Monday, January 2, 2017

End of Year Wrap-Up (2016)

So the good news is, 2016 was the year I finally completed my novel The Bear Who Broke The World and readied it for publication with Wheeler Street Press - it will be released Summer 2017. 

Here’s a sneak look at the cover:

The bad news is that all of that time spent with the novel took me away from reading other books. But I did manage to finish a few, and here are the best of the bunch I read in 2016:

1)      A MOVEABLE FEAST by Ernest Hemingway -- the first book I read in the new year, and my favorite. Chronicling his early years in Paris -- hanging out in the cafes and salons with literary luminaries Gertrude Stein, Ford Madox Ford, and his friend/foe F. Scott Fitzgerald -- Papa writes about his first wife and child with the same fervor as he does about his writing life.

2)      DEADWOOD by Pete Dexter -- a very close 2nd, this rich, detailed, beautifully constructed novel of the Dakota Territories in 1876 is filled with memorable characters whose stories interweave through the Black Hills in fresh and unexpected ways. The prose is glorious, every sentence filled with wit and style.

3)      TROUT FISHING IN AMERICA by Richard Brautigan -- a counterculture classic, I read this as part of my goal to delve into the 60s and 70s books that influenced the fictional characters of my own novel. Brautigan’s book of short chapters is an exploration of America, the changes affecting small towns and big cities alike

4)      CITIZEN: AN AMERICAN LYRIC by Claudia Rankine -- the Keynote speaker at the 2016 AWP conference here in L.A., this amazing prose poet delivers a book filled with anguish, anger, hard truths and hope.

5)      THE WHITES by Richard Price (writing as Harry Brandt) -- rounding out this short list is a crime potboiler by the author of one of my favorite books, CLOCKERS. This latest effort by Price feels a bit lightweight and redundant by comparison, but it still moves at a quick and sometimes lively pace.

2017 already looks a bit more promising, as I’m halfway through Pulitzer Prize-winning THE SYMPATHIZER by Viet Thanh Nguyen and just began THE GIRLS by Emma Cline. Looking forward to reading THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACE ON EARTH, the debut novel by my fellow MPWer Lindsey Lee Johnson (*), as well as finally tackling Adam Johnson’s THE ORPHAN MASTER’S SON and THE CITY ON FIRE by Garth Risk Hallberg.

And very much looking forward to seeing my long-in-progress novel finally in print this year.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a book-happy new year!

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