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Make a date with a new year's book

Enough "best books of 2006" lists.

By COLETTE BANCROFT, Times Staff Writer
Published December 31, 2006


Enough "best books of 2006" lists. We've all seen enough to feel like slackers for not having read most of the books on them.So let's start fresh with a few books to look forward to in 2007.


Tough to narrow this category, but these crime fiction writers stand out from the crowd.

John Lescroart's latest legal thriller focuses on a new central character, lawyer Gina Roake, defending a writer accused of murdering his wife in The Suspect (January).

In The Watchman (February), Los Angeles noir writer Robert Crais writes a tale about his series character Elvis Cole's enigmatic pal, ex-Marine Joe Pike.

Ian Rankin returns to his series about irascible Edinburgh detective John Rebus with The Naming of the Dead (April), set during the 2005 G8 conference.

Baltimore writer Laura Lippman has a nonseries novel about a 20-year-old kidnapping, What the Dead Know (March).

Florida fiction

Tallahassee writer Lu Vickers' debut novel, Breathing Underwater (January), is the coming-of-age story of the daughter of a former beauty queen, set in Chattahoochee in the 1970s.

Tampa writer Enid Shomer will publish her second collection of finely crafted short stories, Tourist Season (March), many of them set in Florida.

South Florida noir writer James W. Hall plunges his series character Thorn into the dark side of Miami's past in Magic City (March).

Comics and graphic novels

Two giant fandoms will converge when Marvel publishes six comics based on Stephen King's Dark Tower series (February-July).

DC Comics is touting Minx, a new line of graphic novels aimed at teen girls and priced under $10. Six are planned for 2007, beginning in May.


Several lions of American fiction will publish new novels this year. In The Castle in the Forest (out in January), Norman Mailer (whose last novel was The Gospel According to the Son in 1997) focuses on the nature of evil by imagining the childhood of Adolf Hitler.

Jim Harrison (True North) takes an elegiac look at one man's death and his family's unexpected reactions to loss in Returning to Earth (January).

And Philip Roth (Everyman) will lay to rest Nathan Zuckerman with his ninth novel about his alter ego, Exit Ghost (October).

On a lighter note, Jane Smiley (Good Faith) turns her satiric eye on Hollywood with the bright, bawdy Ten Days in the Hills (February).

Jonathan Lethem (Fortress of Solitude) moves to Los Angeles as well with You Don't Love Me Yet (March), a romantic farce about an aspiring rock band.

Irish novelist Roddy Doyle's Paula Spencer (January) is a sequel to his acclaimed 1996 book The Woman Who Walked Into Doors.

British novelist Lionel Shriver (We Need to Talk About Kevin) imagines alternative versions of an extramarital flirtation in The Post-Birthday World (March).

It's tough to spot interesting first novels before they're published, but Jon Clinch's Finn (February), a dark novel about Huck's malevolent father in the classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, is getting lots of buzz.


Journalist Laura Sessions Stepp is likely to raise a lot of conversation with Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose at Both (February).

Lee Gutkind takes readers inside the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute in Almost Human: Making Robots Think (March).


The year will be a feast for foodies, starting with Thomas McNamee's Alice Waters and Chez Panisse: The Romantic, Impractical, Often Eccentric, Ultimately Brilliant Making of a Food Revolution (March).

Patrick Kuh gets inside the heads under those toques in A Chef's Story: 27 Chefs Talk About What Got Them Into the Kitchen (April).

And bestselling novelist Barbara Kingsolver writes, with her daughter Camille Kingsolver, about how and what we eat in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (May).

Biography and memoir

Controversial Dutch politician Avaan Hirsi Ali writes about her dramatic rejection of her Muslim upbringing in Infidel (February).

Poet and essayist Mark Doty looks at love and loss, human and canine, in Dog Years (March).

Novelist A.M. Homes examines adoption and identity in her memoir The Mistress's Daughter (April).

One of rock 'n' roll's lost masters is the subject of I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon (May), by his ex-wife Crystal Zevon.

Political books

Maybe you hadn't noticed, but the 2008 presidential campaigns are already cranking up, and that means stacks of books written (ostensibly, at least) by the hopefuls. Hillary Clinton (a new 10th-anniversary edition of It Takes a Village) and Barack Obama (The Audacity of Hope) were ahead of the pack, but from spring through fall and beyond, look for books of various kinds - autobiographical, environmental, historical, political - from Wesley Clark, John Edwards, Al Gore, John Kerry and John McCain. And those are just the books already announced.

[Last modified December 30, 2006, 23:30:18]

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