Year in Reading

An Emerging Best of List

By posted at 11:53 am on November 28, 2004 0

When I posted the CS Monitor “best of” list the other day, I mentioned how it seemed that this year there weren’t many young, exciting writers grabbing headlines from the established old guard. Dan Wickett, proprietor of The Emerging Writers Network left a comment recommending several young writers who deserve to be on some of these “best of” lists. He also sent me an email with even more titles. They seem like a good bunch of books to explore, so I thought I’d reprint them here:

Dog on the Cross by Aaron Gwyn – excellent short story collection from Algonquin. He’s currently finishing up debut novel about a tattoo removal artist.

Another Perfect CatastropheBrad Barkley – another excellent short story collection, his second to go with two novels.

The Book of Ralph (excerpt) – John McNally – a very good novel. When Mitch Albom was choosing a book for The Today Show book club, he announced this was a close second (He chose Andrew Sean Greer’s novel).

Under Cottonwoods (excerpt) by Stephen Grace – an excellent debut novel put out by Lyons Press.

Poe & Fanny (FAQs) by John May – another Algonquin effort – May’s debut about the year that Poe wrote “The Raven.” Excellent.

D.B. (excerpt) by Elwood Reid – his third novel, but he’s still under 40 years old.

Prisoners of War (excerpt) by Steve Yarbrough. An author who should be considered one of the old guard – he writes rings around most of them. His other two novels and three short story collections were excellent but this was really top notch.

Plain Heathen Mischief (excerpt) by Martin Clark. This southern judge pens his second exciting literary thriller of sorts.

American Desert by Percival Everett. With only his 15th novel (to go with two short story collections and the other novel he co-wrote and published this year and a children’s storybook) Everett finally seems to be garnering both critical notice, and getting more than one copy of his latest book to be carried by the Detroit area Borders and Barnes and Nobles.

Welcome to the Fallen Paradise by Dayne Sherman. Published towards the end of the year by MacAdam/Cage. His debut – reminiscent of the novels of Tom Franklin or William Gay.

About Grace (excerpt) by Anthony Doerr. The debut novel by the author of The Shell Collector, which won about every literary award it was up for two years ago and is still spawning O’Henry Award winners.

The Green Age Of Asher Witherow by M. Allen Cunningham. This 26 year old’s debut began its life as the number one choice of Booksense 76. Not bad. It was deserved.

Animal Crackers (excerpt) by Hannah Tinti – This short story collection by the editor of One Story won well deserved rave reviews in many, many papers. She’s also sold her debut novel to be published some time in the next year or so.

Non-Fiction:

Another Bullshit Night in Suck City by Nick Flynn. The advance news on this was so high that they ran out of galleys. It’s received nothing but rave reviews since. As well as Flynn writes poetry, this memoir might just top it.

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