I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
Little, Brown • $26 • ISBN 9780316322409
Published October 8, 2013
On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, 15-year-old Pakistani Malala Yousafzai was on her way home after school when she was shot in the head at point-blank range. This was no random act of violence. Her hometown of Mingora, in the Swat Valley, had recently come under the control of the Taliban, who are known to vigorously oppose the education of girls. Malala—whose parents had always encouraged her education, her father even founding her school—did not shy away from publicly speaking out about her belief in the right of all girls to go to school. Doing so made her a target, leading to that fateful October afternoon.
Defying all odds and expectations, Malala survived the shooting, making a full recovery and more determined than ever to fight for the right of girls around the world to be educated. I Am Malala is her story—a story that is simply incredible, simply unforgettable, simply inspiring. Here are her eloquent and powerful opening words:
I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday.
One year ago I left my home for school and never returned. I was shot by a Taliban bullet and was flown out of Pakistan unconscious. Some people say I will never return home, but I believe firmly in my heart that I will. To be torn from the country that you love is not something to wish on anyone.
Now, every morning when I open my eyes, I long to see my old room full of my things my clothes all over the floor, and my school prizes on the shelves. Instead I am in a country which is five hours behind my beloved homeland Pakistan and my home in the Swat Valley. But my country is centuries behind this one. Here there is every convenience you can imagine. Water running from every tap, hot or cold as you wish; lights at the flick of a switch, day and night, no need for oil lamps; ovens to cook on that don't need anyone to go and fetch gas cylinders from the bazaar. Here everything is so modern one can even find food ready cooked in packets.
When I stand in front of my window and look out, I see tall buildings, long roads full of vehicles moving in orderly lines, neat green hedges and lawns, and tidy pavements to walk on. I close my eyes and for a moment I am back in my valley—the high snow-topped mountains, green waving fields and fresh blue rivers—and my heart smiles when it looks at the people of Swat. My mind transports me back to my school and there I am reunited with my friends and teachers. I meet my best friend Moniba and we sit together, talking and joking as if I had never left.
Then I remember I am in Birmingham, England.
The Thicket by Joe R. Lansdale
Mulholland Books • $26 • ISBN 9780316188456
Published September 10
If you finished The Son hungry for more tales from Texas, we have the next great read for you. Versatile novelist Joe R. Lansdale's latest is a turn-of-the-century coming-of-age story set in hardscrabble East Texas. Recently orphaned Jack Parker must grow up fast when his sister, Lula, is kidnapped by bandits. Teaming up with a bounty hunter, a dwarf and a grave-digger, Jack sets out on a quest to find and rescue Lula.
Told in Jack's straightforward, plainspoken voice, The Thicket brings to mind Western classics like True Grit or Joe David Brown's Paper Moon or even Huckleberry Finn.
Now, it may seem I was taking all this damn well, the death of my parents, but I assure you I was not. I had sort of seen it coming for a few days, and there had been so much death about I guess I had embraced thew hole thing better than I might had I just got up and found them dead without any sign of sickness. . . .
Still, down deep in my bones, and I'm sure it was the same with Lula, and even Grandpa for that patter, I was trying to get my heart and head wrapped around the idea that they had been taken so brutally and so quickly from us. It was like I was too dry to cry. I wanted to, but couldn't. Lula was the same way. That's how we Parkers were. We took what came the way it came. Least it was that was on the surface. You scratched us a little, though, you could find some jelly there pretty quick. We were the kind that found it hard to cry, but once we got started you best be ready for high water and the loading of animals two by two.
What are you reading this week?
I was having a conversation with someone the other day, and I mentioned that I don't usually like books that have a cult following. My friend's reply: "You mean other than Harry Potter?"
Oh, yeah. Harry Potter: My favorite series of all time; the books that I have re-read more than any other on earth; the cause of so much joy and happiness in my life! Raise your hand if, when asked for a list of your favorite books, you don't even mention Harry Potter . . . because those books just exist on a whole other level?
So, imagine my delight when I heard the following news . . .
Today, Little, Brown announced that it has the world rights to a new adult novel by J.K. Rowling. Nope, we don't know the title, publication date or any information about the book's plot.
Here's more from Rowling: "Although I’ve enjoyed writing it every bit as much, my next book will be very different to the Harry Potter series, which has been published so brilliantly by Bloomsbury and my other publishers around the world. The freedom to explore new territory is a gift that Harry's success has brought me, and with that new territory it seemed a logical progression to have a new publisher. I am delighted to have a second publishing home in Little, Brown, and a publishing team that will be a great partner in this new phase of my writing life."
We will update you the minute we get any more information about this book. But in the meantime: Anyone have plot predictions? Will this be another fantasy novel? A coming-of-age story? Something completely different?
Also on The Book Case: Even more gushing about my love for Harry Potter.
Handler was at ALA to promote his upcoming collaboration with artist Maira Kalman, Why We Broke Up (Little, Brown), which currently holds the title of my favorite book published in January 2012. I have never been so entertained watching an author sign books before: Handler took time to joke with everyone, interrogating the woman in front of me about the man whose heart she broke most recently and teasing me about the illegible handwriting on the Post-It that was supposed to show him how to spell my name. In short, he talks with the same freewheeling charm he displays in his books.
