A remarkably humorless Alexis Stewart tells the Today Show that unflattering comments about her mother, Martha, in her “anti-advice” book, Whateverland: Learning to Live Here (Wiley, 10/18) are just a joke:
Many have tried to assert that certain books will appeal to Stieg Larsson’s readers. NPR reviewer Alan Cheuse makes this surprising comparison,
Do you miss the girl with the dragon tattoo? Do you long for the thrill of following her adventures again through three volumes of exciting, intelligent fiction? If so, I have good news for you. She’s got a sort of soul sister in one of the two main characters in Haruki Murakami’s wonderful novel 1Q84.
He agrees with most other reviewers that readers will be compelled to read all 900+ pages of the novel, which comes out today.
Walter Isaacson’s bio of Steve Jobs achieves a new landmark today; the Spanish language edition rose to #1 on Amazon’s sales rankings for Books > Libros en español and to #233 overall. The English language edition continues at #1.
Daniel Kahneman, winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics, is enjoying a wide range of media coverage, from the New York Post to the New York Times (in both the magazine and in David Brooks’s column), for his new book, Thinking Fast and Slow (FSG, 10/25). As a result, it has been in the top ten on Amazon sales rankings for the past two days and shows heavy holds in libraries that have ordered it (several libraries have not).
…we could have randomly selected any 3,000-word chunk of it and it would’ve been just as brilliant as the bit we chose. [Kahneman's] writing style is so charming and amiable that you almost forget that he’s kicking the table legs out from under life as we think we live it.
The new issue of Entertainment Weekly includes an excerpt from Stephen King’s forthcoming novel, 11/22/63, (Scribner, 11/8). It’s not on EW‘s web site, but they do offer a clip of the audio.
The novel is about a high school English teacher who goes through a time portal in an attempt to stop the Kennedy assassination. Below, King says he began writing it shortly after the event, but is glad that he waited to finish it.
The book was recently optioned by film director Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs).
The New York Times also managed to get its hands on a copy and also offers an unauthorized take on the embargoed title. Of all the books so far by members of the Bush administration, says the NYT reporter, this one is ”the most expansive record of those eight years by any of the leading participants,” since it is over 700 pages long and focuses only on Rice’s time in office. While Rice “bristled at memoirs by Mr. Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, which criticized her management of the National Security Council in the first term and her efforts to increase diplomacy in the second term” says the NYT, ”For the most part…Ms. Rice defends the most controversial decisions of the Bush era, including the invasion of Iraq.”
According to New York magazine’s “Anticipation Index” (which quantifies buzz on books, movies, music and TV, based on the amount of online chatter), Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 is second-most talked-about forthcoming book, behind Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs.
The question on library and bookstore buyers minds has been whether readers will be willing to tackle the 944-page behemoth. Now the question is whether readers will have time to pick up anything else.
Coverage has been heavy. InSalon, Laura Miller says this book about love in a paralell universe is “the international literary giant at his uncanny, mesmerizing best.” For those unfamiliar with the author, theNew York Times Magazine profile offers a handy “Murakami Starter Kit.” The Washington Post‘s Michael Dirda says readers will want to read the entire book because, “Murakami possesses many gifts, but chief among them is an almost preternatural gift for suspenseful storytelling.”
In a YouTube video, designer Chip Kidd talks about creating the cover:
Amazingly, it is also available as an unbridged audio (just 36 hours long) from Brilliance Audio.
Some libraries bought it in the original Japanese, as well as Chinese, Korean, Spanish and even Russian.
Two books will dominate attention next week; Walter Isaacson’s biography of the late Steve Jobs and John Grisham’s newest legal thriller, The Litigators. In the first consumer review, The Washington Post‘s Louis Bayard says that, if you’ve never been a Grisham fan, “ this snappy, well-turned novel might be a good place to start.”
