Next week, another historical novel arrives that’s well-timed for the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic; Charlotte Rogan’s debut, The Lifeboat. Usual suspects include Christopher Moore, Adriana Trigiani, Anne Tyler, Mary Higgins Clark and Lisa Scottoline. And there’s a TV tie-in to the BBC film adaptation of Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks that will air on PBS in April. In nonfiction, there’s a warm reminiscence of Yogi Berra‘s friendship with Yankees pitcher Ron Guildry by Harvey Araton, plus new memoirs from Eloisa James on living in Paris and journalist A.J. Jacobs on living healthy.
The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan (Hachette/Little, Brown/Reagan Arthur; Hachette Audio) begins on an elegant ocean liner carrying a woman and her new husband across the Atlantic at the start of WWI, when there is a mysterious explosion. Henry secures Grace a place in a lifeboat, which the survivors quickly realize is over capacity. PW calls it “a complex and engrossing psychological drama.” This one was picked by Waterstones as one of 11 debuts expected to win awards and have strong sales in the UK.
Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d’Art by Christopher Moore (Harper/Morrow; Harperluxe; HarperAudio) mixes humor and mystery in a romp through the 19th century French countryside when Vincent van Gogh famously shot himself in a French wheat field. Library Journal says, “Don’t let Moore’s quirky characters and bawdy language fool you. His writing has depth, and his peculiar take on the Impressionists will reel you in. One part art history (with images of masterpieces interspersed with the narrative), one part paranormal mystery, and one part love story, this is a worthy read.” Moore will be interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday.
The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani (HarperCollins) begins in the Italian Alps, where two teenagers, Enza and Ciro, share a kiss that will linger across continents and time. Both land in New York City, where Enza makes a name for herself as a seamstress, eventually sewing for the great Caruso at the Metropolitan Opera, while Ciro develops into a skilled shoemaker and rake of Little Italy. Booklist calls it “an irresistible love story.”
The Beginner’s Goodbye by Anne Tyler (RH/Knopf; RH Large Print; RH Audio) explores how a middle-aged man, ripped apart by the death of his wife, is gradually restored by her frequent appearances — in their house, on the roadway, in the market. PW calls it ”an uplifting tale of love and forgiveness. By the end of this wonderful book, you’ve lived the lives and loves of these characters in the best possible way.”
The Lost Years by Mary Higgins Clark (Simon & Schuster; Thorndike Press; S&S Audio) follows Mariah Lyons’s investigation of the brutal murder of her father, a well-respected academic, who comes into the possession of an ancient and highly valuable parchment stolen from the Vatican in the 15th century. Mary and her daughter, Carol Higgins Clark, will both appear on the Today Show on Wednesday. Carol’s book Gypped: A Regan Reilly Mystery, also published by S&S, is coming out on the same day.
Come Home by Lisa Scottoline (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Thorndike Press; MacMillan Audio) is the Edgar-winning author’s second character-driven standalone thriller with a family saga at its core. LJ says it ”deftly speeds readers through a dizzying labyrinth of intrigue with more hairpin turns and heart-pounding drops than a theme-park ride.”
Sidney Sheldon’s Angel of the Dark, Tilly Bagshawe, (Harper/Morrow; Dreamscape Audio) is the third in the series written by Bagshawe in Sheldon’s style. Says Booklist, “Although clearly aimed at Sheldon’s legion of fans, the book should appeal equally to the broader range of thriller readers.”
TV & Movie Tie-Ins
Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks (RH/Vintage) ties in to the BBC version starring Eddie Redmayne, Clémence Poésy and Matthew Goode, which will air on PBS on April 22 and April 29, 2012. When it was shown in the UK, the British tabloid, The Daily Star, referred to it as a “raunchy adaptation” and an “X-rated hit.” Critics applauded the first episode, but were divided over the second. Audiences, while strong, was not a large as those for Downton Abbey. Check out the trailer here.
The Pirates! Band of Misfits by Gideon Defoe (RH/Vintage) ties into the animated feature by those wonderful folks who gave us Chicken Run and Wallace & Gromit, with voiceovers by Hugh Grant, Salma Hayek and Jeremy Piven. The first stop-motion clay animated feature film to be shot in Digital 3D, it’s based the first two books in a series by British author Dafoe (collected in this tie-in edition), which has had a stronger following in the UK than here. Treat yourself; watch the trailer. The movie opens on April 27th.
Driving Mr. Yogi: Yogi Berra, Ron Guidry, and Baseball’s Greatest Gift by Harvey Araton (Houghton Mifflin) is the story of a unique friendship between a pitcher and catcher, starting in 1999, when Berra was reunited with the Yankees after a long self-exile after being fired by George Steinbrenner 14 years before. It’s already picking up buzz from the Wall St. Journal, which mentions Houghton’s television ads for the book within the VIP areas of Yankee Stadium, as well as ads during the live game feed, and in the New York Times. The authors will appear on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday as well as on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight.
Paris in Love: A Memoir by Eloisa James (Random House; Books on Tape) finds the bestselling author of 24 historical romances (who is actually Mary Bly, daughter of poet Robert Bly and associate professor and head of the creative writing department at Fordham University) living in Paris with her family after she survived both cancer and the death of her mother. LJ says, “Not just for Francophiles or even James’s legion of fans, this delectable confection, which includes recipes, is more than a visit to a glorious city: it is also a tour of a family, a marriage, and a love that has no borders. Tres magnifique!”
Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection by A. J. Jacobs (Simon & Schuster; Thorndike Press; Simon & Schuster Audio) is the fourth book in the One Man’s Humble Quest series, and finds the experieintial journalist trying to become the healthiest man in the world by following a web of diet and exercise advice, most which is nonsensical, unproven, and contradictory. LJ says it’s “engrossing and will have readers chuckling.”
Trickle Down Tyranny: Crushing Obama’s Dream of the Socialist States of America by Michael Savage (Harper/Morrow; Thorndike Press Large Press; Brilliance Audio) is a rant against “Barack Lenin” by the host of the No. 3 radio program in the nation, heard by nearly eight million listeners a week and syndicated across the United States in over 300 markets. “Not a book to make everyone happy,” says LJ, ”but the 250,000-copy first printing and one-day laydown on April 3 indicates that the audience will be large.”