(The Orange Prize is a British award given to the best novel written by a woman in English and published in the UK in a given year.)
Daisy Goodwin, chair of judges, commented on the prize selection: "We chose The Lacuna because it is a book of breathtaking scale and shattering moments of poignancy."
For more on The Lacuna, read this excerpt from BookPage's November interview with Kingsolver:
It’s the epic story of Harrison William Shepherd, a young boy whose Mexican mother takes him back to her home country in the 1930s after splitting with his father, a Washington, D.C., bureaucrat ... The novel is a brilliant mix of truth and fiction, history and imagination, presented as a compilation of Harrison’s journals, along with newspaper clippings and other notes that make for a compelling and utterly believable read ... For Kingsolver, this book was her exploration of that “in between” space where pieces are missing and the truth is hidden. She also set out to probe the question:
Do artists have a responsibility to address social issues and express their opinions?
Kingsolver was up against some stiff competition: Lorrie Moore, Hilary Mantel . . . Do you agree that The Lacuna was the best novel written by a woman (and published in the UK) this year?
If you’re an avid Glee fan like me, last night’s season finale was more bitter than sweet. Sure, the kids from New Directions sang their hearts out at regionals, several romantic entanglements got even more complicated and Quinn finally had her baby girl. But with our favorite show on hiatus, what’s a Gleek to do? Well, it turns out you don’t have to watch endless reruns of season one or listen to the cast recordings over and over on your iPod . . . because Glee is hitting bookstores this fall!
Glee: The Beginning: An Original Novel by Sophia Lowell goes on sale September 1 from Poppy, a young adult publishing division of Hachette. And while this first book is a prequel to the TV show, multiple book projects are in the works—and all are authorized by Twentieth Century Fox. Now that’s music to our ears.
Are you a fan of Glee? Will you read the books?
Entertainment blog BuzzSugar posted the "15 Books to Read Before They're Adapted For the Screen," and I was surprised by an inclusion on the list: Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower, first published in 1999. The slim novel about a boy's freshman year in high school has since become something of a classic for teens—and a regular on the American Library Association's list of the most-frequently challenged books. But this is the first I'd heard of a movie adaptation.
Chobosky is writing the screenplay and will direct the movie. Emma Watson (Hermione!) is rumored to play Sam, and Logan Lerman (the star of Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief) is interested in playing Charlie, the lead role.
In 2007, the New York Times reported that The Perks of Being a Wallflower had sold "upward of 700,000 copies and is passed from adolescent to adolescent like a hot potato." When I read the novel 10 years ago, that was certainly true. For my group of friends, Chbosky's novel was the best thing since The Catcher in the Rye.
According to IMDb, the adaptation will be released in 2011—will you see it?
Political memoirs fly off the shelves like crazy, but how about celebrity memoirs—do you care what movie or rock stars have to say?
Publishers hope the answer is yes, as recent weeks have brought several celebrity book deals.
Most notably, Demi Moore will write a book about her life and career, much of which will focus on her "complicated relationship" with her late mother, Virginia King, and her own experiences as a mother to three daughters. The book reportedly sold to Harper for more than $2 million and will be published in 2012. Will there be juicy tidbits on Bruce Willis and Ashton Kutcher, and that infamous Vanity Fair photo shoot? Only time will tell . . . but in the meantime if you're dying for all things Demi you can always join her millions of Twitter followers.
This is old news (the deal was reported in 2009), but worth a reminder: also in 2012, Diane Keaton will publish a memoir about her relationship with her late mother, who died of Alzheimer's in 2008. The actress explained: "The profound love and gratitude I feel now that she's left has compelled me to try to unravel the mystery of her journey. In so doing I hope to find the hidden meaning of our relationship and understand why realized dreams are such a strange burden." This book sold for $2 million, as well (to Random House).
Heavy metal fans will be happy to hear that Ace Frehley, former lead guitarist of Kiss, has a memoir coming out from Simon & Schuster in Summer 2011. Called No Regrets, the book will chronicle "his childhood in the Bronx, his ups-and-downs and influences which catapulted him into a life of sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll, and what is was like to be one of the founding members of one of the most influential bands" (per Publisher's Marketplace).
English actor Michael Caine—who wrote a best-selling memoir in 1992 called What's It All About?—will publish another memoir on November 9 titled The Elephant to Hollywood. The memoir promises to include "an insider's view of Hollywood" (20 years updated, presumably, since the first memoir was filled with name-dropping of Caine's co-stars).
