Our June Nonfiction Top Pick is Joanna Rakoff's new memoir, My Salinger Year. In this absorbing account, Rakoff (A Fortunate Age) describes her time as an assistant for one of the most storied literary agencies in New York City—one that represented such literary legends as F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner and Judy Blume, along with the agency's star client, J.D. Salinger.
At just 23, Rakoff found herself thrown into an office perpetually frozen in time where the agents still smoked at their desks, and the typewriter and Dictaphone reigned supreme. Aside from her more predictable administrative tasks, Rakoff learned that one of her duties would be answering fan mail for the reclusive Salinger. She soon found a rebellious courage to ditch the form-letter response, and secretly composed her own thoughtful replies to the passionate letters.
Although Salinger will certainly draw most readers in at first, Rakoff offers "a deeply moving but unsentimental coming-into-your-own story" that resonates long after the final page is turned.
Of course, Rakoff explains it better herself: Watch her video from Knopf below.
What do you think, readers? Interested? My Salinger Year hits shelves today! You can also read our lengthy Q&A with Joanna Rakoff for even more details.
Josh Malerman infuses his apocalyptic tale, Bird Box, with an element of the "thrilling dread of yesteryear;" the menacing "monster" in his tale is never fully revealed to the reader.
Told in alternating chapters from the perspective of Malorie, her present and more recent past unfold, and we discover just why her two four-year-old children—Boy and Girl—have never been outside of their own home. There's something roaming the world, and it drives whoever sees it violently and irreparably mad, even with a single glimpse.
Malerman's creation of a menace that can never be fully perceived—by his characters or his readers—makes this a blood-curdling and incredibly thrilling read unlike anything in recent memory.
If you're feeling brave, then watch the spooky trailer below:
What do you think, readers? Are you interested in picking up a copy of Bird Box?
A blue-blooded family's luxurious New England retreat isn't exactly what it seems in Miranda Beverly-Whittemore's new gothic mystery, Bittersweet.
Mabel Dagmar, a scholarship student at a prestigious college, doesn't quite fit into her roommate Ev Winslow's glamorous world. But when Ev invites her along to spend the summer at Winloch, her family's secluded group of lakeside cottages, Mabel falls hard for the "place of baguettes and fruit and spreadable honeycomb, idyllic and sun-drenched in a way I had never known."
Romance, financial scandal and shocking family secrets collide to make Beverly-Whittemore's third novel, "a page-turner that will keep readers guessing until the end."
Watch the understated and chilling trailer below:
What do you think, readers? Interested in winning a copy of Bittersweet for yourself? Enter this week's web-excusives giveaway for a chance to get your hands on this and three other great titles featured on Bookpage.com!
In an inventive debut that hits shelves today, Laline Paull blends dystopian fiction with a surprisingly sympathetic cast of insect characters in The Bees.
Flora 717 is a worker bee from the lowest caste in her hive, and her sole motto is to accept, obey and serve the Queen. When an environmental crisis strikes, Flora's uniqueness comes in handy as she's assigned to new tasks—much to the dismay of the hive's elite. Soon Flora's new knowledge and experience land her at odds with the Queen herself, and she must decide where her loyalties lie.
Paull's tale certainly dips into the fantastical, but the extreme concepts of the novel, such as the fertility police and the hive mind, are all true to bee behavior, and our reviewer promises, "you will never look at the activity in your flower garden the same way again."
Check out the beautifully designed trailer below:
What do you think of the, ahem, buzz around this debut, readers?
ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read a Q&A with Laline Paull about The Bees!
Author Justin Go is winning high praise for his "ambitious, sprawling and compelling debut novel," The Steady Running of the Hour.
The adventure begins as Tristan Campbell, young postgrad in California, receives a letter from an English law firm suggesting that he may be next in line to inherit millions. The original beneficiary disappeared in 1924, and now it's up to Tristan to find some solid evidence linking him to this beneficiary—his possible great-grandmother Imogen Soames-Andersson.
Armchair travelers will delight in the fast-paced action as it swings from America to England, France, Sweden, Germany, Iceland and even into the Himalayas, while the time period alternates between the present and pre-WWI England.
