Somewhere under the radar
I shouldn't be telling you this. Now there'll be more of you with whom to share. But it's only fair to alert you that Booklist recently published its list of Top 10 First Novels: 2009.
When rankings like this appear in the journals, I scurry to check our catalog, hoping that we purchased all of the titles. We did. Then, enlightened self-interest kicks in, and I briefly entertain the impulse to go online and place requests for all of them. But I don't. That would be wrong. Instead, I'm tipping off those of you who haven't yet heard about these debut novels or who may have bypassed them on the New Fiction shelf because you didn't recognize the authors.
You'll find thematic variety in this select group--exotic locales, social issues, history, and more. Add to that a guarantee of excellence: the choices were determined by Brad Hooper, editor and top reviewer, who demonstrates both unerring taste and an engaging approach to fiction critique. If book reviewers had groupies; I'd join his following.
I am already basking in the glow of unselfish information sharing. When I get my hands on Grace Hammer (one request is OK) I will also unashamedly savor my role in supporting literary talent in the pre-prize-winning and pre-bestseller stages. It's an experience that Booklist recommends.