There have been a lot of mashups and boundary-crossing novels in fiction lately, but this one took me by surprise.
Amish + Vampire = ??? Well, conflict, for sure, since it is unlikely that the Amish community looks on the undead with anything approaching approval.
From Publisher's Marketplace:
Leanna Ellis's FORSAKEN, first in the Plain Fear series in which a young Amish woman mourning the mysterious 'death' of her beloved, now a vampire, must choose between two brothers, between good and evil, between a lasting love and the damnation of her soul, to Peter Lynch at Sourcebooks.
Today, Kevin at The Millions made a strong case for Lionel Shriver as America's best living novelist. The thoughtful post is worth a read, but the standout for me as a Shriver convert already was a throwaway mention of a We Need to Talk About Kevin movie coming in 2011. Eek!
According to IMDB, Ezra Miller (Afterschool & "Californication") will play teenaged Kevin, and Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly will play his parents in the film, directed by Lynne Ramsey. I can't think of a more perfect Eva than Swinton and am now doubly excited for the film's release. Filming is set to start in Connecticut this month.
What do you think of Shriver as a candidate for best living American writer? If you don't agree, who would you nominate?
Beth Pattillo's Jane Austen tributes have been a hit with BookPage reviewers. Romance columnist Christie Ridgway called Jane Austen Ruined My Life—about a heartbroken Austen expert—"smart chick lit that’s an absolute pleasure to read." This year, Linda White was charmed by Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart, in which an office manager meets a "dashingly handsome yet annoyingly aloof publishing executive" at a Pride and Prejudice seminar.
And now Pattillo has signed a deal to add more fuel to the current Jane Austen craze. GuidepostsBooks will publish The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: A Novel with Sense and Sensibility. (Right now there's no set pub date, but my money's on February 2011, since her two previous J.A. novels were published in Feb. '09 and Feb. '10.)
Per Publisher's Marketplace, this novel will follow three sisters on a walking tour of Hampshire, England, where they find a book that might be the diary of Jane Austen and her sister Cassandra, chronicling their lives as sisters and shedding new light on the writing of Sense and Sensibility.
If you can't wait that long for an Austen fix, pick up Allegra Goodman's The Cookbook Collector in July—a Sense and Sensibility-type story for the digital age.
Have you had enough of Austen, or will you relish another homage to the queen of social comedy?
Novelist Jan Karon will be returning with a second Father Tim novel, In the Company of Others, on October 19. After concluding her Mitford series in 2005 with Light From Heaven, Karon used the marriage of beloved character Father Tim to launch a spin-off series that seems just as popular with her many fans.
So far, few details have been released about the upcoming book—though Karon has said it is one of her longest: "This book will have many more chapters than my previous novels, and the lengths will vary greatly." It takes place in County Sligo, Ireland, where Father Tim and Cynthia have traveled to do some genealogical research. Instead, the couple becomes caught up in the lives of the county's modern-day inhabitants, especially the family who owns the inn where they are staying.
For today's highlight of book trailers, I've decided to focus on nonfiction—Jason Turbow's hilarious must-read for baseball fans: The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign Stealing, and Bench-Clearing Brawls: The Unwritten Rules of America's Pastime (love that complete title) and First Brother-in-Law Craig Robinson's anticipated memoir, A Game of Character.
You can get the inside scoop on the following dilemmas in Turbow's book, which is covered in our April baseball roundup: How does a pitcher know when to hit a batter? How does a runner know when it’s acceptable to bulldog the catcher? Should a ballplayer bring his wife to the bar at the team’s hotel? The trailer definitely captures the fun and upbeat tone of the book:
A Game of Character goes on sale today, and BookPage reviewer Pete Croatto writes that the book is "a combination of autobiography, motivational handbook and presidential campaign log." Although there is motivational prose (complete with exclamation points) that will ensure Robinson's spot "on the corporate speaker circuit," Croatto assures us that this memoir is really a compelling tale of determination and principles. Here's a preview:
Have you seen any good book trailers lately?
BookPage is proud to present our first video author interview: a Q&A with Thomas Chatterton Williams, author of Losing My Cool: How a Father's Love and 15,000 Books Beat Hip-Hop Culture. His 2007 Washington Post column on the pernicious effects of hip-hop culture on African Americans was based on his own experience, and the book is both personal and universal as it chronicles Williams' youthful struggle between the worlds of street cred and college credits.
