Jess Walter is one of today's most creative and interesting writers, one whose reputation and accolades grow with every book. His 2009 novel, Financial Lives of the Poets, is being adapted for film by Michael Winterbottom, and his 2006 release, The Zero, was a National Book Award finalist.

Walter's work, with its flawed, likable characters, elements of satire and somewhat cynical take on modern life, can be compared to contemporaries like Sam Lipsyte and Gary Shtyengart. Beautiful Ruins, coming from Harper on June 12, deals with Hollywood and unrequited love rather than the aftermath of 9/11 or the implications of our financial crisis (the topics of Walter's last two novels). The action begins on the coast of Italy in 1962, where a young man glimpses a beautiful actress and falls in love. Fifty years later, he heads to Hollywood to find her, aided by a cynical movie producer and an idealistic young assistant.

Any Walter fans out there interested in picking this one up? What 2012 books are you eager to read?

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