I'm waiting for a book. It should be arriving in the mail today or tomorrow. That's not that unusual; although I don't have much of a history of shopping online, since I left the bookstore I've been doing a not-insignificant portion of my book shopping on the interweb. What is unusual is the heady anticipation I'm feeling about getting this particular book in my hands. I always look forward to the arrival of any book I've ordered, even if it's something that I've ordered for Pete rather than for myself. No, this is more than just excitement about getting a package. This is about buzz.
After just a few years in the book business I grew inured to pre-publication buzz, always taking it with more than just a grain of salt (at least as far as my own interest, as a reader, in a title was concerned). In fact, I have to think back to the releases of the last four Harry Potter books to remember a time when I was practically twitchy waiting for the release of a book, and that was purely because I loved both reading the books and being in contact with so many people excited about the same thing. I was eager for the release of Inherent Vice last year, although my eagerness was tempered by the extreme disappointment of Against the Day, after my own personal build-up for that one. And I turned out to be more than pleasantly surprised by Pynchon's latest (not to mention by the incredible book trailer, one of my first indications that these might be an exciting new development in the book promoting business).
But I'd have to go back to the late 80s and early 90s and my attempts to chase down
copies of The Satanic Verses (1988) and Diane Middlebrook's controversial biography of
Anne Sexton (1991)--each difficult to get hold of, albeit for very different reasons--to
match the eagerness and excited anticipation I'm feeling right now, at this very moment.
(And, I'm happy to recall, both of those fulfilled expectations when I finally got a copy in
my hands.) Today I'm waiting for The Passage, by Justin Cronin, which is being buzzed
about, and not just by Cronin's publisher, as one of the must-reads of the summer (it
comes out tomorrow). The reviews have been great so far, and it's one of my favorite
genres, the post-apocalyptic thriller (I believe there may be vampires involved, too, but
I'm not letting that deter my delight; after all, the great I Am Legend is about
A little earlier this year I read Sleepless by Charlie Huston, one of the most exciting
contributions to the genre--and on the literary side, to boot--in years. And I just finished
rereading Swan Song by Robert McCammon as an appetizer; although the book is a little
dated (the cold war being long over and the possibility of bilateral superpower nuclear
war seems but an awful nightmare we once all shared) still, it's a powerful and compelling
story nonetheless. I am so ready for this book.
Oops, gotta run--I think I hear the UPS truck outside...
1 month ago