With plenty of mystery, romance, adventure and race-against-time excitement, The Steady Running of the Hour has plenty of charm and appeal. Watch as Go breaks down his novel's epic quest in the trailer below:
What do you think, readers? Is this unique debut going on your TBR list?
Our teen top pick for April is Printz Award winner John Corey Whaley's refreshingly unique novel, Noggin. When 16-year-old Travis Coates is faced with terminal cancer—acute lymphoblastic leukemia—he decides to donate his head to a cryogenic lab. But instead of "waking up" to a future of flying cars and jet packs, he's reinstated just five short years later with the body of a teen who suffered from brain cancer.
Travis is suddenly thrust back into a world that has moved on without him: his girlfriend and first love is engaged to someone else, his parents grieved, his best friend is navigating college and yet Travis is the same high schooler he was five years ago.
With plenty of wit and head puns, Whaley makes a bizarre concept absolutely lovable and surprisingly moving.
Check out the quirky trailer from Simon & Schuster below:
What do you think, readers? Interested in picking up Whaley's second teen novel?
In 1961, Michael Rockefeller, the 23-year-old son of then New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, disappeared along the coast of southwest New Guinea.
The recent Harvard grad was on a trip collecting art from Asmat tribes—mostly elaborate woodcarvings—when his catamaran capsized. After he and a companion waited overnight for rescue, Rockefeller tied two empty gasoline cans around his waist, and headed for shore, never to be seen again.
The official records state that he was drowned at sea, but author Carl Hoffman has been possessed by the mystery for years, and in his new book Savage Harvest, he aims to settle the question of Rockefeller's fate. Through visiting the same village, interviewing Asmat kinsmen, studying the tense political climate of the time and combing through archives of official documents along with Rockefeller's personal correspondence, Hoffman comes to the grim conclusion that he was cannibalized. Whether Hoffman's evidence is substantial enough is for the reader to decide, but it is a tense and riveting read nonetheless.
Watch Hoffman narrate the documentary-style trailer below:
What do you think, readers? Are you interested in new insight into this historical mystery?
Today is Trailer Tuesday x2! Author Gwendolyn Heasley (Where I Belong, A Long Way from You) will publish her third young adult novel with HarperTeen this April, and BookPage has the pleasure of presenting the first look at the plucky heroine at the heart of Don't Call Me Baby.
It's a cute and charming story about teenager Imogene, the daughter of a popular Mommy Blogger. The "Mommylicious" blog is incredibly embarrassing for Imogene (imagine having all your private puberty stories published online!). Then Imogene must start her own blog for school, and there's no better time to define herself in her own words—and to turn the tables on Mommylicious.
Check out the trailer:
Vibrant, rhythmic prose and inspired illustrations make Patricia Hruby Powell's new picture book, Josephine a fun and fitting tribute to one of America's greatest performers, Josephine Baker.
Powell's story spans Baker's full history: from her early childhood on the streets of St. Louis to her rise to fame, her civil rights activism and even her WWII espionage for France.
Watch the animated trailer from Chronicle books and get jazzed (pun definitely intended) to pick up a copy for a little one, or just for yourself.
And if you're as captivated by Christian Robinson's illustrations as I am, head on over to our reviewer, Julie Danielson's blog for Robinson's guest post featuring tons of extra artwork, storyboards and more!
Diane Setterfield returns this month with Bellman & Black, an irresistible Gothic and ghostly read that is absolutely perfect for these dark winter months. William Bellman makes a grave mistake as a child when he thoughtlessly kills a rook with his stone catapult. He goes on to build a successful and enviable life, until a mysterious stranger appears and threatens to rip away everything he holds dear.
Our reviewer Matthew Jackson calls it "a slow-burning, creepily realistic tale, woven together with practical but often magically transformative prose." Although the suspense is often center stage, Setterfield also includes some breathtaking meditations on nature, mortality and love that make this a very well-crafted novel indeed.
Watch the short and spooky trailer below:
What do you think, readers? Are you in the mood for some post-Halloween creepiness?