Books to watch for in 2009

With the end of the year comes the perpetual rumination on the best of days gone by. Not that there’s anything wrong with that as long as it’s an expertly executed list of the top ten CDs of 2008 by one of your peers or a pithy listing of four books with a central theme. But instead of speculating on what was good in the past, why not take a look to the future for what might be some of the best book releases of the new year? Besides, if you want to look at what was good in ’08 for books, you can always check out some of my previous reviews.

I am nothing if not subtle.

Keep in mind that the dates listed for release are subject to change as releases can be delayed or altered for a number of reasons. And, in case you were wondering, Anthony Bourdain, Douglas Coupland and Chuck Klosterman currently do not have books scheduled for release this year. Although that may matter more to me than it does to you…

Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance – Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!
Paperback to be released on April 15, 2009 by Quirk Books.
If you’re not a fan of Austen’s classics because they lack gore and violence, this might be the book for you. Seth Grahame-Smith, author of How to Survive a Horror Movie, has taken Austen’s original texts and added in all the zombie related awesomeness you can possibly handle.

Stuart Berman with Members of Broken Social Scene, This Book is Broken: A Broken Social Scene Story
Paperback to be released on May 1, 2009 by House of Anansi.
There are sure to be a vast number of music biography releases, as the number seems to increase every year. But Broken Social Scene’s may prove to be one of the more interesting. Told by music critic Stuart Berman, the book chronicles the group’s birth and rise from Canadian indie sensation to international alt-rock stardom.

Chuck Palahniuk, Pygmy
Hardcover to be released on May 5, 2009 by Doubleday Canada.
A true icon of modern literature, the Fight Club-author tells the story of a young adult named Pygmy who is sent by a totalitarian foreign power to infiltrate the American Midwest. While it sounds a bit like an early Simpsons plot, it will undoubtedly be told with that twisted style only Palahniuk can bring.

Yann Martel, A 20th Century Shirt
Hardcover to be released in Spring 2009.
It has been eight years since Yann Martel released his award-winning juggernaut novel Life of Pi. Speculation says this is the year Martel’s next book, A 20th Century Shirt, will be released. It will tell the story of the Holocaust from the perspective of a talking monkey and donkey on a man's dress shirt. It will be accompanied by an essay on the Holocaust under the same name.

Lisa Moore, February
Hardcover to be released on June 1, 2009 by House of Anansi.
Not much has been released regarding Moore’s new book – a fact that is certain to change in the near future – but it will most likely have a strong focus on the Maritimes. Her previous novel, Alligator, won her a Commonwealth Writer’s prize as well as nominations for the Giller Prize and the IMPAC Award.

John Updike, My Father’s Tears and Other Stories
Hardcover to be released on June 2, 2009 by Knopf.
The award-winning, highly-prolific, and recently deceased author will have his new collection of short stories released posthumously. He brings his observational skills to stories of New England, collecting the American experience he witnessed over his nearly 80 years.

Hunter S. Thompson with Jann Wenner ed., Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone: The Essential Hunter S. Thompson
Hardcover to be released on November 1, 2009 by Little Brown & Company.
While Hunter S. Thompson may be a household name today, depending on the kind of house you grew up in, there was a time where the iconoclast was a virtual unknown. He broke through the cultural psyche of the world on the pages of Rolling Stone with seminal pieces of Gonzo Journalism appearing on the earliest of those now-hallowed pages. Hunter’s most recent posthumous release will contain forty of his best Rolling Stone pieces.

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