I don’t often read new releases. There are so many books that I’ve been eager to read, that have been swimming around in my head for months or years, that I can’t see taking a chance on a new release if I don’t know anything about it. How do I know if it’s good or worthwhile? I don’t always trust professional book critics. I find that the best recommendations come from friends or bloggers that have similar tastes as me.
I usually give the book a few months and follow the hype around it. Do I see it around book stores, not only for the first month or two after its release, but for awhile after? Do I hear people talking about it? Do I receive a recommendation from a friend? Do I see it mentioned favorably on book blogs? Has it won awards? (I’m kind of a sucker for awards.)
Here are some titles that made those “2013 best books” lists. These seem to have withstood the test of staying reputable and in-demand in the weeks and months after the book’s release. I’d like to give these a try.
The Tenth of December
By George Saunders
The NY Times Magazine declared, “George Saunders has written the best book you’ll read this year.” Well then. I haven’t read George Saunders before, but his recent commencement speech was kickass.
And The Mountains Echoed
By Khaled Hosseini
I liked The Kite Runner but I loved A Thousand Splendid Suns even more. Hosseini is a great storyteller – his characters and plot are intricate and detailed but the pace is quick and easy to follow. I’d certainly give his new novel a chance.
By Thomas Pynchon
A literary legend like Thomas Pynchon writes a new book? Guess I have to read it.
By Donna Tartt
I’ve never heard of this author, but the book has made every “best of” list I’ve seen. Maybe they’re on to something?
By Jhumpa Lahiri
I love Jhumpa Lahiri. She could write about her toothbrush and I’d read it.
Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls
By David Sedaris
I’m saving this book for a plane/vacation read. Sedaris is the funniest author I’ve ever read. I’ll read passages of his books out loud to Eric and not even be able to get through it because we’re both laughing too hard.
I know this list is very fiction-heavy and I’m working on exploring more nonfiction. What are you looking forward to reading? Any 2013 must-reads that you would recommend?