The Great Book Anticipation of 2011

I had just read about this new book coming out and immediately ordered it from the library. An email a few days later told me that The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore was already waiting for me at the circulation desk. The librarian handed over the 575-page tome, and without a hint or irony, said, “Due back in two weeks.” Right.

The novel is narrated in first-person by Bruno, a chimp who acquires language and explores what it means to be human. Also, there is chimp-human sex. I just thought you should know.

I discovered this hefty little gem by Benjamin Hale on this drool-worthy list of the most anticipated book preview of 2011. If there’s anything bibliophiles love more than reading, it’s squirreling away a stack of books like acorns for the coming year. And if you live in New England where it continues to snow, you need some meaty books for the winter.

Karen Russell’s writing is beautiful and I’ve been hoping she’d come out with a novel since her short story collection St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves. Her novel, Swamplandia!, grew from one of those short stories and is about a family that runs an alligator wrestling attraction. Uh-huh.

The New York Times reviewed both books today. Clearly, its reviewers take their cues from my blog.

Oddly, I’m looking forward to a memoir called Fire Season by Philip Connors who served as a fire lookout in New Mexico for years. With all that time to sit there scanning the sky, and presumably having to shout “Fire!” only once in awhile, he’s gotta have some interesting thoughts to share.

A new book by Ann Patchett (Bel Canto, Truth & Beauty) is always something to celebrate, except maybe that last novel, Run, that wasn’t so hot. But if State of Wonder is classic Ann Patchett, all will be forgiven. June, however, is a long time to wait. Fortunately, I have the tale of Bruno the chimp to keep me company.

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