In November you can also look forward to a book from Barbara Streisand (her first!): My Passion for Design, which will focus on Streisand's interest in decorating—including "many of her own photographs of the rooms she has decorated, the furniture and art she has collected, and the ravishing gardens she has planted on her land on the California coast." I'm afraid the $60 price tag might turn some people away, though—would you pay that much to have a book from Babs?
Which of these celebrity books will you read—any? All? What celebrity would you love to write a memoir?
Learning to Lose by David Trueba
Other Press, $16.95, June 22, 2010
With the World Cup kicking off this weekend, it seems like the right time to read a novel from an international talent. David Trueba's latest work, Learning to Lose, even features a young Brazilian soccer player, whose romance with a 16-going-on-30 girl in Madrid is just one of the many threads that make up this multidimensional tapestry of a novel. The two meet in an unconventional manner:
Sylvia, alone on the street, walks quickly to release her rage. Mai's happiness is a betrayal, her tiredness a personal affront. She steps down into the street to avoid any unpleasant encounters on the sidewalk. . . . The ground is dry and the streetlights barely reverberate on the asphalt. the laces on one of her black-rubber-soled boots have come untied, but Sylvia doesn't want to stop to retie it. She takes aggressive strides, as if kicking the air. She is oblivious to the fact that, crossing the street she now walks along, she will be hit by an oncoming car. And that while she is feeling the pain of just having turned sixteen, she will soon be feeling a different pain, in some ways a more accessible one: that of her right leg breaking in three places.
What are you reading this week?
Our second edition of Reading Corner went out to readers bright and early this morning, and in it we asked people to answer a question: What books do you enjoy sharing with kids/grandkids (or students, babysitting charges or anyone else!)?
BookPage recommends. . .
If you're looking for a book to share with a toddler, try Deborah Underwood's The Quiet Book, which Nonfiction Editor Kate Pritchard liked so much, she said, "I kind of want to use it for my own bedtime reading!"
Tween readers will enjoy Jennifer L. Holm's Turtle in Paradise, a sweet and funny Depression-era story about a girl who goes to live with relatives in Key West.
For teens, you can't go wrong with Jackson Pearce's Sisters Red, a spin on "Little Red Riding Hood" complete with werewolves, a memorable sister relationship and plenty of action.
What would you add to this list?
This is a reminder that the second edition of Reading Corner is being published tomorrow! Each issue includes reviews, author features and news about children's books for a variety of age groups, from picture books to teen novels.
In tomorrow's issue, we're doing another great giveaway; you could win all the books pictured above.
One for Eclipse (June 30), featuring a dramatic showdown between Edward & Jacob (and a remarkably assertive Bella).
And one for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I (November 19), which looks completely magical -- I have enjoyed all the David Yates-helmed installments.
You'll find me in the theater for both of these. Even though Eclipse was a major miss for me, so far the films have made the love triangle much less of a farce than it was in the books (did anyone ever doubt she'd choose Edward?). Plus, I am hoping to sit next to someone as crazy as the desperately sobbing woman who was in the theatre for my showing of New Moon.
The only part of Hallows that I found tiresome -- the prolonged camping scenes -- look like they've been transformed into something compelling, and hopefully shorter, here. I do wonder what they'll do about that epilogue, but that's a problem for Part II. How about you?
Memoirs about addiction—whether to alcohol, shopping or anything else—will likely never go out of style. Case in point? Bill Clegg's Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man, published yesterday, sold to Little Brown for a reported $350,000 and is already generating considerable buzz (including a lengthy profile in the New York Times).
Some brief background: Clegg led a double life as a successful literary agent and a crack addict until 2005, when he stopped showing up at the office and eventually checked into rehab. Five years later, Clegg is back to work at William Morris Endeavor Entertainment.
Abby, our Fiction Editor, worked in publishing in New York before coming to BookPage, and she says Clegg’s descent into drug addiction—and triumphant return to the publishing world—is something everyone in New York was talking about, long before the memoir was published. She devoured our galley copy of Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man the minute it arrived, and she said it’s a "heart-wrenching, shocking and powerful" memoir—but it’s not for the faint of heart.
Take a preview in the book trailer below . . . will you check out Portrait of an Addict?
Have you seen any great book trailers this week?
So, pretty much every reader in America has heard about The Passage, right? The buzz book of the summer that puts a new twist on vampires from an author better known for his literary leanings? If you're one of those jaded types who avoids reading the books everyone's talking about, take my word for it—this time around, you'd only be hurting yourself. The Passage is a big fat juicy adventure novel that deserves every ounce of attention it's getting and then some.
Will you be reading The Passage this summer?