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Burnyng Bryte

smaller FICTION SAMPLER
Okay, so this is a cool thing that HC is doing. Debuts are kinda risky. Like, if I see Haven Kimmel (I am waiting. I am standing on tiptoe, peering at the Kimmel horizon, trying to see if anything is preparing to rise.) or Tom Franklin or Laura Lippman or Carolyn Parkhurst or Lee Child has a new book out…no brainer. I buy it and I read it, because their books always interest me and entertain me.

But debuts? You just do not know. And maybe this is why I have a soft spot for them. Last year I read a couple that just took me by STORM, truly. Where the Moon Isn’t. Where’d You Go, Bernadette. I LOVED them, and they were so FRESH to me, and I can’t wait to see what these writers do next.

I read HOTEL NEW HAMPSHIRE first, of all John Irvings, and even though I came to love Owen Meany most and adored Cider House Rules and Son of the Circus and A Widow for One Year and so on, he could never again surprise me with bears. He could never again take me by storm, because I KNEW him.

Very often, when I meet readers, their favorite book of mine is the first one they read. Not always. But often.

And then, too, there is the thing where you get a debut and you just HATE it and you toss it across the room and then apologize to the room for lobbing such CRAP at it, and you think WHY DID I BUY
THIS? I COULD HAVE GOTTEN SOMETHING I KNEW I WOULD LIKE. And then you go buy the new Wiley Cash and say, OH THANK GOD, I KNEW THIS WOULD BE GOOD.

But Wiley Cash is mortal. He could get eaten by a tiger on his VERY next zoo visit. Or he could decide he hates writing and go try to be a professional snow boarder. (Haven? Haven Kimmel? ARE YOU SNOW BOARDING? Or are you WRITING? Secretly? I am waiting. I am waiting for you.) SO you have to keep risking the debuts to find your next delightful thing.

Then I got asked to curate this thing, and I did it, and this is a neat idea. Because it is JUST debuts. And it is free. So you can browse risk free, and SEE what is delicious to you, and then try THAT one. It is like bookstore browsing, but ONLY new voices. And then if one or two make your heart pound with hope and hunger, you can go to your local indie and get THAT one, and then, should the tiger get Wiley after all, you are still covered.

Go be taken by storm.

Meanwhile it is hard to BLOG MORE this week because the book is GOING. It has elephant gods in it, and deaf cats, murder. ALSO I am snowed in, AGAIN, and the house is full of children. Yesterday we baked cookies, and I ate ninety cookies.

What’s the last debut that made you hope the writer would have a long, artistically fruitful, tigerless life span?

22 comments to Burnyng Bryte

  • The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt. We must protect him from the tigers, for sure.

  • Casey

    The first Flavia de Luce novel. OH wait, no, The Guernsey Potato Peel Literary Pie Thingy! That title may not be *quite* right but I’m certain you know the book.

    You said ‘pick one’. ONE BOOK. huh. cannot compute the number ONE with the word BOOK.

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  • Brigitte

    I loved Hugh Howie’s “Wool” series, but while his stuff is hard to find in physical-copy form, I guess it wasn’t technically his debut . .

  • Shelley

    Gods of Alabama of course. Also The Wrong Mother by Sophie Hannah, Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen, The Informationist by Taylor Stevens, and many many more.

  • Jenny Milchman’s COVER OF SNOW, last year. Beautifully, terrifyingly real. And for something more supernatural, this year’s Jennifer McMahon’s THE WINTER PEOPLE. Stunning, both of them.

    I love debuts, and in my job, I get to see a lot of them. Chevy Stevens, Jussi Adler-Olsen, Urban Waite, and the ever-lovely Joshilyn Jackson, all have blown me away with their first novels. I love my job!

  • Jill

    The Orchardist- amazing read!!

  • AndreaJ

    John Hart, “The King of Lies”

  • Jennifer

    Glad you shouted out (out-shouted?) WYG Bernadette. Terrific book. Besides that, the LAST debut novel that took me by storm was The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach. The last debut book that took me by storm was Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosch, which is taken from her blog, and contains (a) the BEST explanation of depression from the inside and (b) several pieces that were so funny I actually had to walk away from the book because I could no longer see because I laughed so hard (yes, it is dangerous to walk while vision-impaired by laughter, but better than dying of laughter or missing a line of the book because one’s eyes are too laughter-tear-blurred). And I also really loved Lydia Netzer’s Shine, Shine, Shine, and want to thank you for effecting the introduction.

  • Neal (the Viking)

    Savvy by Ingrid Law for me. We were so startled to find this YA book, and enjoyed its mix of reality, American tall tale, and a little bit of magic (kind of like her website says). Its follow-up, Scumble, wasn’t quite as good, but we liked it as well.

  • Broken for You (Stephanie Kallos) . . . The Help (Kathryn Stockett) . . . I love reading a great debut novel!

  • gilli Anna

    The Thirteenth Tale by Dianne Setterfield. Especially as an audio. Ditto for Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos.

  • Hope it’s sent to my email from now on. I read too many to always remember to go and list my recently read. But love this blog. Gods in Alabama one of my all time favorites!!

  • Loved IF YOU FIND ME by Emily Murdoch – I’ve lost track of how many people I’ve recommended it to and/or bought it for.

    And NOT A DROP TO DRINK by Mindy McGinnis has a heroine that rivals Katniss Everdeen.

  • Melissa

    Funny, I read Grown Up Kind of Pretty first, out of your collection, and it’s my favorite. Than I read all your books newest to oldest and my second favorite is Gods in AL. I LOVED the main characters of Grown Up Kind of Pretty (and the Duckins–I swear I know the real life Duckins) and I LOVED the main character in Gods in AL. Those characters all felt so REAL!

    As far a debut, I’m reading Sex & Violence right now, by Carrie Mesrobian, and although I hate the title I keep thinking–wow! Can’t believe this is her first book.

  • Melissa

    Cool–just downloaded New Voices in FIction from Amazon. Thanks!

  • Michelle-who-is-Shelley

    I would have to say WYG Bernadette too. Also The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick. And his second for-adults novel just came out. Yay!

  • Lucy Kaye

    The Secret History by Donna Tartt blew me away. And, not to be all brown nosey, but I did love gods in Alabama.

  • I adore Haven and just Googled her the other day. It has been too, too long since we have heard from her. Which is my fear for all my favorite authors. That the mean and unfeeling publishing world will chew them up and spat them out, putting an end to the loveliness of their public words. Haven Kimmel, Lauren Winner, Katrina Kittle…all authors that I watch for on the horizon, hoping they are still writing words for us.

  • Susan M Taylor

    The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss–best fantasy debut EVER! Really, go out and read it–you will love it! Then you can read the 2nd. Then you can join me and millions of others awaiting the 3rd in the trilogy………

  • The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffeneger. Loved. Took me completely by surprise.

    Some YA–The Penderwicks, Jeanne Birdsall (which even my SON loved even though it’s about a bunch of sisters), The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, Jaqueline Kelly (who is NOT from Texas but gets it), and How to Train Your Dragon, Cressida Cowell. (I know. . .I know. . .but the How to Train your Dragon series is seriously good read aloud stuff and SO MANY wisdoms in it.)

  • Dotty

    We just got power back last night. Hooray Georgia Power. Two writers no one has mentioned yet are Sarah Addison Allen’s The Girl Who Chased the Moon and Sara J. Henry’s Learning to Swim. I have reread Learning to Swim several times and have bookmarked favorite passages. Don’t make me choose my favorite of your books. Mostly it’s Between, Georgia and SELS.