I’ve lost count, but I think this is the fourth year-end giveaway extravaganza… but in a way it is a first because I am not including any of my own books in the trove. Rather, it is a way to share on some advanced copies of books sent to me by the authors, editors, and publicists who answered my pleas for books I was eager to read. Two are by debut authors who seem well poised to take 2012 by storm. Incredibly impressive first novels. The other two are sequels — they stand alone OK but if you want to read the first books, you’ll need to go to the library.
WONDER by R. J. Palacio is about a kid with a facial disfigurement who has led a sheltered life and has to brave public school for the first time when he enters middle school. It’s a unique, special book with a very unusual and memorable hero named Auggie Pullman. I expect Auggie will win many hearts, perhaps even melting a few on awards committees.
NEVERSINK is a brilliant fable about battles among birds which seemed (to me, at least) to be a classic from long ago instead of a new novel. Definitely works on many levels… a Swiftian satire set in the Arctic.
THE FOURTH STALL PART II by my NoDak homey Chris Rylander is, I think, a bit faster paced and enjoyable than the first one, which was plenty fast paced and enjoyable, featuring the grade school equivalent of Tony Soprano, at least professionally. He’s more Sam Spade, for his virtues and his voice. I like the “message” of this one, if Chris will forgive me for implying the caper has one.
WE DINE WITH CANNIBALS by C.A. London is the second installment in this Indiana Jones meets the Baudelaire children series, THE ACCIDENTAL ADVENTURES. London does a good job blending action/adventure with deep knowledge of the places he writes about. Having been to the Amazon (the most amazing place I’ve been on many travels) I was eager for the characters to get there — and was amused that the kids found it “dull, dull, dull,” though London proceeds to give a lovely description before the adventure picks up again.
You can get all four of these plus a holiday card with Byron wearing hats. All you have to do is leave a comment by the stroke of midnight, January 1.