In January, author Amy Bloom returns with her first work since 2007's much-lauded Away. The new book, Where the God of Love Hangs Out (Random House) will be an interconnected collection of short stories that "explores the unexpected patterns that all forms of love and loss weave into our lives"—at least, according to the catalog copy.
Away, which made several "Best Book of the Year" lists, was something of a comeback for Bloom, whose previous work of fiction, A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You, was published in 2000. BookPage reviewer Arlene McKanic described Bloom's writing in Away as "clear, rich and shot through with moments of humor" that perhaps made it more accessible than the edgier tales of "people on the edge" she'd published previously.
We'll be interested to see where God of Love fits into Bloom's oeuvre. Title-wise, it seems more in line with her early works: of her first four works of fiction, two have the word "love" in the title.
Yesterday, the National Book Foundation announced the “5 Under 35” selections for 2009:
Now in its fourth year, "5 Under 35” has become the highly-anticipated kick-off event for National Book Awards week. In a nod to Brooklyn’s status as the literary epicenter of New York City, the Foundation has moved the event to the Powerhouse Arena in DUMBO. That evening, each author will be introduced by the writer who selected them.
C.E. Morgan’s gossamer debut novel, All the Living, tells a simple story with a graceful, probing style that elevates it far above simplicity. Chronicling a young woman’s self-discovery through the promise of love and the inevitable disappointments that ensue, Morgan’s spare but intense narrative is a poetic meditation that burrows to our most basic human emotions.
Our reviewer called the book a “startlingly original collection… [which] features graceful and seductive prose that transports the reader into surreal and yet utterly plausible realms."
As we posted yesterday in our News update, this weekend is one of the most anticipated literary events of the year for readers in the South. The Southern Festival of Books will descend on Nashville this Friday through Sunday.
The Festival is organized by Humanities Tennessee. According to the SFoB site:
The Festival annually welcomes more than 200 authors from throughout the nation and in every genre for readings, panel discussions and book signings. Book lovers have the opportunity to hear from and meet some of America's foremost writers in fiction, history, mystery, food, biography, travel, poetry and children's literature among others.
Inman Majors (1-2 p.m. on Friday) will discuss his third novel, The Millionaires, a “story of two small-town brothers who rise to dangerous big-city heights.” In the May edition of BookPage, Majors told us, “I think it was Faulkner who said that all writers are frustrated actors. So I loved waking up each morning and putting on a different character’s outfit each day.”
Trenton Lee Stewart (9-10 a.m. on Saturday), will speak about the latest installation in the Mysterious Benedict Society series: The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma. (Disclosure: I reviewed this book and will be hosting the session at the Festival.) In this children’s adventure novel, four children “thoughtfully discuss actions and consequences, make sacrifices and explore themes of trust and forgiveness”… in addition to “cracking puzzles and battling the evil Mr. Curtain.”
Kate DiCamillo (10-11 a.m. on Saturday), the Newbury Award-winning author of The Tale of Despereaux, will read from her latest children’s book, The Magician’s Elephant. Our reviewer gave the book a rave review, writing: “Everything about this story is masterful. The prose is remarkably simple, with underpinnings of delicious dry humor.”
Robert Hicks (11-12 noon on Saturday) will discuss his novel, A Separate Country: “Part historical novel, part love letter to New Orleans, A Separate Country is the remarkable new novel by Robert Hicks, author of the bestseller The Widow of the South. Based on the real life of Confederate General John Bell Hood, the novel imagines Hood in the years after the war, crippled and trying to find peace despite his infamy.”
Jacquelyn Mitchard (11-12 noon on Saturday) will discuss her book No Time to Wave Goodbye. In a column from the September issue of BookPage, Mitchard wrote: No Time to Wave Goodbye takes up “where my first novel, The Deep End of the Ocean, left off, 13 years ago. But it begins a series of new events, not a new take on old ones. What I learned from No Time to Wave Goodbye, other than that I could do this with dignity, was that I had the time of my life. I didn’t realize how vital these ancient characters still were. I didn’t recognize the places they inhabit in my writer’s heart.”
