Big news for booklovers!
BookPage and the very cool Very Short List are pairing up to bring you—wait for it—free books for a year! For a chance to win, all you have to do is enter here (and, if you want, sign up for BookPageXTRA and/or Very Short List—"a collection of distinct, free, daily e-mails that each recommend one must-see gem a day").
The contest runs through 11:59 p.m. ET on Tuesday, August 31.
Here's more on the prize. The grand prize winner will receive four new books a month for one year, plus a $100 American Express gift card. One second prize winner will receive 10 books and one $50 American Express gift card. Twenty third prize winners will receive one book.
I can go ahead and tell you now that I will be picking and mailing the books to the grand prize winner . . . and I have excellent taste. :)
Enter away, and good luck!
Yesterday we gave you a chance to win a free copy of Gail Caldwell's memoir Let's Take the Long Way Home (and it's not too late to enter, if you haven't already). Today, we're sharing a conversation about our reactions to the book, which goes on sale today.
In the second BookPage podcast, we discuss the friendship portrayed in Let's Take the Long Way Home, Caldwell's writing style and why this memoir will appeal to book clubs. Also, we talk about why a story about friendship and grief is powerful, hopeful—and not at all sappy.
Did our conversation make you eager to pick up the book? If you've already read a review copy of the memoir, do you agree with our assessments? Why or why not?
Also on The Book Case: Listen to BookPage editors discuss Yann Martel's Beatrice and Virgil.
Grand Central Publishing imprint Twelve publishes only twelve books a year, and Sharon Pomerantz's Rich Boy is the sole novel of 2010. If that distinction doesn't convince you of this story's specialness, how about the following excerpt from David Madden's review in BookPage?
At 528 pages, Rich Boy is a Space Age version of a Victorian family saga, with the great difference being that the family is not upper-class English but Philadelphia Jewish. Perhaps it is more apt to call this novel an inflated Great Gatsby, with Robert Vishniak climbing the socio-capitalist ladder all the way up and into the Bernie Madoff Manhattan era. Readers will enjoy this journey through the labyrinth of episodes of class conflicts, sexual escapades, financial schemes and, of course, romantic love that Pomerantz spent a decade constructing. It is not to be missed.
Will you read Rich Boy?
Keira Knightley, watch your back: Carey Mulligan might just be the new queen of literary adaptations. So far she's starred/will be starring in at least six.
Pride & Prejudice (2005)
Bleak House (2005)
Northanger Abbey (2007)
An Education (2009)
Never Let Me Go (2010)
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011)*
Next, it seems she'll play the role of Florence Ponting in the film adaptation of Ian McEwan's novella On Chesil Beach. The film is still being cast, but it's expected to hit theaters in 2012. Sam Mendes will direct, and McEwan adapted the screenplay himself. That must have been quite a task, since much of the novel takes place inside the characters' minds.
Newlyweds Edward Mayhew and Florence Ponting, not long out of university, are both still virgins on their wedding night, and the overlapping anticipation and anxiety of what they will encounter in the marriage bed provide the drama of the story. They live, we are told, in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. So, as they eat their supper in the room of a Georgian inn on the Dorset coast, just a few hours after their marriage, Edward and Florence each think, but never speak, about what they hope will or will not soon transpire in the adjoining bedroom. (Read more)
*see comments for details.
At the Book Case, we've posted before about our love of Roald Dahl's work—most recently in June, when we mentioned The Missing Golden Ticket, a September release from Penguin Young Readers that contains a chapter cut from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and contains plenty of fun facts about his work.
But September (Dahl's birth month) brings a book for adult fans as well: the authorized biography Storyteller, by Donald Sturrock. Sturrock worked with the Dahl estate and his family—including both of Dahl's wives*—to complete the book, which is more than 600 pages and chronicles every inch of the author's amazing life, from his childhood, to his years as a James Bond-like RAF officer (also covered in the outstanding The Irregulars) through his years as a writer.
The book has drawn glowing praise from the likes of Dahl friend and collaborator Quentin Blake, but then again, authorized biographies usually do. Does it tell all? You can judge for yourself when Simon & Schuster publishes the book in the US in September. Until then, The Telegraph is running five excerpts, starting with Dahl's school days.
Do you enjoy reading about the lives of your favorite authors?
*Dahl's first wife, Oscar winner Patricia Neal, died of cancer on Sunday.
Some of the week's best book blog posts are below. Add your favorites in the comments.
How YOU can get a book deal
Posted by Lorelei Vashti on The Vine
The movie version of Eat, Pray, Love comes out a week from today, and excitement is building . . . everywhere you look, there is EPL merchandise: hats, bags, a fragrance. I will admit that I have not actually read EPL and therefore cannot fairly participate in any sort of poo-pooing on Elizabeth Gilbert's massive success. But I can get a laugh out of this post on memoirs of "experiments in living," from Living Celibately to Living Biblically to Living like Oprah.
