BookPage is proud to present our first video author interview: a Q&A with Thomas Chatterton Williams, author of Losing My Cool: How a Father's Love and 15,000 Books Beat Hip-Hop Culture. His 2007 Washington Post column on the pernicious effects of hip-hop culture on African Americans was based on his own experience, and the book is both personal and universal as it chronicles Williams' youthful struggle between the worlds of street cred and college credits.
Friend of BookPage Stephenie Harrison came up with a few brilliant questions for the Penguin Press publicity department to ask Williams during a visit to their NYC offices. His answers are sure to make you think.
If so, you'll be excited to hear that Boyle has sold a deal to write a memoir titled The Woman I Was Born to Be. Atria will publish the book in the fall of this year.
Whether you love them or hate them, celebrity memoirs are here to stay (see recent posts on Judi Dench and Ashley Judd). But since her rise to fame is so unique to the social media age, perhaps Boyle will have some interesting insights? (Right now, all we know is that Boyle's book will chronicle her "unlikely journey to stardom.")
What's your favorite celeb memoir?
When we last posted about Kate Atkinson's upcoming novel, Started Early, Took My Dog, I had hopes the book would appear this summer. Alas, August 19 was the U.K. pub date. According to the latest Little Brown catalog, U.S. readers will have to wait until March 21, 2011 to read the book, which will appear under the Regan Arthur imprint.
What we do have: a description, from the catalog.
Tracy Waterhouse leads a quiet, ordered life as a retired police detective—a life that takes a surprising turn when she encounters Kelly Cross, a habitual offender, dragging a young child through town. Both appear miserable and better off without each other—or so Tracy concludes, in a snap decision that surprises herself as much as Kelly. Suddenly burdened with a small child, Tracy soon learns her parental inexperience is actually the least of her problems, as much larger ones loom for her and her young charge.
Meanwhile, former detective Jackson Brodie is embarking on a different sort of rescue—that of an abused dog. Dog in tow, Jackson is about to learn, along with Tracy, that no good deed goes unpunished.
Related in BookPage: Our interview with Kate Atkinson for One Good Turn. Reviews of Case Histories and When Will there Be Good News?
The kid was dressed in various shades of pink, with the addition of a little pink rucksack stuck on her back like a barnacle, so that the general impression was of a misshapen marshmallow. Someone—surely not Kelly—had attempted to plait the kid’s stringy hair. The pink and the plaits signaled her gender, something not immediately obvious from her podgy, androgynous features.
She was a small lumpy kind of kid but there was a spark of something in her eyes. Life perhaps. Soiled but not broken. Yet. What chance did this kid have with Kelly as her mother? Realistically?
A bus was approaching, indicating, slowing down.
Something gave inside Tracy. A small floodgate letting out a race of despair and frustration as she contemplated the blank but already soiled canvas of the kid’s future. Tracy didn’t know how it happened. One moment she was standing at a bus-stop on Woodhouse Lane, contemplating the human wreckage that was Kelly Cross, the next she was saying to her, ‘How much?’
From a "pre-9/11 novel that one can only read with a post-9/11 sensibility" to a new middle grade novel from Karen Cushman (author of The Midwife's Apprentice and Catherine, Called Birdy), this week we're highlighting many new titles on BookPage.com. A few of the highlights (click on the book titles to read more):
Review of Teddy Wayne's Kapitoil
Teddy Wayne’s Kapitoil is a startlingly funny, intelligent and poignant pre-9/11 novel that one can only read with a post-9/11 sensibility. Set in a blissfully naïve 1999 Manhattan where Y2K is the impending crisis on the mind, Wayne’s debut is both a comic skewering of American capitalism and an honest account of a city—indeed, a way of life—that is about to change forever.
Review of Karen Cushman's Alchemy and Meggy Swann
Meggy Swann is appalled by the bustle and filth of Elizabethan London when her father, an alchemist who doesn’t set much store by truth or integrity, summons her to the city to work as his apprentice. Meggy has been used to living a secluded life in a country village with only her grandmother and her goose Louise as friends. With her crippled legs, Meggy has endured taunts and threats, but her father’s utter contempt for her surpasses all the difficult experiences of her past.
Which will you read first?
If you had to guess which president was being described in those words . . . would you guess George Washington?