Alice Randall (12-1 p.m. on Saturday) will discuss Rebel Yell, “which brings together two hot-button issues—race and terrorism—in what Randall calls ‘a very grown-up novel.’” In an interview with BookPage, Randall said of a message in the book: “It is my experience that terrified people and terrified nations must hold tight to their courage, to their humanity, to their very willingness to die before they would do something wrong.”
Food lovers lost a 69-year-old companion today in Gourmet magazine. Condé Nast, the publishing company, announced that it will fold the culinary giant, along with magazines Cookie, Modern Bride and Elegant Bride.
We were saddened to hear the news at BookPage, particularly because of our longtime coverage of Gourmet cookbooks and Ruth Reichl, the magazine’s editor-in-chief.
Just this month, Sybil Pratt wrote about Gourmet Today in our cooking column. She wrote:
Gourmet began its illustrious career in 1941 and has become the magazine of record, the gold standard for food magazines. There are others to be sure, but Gourmet maintains its cachet and its excellence due, in good part, to Ruth Reichl’s leadership. Reichl, Gourmet’s famed editor-in-chief, edited The Gourmet Cookbook in 2004, the more-than-magnum opus compiled to celebrate the magazine’s 60th birthday. With more than 1,000 recipes, it was a grand retrospective that gathered the best of the best—retested, retasted and updated. Now, only five years later, the indomitable Gourmet team has done it again with Gourmet Today.
In a 2001 interview with BookPage about her memoir Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table, Reichl said, “You can't be a good cook if you don't have a generous soul and the impulse to take care of people… I only know two good cooks who are stingy in their souls.”
Our reviewer, Eve Zibart, wrote that “Reichl’s passion, humor, abandon, intelligence, whimsy and vital sense of food as culture have revolutionized a nation raised on Betty Crocker cookbooks and school cafeterias.”
In a company-wide memo, Condé Nast CEO Chuck Townsend wrote that “Gourmet magazine will cease monthly publication, but we will remain committed to the brand, retaining Gourmet’s book publishing and television programming, and Gourmet recipes on Epicurious.com.”
We may get to enjoy more Gourmet cookbooks, although the ink-and-paper magazine will be greatly missed.
To commemorate its legacy, prepare a meal from Gourmet Today. Thankfully, there are many options. Writes our reviewer: “Encyclopedic in an exciting way, there’s not a cooking category missing, from minty Mojitos to Zucchini Curry, Quail with Pomegranate Jus and an impressive Frozen Passion Fruit Meringue Cake.”
Any readers want to share a favorite Gourmet recipe?
Over the summer, I posted about the ABC series "Castle," about a novelist and a cop who form an unlikely partnership when the author decides to make the cop the model for the heroine of a new series. Well, season two is airing now—and more real-life authors appeared in the very first episode. I still get a kick out of seeing writers on TV, especially when Castle starts referring to plot points in their novels in order to get them to let him know where a "tattooed Russian mobster" is most likely to hang out.
But wait, there's more: "Richard Castle's" first mystery starring detective Nicki Heat went on sale—outside TV land—at the end of last month. And for a based-on-TV book, it's getting some great early reviews. (Perhaps those illustrious literary extras were also contributors?) You can watch a trailer here.
Would you read a book that's inspired by TV? Or if you already have, what's your favorite? As a dedicated viewer of the late, lamented (by me anyway) "Passions" I have to admit to checking out a copy of Hidden Passions back when it came out.
Well, King fans can rejoice because the wait is over; Scribner released the complete cover image today:
According to King’s publisher:
“The jacket concept for Under the Dome originated as an ambitious idea from the mind of Stephen King. The artwork is a combination of photographs, illustration, and a 3-D rendering. This is a departure form the direction of King’s most recent, illustrated covers.”
Thoughts on the cover? No doubt Scribner wanted something spectacular to pair with King’s 1,088-page novel. In May, Abby posted about the plot of Under the Dome: “Featuring more than 100 characters facing a menacing supernatural element in their small Maine town, early reads are comparing Under the Dome to King’s classic epic, The Stand.”
Click here for a listing of BookPage’s Stephen King coverage through the years, and happy reading on Nov. 10 -- when Under the Dome hits bookstores!
