Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Dual Purpose: 2011 Must-Reads & RBtL's First Giveaway!

It's that time again, the time when everyone publishes lists of their most anticipated books of 2011--The Telegraph, The Daily Beast, The Millions...the list goes on.

Personally, I still haven't read most of the books I liked from last years' most anticipated lists, but I'm always up to see what's new and exciting. Just for kicks, here are some of the ones I find exciting/interesting for the first quarter of the year from the various lists (because that's of course all you readers care about :-p):

Give Me Your Heart by Joyce Carol Oates (January, from The Telegraph list) - I will admit it: I love JCO. I'm not sure what it is about her, but she's brilliant. I wrote a college paper on her famed novel Firefox--a comparative study of the book versus the film adaptation--but I haven't read many of her short stories. This collection is sure to be a thought-provoking one!

The Illumination: A Novel by Kevin Brockmeier (February, from The Millions list) -I've never heard of Brockmeier but his premise sounds intriguing as he "asks the question: What if our pain is the most beautiful thing about us?" ( This idea is actually one that I ponder frequently. I even have a drawing framed on my living room wall by my favorite Etsy artist (The Black Apple) that interweaves a sketch of a sad girl and the words "I love everything in you that hurts." I just find it immensely beautiful. Obviously, Brockmeier's second novel has now piqued my interest for similar reasons.

Sing You Home by Jodi Piccoult (March, from The Telegraph list) - I've read a number of Piccoult's books, though certainly not every one in her massive arsenal. Her writing is strong, her voice is engaging, and her stories are always intriguing. This one, about homosexuality and parenthood, has "controversial bestseller" written all over it.

The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht (March, from The Daily Beast list) - A debut novel by one of The New Yorker’s twenty best American fiction writers under forty, this one caught my eye pretty instantly. With a synopsis--and even cover--that promises family, lies, beauty, and love painted on a cultural canvas in the Balkans, it sounds immensely powerful and perhaps even painful to read.

With those four very different works now on my to-read list, I am compelled to shift gears over to commercial fiction and tell you about my very own most anticipated book of 2011.

Most of you have already heard me ooh-and-ahh, but allow me to refresh your memory: debut urban fantasy novel A Brush of Darkness by Allison Pang.

Yes, I have a close relationship with this one--not only was it the first book I acquired (jointly, but still) and I edited it, but the author and I are good friends. But even if I hated her guts (love you, AP! :-p) I would still love her book. Hilarious, powerful, sexy, and imaginative, Brush has it all. And with just 20 days until it hits shelves, I can barely sit still.

The gorgeous bookmarks Allison sent me yesterday do not make it any easier to be patient. What they do make easier though is helping spread the excitement.

Soooooo, in honor of my most anticipated release of the season, I'm giving away a bookmark from my stash to each of the first three people to comment on this post and share with us his/her most anticipated book of 2011!

Come on now, folks. Don't be shy. And don't let my first giveaway (albeit it's a mini-one) be a total bust!!


  1. I'd like to read Sing You Home as well

    rmccoy1234 at yahoo dot com

  2. I'm counting the days until the release of Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning, and Bonded by Blood by Laurie London. It's Laurie's first book, so I especially excited for her.

  3. I'm pretty excited for my release too! :D Because it is full of awesomesauce. (And yes, I am totally biased.)

  4. CT Mom: Great minds think alike!

    Alexis: Oooh I haven't heard of Laurie London! Will def have to check it out :)And KMM is on my to-read list--I've heard fab things!

    Allison: Thank you for your input :-p you, however, do not get a bookmark. Heh.

    One more still available, readers!

  5. I think I missed the contest, but these books sound great! I'll be sure to look for them at B&N!

  6. I am of course looking forward to Allison Pang's book!!! I have no doubt it will be stuffed full of awesome! :)

    And I'm also looking forward to Darynda Jones' debut book First Grave on the Right...

    Fun blog Danielle!

  7. Jean: You didn't miss it! You're number 3! Yay! Please send along an email address to and let me know where to send the bookmark :)

    Lisa: It is, it is! :) FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT is a fab title, btw. I'll have to give it a look!

  8. I can't wait for Sarah Vowell's book on Hawaii (Unfamiliar Fishes), Ann Patchett's State of Wonder, and Marisha Pessl's Night Film. And The Tiger's Wife is on my list, too!