With nearly 200 unread books lying around on shelves, eReader and iPod it takes a lot to get me excited about a new release these days. Especially as, living in Australia and not owning a Kindle, I am rarely prepared to shell out the $33 a new release will cost me (in print or eBook format).
But I must admit I am getting that tingly feeling about a book due for release here (and the rest of the world I think) at the end of the week (officially Sunday though as there are no deliveries then I am hoping to snaffle a copy on Friday which I can read while everyone else is watching some silly wedding).
The book that I’m planning to walk into an actual bookstore and hand over mad cash for next weekend is Geraldine Brooks’ Caleb’s Crossing which is, if the blurbs are to be believed, a historical fiction work with a basis in fact (similar to one of her earlier books Year of Wonders). The publisher’s synopsis is
In 1665, a young man from Martha’s Vineyard became the first Native American graduate of Harvard College. From the few facts that survive of this extraordinary life, Brooks creates a luminous tale of passion and belief, magic and adventure.
The voice of Caleb’s Crossing belongs to Bethia Mayfield, growing up in the tiny island settlement of Great Harbor amid a small band of pioneering English Puritans. Possessed of
a restless spirit and a curious mind, Bethia slips the bounds of her rigid society to explore the island’s glistening beaches and observe its native inhabitants. At twelve, she meets Caleb, the young son of a chieftain, and the two forge a secret bond that draws each into the alien world of the other.
Bethia’s father is Great Harbor’s minister, who feels called to convert the Wampanoag to his own strict Calvinism. He awakens the wrath of the medicine men, against whose magic he must test his faith in a high-stakes battle that may cost his life, and his very soul. Caleb becomes a prize in this contest between old ways and new, eventually taking his place at
Harvard, studying Latin and Greek alongside the sons of the colonial elite. Bethia also finds herself in Cambridge at the behest of her imperious elder brother. As she fights for a voice
in a society that requires her silence, she also becomes entangled in Caleb’s struggle to navigate the intellectual and cultural shoals that divide their two cultures.
I’ve really enjoyed most of what Brooks has written in the past (Year of Wonders is one of my all-time favourite books even though I absolutely hated the ending) so I’m reasonably sure that it won’t be a dud. Once upon a time I would have waited until the price comes down but given I spend a lot of leisure time hanging out in the book blogosphere I don’t think I’d be able to avoid seeing other people’s comments and reviews about the book for too long, and it’s one of those books I want to read without being encumbered by other people’s thoughts (I’m one of those strange people who likes reading reviews after I’ve read a book).
So, depending on when I manage to get my hands on Caleb’s Crossing, I’ll be taking a break from crime fiction in the next week or two and am really looking forward to reading what world Brooks has managed to create this time.
Is there a particular author’s work that gives you that tingly ‘must get hands on new release’ feeling? Or do you routinely buy new releases and are therefore immune to the tingly feeling? Is there a book you’re really hanging out for in the next little while?