One of the most promising short-story collections in recent years hit bookstores in September 2006. Karen Russell's St Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves was as creepy and magical as the title implies, collecting 10 eerie tales set in South Florida swampland. Russell, who is 29, was included in the New Yorker's Top Writers Under 40 list, and her debut novel, Swamplandia!, will be published by Knopf in February 2011.
According to Russell, the novel picks up where the story "Ava Wrestles the Alligator" left off and follows the Bigtree Family Wrestling Dynasty, who have fallen on hard times. There's a new alligator wrestling theme park in town, and Ava's brother has started working there; Ava's big sister is having an affair with a ghost; and no one knows where to find Ava's father.
You can read an excerpt of "Ava Wrestles the Alligator" from St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves here.
Yesterday we asked readers to comment on their favorite female mystery/suspense writers, and I have loved reading the responses. (By the way, you can still weigh in!)
So, I thought you'd be pleased to learn that today Publisher's Marketplace posted a deal with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. The author of both romance and suspense novels will write three new FBI thrillers about Lacey Sherlock and Dillon Savich. The books will be published with Putnam and come out once a year.
In the past, BookPage has praised the "fast-paced, intricate story threads" in Coulter's FBI thrillers. Are you excited about these new novels?
The Widower's Tale by Julia Glass
Pantheon • $25.95 • September 7, 2010
One of my favorite early scenes from The Widower's Tale, Glass's newest novel, is one such moment. In it, 70-year-old Percy Darling, who has been widowed for many years, journeys to The Great Outdoorsman to purchase a bathing suit--a preschool is opening in the barn in his backyard, and he can no longer swim in his pond in the nude. A sales clerk is helping him make his decision. Read the scene below, then tell us: What are you reading today? Will you look for The Widower's Tale?
“Hmm,” she said. “The pink pineapples would be a daring choice. You would turn heads in that one. . . . The hula girls are actually more conventional.”
I noticed that the pink pineapples (depicted on an aqua background) were indeed quite gaudy but ornamented a suit with a longer cut. Perhaps it would seem irrational to make the demure choice after having swum buck naked for so long, yet such was my preference. “Daring it shall be,” I concluded.
“You won’t regret it.” My handmaiden held out her hand, and I extended mine to shake it. But she was merely reaching for the hangers.
“Silly me,” I said when our hands collided awkwardly. “I thought I was to receive your congratulations. I will have you know that this is the first swimsuit I have purchased since I was in college.”
“Well then, I’m glad you’re headed back to the water,” she said.
I was about to explain my situation to her when I stopped myself. I laughed and shook my head.
“What’s so amusing?” she said.
“I’m having one of those—what youngsters so blithely call ‘a senior moment.’ I thank you for your cordial assistance.”
“A genuine pleasure,” she said, and she seemed to mean it.
At the cash register, I counted out exact change and told her I didn’t need a bag. I also remarked that I had not noticed her working there before.
“I started last month,” she said, “and I’m just part-time.”
“Well, I hope to solicit your sartorial discretion in the future.”
“What a charming thing to say.”
“Likewise,” I told her. “There is a dearth of compliments in the world these days.”
Scottish novelist Ian Rankin has become one of the best-known English-language crime writers. Fans worldwide wondered what he'd be up to next after publishing his last Rebus novel, Exit Music, in 2008.
Rankin released a stand-alone, Doors Open [read our review], in 2010, but 2011's novel introduces a new hero that could be as compelling as Inspector Rebus himself. Do we smell a series?
From the catalog:
Nobody likes “The Complaints”—they’re the cops who investigate other cops. It’s a department known within the force as “The Dark Side,” and it’s where Malcolm Fox works. He’s a serious man with a father in a nursing home and a sister who persists in an abusive relationship—frustrating problems which he cannot seem to do anything about. The reluctant Fox is given the case of Jamie Breck. He’s a dirty cop, but no one can prove it. As Fox takes on the assignment, he learns that there’s more to Breck than anyone thinks—dangerous knowledge, especially when a vicious murder takes place far too close to home. In The Complaints, Rankin tells an unstoppable story about evil, redemption, and who decides right from wrong.
Black Mamba Boy, out August 3 from FSG, is about a young boy's incredible quest. Here's more from the publisher:
Yemen, 1935. Jama is a “market boy,” a half-feral child scavenging with his friends in the dusty streets of a great seaport. For Jama, life is a thrilling carnival, at least when he can fill his belly. When his mother—alternately raging and loving—dies young, she leaves him only an amulet stuffed with one hundred rupees. Jama decides to spend her life’s meager savings on a search for his never-seen father. . .
