Thursday, June 3, 2010

5 Books I'm Buzzing Over from Book Expo America

At Book Expo America, there are a couple of editor's buzz panels where a few books get pitched to show attendees as being books worthy of buzz and attention, potential big sellers.

While the books on these panels certainly caught my interest, I thought I'd make my own list of books at BEA that really caught my attention and excitement. It's a pretty eclectic group of books, in keeping with my pretty eclectic reading tastes.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver (HarperTeen 2/11)

This one was pretty much buzzed over by my good friend Lenore of Presenting Lenore. She sold me on it and I ended up standing in a massive line to ensure I got a copy. I've already read it on my flight home and really really liked it. I think Lauren Oliver does a great job of writing commercial fiction with a literary sensibility...and the love story was to die for. It doesn't come out until next February, and I bet you'll be hearing a lot more about it!

About Delirium: Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that one love -the deliria- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love

What Good is God

What Good is God? by Philip Yancey (FaithWords, 10/10)

Philip Yancey writes books that generally have elements I really identify with..he's a man of faith, but acknowledges just how complex faith can be. Reaching for the Invisible God and Rumors of Another World are two books I really loved. He's also written classics such Where is God When It Hurts?, Disappointment with God, and What's so Amazing about Grace? I've been wondering where he is, and was therefore delighted when Valerie Russo of Hachette Books told me FaithWords would be publishing What Good is God? this fall. I can't wait to dig in!

About What Good is God?: Journalist and spiritual seeker Philip Yancey has always struggled with the most basic questions of the Christian faith. The question he tackles in WHAT GOOD IS GOD? concerns the practical value of belief in God. His search for the answer to this question took him to some amazing settings around the world: Mumbai, India when the firing started during the terrorist attacks; at the motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated; on the Virginia Tech campus soon after the massacre; an AA convention; and even to a conference for women in prostitution.

Stranger Here Below

Stranger Here Below by Joyce Hinnefeld (Unbridled Books, 10/10)

I loved In Hovering Flight, and have been very eagerly awaiting Hinnefeld's follow-up book. I was pleased to get an ARC of Stranger Here Below. I was really disappointed to find out I missed out on meeting her, though!

About Stranger Here Below: In 1961, when Amazing Grace Jansen, a firecracker from Appalachia, meets Mary Elizabeth Cox, the daughter of a Black southern preacher, at Kentucky’s Berea College, they already carry the scars and traces of their mothers’ troubles. Poor and single, Maze’s mother has had to raise her daughter alone and fight to keep a roof over their heads. Mary Elizabeth’s mother has carried a shattering grief throughout her life, a loss so great that it has disabled her and isolated her stern husband and her brilliant, talented daughter.

The caution this has scored into Mary Elizabeth has made her defensive and too private and limited her ambitions, despite her gifts as a musician. But Maze’s earthy fearlessness might be enough to carry them both forward toward lives lived bravely in an angry world that changes by the day.

Both of them are drawn to the enigmatic Georginea Ward, an aging idealist who taught at Berea sixty years ago, fell in love with a black man, and suddenly found herself renamed as a sister in a tiny Shaker community. Sister Georgia believes in discipline and simplicity, yes. But, more important, her faith is rooted in fairness and the long reach of unconditional love.

This is a novel about three generations of women and the love that makes families where none can be expected

Bamboo People

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins (Chalesbridge, 7/10)

I may have mentioned a time or two that I love Mitali Perkins. Getting to hear her at the Children's Author Breakfast was a real treat, and getting a gorgeous hardcover copy of this book was very exciting. I can't wait for my box to arrive, so I can actually read it!

About Bamboo People: Chiko isn’t a fighter by nature. He’s a book-loving Burmese boy whose father, a doctor, is in prison for resisting the government. Tu Reh, on the other hand, wants to fight for freedom after watching Burmese soldiers destroy his Karenni family's home and bamboo fields. Timidity becomes courage and anger becomes compassion as each boy is changed by unlikely friendships formed under extreme circumstances.

This coming-of-age novel takes place against the political and military backdrop of modern-day Burma. Narrated by two fifteen-year-old boys on opposing sides of the conflict between the Burmese government and the Karenni, one of the many ethnic minorities in Burma, Bamboo People explores the nature of violence, power, and prejudice.

The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai by Ruiyan Xu (Macmillan, 10/10)

This one had me at the title. I actually ducked out of the Adult Author Breakfast early to make sure I'd get a galley of this when they set them out.

About the The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai: A dazzling debut novel about the power of love and language...

Li Jing, a successful, happily married businessman, is dining at a grand hotel in Shanghai when a gas explosion shatters the building. A shard of glass neatly pierces Li Jing's forehead—obliterating his ability to speak Chinese. The only words that emerge from his mouth are faltering phrases of the English he spoke as a child growing up in Virginia. Suddenly Li Jing finds himself unable to communicate with his wife, Meiling, whom he once courted with beautiful words, as she struggles to keep his business afloat and maintain a brave face for their son. The family turns to an American neurologist, Rosalyn Neal, who is as lost as Li Jing--whom she calls James--in this bewitching, bewildering city, where the two form a bond that Meiling does not need a translator to understand.

Do any of these books look good to you? Which one interests you most? If you were at BEA, which book did you pick up that you're most excited about?


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