Tag Archives: Matthew Thomas

Debuts out in Paperback


I often wrestle with when to review a book…when it first comes out, and there is a lot of hype about the title, but it is only available in hardback or via e-book, or later after it comes out in paperback, but when it is no longer being actively reviewed by others.

I know some of you read on Kindle, so for you the price (and weight) of a book is always the same. But if you read a paper book there is a difference between buying a hardback and a paperback. And I’m curious, for paper book readers, do you wait for new releases to come out in paper before you buy them? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

And if you are interested in the history of the hardback – paperback release tradition, I found this article in the Economist.

Debuts from 2014 are coming out in paperback this summer. The paperback release is a second coming for a book, and for those of you in NYC, Julia Fierro is having a party at BookCourt for the paperback release of Cutting Teeth tomorrow night, July 7th. Cutting Teeth is a comical book about a group of parents who go on a long weekend together with their kids. The group will never be the same.

Other debuts out now (or soon) in paper:

Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng, one of my favorite reads of last year, and made it to the NYT bestseller list.

Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson, one of my favorite reads of this year, will be out in paperback in mid-August. This book also just won a medal of recognition from the American Library Association.

The Miniaturist, by Jessie Burton. I didn’t review this one, but it was well received last year. It is set in the 17th century and is about a woman who gets a miniature replica of her home as a wedding gift and real-life dramas get played out in miniature form.

We Are Not Ourselves, by Matthew Thomas. I also did not review this one yet, mainly because of the heft. At over 600 pages, I was daunted when I picked up the hardcover in the bookstores, but now that it is out in paper it feels more accessible. And it has also been well received. It tells the story of an Irish-American family in post-WWII Queens.

To paperbacks in the summer!

Photo credit: By Frank H. Nowell (California Building), via Wikimedia Commons


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Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize–2014 Short List

The Center for Fiction announced the short list for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize. They tend to recognize unique debuts, and I have found they often select books that address social issues. One of the books, The Enchanted, by Rene Denfeld, I will be reviewing later this fall. It is a moving and fairytale-esque book about a man on death row and the mitigation specialist and priest who work in his prison.

A couple of the books on the list, Fourth of July Creek, by Smith Henderson and We Are Not Ourselves, by Matthew Thomas have gotten widely reviewed and Thomas’s book has already made it on to the NYTs hardback list.

Two other titles that stood out to me are:

The Great Glass Sea, by Josh Weil is a story of two brothers who live and work in a futuristic Russian town that is covered in glass, as if it were an enormous greenhouse. When they come in contact with the owner of their town their relationship is challenged in a way it has never been before.

Land of Love and Drowning, by Tiphanie Yanique is a multi-genearational family story set in the Virgin Islands. Told in alternating voices the book tells the story of both the family and the islands where they live.

The winner of the prize will be announced at an event in early December. They have a nice tradition of having the previous year’s winner present the award to the new winner. The event also includes readings from all of the short-listed books.



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