While checking out Penguin's new site to promote their books and authors, From the Editor's Office, I came across this video with JR Ward. She discussed several of the same topics in our web-only interview.
What do you think of author videos? Do they enhance your reading experience in a way that print interviews don't, or are you happy to stick to the page? If you prefer one over the other, I'd love to know why. I'm a fan of both—I tend to have a longer attention span for reading than watching a video, but it's also interesting to hear an author's voice and see what they look like, even if I sometimes find myself fixating on their fashion choices (love the ruffles, JR, but what's with the shades?).
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Readers are buzzing about the mystery debut from Attica Locke, Black Water Rising. The L.A. Times calls Locke "a writer wise beyond her years," Sarah Weinman is a fan, and the novel garnered positive pre-pub reviews from Library Journal and Kirkus. [via]
Come July, they can add praise from BookPage to that chorus. Whodunit? columnist Bruce Tierney chose Black Water Rising as one of his four favorite mystery debuts of the summer, calling the mystery "an excellent book by any measure, but as a debut, it is nothing short of astonishing."
Can't wait two weeks? Want to discover Bruce's other favorites before the L.A. Times does? Click here for a sneak peek.
If you’re gift-challenged like me, holidays/birthdays/graduations and other gift-giving events have a way of sneaking up on you. We’re doing our part to help out by warning you a full week in advance that Sunday is FATHER’S DAY and if you don’t already have an idea for a present, you’d better get busy. Wait, there’s more. We’re also offering one lucky reader a chance to snag a Father’s Day gift collection without ever leaving the sofa. Our “Four for Father” collection includes these new releases:
After the success of President Obama's books, a family member hopes to follow in his footsteps. Today's Publisher's Lunch announced that his Kenyan half brother, George Obama, will be telling the story of his "fall into crime and poverty as a teenager and his eventual embrace of community organizing and of advocacy for the poor," in Homeland, a book written with Damien Lewis. George Obama reportedly got six figures for the book, which Simon & Schuster will publish in 2010.
Pardon the cliched post title, especially since it's not really accurate: no one "lets" anyone in the BookPage office eat cake. If something sweet arrives, there's no waiting for permission—as demonstrated today when the cake delivered to celebrate the long-awaited launch of our new website arrived.
These photos were taken within 20 minutes of each other. In an office of 12 people. Better get my share now!
What's your office's—or family's—favorite sweet treat?
As we've mentioned before, finding out what the mailman's brought us is a daily treat. One recent discovery I've got stationed on my desk is Harriet Reisen's Louisa May Alcott (Holt). This "revelatory portrait" (per the back cover copy) of the Little Women author will be on shelves October 27, and promises a fresh take on her life while placing it in the context of her works. Reisen has written for radio, PBS and HBO—and has adapted this biography for an American Masters biopic that will air in December.
Like many women I've been an Alcott fan since childhood, and remember snapping up old copies of her out-of-print works, like Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom while following my mom around antiques stores. I loved the family dynamics (I'd always wanted a sister, or three) and the occasional hints of romance. As a preteen I discovered her ghost stories and pulp fiction. I'd always wished she'd written more, which is part of the reason I enjoyed Geraldine Brooks' wonderful novel, March, so much.
Are you an Alcott fan? and if not, which authors captivated you as a child? I have many more on my list but I'll have to save them for another blog post.
As BookPage’s fiction editor, I get to read (or at least partially read) dozens and dozens of great novels every month. But the hardest part of the job (at least for me) is narrowing all of these great books down to a stack of 10 or 12 to review each month. As my mother would say, “That’s a nice problem to have!” And it really is. But in my time with BookPage, there has not been a month when I didn’t lament not including a certain book in our issue. Such is the case with The Fixer Upper, the latest novel from New York Times bestselling author Mary Kay Andrews (Deep Dish, Blue Christmas, Savannah Breeze, etc.).
