Sunday, October 16, 2011


I felt like I had read quite a few new authors this year, so I decided to count them.  There have been 20 so far.  This might be the most new authors I have read in any one year.  I don't think I'll get to many more because a number of my long-standing authors are putting out books before the end of the year:  Nicholas Sparks (don't act surprised - you know that I read Sparks), Barry Eisler, and W.E.B. Griffin.  Plus, Jeffrey Archer and Brad Meltzer have already come out with their new books, which I haven't gotten to yet.  Since this might be it, I'm going to list all of them and give them movie ratings.  The maximum score is 4 stars.  Here we go (in order):

Stein, Garth - The Art of Racing in the Rain - 3.0 - A very entertaining and poignant story of a family told through the eyes of a dog - and I don't even like animals!
Robinson, John Elder - Look Me in the Eye - 3.0 - non-fiction account of an autistic man's childhood and his efforts as an adult to recognize and deal with his disorder.
Bourne, Sam - The Righteous Men - 2.5 - a modern-day story that centers on old Jewish scripture - slow first half (2.0) but very good second half (3.0).
Stevens, Taylor -Informationist - 2.0 - debut novel about a Lisbeth Sander-type of take-no-prisoners woman - you know the type - kick-butt now and ask questions later - might read her next one - not sure yet.
Verghese, Abraham - Cutting for Stone - 3.0 - Everybody knows about this one - I liked it a lot but didn't love it like so many people did - saw him in San Rafael with about 800 other people.
See, Lisa - Peony in Love - 1.5 - would have preferred a root canal (then I can at least read in the dentist's chair) - read it in bits and pieces in and around a number of other books - I know she's really popular with many people, but I didn't get it - my best moment was when I finished it.
Nesbo, Jo - The Redbreast - 3.0 - this was a very pleasant surprise for me - Nesbo is a Norwegian author whose protagonist is a detective named Harry Hole - the author is a  very big deal in Norway - enjoyed the quirky nature of Hole.
Gran, Sara - Clair Dewitt and the City of the Dead - 2.0 - protagonist is a hard-boiled private eye that brings you back to the detective novels from the '30's and '40's - starts slow and picks up slightly - was sure that I wouldn't read another one and ended up not so sure.
McEuen, Paul - Spiral - 3.0 - debut novel about a nasty contagion - very well done - would jump at his next book.
Pelecanos, George - The Turnaround - 3.5 - a tragedy as a teenager still has consequences 30 years later - this book only slightly missed The Fiction for the Non-Fiction Reader list - turned me into an instant fan - have since read 2 others - not as good as The Turnaround but still liked them a lot.
Ignatius, David -  Body of Lies - 3.0 - another CIA/special forces novel but with a twist - I read a lot of these types of books but found this to be different enough to want to read more - I liked it.
La Plante, Alice - Turn of Mind - 2.5 - a 64-year old woman in the beginning stages of dementia is possibly a murderer - but she can't remember if she did it or not - the author's mother had dementia and was the inspiration for the novel - the book was a little bit too well-written for me (you all know I'm no intellectual) - but I liked it.
O'Shaughnessy, Peri - Dreams of the Dead - 2.0 - this author is actually 2 sisters - back in the early '90's, their publisher wouldn't publish their first book with 2 names - this book is actually their 13th in a series about a small-time female attorney in South Lake Tahoe - they say (I saw them at an author's event) that it's their last, and they will write separately - it is unlikely that I will read anything else by them.
O'Keefe, Bobbie - Family Skeletons - 2.5 - this is a very different novel from anything else I've read before - it's a legitimate murder mystery and a legitimate romance - she does a heck of a job melding the 2 - I would definitely read her again.
Hart, John - The Last Child - 4.0 - I guess you've all heard (read) enough by me about John Hart - suffice it to say that this book (along with his The Iron House) is the first new addition to The Fiction... list since its inception back in January.
Silverberry, A.R. - Wyndano's Cloak - 3.0 - the only reason I would read a young adult fantasy novel is if I personally met the author (and his wife, the illustrator) at Barnes & Noble in Campbell on a Saturday afternoon - I read it only because I told him I would someday read it - guess what? - I really liked it - a lot - there were 2 parallel stories running with each of the protagonists being a teenage girl - I couldn't wait for each story to unfold - go figure.
Tinti, Hanna - The Good Thief - 2.0 - this was recommended to me so I read it - it was okay - it was certainly different but not particularly captivating.
LaVigne, Michael - Not Me - 3.0 - a darn good story about a philanthropic older Jewish man with a very interesting past - a one-of-a-kind plot.
Britton, Andrew - The American - 3.0 - still another novel CIA novel - an ex-special ops guy teamed with a female analyst trying to track down a terrorist with a most interesting background - I will definitely be reading him again.
Steinhauer, Olen - The Tourist - 2.5 - you're not going to believe this - but this book is about a special branch of the CIA called Tourism (ergo, the title!) - despite the fact that I seem to gravitate toward CIA novels, I have read some good ones - including this one.

C'est tout.

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