In a new video interview with The Guardian, Audrey Niffenegger reveals more tantalizing tidbits about the inspiration behind Her Fearful Symmetry, as well as atmospheric scenery from Highgate Cemetery.
As she told our interviewer, much of the novel was consciously structured along the lines of Victorian classics like The Woman in White—but a good bit was organic as well. It wasn't until she started writing about Elspeth that she realized the character needed to be a ghost. She tells The Guardian, "having killed this character before she even existed, I started trying to think who she might have been and what she was like . . . I really liked her, I thought she was interesting and cool and I wanted to write about her, but I had already killed her, so I thought right, OK, she's a ghost."
Of course, you'd have to check out our interview to see how Niffenegger feels about God and the film version of the Time Traveler's Wife. If you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for?
And for anyone who's already finished Symmetry–what did you think? I'd love to discuss it with you.
There’s a lot of coverage on the Network, and it can be a bit confusing to figure out what’s what.
There are three channels (Screening, Radio, Reading) + nine series. The series are niche specific. Here’s the breakdown:
The Screening Room has four series: Project Paranormal, Penguin Storytime with Liz Shanks, YA Central and Tarcher Talks (all the other series are pretty self-explanatory; this last one “tackles the challenging and the unusual, the spiritual and the enlightening”).
The Radio Room also has four series: Penguin Classics On Air, The Business Beat, Audio Book Break and A Cup of Poetry.
The Reading Room appears to be its own series and “features a different Penguin Group (USA) book each month, posting a new chapter each week for three weeks, culminating, in the fourth week, with live interactive online author chats.”
There is also a variety of special programming (such as a video recommending The Ten Essential Penguin Classics).
Have any readers ever visited this site? Do you think it's a good idea -- do you like to supplement your reading with multimedia? Which of the features do you like the best?
It’s no secret that I’m a Lauren Conrad fan. Earlier this year, I forced Trisha to come with me to a Nashville signing of her first Y.A. novel, L.A. Candy (check out our adventures here). And I read—and enjoyed—the book. But when news broke yesterday that Temple Hill Entertainment had acquired screen rights to L.A. Candy, even I had mixed feelings.
Let’s think about this: once Lauren Conrad was just an average California high school student. Then she agreed to have her life taped as part of MTV’s reality show, “Laguna Beach.” Then came “The Hills,” chronicling Lauren’s move to L.A. Then Lauren wrote L.A. Candy about her experiences on “The Hills.” And now we have a movie about the book about the TV show about the girl. But it's fiction. Based on reality. The mind reels.
It’s great news for Lauren, though. Not only will she “be involved in shaping the direction of the script” and given the title of Executive Producer on the film, but Temple Hill is executive producing the movie. Maybe you've heard of their current film projects, the "Twilight" sequels "New Moon" and "Eclipse"?
I guess the only remaining question is: who will play Lauren Conrad in a movie version of her literary life?
It’s not every day that The New York Times features a story about book technology on the front page. This morning, however, there was an interesting piece about reader-driven social network technologies that highlighted a YA novel featured in the October issue of BookPage.
The Amanda Project, which today is our featured children’s review on bookpage.com, is a new mystery series by Stella Lennon which HarperCollins is calling “the first collaborative, interactive fiction series for girls aged 13 and up.”
A quick plot summary (thanks to Emily Booth Masters, our reviewer): In the first book in the series, Invisible I, new-girl-at-school Amanda disappears. Her classmates “begin to discover that very little of what they believed they knew about Amanda is actually true, and they start to wonder if they ever really knew her at all. United in their desire to find Amanda, the girls decide to stick together and embark on what they eventually term ‘The Amanda Project.’”
“As the series continues, some of the reader comments may be incorporated into minor characters or subplots... Susan Katz, publisher of HarperCollins Children’s Books, predicted that ‘there is going to be a popular kind of literature where the author is seen as the leader of a large group and will pick and choose from these suggestions’ by readers.”
Sounds kind of fun. I know when I read Nancy Drew novels, I would have loved to weigh in on a mystery. It’s like a choose-your-own-adventure book… where your choice may actually have an impact on another reader’s experience, if the author chooses to take your suggestion. Any readers plan on participating in The Amanda Project?
Here’s a YouTube trailer of the book: