Literature fulfills a challenging niche - avid readers want their books. Competition with technology's reading tools have not fazed the bounty of memoirs, autobiographies and fiction in print. According to the Census Bureau, bookstore sales were flat during the first 10 months of 2007, but sales increased in the month of October. Sales figures are unsteady and in this economy, unpredictable. But one thing is for certain, books are here to stay.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" by J.K. Rowling is one of fiction's best. Fans eagerly devoured the conclusion of the widely appealing Harry Potter series; its popularity was proven with record-breaking sales and long lines at bookstores nationwide. Published in 2003, but still popular in fiction is "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini. It sold 1.25 million copies in paperback and is predicted to be a hit at the movie box office. Hosseini flies high as a master storyteller.
The conclusion to the daring adventures of Detective Easy Rawlins in "Blonde Faith" was probably not easy to pen for author Walter Mosley. But fans, don't despair. According to publishing rumors, Mosley has plans to write another slick sleuth series.
No newcomer to the published word, Nathan McCall debuts his first work of fiction with "Them." This story examines black and white relationships in Atlanta's Old Fourth Ward. His previous memoir, "Makes Me Wanna Holler" is a candid autobiography that set the literary world on fire with its poignant details. And with the publication of his latest novel, McCall does not disappoint.
Non-fiction takes an entertaining leap with the help of authors Conn and Hal Iggulden in "The Dangerous Book for Boys." Their insight and candor at clean and adventuresome boyhood fun is contagious.
Memoirs were the hottest selling books in non-fiction. Just about everyone seems to have a story, and enough talent to share it with others. Of all the books published in 2007, the release of "If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer" by the Goldman family stirred up the most controversy. Many shunned the printing of this rumored "manual on murder," but public outrage didn't cancel its printing, reprinting and highly grossing sales.
Two of many literary surprises include Clarence Thomas' honest autobiography, "My Grandfather's Son." Thomas is a prodigy of rules. He never wavers from his original controversial opinions, and sheds light on the basis for his staunch morality. Eric Clapton's stunning autobiography, "Clapton: The Autobiography of Eric Clapton" reads like a confession. A musical genius, poor choices dominated Clapton's bad behavior, and in equally poor taste, he tells all in a recent memoir. Not everyone will agree that it's worth reading, but his story is definitely worth talking about.
"A Long Way Gone" by Ishmael Beah is a haunting memoir that stands out as one of the best memoirs of 2007. Drugs, weapons and hatred transform innocent boys into violent soldiers. Beah eloquently delivers his account of a war, a violent past and a call for rehabilitation.
The publishing industry continues to astound the literary world with diverse topics and interesting themes. Book clubs, increasingly popular, encourage reading with new platforms for promoting the best in books. The forecast for great literature in 2008 looks great, but ironically, we begin this year with a notable list of the most talked about books in 2007.
" 'Nicole. Jesus.'
I looked down and saw her on the ground in front of me, curled up in a fetal position at the base of the stairs, not moving. Goldman was only a few feet away, slumped against the bars of the fence. He wasn't moving either. Both he and Nicole were lying in giant pools of blood." -- If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer, Goldman Family, O.J. Simpson, Pablo F. Fenjves
"He picked Kanei, three other boys, and me for the killing exhibition. The five men were lined up in front of us on the training ground with their hands tied. We were supposed to slice their throats on the corporal's command. The person whose prisoner died quickest would win the contest. We had our bayonets out and were supposed to look in the faces of the prisoners as we took them out of this world ... I didn't feel a thing for him, didn't think that much about what I was doing. I just waited for the corporal's order." -- A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, Ishmael Beah
"In the 1950s, an elementary school principal found a boy throwing paper airplanes from a high window. The head was considering punishments when he noticed the plane was still in the air, flying across the playground below. The boy escaped detention, but he did have to pass on the design to the principal - who passed it on to his own children." -- The Dangerous Book for for Boys, Conn Iggulden, Hal Iggulden
"Every winter, districts in Kabul held a kite-fighting tournament. And if you were a boy living in Kabul, the day of the tournament was undeniably the highlight of the cold season. I never slept the night before the tournament. ... I felt like a soldier trying to sleep in the trenches the night before a major battle. And that wasn't so far off. In Kabul, fighting kights was a little like going to war." -- The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
The Confession: "I am guilty not because of my actions, to which I freely admit, but for my accession, admission, confession that I executed these actions with not only deliberation and premeditation but with zeal and paroxysm and purpose ... The true answer to your question is shorter than the lie. Did you? I did." -- The Water Cure, Percival Everett
"I cave into my emotions, collapsing to the pavement. My palms are skinned raw as they break the fall. I look up helplessly and catch a final glimpse of his head disappearing around the next corner. Meanwhile, people form a circle around me, watching and wondering what my problem is. I know that look. I've given that look." -- You've Been Warned, James Patterson
