Book Expo America is next week in New York and I am not going. But, that’s okay – I discovered a great way to experience some of the new fall fiction without having to buy a plane ticket or hotel room. Through Netgalley I downloaded a copy of BEA Buzz Books. This little gem, produced by Publisher’s Lunch, is full of excerpts from fall’s hottest and most anticipated titles. Most of the snippets are a couple of chapters long and allow you to get a flavor of the novel in just a few pages.  Below are descriptions of the excerpts I’ve read so far:

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller – “Hig survived the flu that killed everyone he knows. His wife is gone, his friends are dead, he lives in the hangar of a small abandoned airport with his dog, his only neighbor a gun-toting misanthrope. In his 1956 Cessna, Hig flies the perimeter of the airfield or sneaks off to the mountains to fish and pretend that things are the way they used to be. But when a random transmission somehow beams through his radio, the voice ignites a hope deep inside him that a better life—something like his old life—exists beyond the airport. ”

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. StedmanAfter four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.”

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks – “Imaginary friend Budo narrates this heartwarming story of love, loyalty, and the power of the imagination—the perfect read for anyone who has ever had a friend . . . real or otherwise. Budo is lucky as imaginary friends go. He’s been alive for more than five years, which is positively ancient in the world of imaginary friends. But Budo feels his age, and thinks constantly of the day when eight-year-old Max Delaney will stop believing in him. When that happens, Budo will disappear.”

The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin – “At the turn of the twentieth century in a rurual stretch of the Pacific Northwest, a reclusive orchardist, Talmadge, tend to apricots and apples as if they were loved ones. A gentle man, he’s found solace in the sweetness of the fruit he grows and the quiet, beating heart of the land he cultivates. One day, two teenage girls appear and steal his fruit from the market and later return to the outskirts of his orchard to see the man who gave them no chase. Feral, scared, and very pregnant, the girls take up residence on Talmadge’s land and indulge in his deep reservoir of compassion.”

The People of Forever are not Afraid by Shani Boianjiu – “Shani Boianjiu’s stunning debut gives us a world where girls in the Israeli Defense Forces wait, endlessly–for womanhood, orders, war, peace. Yael trains marksmen and flirts with boys. Avishag stands guard, watching refugees throw themselves at barbed-wire fences. Lea, posted at a checkpoint, imagines stories behind the familiar faces that pass by her day after day. They gossip about boys and whisper of an ever more violent world just beyond view. They drill, constantly, for a moment that may never come. They live inside that single, intense second just before danger erupts. And they find that their dreams have stranger repercussions than they have been trained to imagine.”

This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz – “The stories in This Is How You Lose Her, by turns hilarious and devastating, raucous and tender, lay bare the infinite longing and inevitable weaknesses of our all-too-human hearts. They capture the heat of new passion, the recklessness with which we betray what we most treasure, and the torture we go through – “the begging, the crawling over glass, the crying” – to try to mend what we’ve broken beyond repair.”

We Sinners by Hanna Pylvainen – “The Rovaniemis and their nine children belong to a deeply traditional church (no drinking, no dancing, no TV) in modern-day Michigan. A normal family in many ways, the Rovaniemis struggle with sibling rivalry, parental expectations, and forming their own unique identities in such a large family. But when two of the children venture from the faith, the family fragments and a haunting question emerges: Do we believe for ourselves, or for each other?”

Do any of these titles sound enticing to you? I really enjoyed reading each of the excerpts, but my favorites were The Orchardist and The Light Between Oceans. Were there any that I probably won’t read? Yes, This is How You Lose Her was much too sexually crude and full of expletives for my liking, though I can see why Diaz has his fans.

I have many more of the little morsels from this compilation to read and I will do another post when I finish those. If you’d like to download this for yourself it is available through Netgalley or directly from Amazon if you have a Kindle.

7 Comments

  1. Our libraries have The Light Between the Oceans on order, and I’m the first in the line for it. I’ve read a couple of blog reviews that really intrigued me. I agree with you about Junot Diaz, I’ve read some of his shorter fiction in magazines.

  2. This was to be my year of reading classics and reading from my own shelves, but there have been so many great new books out there that I have been distracted. You must read ‘The Light between Oceans’ – I loved it and I am sure you will too.

    • I’ve been really pleased with the new books I’ve read this year – they’ve distracted me from the classics, too! I can’t wait to read The Light Between Oceans – it sounds wonderful.

  3. Thanks for the preview. I will look into some of these. Have a great weekend!

  4. The Orchadist sounds good. Didn’t know that word existed!

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