While we just wrapped our best of 2010 kids and adult packages—congrats again to all the wonderful folks out there who produced such awesome books—we asked some of our best of 2010 authors to fill us in on what they’re most looking forward to in 2011. Enjoy and get to reading.
Paul Doiron: “One book I’m really looking forward to in 2011 is the English translation of Henning Mankell’s The Troubled Man (Knopf, March 29). I can't think of a character in contemporary crime fiction that feels as real to me as Kurt Wallander. I’ve read reviews that criticize the way Mankell chronicles the mundane details of Wallander’s day-to-day existence—all those rumpled shirts and take-away hamburgers—but I’m more captivated by the prosaic quality of these books than I am by the political issues at their centers. Because we identify so closely with Wallander, we share his shock and moral repulsion at the horrific crimes he investigates. Mankell’s achievement is that he takes us inside the lived experience of another human being who just happens to be a police detective. He makes us believe in Wallander’s reality.” Doiron made our Best Mysteries of 2010 list with The Poacher’s Son. His next book, Trespasser, is out June 21 on Minotaur Books.
David Shields: “The forthcoming book that I am most excited about is Sarah Manguso’s The Guardians (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, date TBD). I’ve been reading a lot of Emily Dickinson of late, and The Guardians feels to me not only extremely congruent with her work, but also easily able to exist side-by-side with it and not blush. It’s my new favorite book of Manguso’s and her best in my view. The depth of feeling and thought is extraordinary. It’s briefing for a descent into hell. The book goes to hell and back, just barely back, and ends with a tiny glimmer of uptick—not too much, but not too little either. It’s the only affirmation that anyone can offer—astonishingly, we’re here.” David Shields made our Best Nonfiction of 2010 list with Reality Hunger: A Manifesto.
Jennifer Egan: “I'm very intrigued by Asti Hustvedt’s Medical Muses: Hysteria in Nineteenth-Century Paris (Norton, May 23)…I believe she will be looking at the nexus of 19th-century hysteria and fame with more modern disorders like anorexia and bulimia. It sounds fascinating—a scholarly approach to some very mainstream contemporary phenomena.” Jennifer Egan made our Best Fiction of 2010 list with A Visit From the Good Squad.
Kids & Teens
Friends: True Stories of Extraordinary Animal Friendships by Catherine Thimmesh (Houghton Mifflin, May 23; Lucy Long Ago): “Thimmesh is an extraordinary nonfiction writer, and I’ve savored every one of her books. This one promises great things—animals, friendship and fabulous stories.”
Emma Dilemma: Big Sister Poems by Kristine O’Connell George, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter (Clarion, Feb. 22): “I am a tremendous fan of O’Connell George’s, and I love the premise of this book: the ‘dilemma’ of having a younger sibling. I’m sure the poet will handle this with her usual child-centered wit and gentle wisdom.” Sidman made our Best Children’s & YA Books of 2010 with Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors.
Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker (Bloomsbury USA, July 19): “Extreme religion? Small towns? SINNING? Playing my song, baby!”
Rotters by Daniel Kraus (Delacorte, April 5; The Monster Variations): “One word: HORROR. Another word: PSYCHOLOGICAL. Put ’em together and what do you get? One of my favorite genres in the world. Plus, Scott Westerfeld says it’s fab, and when Scott talks, I listen. Well, usually. Well...sometimes. Well...in this case, at least!”
Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski (HarperTeen, June 21; Gimme a Call): “Why? Because Sarah rocks, and ALWAYS makes me laugh, and because she has promised me that this book is S-E-X-Y sexy!”
Pearl by Jo Knowles (Henry Holt, July 19; Jumping Off Swings): “Why? Because it’s by Jo Knowles, and Jo Knowles is wise, kind, brilliant and amazing. I don’t even know what Pearl is about—just that IT’S BY JO KNOWLES, and that’s all the enticement I need.”
Myracle made our Best Children’s & YA Books of 2010 with Violet in Bloom.
A Butterfly Is Patient by Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrated by Sylvia Long (Chronicle, May 18): “If anything can match the beauty of their first two books (An Egg Is Quiet, A Seed Is Sleepy), it would have to be a third collaboration by these two.”
The Unforgettable Season: Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and the Record-Setting Summer of 1941 by Phil Bildner, illustrated by S.D. Schindler (Putnam, March 3): “Two things have recently revived my inner 8-year-old baseball fan: The Texas Rangers (finally!) making it to the World Series, and anticipation of this book speaking to my love of statistics, history and the American League.”
When Bob Met Woody: The Story of the Young Bob Dylan by Gary Golio, illustrated by Marc Burckhardt (Little, Brown, May 3; Jimi: Sounds like a Rainbow: A Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix): “I’m in awe of what Golio (with illustrator Javaka Steptoe) accomplished with his Jimi Hendrix picture book last year, and I’m just as enthusiastic about his take on Dylan and Guthrie.”
Sass & Serendipity by Jennifer Ziegler (Delacorte, July 12): “Had I been on the fence about wanting to read this one (which I wasn’t, not by a long shot), the terrific cover [Ed note: official cover not available yet]—those crossed ankles!—would have sealed the deal.”
Chris Barton made our Best Children’s & YA Books of 2010 with Shark vs. Train.
The Popularity Papers: The Long-Distance Dispatch Between Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang by Amy Ignatow (Amulet, March 1): “The follow-up to one of my 2010 favorites.”
Astronaut Academy: Zero Gravity by Dave Roman (First Second, June 7): “Imagine if Hello Kitty were a hilarious space opera…”
Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol (First Second, June 7): “Creepy but also cute!”
Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke (First Second, Feb. 1): “An exciting outer-space adventure story, with adorable aliens.”Mal and Chad: The The Biggest, Bestest Time Ever! by Stephen McCranie (Philomel, May 12): “A little bit Calvin and Hobbes, if Calvin was had a slightly better attitude.”
Raina Telgemeier made our Best Children’s & YA Books of 2010 with Smile.