"I was never prouder than when I got my first library card, though the day when I'd checked out enough books to fill it up came close. No matter what we were doing, playtime was over at the sound of the five o'clock whistle, which blew at the laundry down the street. That meant it was time for dinner, which we ate together at the porcelain-topped kitchen table." -- My Grandfather's Son, Clarence Thomas
"How long had I lain there in the dark? ... Exhausted from my earlier screaming and pleading, as well as from the panic of seeing sawdust filtering down through the thin crease of light, I'd waited in despair for the saw to finally come through the trunk's lid and rip my flesh. But then a strange thing happened." -- Bridge of Sighs, Richard Russo
"Unlike anyone else, I could now doubly interpret my uncle, both from silence to voice and Creole to English. Sitting next to him in the packed waiting room of the ear, nose and throat clinic, with the glossy posters of decaying necks and lungs looming over us, I saw his cancer come to life in the men and women around us." -- Brother I'm Dying, Edwidge Danticat
"I think you should get a badge for not smacking your bratty little brother when he eats the charms off your bracelet because he thinks it will give him super powers. I think you should get a badge for taking the blame about shaving the cat when it was your weird older brother who did it." -- Middle School Is Worse Than Meatloaf, Jennifer L. Holm
"Travis looked around the table, pleased that his childhood friends not only had become good husbands and fathers, but were still a part of his life. It didn't always turn out that way. At thirty-two, he knew that life was sometimes a gamble, and he'd survived more than his share of accidents and falls, some of which should have inflicted far more serious bodily injury than they had. But it wasn't just that. Life was unpredictable." --The Choice, Nicholas Sparks
"I moved my hand three inches to the right and fired. The bullet only nicked the outer earlobe, but his hearing on that side would never be the same. Porky went down to the floor, holding his head and crying out. I kicked him in his gut and walked back down the way I'd come. On the way to my car, I passed three women in short skirts and high heels that had come running. They gave me a wide berth, seeing the pistol in my hand." -- Blonde Faith, Walter Mosley
"White folks. He shook his head. 'Crazy as they ever wanna be.' Now one of the neighbors appeared to look his way. He hoped they hadn't noticed him on the porch. He didn't care to be seen by them. If they saw him they might say hello. Then he might have to say hello back. They might even come over to the edge of the yard and try to start a conversation." -- Them, Nathan McCall
"Still in my own cocoon of self-pity and nostalgia about lost fortune and family, I ordered my latte and made my way over to a small table. I sat down and did not look at anyone nearby. Staring into my interior space, I tried to make sense of a life that seemed to have completely gotten away from me." -- How Starbucks Saved My Life, Michael Gates Gill
"In the spring of 2003, it started to become clear to me that the US housing market could begin to start suffering significant distress in 2006, with a concomitant decline in the price of mortgage derivative securities in 2007. I therefore acted promptly, authorizing a 0.25% cut in the Fed funds target rate to 1%. While many on the Committee did not agree with this move, my argument in favour of pre-emptive action against an economic downturn in four years' time eventually carried the day." -- The Age of Turbulence, Adventures in a New World, Alan Greenspan
"Did you ever play baseball or kickball as a kid and get to have a do-over if you missed your swing or your kick? We all wish we could have a do-over for the many mistakes and missteps we've committed. We can't. We must live with the consequences, the mistakes. But let's not do so without questioning what we can learn and how we can grow from them." -- Reposition Yourself, T.D. Jakes
"In the smallness of this house, conversations were always being carried on in front of me as if I didn't exist, with whispers exchanged between the sisters. It was a house full of secrets ... One day I heard one of my aunties ask, "Have you heard from his mum?" and the truth dawned on me, that when Uncle Adrian jokingly called me a little bastard, he was telling the truth." -- Clapton: The Autobiography of Eric Clapton, Eric Clapton
"Ana enjoyed sitting next to her friends in the pews, singing hymns of gratitude and praise. She loved hearing the stories of struggle and redemption; she held on to the promise that her pain and poverty would someday be over and she would be welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven." -- Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope, Jenna Bush
"People who embrace that spiritual component often give their best at every job, even when that job seems painfully far from their dreams. That's why I promise that when you dedicate yourself to working your hardest at EVERY job, whether you're working for minimum wage at the mall or for millions of dollars on Wall Street, you'll lead a much happier and more fulfilling life." -- Do You!, 12 Laws to Access the Power in You to Achieve Happiness and Success, Russell Simmons with Chris Morrow
- "His hand closed automatically around the fake Horcrux, but in spite of everything, in spite of the dark and twisting path he saw stretching ahead for himself, in spite of the final meeting with Voldemort he knew must come, whether in a month, in a year, or in ten, he felt his heart lift at the thought that there was still one last golden day of peace left to enjoy with Ron and Hermione." -- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling