As you know if you follow us on twitter, yesterday we launched our fall 2011 list. At launch, we only talk about our paperback originals, since our sales team is already familiar with the hardcover reprints (books like Joyce Maynard’s The Good Daughters, Armistead Maupin’s Mary Ann in Autumn, etc.) So I thought I’d share with you some of the titles I’m most excited about. Please keep in mind that this is a personal list—there are lots of other great books on our list that many people out there will love, but they’re not particularly in my wheelhouse. (Someday I should get Peter Hubbard, who edits most of our philosophy books, to write a guest post on all of his wonderful titles that I barely understand.)
Onto the books:
Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman
Get ready to hear a lot about this book, because I’m going to start talking about it now and keep mentioning it constantly until next fall. It’s the story of Tom Violet, a struggling novelist with a soul-sucking office job whose father is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist. Tom has a lot of problems: the aforementioned job and pain in the ass father, a terribly inconvenient crush on his assistant, a suspicion that his wife is sleeping with a guy she met at the gym, and, of course, the desperate desire to publish his novel. He’s kind of an idiot sometimes, but he never stops being sympathetic. I fell in love with him a little bit.
I’ve heard it compared so far to Tom Perrotta, which I think is accurate (and I am a big TP fan.) I’m hoping that maybe the editor will let me post an excerpt once we get the final manuscript in, but for now, check out Matthew’s blog, The Norman Nation.
Okay, I’m not going to get quite as gushy about the rest of these, but they’re still good:
Practical Jean by Trevor Cole
First we had Bad Marie, now we have Practical Jean. Equally darkly funny but very different, Practical Jean is the story of a woman who decides to kill all her best friends. Not because she hates them or anything, but because she loves them so much that she wants to prevent them from experiencing the suffering she’s just seen her dying mother experience. But before she kills them, she’s going to give each one of them one perfect moment of happiness. Of course, murder isn’t quite as easy as it looks, and hijinks ensue.
Stasiland by Anna Funder
This is nonfiction—stories about people living behind the Berlin Wall—and I have to admit that if I hadn’t been reading an excerpt to prepare for launch, I might not have given it a second thought. But the stories are so compelling, and the writing so good, that I am super excited to read the rest of it.
Others that I will most likely like:
Swing Low, Miriam Toews’ memoir of her father’s depression
The new Dennis Cooper novel, which its editor, Michael Signorelli, called “the most fucked-up literary mystery ever written” (and which also relates to fathers)
Dan Fante’s memoir of his life and being John Fante’s son (so another father one)
Insomnia, Blake Butler’s book about his insane trouble sleeping
So I guess maybe with Domestic Violets, Swing Low, the new Dennis Cooper, and Fante, the theme of this season is “messed-up fathers”? Well, it’s certainly a theme I can relate to.