get all of the booksellers talking about these books and buying these books for their stores months before the books are released to the general public. It may seem cruel to pass these gems along to you now, long before you’ll be able to purchase them at Vroman’s (and we appreciate you buying them from Vroman’s since that keeps us in business, pays for us to go to BEA to discover the new literary gems, supports our author event series, helps us give back to the community, and keeps sales tax dollars here at home, and keeps 130 local residents employed!), but it will give you something to look forward to. And we’ll re-run the lists in the fall, when you can buy the books. How’s that? So here are three to begin:
The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman. I love Alice Hoffman. She’s prolific and interesting, and reading her books always bring me comfort and joy. She’s a great storyteller and she writes women’s stories particularly well. I met Ms. Hoffman at the LA Times Festival of Books a couple of years back and she was friendly and down to earth; I wanted to be her friend. I just started reading this book (that Toni Morrison calls “Beautiful, harrowing, a major contribution to twenty-first-century literature–does it get better than that?), in anticipation of a luncheon I’m attending in Hoffman’s honor in New York. The novel is set in ancient Israel and tells the story of four extraordinary women who have each come to the Judean desert, Masada, during the desperate days of a siege (70 CE 900, Jews held out for months against armies of Romans.) All of these women are dovekeepers…
This book is scheduled to come out October 4, 2011
The Barbarian Nurseries by Hector Tobar. The editor who sent me this book called it “the book LA has been waiting for” and the cynical part of me thought, “Sure it is.” But you know what? It may be. I fell in quickly to this story of the Torres-Thompson family living not far from Vroman’s, and their Mexican housekeeper, Araceli. The story begins with an argument between the husband and the wife. An argument about money. But the husband is ashamed and angry and decides to sleep at the office to cool off. And the wife is angry and resentful and decides to check into a spa for a day to teach the husband a lesson. Both assume the other is at home, leaving the housekeeper home alone with their two children and no explanation of their whereabouts. The simple domestic dispute suddenly erupts into a much bigger social commentary and topical cautionary tale about…the culture of excess, the casualties of the recession, the power of the media, immigration issues, class wars, and much more…with Los Angeles acting as the heartbeat of the story.
This book is scheduled to come out September 27, 2011
What It Is Like to Go To War by Karl Marlantes. This is the author who wrote Matterhorn, a book my father, a Vietnam vet, called the best book he’d ever read about war. Marlantes’ deeply personal new book is the culmination of his 20 years reading literature, myth, and psychology to try and understand his own combat experiences in Vietnam. In a compelling narrative, Marlantes weaves riveting accounts of his experiences with thoughtful analysis, self-examination, and his readings. The publisher, Grove/Atlantic, publishes important books and this one promises to be just that.
This book is scheduled to come out September 6, 2011
We’ll keep you posted on more news from BEA in the coming week.