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.
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?