I first heard about Helen Grant's debut, The Vanishing of Katherina Linden, in a British look ahead at anticipated debuts of 2010. Intrigued by the description of the novel, which is told in the voice of an 11 year old in a small German town who is the last one to see her missing classmate alive, I searched for a U.S. release date. No dice.
Until today, when I heard that Delacorte would be publishing the book in August. I love the deliciously creepy cover, which is a good fit for a book that sounds like a blend of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and the Brothers Grimm. According to the Guardian, "The excellent writing, and the eschewing of anything remotely winsome or mawkish, make this an eerily subtle literary page-turner." Sleeper hit? We'll find out.
A month ago we reported on Libba Bray’s $2 million deal to write a jazz-age trilogy for Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Now, it looks like the huge YA contract of the month is going to a newcomer: HarperTeen has paid seven figures to Josephine Angelini for a trilogy billed as "a Percy Jackson for teenage girls.”
From Publisher’s Weekly:
In Starcrossed, which brings Greek tragedy to high school, a shy Nantucket teenager named Helen Hamilton attempts to kill the most attractive boy on the island, Lucas Delos, in front of her entire class. The incident proves more than a bit inconvenient for Helen, who's already concerned that she's going insane—whenever she's sees Lucas (or any of his family members) the image of three crying women appear to her.
Last week—on the publication date of House Rules—Simon & Schuster released the official iPhone app for Jodi Picoult. With the app, you can keep up with Picoult’s news and Twitter feed; write on a fan wall; receive tour updates; and even read “exclusive recipes from Jodi and music that she's written.”
Picoult’s not the only author with an iPhone app; in December, Random House launched a line of apps for authors, including Steve Berry, Sophie Kinsella and Karen Marie Moning.
Do any Book Case readers use author apps? What feature do you find most fun/useful? Or is reading the author’s book enough?
It’s always fun to stumble across a literary landmark, and over a weekend trip to Memphis, I was excited to see a plaque paying tribute to John Grisham and The Firm. In the book, Mitchell McDeere takes a job with a Memphis-based tax firm.
Are there any literary landmarks in your city?
Speaking of Grisham, there’s been a bit of news lately surrounding the king of legal thrillers. On May 25, Penguin will publish his first foray into children’s books: Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer. Theodore Boone is a 13-year-old amateur attorney “who knows more about the law than most lawyers do”—and gets wrapped up in a high-profile murder trial. James Patterson’s had success as a teen author; can Grisham do the same?
Related in BookPage: Read about Grisham’s latest release, short story collection Ford County.
Last week's mail brought a copy of the latest from Ann Brashares. Best known for her work on the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series (read our interview with her on the books here), she's now making her second foray into adult fiction after The Last Summer (of You and Me), your basic first-novel narrative of love and friendship.
My Name Is Memory sounds a bit more exciting. Like the Traveling Pants stories, it has a magical angle. The book follows a pair of star-crossed lovers—Daniel and Sophia—through several incarnations as they find, and then lose, each other again. The twist? Daniel can remember his past lives.
Brashares says on her blog, "This new book is kind of a departure for me. Not a total departure--it's mainly about love. But it takes place on a broad canvas of time." Though the novel won't hit stores until June, it's already been optioned by New Regency, who saw the book as a blend of Twilight and The Time-Traveler's Wife. Sounds like a bestseller, but judge for yourself—there's an excerpt on Brashares' site. We'll be digging into this one soon and will keep you posted!
Still, it was nice to see the Los Angeles Times run an article this morning recognizing crossover hits like The Hunger Games trilogy or Markus Zusak's The Book Thief. And any readers who don’t buy the YA trend can’t argue with these numbers: In the first half of 2009, adult hardcover sales were down 17.8%; children's/young adult hardcovers were up 30.7%.
YA authors are able to take themselves less seriously. They're able to have a little more fun, and they're less confined by this idea of themselves as Very Important Artists. That paradoxically leads them to create far better work than people who are trying to win awards.
There’s a lot of fresh content available on BookPage.com this week. Below, we offer a teaser: first lines from new reviews and features you won’t want to miss. Click the book titles to read more. (Don’t get mad at us if you start bursting your budget at the bookstore!)
Were any other New York Times Book Review watchers as surprised as I was to see this week's cover? Their choice of Angelology makes two fiction covers in the last three weeks, which has to be a record. What's more, Danielle Trussoni's first novel is more commercial than not, with a supernatural angle and plenty of action—not the usual NYTBR material.
But hey, maybe they've seen the wisdom in the BookPage philosophy of featuring books that many people will want to read—we also tagged Angelology as a spring standout. In a BookPage.com exclusive, Trussoni wrote about her inspiration for the novel, first in a planned series ("As you can imagine, the places and characters in my book are extremely different from my “real life” as a 30-something mother of two.").
Other BookPage.com highlights this month include an interview with Sam Lipsyte for his new novel, The Ask—a must read for dark humor fans—and a review of Peter Bognanni's "punk-rock-fueled" debut, The House of Tomorrow.
Good news for Robert B. Parker fans: before his unexpected death in January, the author completed at least one more Spenser novel. Our sources at his publisher, Putnam, say that Painted Ladies will be out October 5.
Other posthumous Parker releases include the ninth Jesse Stone novel (Split Image, February), a Cole-Hitch Western (Blue-Eyed Devil, May), and an untitled holiday novel set for a November 2010 publication date.
Earlier this week, the International Association of Culinary Professionals announced the 2010 IACP Cookbook Award finalists. These awards recognize excellence in many categories: American; Baking: Savory or Sweet; Chefs and Restaurants; Children, Youth and Family; Culinary History; Health and Special Diet; International; and more. View the complete list here. The winners will be announced at a gala on April 22.
Here’s what BookPage cooking columnist Sybil Pratt has to say about a few of the selections (click the book titles for more information):
Bottega Favorita by Frank Stitt
Nominated for “Chefs and Restaurants”
Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller
Nominated for “Chefs and Restaurants”
Keller cooks at home! Hard to believe that the high priest of haute cuisine in the U.S. (and author of three cookbooks that are the quintessence of chic, sophisticated armchair cooking) has put together a collection of approachable family meals. Ad Hoc at Home has over 200 recipes that you and I can cook without a battalion of sous-chefs and cutting-edge culinary equipment—a slice of the sublime accessible to mere mortals.
Gourmet Today by Ruth Reichl
Nominated for “Compilations”
Besides its encyclopedic collection of recipes, we’ll root for this cookbook for sentimental reasons; our hearts book when Gourmet folded in October.
Got any favorites of the bunch? Or a recommendation for a tried and true cookbook you use all the time?
Related in BookPage: Browse our cookbook archives.