Tag Archives: Chigozie Obioma

Books I didn’t read in 2015

I get overwhelmed by how many books, good books, there are to read. There are just not enough hours in the day to read them all. Today I will write about some of the debut novels published in 2015 that I didn’t get to yet.

Garth Risk Hallberg’s, City on Fire is the debut that got the most attention in 2015. However many of the stories focus more on his enormous advance (2 million dollars) than the book itself. The book was included in a round up by The New Republic about 2015 books with mixed reviews, which also included Bill Clegg’s debut novel, Did You Ever Have a Family. I am intrigued by Hallberg’s story, set in NYC in the 70s, but a little daunted by the length, over 900 pages! And Clegg’s book, a story of a family loss, also looks moving.

And Paula Hawkins’ debut Girl on the Train, coined this year’s Gone Girl, continues to do quite well as one of the few debuts on the bestseller list. For those of you who like thrillers, it is meant to be a good read, but this book is getting enough attention that I might not review it.

Some books I hope to read are:

The Fishermen, by Chigozie Obioma is a story of four Nigerian brothers and how an encounter with a madman changes their lives. This book was shortlisted for the Booker and other prizes.

The Turner House, by Angela Flournoy is a story of an African American family in Detroit. Flournoy was a finalist for the Center for Fiction’s Debut Book Prize for this book.

Gonzo Girl, by Cheryl Della Pietra is a fictionalized account of her years working as an assistant to Hunter S Thompson. Should be a fun read!

And The Ambassadors, by George Lerner is set in Africa and New York and explores a family with a father who does expat work, traveling regularly to Africa and how that impacts his son and wife.

To a great year of reading in 2016! More reviews to come later this month.

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Guardian First Book Award

When I first started this blog, I looked to the Guardian First Book Award list for books to read and write about. Like the Center for Fiction First Novel prize list, this award often singles out books that I have really enjoyed and notices books off the beaten path, widening the readership of an array of new authors. I continue to value their choices.

This year’s long list is out and it includes a quirky Irish novel that was nominated by their readers: Sara Baume’s, Spill Simmer Falter Wither, which is about the relationship between an older man and his rescue dog. The book was published by a small press in Ireland. I find it remarkable, and exciting, that this book has developed such a following that enough readers voted for it, and wonder if a title published by a small press in the US could build a similarly enthusiastic popular following.

The long list contains a combination of first novels, a short story collection and books of non-fiction, with many titles being published by small presses. It includes, Nell Zink, who is getting a lot of press for her debut, The Wallcreeper, and Chigozie Obioma whose book, The Fishermen, has also been nominated for a Booker Prize.

Check out the list…which books stand out to you?

Next up I review Disgruntled by Asali Solomon.

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