Until The Book Thief came out almost exactly a year ago, I had never heard of Markus Zusak. By the time it reached maximum hype, I was in full resist mode. Upon further pressure, I bent and decided to read Zusak's earlier I am the Messenger. If I love it, then I'll tote The Book Thief home. One night of intense sitting-on-the-bathroom-floor-reading later, I go on a Zusak binge. Today I happily usher him into the A List. Not only is he the long-awaited 2nd male author on the list (I'm certain others qualify for induction, I just haven't read everything they've written yet), but his addition makes the list an actual A to Z List. Mr. Alexander to Mr. Zusak. And all those lovely ladies in between.
It seems a long time ago now that I first read Shiver -- the first book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. But looking back I started it on the plane ride to BEA and finished it there in the conference center, fingers gripping the cover tightly, while sitting on the floor in one of the many autograph lines. And now it's May again and BEA is right around the corner and I emerge from my recent and nasty reading slump stupor to find a copy of Linger sitting in my mailbox like a glove thrown down in the dirt. "I will be the one to pull you out," it whispers to me slyly. "Just open me up and take a sip. I promise--one sip is all it will take." And I look at it with fear and longing written all over my face. "You promise?" I ask intently. "Because it's been a long walk in the cold and I'm not sure I can take another disappointment." "Just open me up," it says, confidence written all over its cover. And so I do. And everythin