January 1, 2013

January 1, 2013

Books of the Week:

  • Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
  • The Trouble With Fate, Leigh Evans
  • The Dirty Streets of Heaven, Tad Williams

You know how you can get your back up about books that just sell and sell and sell? How you kind of build up a negative attitude about them? Especially when the book comes out on top of all the lists there are?


And then you read the book and it’s great and you feel like an idiot.


Okay, I was that way about Gone Girl. It made nearly every single “best of” list for 2012. As some of you may recall, I am extra sensitive about best-of and worst-of lists after a painful incident with Entertainment Weekly at the end of 2011.


Gone Girl deserves every good thing said about it. It’s a brilliant book, with twists and turns and revelations and catastrophes, and it’s the most precise dissection of a marriage I’ve ever seen. Then there’s the breathless did-he-or-did-she? question. I’m not going to give you a blow-by-blow of the plot, because it’s just too rich, but it’s a whodunit on many levels.


Our own Leigh Evans has published her first book. I feel like a godmother, since Leigh has been so generous about giving me so much credit about spurring her creativity. But of course, Leigh herself wrote this book, and I read it with considerable suspense. The Trouble with


Fate, as so many of you already know, is an excellent book. I know that Leigh was perturbed that one reviewer termed it dark fantasy, but I would not say that was an inaccurate statement. Hedi, the half-were half-fae thieving heroine, experiences terrible things along the way, though she lives to see the end of the book and is set up to fight another day. But the course of Hedi’s true love hardly runs smooth, and the attractively battered Robson Trowbridge may or may not make it back to her. I can hardly wait to find out.


The Dirty Streets of Heaven, by acclaimed science fiction writer Tad Williams, is a hunk of urban fantasy in which angels walk the streets of earth waiting to be given their assignments to advocate for souls which may go to either heaven or hell or purgatory. The angel protagonist, Bobby Dollar, is not a typical angelic recruit (of course), but he is genuinely concerned when a soul simply vanishes. The plot becomes increasingly complicated and Bobby’s woes multiply in an exponential fashion. There are some genuinely touching moments in this book, and if you’ve ever had the pleasure of reading a Williams book, you’ll want to put this one on your TBR pile.


I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, because inevitably I end up disappointing myself. For those of you who actually do take off that twenty pounds, learn Russian, and take up pole dancing, my hat is off. You are made of sterner stuff than I am.


Since I can’t up to the disillusionment of making promises I don’t keep, I try to make New Year’s Wishes instead.


On second thought, I’ll call them “hopes.”


And here they are! My hopes for 2013!

  • I hope for many good books to read.
  • I hope that I will find the time and/or courage to do something I’ve never done before. That is pretty likely to happen, since I get surprising requests at least twice a year.
  • I hope that I will be kind to people, both in my thoughts and in my actions.
  • I hope that I will not speak in anger, until I’ve considered the situation. I have a terrible habit of discovering I am WRONG when I blurt something out in anger.
  • I hope that all my writer friends sell heaping amounts of books.


After that, I get into more personal hopes, centering around the health of my family and friends. But you get the idea.


I would love to hope for (and I do hope for) an instant economic turnaround, world peace, plenty of clean water, and a cure for AIDS; oh, and legal marriage in every state for people who love each other, and an end to war. But I think my actual list is somewhat more doable.


What’s your most passionate hope for the New Year?


Charlaine Harris