On sale at the end of this month, The Fixer Upper is the story of Dempsey Jo Killebrew—an impressive young woman who thinks she has landed her dream job at a Washington, D.C. law firm. She’s living the high life until her boss is implicated in a very juicy political scandal—and she is shown the door right along with him. Dempsey is suddenly out of a job with bills piling up; and because her name has been splashed all over the news along with her boss’s, no potential employer will touch her. So what’s a girl to do? Well, in a Mary Kay Andrews novel, she has only one choice—return to her Southern roots. For Dempsey, that means taking her father up on his offer to restore the old family mansion in sleepy Guthrie, Georgia.
Like Andrews’ other novels, this is a light, sassy, easy read, perfect for the beach or lazy days on the porch. I loved what I read of the novel, and even though we didn’t pick this one for print coverage, the kind folks at Harper sent us three finished copies of the book. So in celebration of the start of summer, three lucky Book Case readers can enter to win a free copy—even before it officially hits the shelves. Just post a comment and tell us what your favorite beach read is before June 15th. We’ll select the winners at random. Good luck!
Another book talked up during one of Books-A-Million's publisher-buyer meetings: The last-minute addition to the McSweeney's fall list of an adult novel based on Where the Wild Things Are, titled simply, Wild Things (October). The author? Dave Eggers, who adapted the children's book into the screenplay for the anticipated movie directed by Spike Jonze.
Like the movie, the adult novelization seems to have followed a rocky road, with a delay or two along the way. A 2008 Publisher's Weekly article reported that the book would be published as a joint venture between Harper and McSweeney's but would bear the Ecco imprint (they happen to publish Eggers' wife, Vendela Vida). Now it looks like the project is being handled McSweeney's alone—perhaps Harper wasn't up for producing the (faux) fur-covered special edition? Perseus will distribute.
Little information on the book is available other than the publisher's annotation:
Wild Things is about the confusions of a boy, Max, making his way in a world he can’t control. His father is gone, his mother is spending time with a younger boyfriend, his sister is becoming a teenager and no longer has interest in him. At the same time, Max finds himself capable of startling acts of wildness: he wears a wolf suit, bites his mom, and can’t always control his outbursts. During a fight at home, Max flees and runs away into the woods. He finds a boat there, jumps in, and ends up on the open sea, destination unknown. He lands on the island of the Wild Things, and soon he becomes their king. But things get complicated when Max realizes that the Wild Things want as much from him as he wants from them. Funny, dark, and alive, The Wild Things is a timeless and time-tested tale for all ages.
Where the Wild Things Are
Away We Go
Congratulations to our own romance columnist Christie Ridgway, who just signed a deal with Berkley to publish a new series of contemporary romance novels. Set in Napa, The Three Kisses trilogy focuses on three single sisters who are fighting to keep their struggling vineyard afloat—and the smoking hot bachelor brothers who are the sisters' biggest competitors. Or, in Christie's words: “One failing winery, two feuding families, three unforgettable pairings.” The first book is tentatively scheduled for next summer. I have very fond, fuzzy memories of a trip I took to Napa a couple of years ago—Christie, if you need help with all that research, give me a call!
If you haven't read Christie's column for June, check it out here. In my humble (and yes, biased) opinion, it's a must-read for any romance or women's fiction fan.
ETA: Anyone with Napa Valley area insights for Christie, feel free to share in the comments.
Have you heard about Book: The Sequel (Public Affairs)? Here’s the gist: readers were asked to contribute the first line of a proposed sequel to their favorite book, via a website that was up for about a month. Sounds fun, sounds great. But wait, you also get...the actual book. During a 48-period, beginning the first night of BEA, the submissions were edited, formatted and then published—as a paperback, audiobook, e-book, large print, etc.
OK, but what's the point? That’s a question we put to Rick Joyce, Perseus Books Group’s chief marketing officer, Saturday at BEA during the launch party for Book: The Sequel. Admittedly, we went for the champagne, but came away with much more. As you'll hear, this project wasn't just about beloved books, it's about the future of publishing.