This February, T.C. Boyle returns with "a socially conscious, richly humane tale regarding the dominion we attempt to exert, for better or worse, over the natural world." When the Killing's Done (Viking) is set off the coast of Santa Barbara, and follows a National Park Service biologist who is trying to keep invasive, non-native species from killing off the island's endangered native creatures. Her task is complicated by a local businessman and his folksinger girlfriend, who don't think that the non-native species should be eliminated.
This isn't Boyle's first foray into environmental fiction: his 2000 novel, A Friend of the Earth [read our review] is set in the future (2025, to be exact) in the wake of a massive species extinction.
Boyle fans should check out our coverage of his backlist on BookPage.com.
Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan
NAL Trade • $15.00 • First published in 1992
Waiting to Exhale is about Savannah, Bernadine, Robin and Gloria—four successful black women living in Phoenix and looking for love. When it was published in 1992, it was a huge hit. Terry McMillan's website explains the significance of the novel's reception:
Waiting to Exhale took the publishing world by storm. No one predicted the droves of women and black people who would line the streets hoping to hear Terry read and sign their books. Nobody in main stream publishing got the memo that these were demographics who not only read books, but paid good money too.
Here's an excerpt from Waiting to Exhale—which I would recommend if you haven't already read it: it's funny, lively and a page-turner.
Times have damn sure changed.
And I can't lie. Now I worry. I worry about if and when I'll ever find the right man, if I'll ever be able to exhale. The more I try not to think about it, the more I think about it. This morning, I was drinking a cup of coffee, when it occurred to me that my life is half over. Never in a million years would I have ever believed that I would be thirty-six years old and still childless and single. But here I am.
It's also interesting to read an interview with McMillan about her 2005 novel The Interruption of Everything, in which she reflects on Waiting to Exhale more than a decade after it came out:
"Waiting to Exhale alone, that was 13 years ago! I mean, my goodness, I was in my 30s and the concerns I had then . . . I mean, those women make me sick! They seem like such whiners, except for one," she says. "But the thing was, at that time, there were so many women that I knew, myself included, who looked up and realized, gee whiz, what happened to those husbands we were supposed to be getting? Not only husbands, we didn't even have dates! Back then, it was kind of important because we were in it, but then it kind of came and went. But they don't let you forget! My goodness!"
Ape House, the new novel by Water for Elephants author Sara Gruen, came out today—and I know many of you are pumped: Ape House is BookPage's top fiction pick for September and the movie version of Water for Elephants is due out this spring.
BookPage reviewer Deborah Donovan loved Ape House, praising Gruen's exploration of the "mysterious and emotionally powerful human-animal bond." Here's more on the plot:
[Gruen portrays] a group of six bonobo apes housed in the fictional Great Ape Language Lab in Kansas City and the humans who either come to love them or seek to profit from their surprisingly advanced communication skills.
Anyone had a chance to start Ape House?
Also, if you're interested in bonobos, don't miss Vanessa Woods' Bonobo Handshake, which came out in June.
This just in—everyone's favorite genre-bending writer, Jasper Fforde, has another Thursday Next book coming out . . . March next. March 8, 2011, to be exact.
Sounds like things are just as twisted as usual in Thursday's world, from this publisher description:
All-out Genre war is rumbling, and the BookWorld desperately needs a heroine like Thursday Next. But with the real Thursday apparently retired to the Realworld, the Council of Genres turns to the written Thursday. The Council wants her to pretend to be the real Thursday and travel as a peacekeeping emissary to the warring factions.
We're celebrating memoirs published in 2010 in today's edition of BookPageXTRA. A few of our favorites (pictured above) are:
Marriage and Other Acts of Charity by Kate Braestrup
Breath by Martha Mason
Let's Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell
Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt
Street Shadows by Jerald Walker
Dead End Gene Pool by Wendy Burden
What are your favorite memoirs from 2010?
Book blogs continue to buzz about "Franzenfreude," but this week we're moving on. . .
A few non-Freedom related blog posts I enjoyed:
Hope Larson talks comics
Posted by Chris Arrant on CBR
Did you know that FSG is publishing a graphic novel of A Wrinkle in Time? I didn't, so I was interested to read cartoonist Hope Larson's take on adapting the children's classic to a new medium:
I knew when I signed on to Wrinkle, before I even started writing the script, that the book was going to be a monster. It’s 200 pages of prose, and when you’re working with such a beloved story you can’t go in and start cutting and abridging as you please. [Continue reading.]
This post title is self-explanatory . . . you have until midnight tonight to enter to win all THREE books in the Hunger Games trilogy!
The Top 10 Bookstores in the US
Posted by Daniel McGillivray on Flavorwire
I agree with this top-10 list, except I just have one question: Why isn't my all-time favorite bookstore, Square Books in Oxford, MS, on this list?
What book blog posts did you enjoy this week?
