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Reader name: Melissa
Hometown: Sunnyvale, CA
Favorite genre: Chick Lit, Thrillers
Favorite authors: Chuck Palahniuk, Jodi Picoult, Stephen King, Barbara Kingsolver, Jennifer Weiner, Stephenie Meyer, Chelsea Handler
Favorite books: Invisible Monsters, The Long Walk, The Bean Trees, Good in Bed, House Rules, Twilight, Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang, Fight Club, Christine . . .
There are SO many book recommendations we could make based on this list of favorite authors, but I'll try to narrow my suggestions to just a few titles I think Melissa will enjoy.
Chevy Stevens' Still Missing—about a Realtor's worst nightmare (being abducted at an open house)—was one of my favorite thrillers of 2010. The paperback came out a few weeks ago, and the sequel (Never Knowing) is out on July 5. It's one of BookPage's top suspense picks for summer.
On the lighter side, you can't go wrong with Jennifer Crusie (her wit and embracing of curvier heroines will remind you of Jennifer Weiner). We like Bet Me, about a woman who is wise to the bet her suitor is trying to win.
Finally, the Twilight fan would do well to read Elizabeth Kostova's vampire tale The Historian—described in BookPage as a "terrifying gothic thriller, enlightening historical novel and haunting love story."
I hope this list helps you add to your summer reading list!
Elizabeth Kostova, author of The Historian and The Swan Thieves, will publish a new novel in 2013. Formerly with Little, Brown, Kostova will move to Ballantine Bantam Dell at Random House for #3. Here's a bit more on the book, from a press release from Random House:
The new novel will be set in the U.S. and Eastern Europe, and like The Historian will move between past and present, and combine elements of suspense, myth and folklore.
We interviewed Kostova for The Book Case back in the fall of 2009, and she mentioned then that her readers especially enjoy "the mix of historical and contemporary settings" as well as travel through time. Based on Random's short plot description, it sounds like Kostova is not straying from what she does best!
It’s an industry standard to publish new books on Tuesdays, and today is no exception. If you’re interested in great new fiction, run to your local bookstore and pick up one of these Jan. 12 releases:
Bloodroot, a family saga set in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, is by debut author Amy Greene. In a behind-the-book essay with BookPage, Greene writes about her inspiration for the novel: “I saw a black-haired woman with wild blue eyes and her two hungry-looking children. The children were twins, a boy and a girl. There was something mysterious about the three of them, especially the woman, and I needed to figure out what it was. I pictured her and the twins living in isolation on that hill in the mountain woods, maybe hiding from some kind of danger. I don’t know where the image came from, but I was captured by it.”
Also related: BookPage editors Abby and Trisha report from a dinner with Greene and other Nashville-area book folks.
National Book Award-nominee Amy Bloom is back with Where the God of Love Hangs Out, a collection of short stories focused on “the way people act toward and react to one another,” according to BookPage reviewer Becky Ohlsen. Bloom’s “stories have an almost theatrical quality: she puts several people with complex relationships in a room and lets them have it out—sometimes in dialogue, but mostly through those perfectly tuned inner voices.” Also don’t miss Bloom’s 2007 novel Away.
We’ve blogged about Saving CeeCee Honeycutt before, and today you can see what all the fuss is about. Get a preview in an interview with BookPage, in which author Beth Hoffman writes how she found her voice as a writer creating “story ads” for her interior design studio.
Reader favorite Elizabeth Kostova gave us a sneak peak into The Swan Thieves in November, and today you can get the rest of the story. Kostova’s second novel (after mega-hit The Historian) is about love, obsession and French Impressionism. On writing about art, she told BookPage: “When I started going back to museums and seeing these paintings in the flesh, I was so overwhelmed by them. They’re so wonderful in real life, and Impressionism is so textured that you really have a sense of people working with the brush when you look at the originals that you don’t with reproductions.”
Which of these books will you be reading first? That’s a tough call for me, but since I live in Tennessee, I’m leaning towards Bloodroot. . .