Friend of BookPage Stephenie Harrison came up with a few brilliant questions for the Penguin Press publicity department to ask Williams during a visit to their NYC offices. His answers are sure to make you think.
If so, you'll be excited to hear that Boyle has sold a deal to write a memoir titled The Woman I Was Born to Be. Atria will publish the book in the fall of this year.
Whether you love them or hate them, celebrity memoirs are here to stay (see recent posts on Judi Dench and Ashley Judd). But since her rise to fame is so unique to the social media age, perhaps Boyle will have some interesting insights? (Right now, all we know is that Boyle's book will chronicle her "unlikely journey to stardom.")
What's your favorite celeb memoir?
When we last posted about Kate Atkinson's upcoming novel, Started Early, Took My Dog, I had hopes the book would appear this summer. Alas, August 19 was the U.K. pub date. According to the latest Little Brown catalog, U.S. readers will have to wait until March 21, 2011 to read the book, which will appear under the Regan Arthur imprint.
What we do have: a description, from the catalog.
Tracy Waterhouse leads a quiet, ordered life as a retired police detective—a life that takes a surprising turn when she encounters Kelly Cross, a habitual offender, dragging a young child through town. Both appear miserable and better off without each other—or so Tracy concludes, in a snap decision that surprises herself as much as Kelly. Suddenly burdened with a small child, Tracy soon learns her parental inexperience is actually the least of her problems, as much larger ones loom for her and her young charge.
Meanwhile, former detective Jackson Brodie is embarking on a different sort of rescue—that of an abused dog. Dog in tow, Jackson is about to learn, along with Tracy, that no good deed goes unpunished.
Related in BookPage: Our interview with Kate Atkinson for One Good Turn. Reviews of Case Histories and When Will there Be Good News?
The kid was dressed in various shades of pink, with the addition of a little pink rucksack stuck on her back like a barnacle, so that the general impression was of a misshapen marshmallow. Someone—surely not Kelly—had attempted to plait the kid’s stringy hair. The pink and the plaits signaled her gender, something not immediately obvious from her podgy, androgynous features.
She was a small lumpy kind of kid but there was a spark of something in her eyes. Life perhaps. Soiled but not broken. Yet. What chance did this kid have with Kelly as her mother? Realistically?
A bus was approaching, indicating, slowing down.
Something gave inside Tracy. A small floodgate letting out a race of despair and frustration as she contemplated the blank but already soiled canvas of the kid’s future. Tracy didn’t know how it happened. One moment she was standing at a bus-stop on Woodhouse Lane, contemplating the human wreckage that was Kelly Cross, the next she was saying to her, ‘How much?’
From a "pre-9/11 novel that one can only read with a post-9/11 sensibility" to a new middle grade novel from Karen Cushman (author of The Midwife's Apprentice and Catherine, Called Birdy), this week we're highlighting many new titles on BookPage.com. A few of the highlights (click on the book titles to read more):
Review of Teddy Wayne's Kapitoil
Teddy Wayne’s Kapitoil is a startlingly funny, intelligent and poignant pre-9/11 novel that one can only read with a post-9/11 sensibility. Set in a blissfully naïve 1999 Manhattan where Y2K is the impending crisis on the mind, Wayne’s debut is both a comic skewering of American capitalism and an honest account of a city—indeed, a way of life—that is about to change forever.
Review of Karen Cushman's Alchemy and Meggy Swann
Meggy Swann is appalled by the bustle and filth of Elizabethan London when her father, an alchemist who doesn’t set much store by truth or integrity, summons her to the city to work as his apprentice. Meggy has been used to living a secluded life in a country village with only her grandmother and her goose Louise as friends. With her crippled legs, Meggy has endured taunts and threats, but her father’s utter contempt for her surpasses all the difficult experiences of her past.
Which will you read first?
If you had to guess which president was being described in those words . . . would you guess George Washington?
Maybe not, but the real man, not the legend, is who Ron Chernow is said to describe in Washington, out on October 5. Though this is also the angle Joseph Ellis took in 2004's His Excellency, Penguin representatives say that Washington is both a "landmark biography" and a "fabulous read." Since, like Ellis, Chernow is one of America's foremost biographers—he won the National Book Award in 1990 for The House of Morgan, his first book—this is likely. But given the high, high volume of "Founding Fathers" biographies published in the last few years, is there anything new to say about Washington? We'll find out when the galleys arrive . . .