Does Black Mamba Boy sound interesting to you? (In August, look for a review on BookPage.com.)
What book trailers are you buzzing about today?
Our romance columnist Christie Ridgway is a best-selling author in her own right, so when she says a novel is "A satisfying, sweet and sexy read," it's definitely a winner. This month, A Summer in Sonoma by Robyn Carr is her top pick for romance. Read the full review here.
Bruce gives props to classic authors Dorothy L. Sayers, Josephine Tey, Ngaio Marsh and acknowledges contemporary authors Sara Paretsky, Sue Grafton and S.J. Rozan.
And then, he gives a shout-out to three talented women with new novels out this month: Alex Kava, Chevy Stevens and Sophie Hannah. You can read all about their books here.
Who are your favorite female mystery authors? And do you have a response to the question Bruce poses in his column:
Do female-penned novels offer up enough grittiness, or do they favor sweetness, light and romance?
American history. A father-daughter relationship. Pulse-pounding thrillers. Any of that sound like something you would read? If the answer is yes, keep reading for more on this week's coverage on BookPage.com:
Read an Independence Day roundup
America’s Revolutionary War is so encrusted in myth and preconceptions that there always seems room for another angle. Three new histories take only sidelong glances at the war itself, instead examining such aspects as motivation, political maneuvering and the significant people who never achieved the status of “Founding Fathers.”
Read an interview with Lily King about new novel Father of the Rain
Author Lily King is known for her sensitive exploration of family ties. In her third book, Father of the Rain, she follows the tumultuous relationship of a father and a daughter. She answered a few questions for BookPage about her work, the place and ideas that inspire it, and the dangers of falling in love with your characters.
It's been a fairly slow week of book news, but a couple of blog posts still caught my attention. What posts would you recommend?
The Best In Completely Trashy, Guilty-Pleasure Reading
Posted by Sadie on Jezebel
I got a kick out of a recent Jezebel post on beach reads. At BookPage, our loose definition of "beach read" would probably be a page-turner you want to unwind with, maybe something a little steamier or lighter than your usual reading fare—see some of our picks from the July print edition for examples. But Jezebel gives a different description:
When we say "beach read," we're talking about the books whose covers you conceal from your airplane seat neighbor, the ones for which Lillian Vernon used to sell those anonymous needlepoint covers.
What's on your "completely trashy, guilty-pleasure reading" list? I'll go ahead and add Judy Blume's Summer Sisters, which my tween friends and I passed around like candy the year it came out.
All ALA coverage
Posted by Laura Rodgers on Laura's Life
Laura is a fourth grader who has not only read every single Newbery Medal-winning book, but she blogs about them, too. At the Newbery Caldecott banquet last weekend, Laura was introduced and applauded for her impressive reading accomplishments. I love Laura's honest book reviews (she'll let you know when she absolutely loves a book; but if it just didn't work for her, she won't sugarcoat anything). She also write many interesting posts about ALA.
For more on Laura, watch her ALA interview:
As a former fiction editor, author Harriet Evans knows what makes for a compelling story. After a more than a decade of publishing women's fiction at Penguin UK and Headline, Evans left the industry to become a full-time writer. She has now published four books, the most recent of which is I Remember You.
In a post exclusive to The Book Case, Evans shares her all-time favorite vacation reads.
Perhaps you’re like me and reserve a lot of your reading for the summer holidays, when you can freely indulge in a pageturner, get sucked into it and devour it in a way you can’t the rest of the year. I was a very moody teenager who didn’t much like summer holidays with my parents and sister but was too pathetic to go off and do something exciting by myself, either. (How nice she sounds, I hear you cry). So all summer long I’d read instead (or write terrible poems, but don’t worry, I’m not going to inflict any of them on you), and that has stayed with me ever since. I’m quite particular about a summer read. I want something not too heavy, but it can’t be totally brainless, either. Here are a few books and authors I’ve enjoyed on my summer holidays over the years, which I remember as part of the holiday as much as the ouzo in Crete, or the spaghetti in Florence…
Have a great summer.
Harriet Evans is the internationally bestselling author of I Remember You and three previous novels, Going Home, A Hopeless Romantic and The Love of Her Life. Find out more about Harriet at harriet-evans.com. Do you have a favorite summer reading selection? Tell us in the comments!