Monday, April 11, 2005

Overbooked - A web site for ravenous readers is a fine site dealing with books. In existence since 1994, it covers much ground in the field, from a reader's perspective.

Maintained by a librarian, it has a variety of features, such as Author Connections - a means for authors to talk to readers. Numerous readers' lists abound.

My favorite section is the Hotlist - which lists almost every book of note coming out this year, with ISBNs, ratings, etc. - an easy way to plan, or look forward to new material.

The best books expected in 2005 - 3 or more stars in the list:

Isabel Allende's "Zorro" - an innovative tale of Zorro, the masked adventurer, from close up.

David B.'s "Epileptic" - One of the best graphic novels ever written, the first translation to English of "L'Ascension du Haut Mal" - a memoir of the artist/author's impressionistic escape from a mad world.

Philip Caputo's "Acts of Faith" - A tale of aid workers in the Sudan by a master chronicler of world affairs.

Umberto Eco's "The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana": A new Umberto Eco is a literary event indeed. This book tells the tale of a book-dealer with an unusual ailment - he suffers from an amnesia of his life and public events, but perfect memory of cultural and literary works - from Star Trek to Moby Dick. To rediscover himself, he returns to his family home to sift through archives of memory and culture.

Glen Duncan's "Death of an Ordinary Man": "Desparate Housewives" for historians - the ghost of a history professor appears at his funeral to hover over his family and watch as their lives unfold post his death, and to unravel the mystery of his death.

David Anthony Durham "Pride Of Carthage": A tale of Hannibal and his march on Rome in the Punic Wars.

Jonathan Safran Foer "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: A quest that searches for a lock, given the key - much like the search for the Question in "HHGTTG" - this is set in an all too real world - post 9/11 New York.

Nicole Krauss "History Of Love": A tale about a Polish refugee in New York and his intersection with another family, and a book, lost for 60 years, now found that inspires many adventures. "He fell in love. It was his life."

Rattawut Lapcharoensap "Sightseeing": A collection of stories set in modern Thailand that blends the old with the new, West with East, and life with love, death and anger.

Ian McEwan's "Saturday": A tale of a world forever changed, of danger, and of tension between science and art. Very topical, very contemporary.

Francine Prose "A Changed Man": An ex-skinhead is taken in by a Holocaust survivor. Can people really change?

Good reading ahead. All we need is a new Rushdie, methinks.

Also at

Zorro : A Novel/Isabel Allende Epileptic/DAVID B. Acts of Faith/PHILIP CAPUTO Death of an Ordinary Man : A Novel/Glen Duncan Pride of Carthage : A Novel of Hannibal/David Anthony Durham The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana/Geoffrey Brock Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close/Jonathan Safran Foer The History of Love: A Novel/Nicole Krauss Saturday/Ian McEwan A Changed Man : A Novel/Francine Prose

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Time traveler, world traveler, book reader