Later, Handler read from Why We Broke Up, interrupting himself with hilarious asides. Told through letters that teenaged Min writes to her ex-boyfriend, Ed, after their breakup, Why We Broke Up attempts to answer that unanswerable question by telling the stories behind objects Min has collected over the course of her relationship with Ed. Handler mentioned after the reading that he liked writing about teenagers because "everything's more interesting when it happens to a teenage girl." (He added that he meant that in the least inappropriate way possible.)
Handler is no stranger to writing about teenagers (his first novel, The Basic Eight) or love (the excellent novel-in-stories Adverbs). Here's a section of the first chapter of Why We Broke Up:
The thunk is the box, Ed. This is what I am leaving you. I found it down in the basement, just grabbed the box when all of our things were too much for my bed stand drawer. Plus I thought my mom would find some of the things, because she’s a snoop for my secrets. So it all went into the box and the box went into my closet with some shoes on top of it I never wear. Every last souvenir of the love we had, the prizes and the debris of this relationship, like the glitter in the gutter when the parade has passed, all the everything and whatnot kicked to the curb.
Tom McNeal, author of Goodnight Nebraska, seems to have just the right touch to capture stories of reconciliation and gritty heartache. Goodnight Nebraska was described as "uncommonly human," and it seems his next book, To Be Sung Underwater, is of similar spirit.
It is the story of Judith, who begins to withdraw from her husband and their life in California. In the midst of her sadness, she drops everything and returns to her childhood home of Rufus Safe, Nebraska to reconnect with her old love Willy, and in that moment charges headlong into a clashing of past and present. It spans 30 years of regret and has the depth of character to match.
The minimalistic trailer from Little, Brown shares a tiny bit of what BookPage contributor Tara Pettit calls "the essence of the human heart."
To Be Sung Underwater is on shelves now! Will you be picking it up?
Whether she's writing about Passover at the White House or the First Lady's family tree, I always enjoy Jodi Kantor's stories for the New York Times. (Hey, whether you're liberal or conservative, it's still fascinating to go behind the scenes at the White House—as I've mentioned before.)
When looking at Little, Brown's fall lineup, I couldn't help but flag Kantor's The Obamas, which comes out November 1. Here's the description from the publisher:
Jodi Kantor takes us deep inside the Obamas' experiences as president and first lady, raising children, maintaining friendships, and being the first African-American residents of the White House. Filled with riveting reportorial detail, humor, emotional and psychological depth, and a keen eye for the ironies of public life, THE OBAMAS is an intimate portrait that will surprise even readers who thought they knew the President and First Lady.
Little, Brown certainly hopes so. According to The New York Observer, Kantor got a seven-figure advance to write the book.
Best known for his Alex Cross novels, James Patterson has a softer side too (Remember Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas?). He explores it further on October 17 with The Christmas Wedding (Little, Brown). Memo to parents who're having trouble getting their kids to come home for the holidays: take a page from Patterson's heroine, a widow with plans to remarry who won't reveal the name of her husband-to-be to her children until they show up for the Christmas day wedding.
Patterson fans: do you like it when he takes a break from murder? Or are there fans of Diary that don't read the Alex Cross or Women's Murder Club novels?
From amplified e-books to coupons, sometimes it seems that there is no limit to the "extras" publishers will create to entice you to buy a book. I will admit that typically the extras don't do a whole lot for me (although I appreciate a good reading group guide in the back of a paperback).
Today, however, I read about some additional content that I am genuinely excited about. When David Foster Wallace's posthumous novel, The Pale King, is released in April of next year, the University of Texas's Harry Ransom Center's website will "showcase the draft manuscript, journal entries, and other aspects about the making of this posthumous novel" (from Little Brown's spring/summer catalog).
The New Yorker's book blog has already posted a couple manuscript pages from The Pale King, and it is fascinating to get a behind-the-scenes look at Wallace's process. Although most of the materials associated with The Pale King won't be available at the Harry Ransom Center until April, the website is well worth a browse now. See the words Wallace circled in his dictionary, annotated personal novels and more.
Are you going to read The Pale King? Here's a description from Little Brown:
The agents at the IRS Regional Examination Center in Peoria, IL, appear ordinary enough to newly arrived trainee David Foster Wallace. But as he immerses himself in a routine so tedious and repetitive that new employees receive boredom-survival training, he learns of the extraordinary variety of personalities drawn to this strange calling. And he has arrived at a moment when forces within the IRS are plotting to eliminate even what little humanity and dignity the work still has.
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?
A couple months ago, Trisha posted the cover to Anita Shreve's latest novel (Rescue, out November 30 from Little, Brown) with a note that "no one does 'wistful' like an Anita Shreve heroine."
There's little information about the plot online, although thanks to the Little, Brown fall catalog we can get more info:
Peter Webster is a rookie paramedic when he pulls a young woman out of a car wreck that should have killed her. Sheila haunts his thoughts, and despite his misgivings, Peter is soon embroiled in an intense love affair—and in her troubled life.
Nineteen years later, Sheila is long gone and Peter is raising their daughter, Rowan, alone—until a phone call from Sheila alters their quiet existence, bringing long-buried questions back to the surface. Why did a mother leave her family? How did the marriage of two people so deeply in love unravel? A story about trespass and forgiveness, secrets and the seismic force of the truth, Rescue is a masterful portrayal of a family trying to understand its own fractured past and begin again.