Lisbeth Salander Is The Cure To Elizabeth Gilbert
Posted by Lizzie Skurnick on Jezebel
Is Salander's hostile, embattled avenger the responsive ying to Gilbert's sunny, drifting yang? Are we avoiding some golden mean of literary womanhood, or is the appeal their clumsy extremes? Should everyone read Olive Kitteridge and rethink the whole thing?
In Praise of Precocious Narrators
Posted by Anne Shulock on The Millions
I enjoyed Shulock's ode to precocious young narrators defined by "idiosyncratic voices, unapologetic intelligence and bold curiosity" (à la Blue van Meer in Marisha Pessl's Special Topics in Calamity Physics—which, as a side note, was probably my favorite book of 2006). Shulock's book recommendations and commentary on why these characters are "comfortable and exciting" is worth a read.
Talking with authors is one of the best parts of working at BookPage, and my Wednesday conversation with Julia Glass was especially exciting because I've been on a binge of her work in recent weeks, ripping through my review copy of The Widower's Tale, re-reading Three Junes and picking up The Whole World Over for the first time.
When I blogged about The Widower's Tale a month ago, many of you were eager to get your hands on this book. For that you'll have to wait until September 7, but just for kicks (and since it's Friday!), I thought I'd give you a teaser from our discussion.
Without further ado, here are three fun facts I learned about Glass (the indented sections are direct quotes):
She has to be "dragged kicking and screaming into every technological and communicative advance in the world." [This fact is relevant to Percy, the main character in The Widower's Tale.]
I’m like the only writer on the planet who doesn’t have a website and refuses to join Facebook. And my publisher has been so nice to me—they actually sent me an email a couple weeks ago, asking, would you mind if we started a Facebook page for you? And I started to bristle and write this kind of I don’t do Facebook! e-mail in this curmudgeonly fashion. Then I looked at the email and actually what they wanted to do for me is start—I think they’re called—a public Facebook page. In other words, they run the page and it’s very clear that I’m not running it, but I have the option to participate any time I want to; I don’t have to join Facebook. I was really kind of touched and excited by this. So I’m happy to hear that I have good company here because they also do the same thing for Alexander McCall Smith. [Become a fan of Glass's newly-created Facebook page.]
I’ve discovered the sport of badminton; I’m not a jock, but late in life—once again the late bloomer, now in my ‘50s—I have found my sport. It’s a very challenging sport; it’s not the game you play on somebody’s lawn with the raquet in one hand and a cocktail in the other. It’s an indoor sport that is enormously rigorous, very fast and I’m enjoying being a jock to the extent that I can and getting myself in better shape.
Usually by this point—when a book is about to come out in a month—I already have the inkling of the next book, and for the first time, I’m less certain. I am thinking about revisiting characters from previous books, but I’m not going to say who. I have to know that I really want to be with those characters again, and I’m not entirely positive.
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Vince Flynn and Brian Haig, both known for their political thriller prowess, are joining forces for a new series featuring the members of a NYC-based anti-terror operation.
“I’ve been a fan of Brian’s writing since his first book Secret Sanction and I’m excited to join forces with him on a project so close to my heart,” Flynn says. Haig is a retired US Army lieutenant colonel and formerly worked as an assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
No word yet on when this project will hit bookshelves, but thriller fans should watch this space.
Now that he's brought Charlaine Harris' Bon Temps to television screens worldwide, Alan Ball has turned his eye to another literary adaptation. He's producing and directing a pilot for a series called "All Signs of Death," based on Charlie Huston's thriller The Mysterious Art of Erasing All Signs of Death (which got a 2009 Edgar nod for Best Novel).
The book is about an LA slacker who cleans crime scenes for a living—and then becomes entangled in the underworld himself.
“The show is about contemporary Los Angeles, but not the glamorous LA, it’s about the dirty underbelly of LA,” Ball said in an interview with Deadline Hollywood. “We’re going to try to go against the grain, away from the overlit, stylized noir for a more frantic, contemporary, naturalistic style.”
Ball discovered the book through Charlaine Harris, who included it in a boxed selection of her favorite reads. He and Huston became friends, so when Huston decided to pitch the book as a TV series, he ran the idea by Ball—who snapped it up. Will it be the next "True Blood"? We'll find out.
Last weekend I saw Winter's Bone, a film based on a 2006 novel by Daniel Woodrell. An almost mythic story, excellent performances and a setting—the Missouri Ozarks—seldom seen on the silver screen combined to make this one of the best movies I've watched this year. Independent filmmakers agree; the movie won the 2010 Sundance Grand Jury Prize.
The success of Winter's Bone has inspired interest in Woodrell's backlist. Little Brown's Mullholland Books imprint will publish a collection of three of Woodrell's other novels as The Bayou Trilogy in Spring 2011. Two of his other novels, Tomato Red and The Death of Sweet Mister, are being reprinted by Busted Flush Press.
Have you ever found an author through a movie adaptation of their work?