The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: A Novel in Pictures by Caroline Preston (Ecco/HarperCollins) is the first illustrated work by the author of the novel Jackie by Josie, who was also an archivist at Harvard’s Houghton Library. Drawing on more than 600 pieces of original 1920s material she collected from antique stores, eBay and many other sources, it tells the story of a zelig-like aspiring writer Frankie, who travels to Vassar, New York, and Paris. Ecco editor Lee Boudroux presented it at the Editors Buzz Panel at ALA Annual in New Orleans. Kirkus calls it “lighter than lightweight but undeniably fun, largely because Preston is having so much fun herself.”
Men in the Making by Bruce Machart (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) is a collection of short stories exploring the modern role of manhood by the author of last year’s debut novel The Wake of Forgiveness, which Library Journal called “lacerating” and ”a gasper.” His protagonists here ”are guys who labor on farms and in factories and hospitals, always struggling with what it means to be a man and wondering whether they come up short,” says LJ‘s Barbara Hoffert.
1Q84by Haruki Murakami (Knopf; Brilliance Audio) is billed as the Japanese master novelist’s magnum opus and homage to George Orwell, set in a Tokyo where two moons have emerged, signaling the dawning of a parallel time line known as 1Q84 controlled by the all-powerful Little People. This 1,000-page single-volume edition is predicted to meet with a similar reception to the Japanese edition, which sold out, despite being in three volumes. It has already been in Amazon’s Top 100 since 10/3, perhaps helped by Nobel buzz (though that prize went to Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer). The Washington Post‘s Michael Dirda gives it an early consumer review, noting the author’s popularity among college students, he says, “Perhaps the American writer he most resembles, in multiple ways, is Michael Chabon.” As to the book’s length, he says, “Once you start reading 1Q84, you won’t want to do much else until you’ve finished it.”
The Litigators,by John Grisham, (Doubleday, 9780385535137; RH Audio, 9780307943194; BOT Audio, 9780307943217; RH Large Print, 9780739378335) is heralded by Louis Bayard in The Washington Post, who says that Grisham is growing as a writer, suggesting that he’s “read Elmore Leonard and Michael Connelly and Scott Turow with profit.” Referring to the actor who played the lead in the movie version of The Firm, and is now, controversially, set to play Jack Reacher in the film of Lee Child’s One Shot, Bayard adds, “Most intriguingly, [Grisham] began tossing back drinks with characters who would never in their lives be played by Tom Cruise.”
The Snow Angel by Glenn Beck (Threshold; Simon and Schuster Audio) is a Christmas-themed novel by the former Fox News pundit, about a woman struggling to break free of a painful family legacy. A childrens version, adapted by Chris Schoebinger and illustrated by Brandon Dorman is also being released (S&S, 9781442444485).
The Night Eternal: Book Three of the Strain Trilogy by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan (Morrow/HarperCollins, 9780061558269; HarperAudio, 9780062097880; HarperLuxe, 9780062088659)
is the conclusion to the authors’ much-talked-about vampire trilogy. As the final battle dawns, avenging “angels” help reclaim the planet for humanity.
Destined by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast (St. Martin’s Griffin, 9780312650254; Macmillan Audio, 9781427213396; Thorndike Large Print, 9781410442338) continues the paranormal romance House of Night series, with Zoey finally at home, safe with her Guardian Warrior, Stark, and preparing to face off against Neferet.
Mastiff byTamora Pierce (Random House Books for Young Readers, 9780375814709; Listening Library/RH Audio, 9780307941725; ) is the third Legend of Beka Cooper fantasy novel.
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (Simon & Schuster, 9781451648539; S&S Audio, 9781442346277; Large print, Thorndike, 9781410445223; Spanish Edition, Vintage Books, 9780307950284) uses interviews–including more than 40 with Jobs himself–to create an encompassing portrait of the late Apple visionary. Isaacson will appear on 60 Minutes on Sunday. Sony is reported to be negotiating to buy the rights for a movie version. Although the book is under “strict embargo,” the AP obtained a copy and reports, in a story that is being carried widely, that it “sheds new light” on Jobs. The NYT also managed to snag a copy, and writes about Jobs’s reliance on exotic treatments for his cancer. The Huffington Post claims an exclusive, outlining the book’s major revelations.
Confessions of a Guidette by Nicole Polizzi (Gallery/S&S, 9781451657111) is the latest literary endeavor by the Chilean-American TV star Snooki, who appears on the MTV reality show Jersey Shore.
Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone: The Essential Writing of Hunter S. Thompson by Hunter S. Thompson and Jann Wenner (Simon & Schuster, 9781439165959) compiles all of Thompson’s Rolling Stone articles. Johnny Depp’s movie of his late friend Thompson’s only novel, The Rum Diary, opening at the end of the month, is bringing new attention to the author’s works.
The name “Sybil” has become synonymous with multiple-personality disorder, because of the 1973 best-selling book of that title and a made-for-TV movie based on the book that starred Joanne Woodward (thanks for the correction — see comments – Sally Field actually played Sybil, with Woodward as the psychiatrist. Woodward starred in an earlier movie about multiple personality disorder, now known as Dissociative Identity Disorder, The Three Faces of Eve).
The premiere of the second season of AMC Network’s [corrected; we earlier referred to it as USA Network's] Walking Dead drew a total of 11 million viewers and broke basic cable ratings in several demographics.
No surprise, then, that the various compilations of the source comics also rose on Amazon sales rankings. Leading the pack is the seventh volume which arrives tomorrow:
Next week, watch for Kimberly Cutter‘s fresh debut about Joan of Arc, popular YA author Ellen Hopkins‘ first adult novel, and a YA novel by Maggie Stiefvater that some are predicting could become a blockbuster. There are also new novels by Ha Jin, Amos Oz and Colson Whitehead, along with James Patterson, Iris Johansen and Chuck Palahniuk. In nonfiction, there’s a new Van Gogh bio that draws on new sources.
The Maid: A Novel of Joan of Arc by Kimberly Cutter (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) is a debut that captures the bloody warfare and nasty politics of 15th Century France through the eyes of young Joan herself, based on the author’s own journey from Joan’s birthplace in Domrémy to Rouen, the site of Joan’s burning at the stake. PW calls it “a dynamic page-turner” and Kirkus calls it “a thoughtful retelling.” Below, the author explains what drew her to the subject.
Triangles by Ellen Hopkins (Atria Books; S&S Audio) is this popular YA author’s first novel aimed at adults, about three friends, one in a marriage on the downswing, another searching and finding intimacy and moral compromise, and a third trying to hold her complex life together, told in the author’s signature free verse. PW calls it “a raw and riveting tale of love and forgiveness that will captivate readers,” but Library Journal cautions that ”at 544 pages, it’s indulgent, and some of the poems seem contrived and clunky.”
Nanjing Requiemby Ha Jin (Pantheon) the National Book Award and PEN/Faulkner Award winning author’s sixth novel focuses on the atrocities committed by the Japanese occupiers in 1937 Nanjing, and the heroism of a female missionary who sheltered 10,000 people in the face of brutality. LJ says, “readers should be aware of the book’s relentless, graphic horror. Jin’s loyal readers will notice a bluntness—jarringly effective here—different from his previous works, as if Jin, too, must guard himself against the horror.”
Scenes from Village Life by Amos Oz, translated by Nicholas de Lange (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) explores the sometimes hidden, often melancholy aspects of life in a fictional Israeli village in eight finely wrought, interconnected stories. LJ says it “reminds us of the creepy unsureness that underlies all ‘village’ life, rural or urban—and not just in Israel. Highly recommended.”
Zone One by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday) marks yet another shift in direction for this critically praised author, who offers a wry take on the post-apocalyptic horror novel in which plague has sorted humanity into two types: the uninfected and the infected, the living and the living dead. Booklist gives it a starred review, calling it a ” deft, wily, and unnerving blend of pulse-elevating action and sniper-precise satire.”
Bonnie by Iris Johansen (St. Martin’s; audio, Brilliance; large type, Thorndike) is the latest mystery featuring forensic sculptor Eve Duncan, as she enters the final phase of her painstaking journey to find her daughter Bonnie’s remains and her killer. LJ says it “drags on for about 100 pages too long and loses the success of its earlier parts with too many twists that are remedied too easily.”
The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo (Little, Brown; large type, Thorndike; Hachette Audio) again abandons the thriller for a title that sounds (and looks) more like a Nicholas Sparks’s novel. It features a widow who suddenly decides to re-marry on Christmas Day, to one of three suitors. Kirkus says, “The authors maintain the suspense, with Gaby and her brood riding a roller-coaster of family problems, right up to the wedding day. A perfect plot for a Meryl Streep or Diane Lane happily-ever-after movie.” This is Patterson’s second outing with coauthor DiLallo who shared writing credits on Alex Cross’s Trial (Little, Brown, 2009).
Damned by Chuck Palahniuk (Doubleday; audio, Blackstone) is the story of the 13 year-old daughter of a self-absorbed movie star mother and a financial tycoon father who collect Third World orphans. Booklist says,”Palahniuk’s latest is no Fight Club (1996) or Choke (2001), his two best, but with frequent laughs and a slew of unexpected turns, readers will find in it a certain charm.” Holds to copies are heavy in some libraries.
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic; Audio from Scholastic) is a new YA book from the author of Shiver and Linger, about a beachside contest that’s often fatal to the riders of a fierce breed of man-eating water horses, who rise from the sea. Booklist predicts it will appeal to lovers of fantasy, horse stories, romance, and action-adventure alike, this seems to have a shot at being a YA blockbuster.”
Beautiful Chaosby Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) is the third supernatural novel in the bestselling Beautiful Creatures series, set in a small Southern town.
Memoir and Biography
My Long Trip Home: A Family Memoir by Mark Whitaker (Simon & Schuster) is a personal and familial memoir from an executive v-p of CNN Worldwide, who is the biracial son of Syl Whitaker, a grandson of slaves who became a prominent African studies scholar, and Jeanne Theis, a white refugee from WWII Nazi-occupied France whose father helped rescue Jews. Kirkus says, “It’s difficult to follow the many names and threads, especially in the first half, but the writing comes across as honest and wholly engaging.”
Van Gogh: The Life by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith (Random House) is a new biography written with the full cooperation of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and tapping a wealth of previously untapped materials.
Lions of the West: Heroes and Villains of the Westward Expansion by Robert Morgan (Shannon Ravenel/Algonquin) chronicles the expansion of the U.S. across the North American continent in the early 19th century.
Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? by Patrick J. Buchanan (Thomas Dunne/St. Martins; Macmillan Audio) blames what the author calls the downfall of the United States on the country’s ethnic and religious diversity.
Librarian Nancy Pearl was an early enthusiast of The Hare with Amber Eyes, by Edmund de Waal, (Pbk, Picador, 8/23; Hdbk, FSG, 2010), calling it the best memoir she read last year. It’s been on the Indie Best Seller list since it was published in trade paperback in August, moving up to #8 last week. Nancy interviews de Waal on Seattle’s cable channel.
De Waal inherited a collection of tiny Japanese carvings from a great uncle. In trying to figure out why he had been chosen as the recipient, de Waal saw it as beginning of a story, which turned out to be a book about his family (and what a family it was. One of his ancestors, Charles Ephrussi, is included in Renoir’s painting, The Luncheon of the Boating Party). It is also the story of a Jewish family living in Europe from 1870 to 1938, which as de Waal says, is the story of figuring out where you belong and how to make sense of yourself “as an outsider in the middle of society.”
He reveals that he is going to write another book, about “the history of the color white” (as unlikely as that sounds, listening to him describe it, we have to agree with Nancy that it sounds “fabulous”).
Next week, look out for 80-year-old Pakistani debut novelist and international publishing discovery Jamil Ahmad, plus new novels from Jeffrey Eugenides and Allan Hollinghurst. In nonfiction, there are memoirs from Harry Belafonte and Ozzie Osbourne, and a fresh look at the Jonestown massacre.
