Debuts, Memoirs Hot on GalleyChat

Yesterday’s GalleyChat was like readers advisory for readers advisers and raised several titles to the top of participants’ TBR piles.


Among the debut novels, The Tiger’s Wife, by Téa Obreht, won a prediction that it will be one of the biggest books of the year. At 25, Obreht’s the youngest of the New Yorker’s 20 Under 40 fiction writers, as well as the National Book Foundation’s 5 under 35 (selected by no less than Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin). The Village Voice said what many of us were thinking when they called her the “Best New York Writer Young Enough to Make You Slit Your Wrists.”

All of that acclaim arrived months before her first book, coming in March (a chapter was published in The New Yorker in 2009 and another story, “Blue Water Djinn” in Aug — subscription required for both).

The Tiger’s Wife: A Novel
Tea Obreht
Retail Price: $25.00
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Random House – (2011-03-08)
ISBN / EAN: 0385343833 / 9780385343831

Another debut getting several nods is So Much Pretty, which also comes with a rave from Booklist, and an unlikely comparison, “A mixture of The Lovely Bones and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”

So Much Pretty: A Novel
Cara Hoffman
Retail Price: $25.00
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster – (2011-03-15)
ISBN / EAN: 1451616759 / 9781451616750

The debut psychological thriller, Before I Go To Sleep, is about a woman who has lost her memory. The husband she wakes up with each morning is thus a perplexing stranger, as is the face in the mirror. One GalleyChatter warns, “you’ll never see the end coming!” Be sure to check out HarperCollins Director of Library Marketing, Virginia Stanley, presenting it at the HarperCollins Spring Summer Buzz session.


Before I Go To Sleep: A Novel
S. J. Watson
Retail Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2011-06-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0062060554 / 9780062060556


Several memoirs were mentioned (it’s probably the sheer number of memoirs that brought about Sunday’s rant about “oversharing” in the NYT BR).

My own favorite is Andre Dubus’s Townie. After his riveting speech at Midwinter (he managed to make you feel that he was not only talking directly to you, but he was actually flirting with you), I knew Townie would be my plane reading. Not only did it live up to my heightened expectations, but it made a cross-country flight in a middle seat almost bearable.

Given the current fascination with both memoirs and  chefs, it’s no surprise that there are several chef memoirs on the horizon.

Grant Achatz, writes about founding Alinea and overcoming tongue cancer in Life, on the Line. (Gotham/Penguin, March)

Season to Taste by Molly Birnbaum (also featured in HarperCollins Book Buzz) is by an aspiring chef who loses her sense of smell (Ecco, June).

Blood, Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef, by Gabrielle Hamilton (RH, March);  one  GalleyChat participant called it  “amazing” and a book she is still talking about. It also arrives with stellar prepub reviews (Booklist, “lusty, rollicking, engaging-from-page-one memoir”).

Please join us for the next GalleyChat on Tuesday, March 1, 4 to 5 p.m., Eastern (details here).


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