Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Most Anticipated Fall Reads

Fall is traditionally the time of year when prestigious awards like the Man Booker and National Book Awards are handed out, but the autumn season will have several worthwhile reads to add to the ever-expanding To Be Read list. Here are five to watch for that are on my TBR roster.

Perfidia by James Ellroy (Knopf, Sept. 9)
Ellroy, the mastermind behind the L.A. Quartet (The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, White Jazz) is starting a second L.A. Quartet beginning with Perfidia, set in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor. When a Japanese family is found dead, the investigation brings together historical figures (LAPD Chief William Parker) and figures of fiction in a sprawling crime epic that weaves in war, romance, Japanese internment and a whodunit. I've always enjoyed the era of the 1940's from the Art Deco architecture to the swing music to the clothing styles of the era. Growing up in Los Angeles, two of my favorite buildings in the city are Union Station and City Hall, both Art Deco icons. I'm really looking forward to this one.

The Malaria Project: The U.S. Government's Secret Mission to Find a Miracle Cure by Karen Masterson (NAL, Oct. 7)
Like an investigative journalist, Masterson traces desperate efforts during World War II to cure malaria. As thousands of troops were getting infected by the disease, researchers Stateside used a variety of methods, some very questionable, to find a cure. Strangely, the very people U.S. troops were fighting had the answer: chloroquine. 

Scribe: My Life in Sports by Bob Ryan (Bloomsbury, Oct. 7)
A frequent fixture on ESPN's "Around the Horn," "The Sports Reporters" and a Boston mainstay for decades, Bob Ryan has been called by fellow writer Tony Kornheiser "the quintessential sportswriter." Argumentative and opinionated, but well-spoken, especially on the NBA and the Boston Celtics, Ryan is a well-regarded figure in his industry and I'll be looking forward to reading his tales of the Celtics at their height and other Boston teams as well. Here's a sample of Bob Ryan answering questions about his career:

Sleep in Peace Tonight by James MacManus (Thomas Dunne, Oct. 7)
An adviser to Franklin Roosevelt is sent to London during the Blitz in this story about America's isolationist tendencies prior to Pearl Harbor. Before that horrendous day in Hawaii, the country largely felt the conflict that would become known as World War II was Europe's problem. However, several of America's ambassadors and foreign diplomats were urging the White House to get involved. The novel highlights some of that tension while introducing a British intelligence agent and legendary reporter Edward R. Murrow. Of the books on my Goodreads TBR list, Sleep in Peace Tonight is the highest rated (as of this writing).

Mermaids in Paradise by Lydia Millet (Norton, Nov. 3)
A satirical look at the wackiest Caribbean honeymoon ever written on paper, Millet's novel follows two newlyweds who bump into a marine biologist who claims mermaids have been on a local reef. Once the sirens are discovered, it's a race to protect them from the resort's owner, who wants to turn the area into a theme park. Despite being two months away from it's publication date, the book has already garnered plenty of buzz from the literary world.

What new books are you looking forward to this fall?

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