The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Macmillan Audio; Thorndike Large Print). Visitors to Times Square may be startled by the unfamiliar phenomenon of a giant billboard featuring an author. Pictured is Jeffrey Eugenides, in full stride, a la the Marlboro Man. Anticipation is high for the release on Tuesday of his new book, The Marriage Plot (FSG), the first since his 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning Middlesex. Even Business Week gives it an early look. Set during the 1980s recession, it follows three disillusioned college students caught in a love triangle. The Los Angeles Times compares it favorably to Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, calling it “sweeter, kinder, with a more generous heart. What’s more, it is layered with exactly the kinds of things that people who love novels will love.” Michiko Kakutani says in the NYT, “No one’s more adept at channeling teenage angst than Jeffrey Eugenides. Not even J. D. Salinger” and NPR interviewed the author on Wednesday. Holds are heavy in most libraries.
The Wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad (Riverhead; 10/13) is a series of fictional sketches about a family on the harsh border region between Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan that has become a literary sensation in Pakistan and has received positive coverage in the UK. The author is a Pakistani writer who is now 80 years old, and was engaged in welfare work in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas for decades. According to a Los Angeles Times interview, Penguin India picked up the book in 2008 after it was submitted for a contest, 37 years after London publishers had originally rejected it. U.S. trade reviews are mixed, with PW calling it a “gripping book, as important for illuminating the current state of this region as it is timeless in its beautiful imagery and rhythmic prose,” while Kirkus says it’s “fascinating material that’s badly in need of artistic shaping.”
Stranger’s Child by Alan Hollinghurst (Knopf; Random House Audio) is a social satire about the legacy of a talented and beautiful poet who perishes in WWI, in the vein of E.M. Forster and Evelyn Waugh - written by the 2004 Booker prize winner for the Line of Beauty. The Washington Post says it ”could hardly be better,” and PW calls it “a sweet tweaking of English literature’s foppish little cheeks by a distinctly 21st-century hand.”
The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks (Grand Central; Hachette Audio; Grand Central Large Print) explores the decades of fallout caused by a misguided high school romance.
Snuff (Discworld Series #39) by Terry Pratchett (HarperCollins) brings back fan favorite Sam Vimes, the cynical yet extraordinarily honorable Ankh-Morpork City Watch commander as he faces two weeks off in the country on his wife’s family’s estate. There are more than 65 million copies of the series out there.
Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Mass Market; Trade Paper) is back in a movie tie-in edition, in advance of the film opening November 18. Beginning Nov. 1, theaters will feature “Twilight Tuesday” showings of the entire series, including new interviews with the cast and behind the scenes footage.
Trust Me, I’m Dr. Ozzy: Advice from Rock’s Ultimate Survivor by Ozzy Osbourne and Chris Ayres (Grand Central; Hachette Audio) is a humorous memoir mixed with dubious medical advice.
Westmoreland: The General Who Lost Vietnamby Lewis Sorley (Houghton Mifflin) argues that much of the fault for losing the Vietnam War lies with General William Westmoreland. Kirkus says, “The general’s defenders will have their hands full answering Sorley’s blistering indictment.”
A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown by Julia Scheeres (Free Press) follows the experiences of five Peoples Temple members who went to the Jonestown farm in Guyana to sacrifice their lives to the vision of a zealous young preacher. Scheeres draws on thousands of recently declassified FBI documents and audiotapes, as well as rare videos and interviews. PW says, “Chilling and heart-wrenching, this is a brilliant testament to Jones’s victims.”
Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible: The New Classic Guide to Delicious Dishes with More Than 300 Recipes by Paula Deen and Melissa Clark (Simon & Schuster) is a collection of Southern recipes. PW says it’s ”not quite as comprehensive as it could be, [but] certainly an honorable addition to the field.”
In late August, when Walter Isaacson’s bio of Steve Jobs was moved from a release date of March 6, 2013 to Nov. 21 of this year, it made headlines as observers speculated on the reasons for the change (As tech journalist Nicholas Thompson said, “who really finishes a book early, particularly when the subject is someone as irascible and complex as Steve Jobs?”).
With the death of Jobs yesterday, the news that the book will appear even earlier, on Oct. 24, is no surprise.