It Feels Like the First Time

I have a definite soft spot for first-time novelists. I appreciate the hard work that goes into finding an agent (that takes at least 20% of all meager hard-earned proceeds), staying positive while being rejected by publishers, and then accepting there will still be a day job while your book is ranked only 254,902 on Amazon's sales list (unless you're Jonathan Safran Foer). My real excitement comes from the possibility of someone new being an actual legitimate addition to a literary world full of some serious crap. And, just maybe, someday I'll be in their shoes hoping someone will notice my endeavors.

Here are a few firsts that keep hope alive, along with some concise persuasiveness:

A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz
1. Funny as hell, but in a well-written sort of way.
2. U
nconventional father-son relationship.
3. Short-listed for the Man Booker Prize.

Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
1. The novel is set up like a intro to lit course, each chapter being named after a classic, complete with a "final exam" at the end.
2. The main character's name is Blue. And she's awesome.
3. STCP's website is very different from that of most books.

Going to See the Elephant by Rodes Fishburne
1. Interesting take on the struggling newspaper business.
2. Feels like it's set in the 1930s or 1940s, but is actually modern; the nostalgic feel is appropriate.
3. We all want to control the weather. Now learn how.

The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
1. Oscar is, what one reviewer put best, a "ghetto nerd."
2. Interesting perspective of what it's like to be a Dominican immigrant.
3. At the center of the text is the "fuku curse." Need I say more?

Open Me by Sunshine O'Donnell
1. Unique concept- a look into the life of professional mourners.
2. The writing captures the traumatic and disturbing quality of the profession.
3. O'Donnell doesn't take sides on whether wailing should be legal.

Need more suggestions? There's sometimes an itty-bitty section by the new releases at Barnes and Noble or Borders that displays new authors (good luck finding them amidst the seventeen books Nicholas Sparks put out last month). Amazon features lesser known authors with potential on their site too.

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