One of the first big releases of January 2010 is Elizabeth Kostova's follow-up to her hit debut, The Historian, a literary vampire story that topped bestseller lists in the summer of 2005. Her new novel, The Swan Thieves, is a tale of love, obsession and art that, like The Historian, goes backward and forward in time to unravel a mystery. We asked Kostova a few questions about the book as a teaser for fans--and a preview of our full-length BookPage interview coming in January.
What elements in The Swan Thieves will most appeal to fans of The Historian?
I think readers who enjoyed The Historian will probably enjoy the mix of historical and contemporary settings in The Swan Thieves, as well as the travel to France and through time.
Impressionist art is frequently referenced in books (yours!) and films (Amelie), and probably adorns 8 out of 10 dorm room walls. What is it about these artists that continues to speak to people today?
I think we still look at and love the Impressionists because they capture something about nature that is both vivid and idealized. As we watch the destruction of natural beauty in our world, we probably value these images in a new and piercing way. I think it's also important to note that many people are understandably sick of Impressionist art from sheer over-exposure to it, and because in reproduction it radiates a certain prettiness. Looking closely at an original Impressionist masterwork is still a radical experience, and very different from looking at a notecard or tote bag.
The mystery of The Swan Thieves revolves around a 19th-century female artist, and the sacrifices women in particular must make to pursue art. Is there a real-life artist who inspired this character?
Beatrice de Clerval is not based on a single real artist, but in developing her I was inspired by the life of Berthe Morisot, one of the six original exhibiting Impressionists, a dedicated and very gifted painter who also protected the conventions of her social and family life.
Who is your favorite character in the new novel, and why?
I think I'm fondest of Andrew Marlow, because he changes the most over the course of the book. I feel very close to him in his struggles to figure out who he is, and I like the way he evolves from vanity to love--rather as Professor Rossi does in The Historian.
How was writing this book different from writing The Historian?
In writing The Swan Thieves, I had to move away from using the models of Victorian literature and into something more exactly fitting my story in terms of language and structure. I also wrote it in large swathes, as different episodes became vivid for me, and then rearranged these in the editing, rather than writing straight through from beginning to end as I did with The Historian. I learned a tremendous amount from writing The Swan Thieves and it is a deeply felt book, for me.
Now that we've listed some our favorites of 2009, let's look ahead to 2010. We're already getting tons of January books -- here are a few recent arrivals that are on our radar.
Roses was a big buzz book at BEA and is a four-generation family saga that has been compared to The Thornbirds. Juicy!
Tracy Chevalier was one of the writers who kicked off the latest wave of historical fiction. Her new novel, Remarkable Creatures (Viking) is about two female fossil-hunters in Lyme Regis, England, in the 19th century. Isn't the jacket gorgeous? The UK edition (which went on sale earlier this week) uses the same elements in a different way.
Chevalier talks about her inspiration for the book here.
Then there's the return of Elizabeth Kostova with The Swan Thieves (Little, Brown), which we blogged about earlier this summer.
I was intrigued by the fanciful cover of Ali Shaw's The Girl with the Glass Feet (Holt). Shaw said his debut—the story of a girl who visits an island where strange things are happening and subsequently finds herself slowly turning into glass—was inspired by the European fairy tale tradition.
And Mo Hayder has Skin (Grove), a sequel to Ritual, coming out in January. Though so far none of her recent books have topped the creepiness of The Devil of Nanking in my mind, fans of literary horror will have something to keep them up at night.
And of course, there's the new Joshua Ferris—The Unnamed.
Any January releases you're looking forward to?
It has been four years since her blockbuster debut, The Historian, but Elizabeth Kostova is rising again on January 21 with a second act, The Swan Thieves. Instead of literature, this time Kostova's subject is painting—and painters who struggle to balance love and art. The novel goes from 1870s France to the modern day as a Washington, D.C., psychiatrist tries to discover why one of his patients attacked painting in the National Gallery.
She told Powell's she began work on The Swan Thieves before The Historian was even published. "I felt it was important for me to get back to writing right away — to draw that magic, private circle again."
After the jump, a video of Kostova discussing the novel.