Maybe not, but the real man, not the legend, is who Ron Chernow is said to describe in Washington, out on October 5. Though this is also the angle Joseph Ellis took in 2004's His Excellency, Penguin representatives say that Washington is both a "landmark biography" and a "fabulous read." Since, like Ellis, Chernow is one of America's foremost biographers—he won the National Book Award in 1990 for The House of Morgan, his first book—this is likely. But given the high, high volume of "Founding Fathers" biographies published in the last few years, is there anything new to say about Washington? We'll find out when the galleys arrive . . .
I had to smile when I noticed a deal for a book called Hold Me Closer Necromancer in a recent edition of Publisher's Lunch. Lish McBride, you have set the bar high for the title of the sequel, which was also sold to Henry Holt for Young Readers.
Since the book won't be appearing until fall, there's no cover art to share, but here's a plot summary from McBride's agent's website:
A Seattle fast-food worker discovers that he is a necromancer, exposing a supernatural world of harbingers, werewolves and satyrs and sets off a showdown with a local necromancer who makes his living raising dead celebrities and politician for cash.
As the week comes to a close, there have been a couple of news items about President Obama and books. On the 15th, the President made his tax returns public, and turns out he and Michelle earned $5.5 million in 2009—most of it from the sales of Dreams from my Father and The Audacity of Hope.
On Sunday, the Washington Post will run a story about U.S. Presidents and their book choices, and how reading shapes "policies and perceptions" (the story's already available online). As the health care battle escalated last month, Obama was quoted as saying, "We've been talking about health care for nearly a century. . . I'm reading a biography of Teddy Roosevelt right now. He was talking about it."
Talk about the President's books is nothing new. You may remember news outlets reporting Obama's reading list for his August vacation to Martha's Vineyard—Richard Price's Lush Life, Kent Haruf's Plainsong and others. Not long ago he sent fan mail to Yann Martel. Also, George W. Bush and Karl Rove were famous for having annual reading competitions, and Bill Clinton loved mysteries.
For fun, here's a video of Obama talking about a book that many of us love: Where the Wild Things Are. This is an excerpt from a 2007 speech he made to the American Library Association.
What interesting book blog posts have you read this week? Share in the comments. Here are some of my favorites. . .
The Top 100 Children's Novels Poll (#1-100)
Posted by Betsy Bird/A Fuse #8 Production
On Tuesday popular KidLit blogger Betsy Bird posted her complete list of the top 100 children's novels (based on a reader poll), with links to individual posts about each book. At BookPage, we had fun guessing the top 10 books and puzzling over why certain books were so high and others absent from the list. And the #1 spot goes to. . . you'll just have to click the link. (But here's a hint: "Some Pig.")
Newspaper Blackout Ode to Betsy-Tacy
Posted by Jennifer Hart/Book Club Girl
Inspired by Austin Kleon's Newspaper Blackout, Jennifer Hart at Book Club Girl created her own poem in honor of the Betsy-Tacy books:
The Betsy-Tacy books
follow the adventures of
no ordinary girl
torn between two young Lotharios
By the way, Newspaper Blackout was published on Tuesday. How cool is this book trailer?
Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark
Posted by Natalie/Book, Line and Sinker
I discovered this blog earlier in the week and have enjoyed the reviews, photos, links and overall organization—especially in this post about Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma (long on my TBR list). Also check out this review of Wendy Burden's Dead End Gene Pool, which we featured in this morning's Book of the Day.
One positive side of the volcanic ash that's shutting down airports around Europe? Beautiful sunsets. Flickr recently blogged about a collection of images taken over the past few evenings, and I couldn't resist sharing the one below, since it has a literary angle. It was taken from Chesil Beach, Portsmouth, in the UK, where an unfortunate honeymoon takes place in Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach. Perhaps if Edward and Florence had had a sunset like this to admire, things would have turned out differently?
Way back in October, we posted about Fall of Giants, the first in Ken Follett's Century Trilogy, which sold for big bucks at the Frankfurt Book Fair. The novel is still set for a worldwide, one-day laydown on September 28, 2010.
At 1,000 pages, this is another big book for Follett fans. And the price tag of $36 is almost as hefty. Though we know retailers will probably be discounting this one, how much for a hardcover is too much? Would you pay $36 for a new release from your favorite author?
Related in BookPage: a Q&A with Follett about World Without End, the sequel to Pillars of the Earth