We've already shared our excitement about Karen Russell's first novel, Swamplandia! (Feb., Knopf). Galleys recently hit the BookPage office, and I'm tempted to nab it for my Labor Day weekend reading if our fiction editor is feeling generous. Here's a sneak peek at the opening lines, which provide a great example of Russell's unique voice and give a glimpse into the mysterious world of the book's eponymous Everglades theme park.
Chapter One: The Beginning of the End
Our mother performed in starlight. Whose innovation this was I never discovered. Probably it was Chief Bigtree's idea, and it was a good one—to blank the follow spot and let a sharp moon cut across the sky, unchaperoned; to kill the microphone; to leave the stage lights' tin eyelids scrolled and give the tourists in the stands a chance to enjoy the darkness of our island; to encourage the whole stadium to gulp air along with Swamplandia!'s star performer, the world-famous alligator wrestler Hilola Bigtree. Four times a week, our mother climbed the ladder above the Gator Pit in a green two-piece bathing suit and stood on the edge of the diving board, breathing. If it was windy, her long hair flew around her face, but the rest of her stayed motionless. Nights in the swamp were dark and star-lepered—our island was thirty-odd miles off the grid of mainland lights—and although your naked eye could easily find the ball of Venus and the sapphire hairs of the Pleiades, our mother's body was just lines, a smudge against the palm trees.
Three weeks from today, a movie version of Kathryn Lasky's bestselling Guardians of Ga’Hoole series—about a brave young owl's magical journey—will hit theaters. From the looks of the trailer, I think it'll be quite a show (and it's in 3D!).
To get you pumped up for the release, BookPage asked Lasky to answer a few questions about her role in the adaptation and impressions of the movie.
What was your reaction when you saw the movie version of Guardians of Ga'Hoole? Is the adaptation faithful to the spirit of your books?
I have not seen the movie in its entirety yet. In July I saw a rough cut and not in 3D and not fully animated. But the ninety minutes of what I saw was honestly the most spectacular ninety minutes of animation I have ever seen in my life! The scenes of flying—and mind you as I said this was not 3D yet—were absolutely breathtaking.
What came across loud and clear was how faithful this adaptation is to the spirit of the books and the characters. For nearly 10 years I have lived with these characters’ voices in my head and now to hear them and hear them voiced by such great actors like Jim Sturgess, Helen Mirren and Sam Neil was overwhelming to me. I started crying.
All I could think was ‘all this stuff in my head for so long and now it’s out there.’ This is strange to say but I almost felt as if I had been away—lonely and away for a long time and I was now back and being welcomed by long lost friends—even the bad guys!
Were you involved at all in the movie's production?
Oh yes I was involved to a limited extent. I made three trips to Los Angeles to discuss the movie both before the screenwriter and director were hired and then after. The screenwriter, John Orloff, called me throughout the process to consult with me on the screenplay. He was terrific—open to ideas, really probing me on how I viewed certain plot elements, characters, etc. I knew there were changes that would have to be made for a movie is not a book. But I was very comfortable how he and Zack Snyder, the director, handled these changes.
A complete screenplay was sent to me maybe eighteen months ago and I read it and wrote an extensive memo concerning things that I felt needed some adjusting and they really incorporated most of my changes. Zack, John and the producers Lionel Wigram and Donald De Line were very attentive to my suggestions. All of them good listeners.
Why should children read the book before they see the movie?
Of course it’s always wonderful if children read the book before the movie because then they know the story and the characters so well. But on the other hand I am sure there are instances where children might not be aware of a book, or had the interest or opportunity to read it. If they see the film first this might inspire them to go out and read the book and it will open them up to an equally rich and different experience.
In Guardians of Ga'Hoole: The Capture, Soren is inspired by legends about the Guardians of Ga'Hoole. What legends do you personally find inspiring?
Probably and most obviously the Arthurian legends. The Guardians of Ga’Hoole is, I admit, very derivative of this cycle. As a child I read all the Greek myths and loved them but they seemed a bit removed to me compared to the Arthurian tales. I also loved the selkie stories, those tales of the seal folk who were seals in the ocean and became humans on shore. I generally love all shape shifter stories.
You have received many honors over the course of your career, from getting a Newbery Honor for Sugaring Time to seeing your characters transformed by Warner Brothers. Which award, accomplishment or honor are you most proud of?
Oh that’s kind of impossible for me to say. The best reward of all is just knowing that readers are connecting with what I write. An award like that doesn’t need a medal or a gold seal or a movie marquee.
BookPage is giving away two copies of The Capture (Book One in the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series) in the next edition of Reading Corner. To receive our e-newsletter about books for children and teens, sign up here.
Author photo by Christopher G. Knight.
I'm not sure why, but I had Annie Proulx set firmly in the anti-memoir crowd. Maybe it's because looking back on one's life is a luxury that her hard-working, taciturn characters would either not have time for, or sneer at. Maybe it's because she is so private that she (politely) insisted that her 2002 interview with us be conducted by email. Whatever the reason for my impression, it was a false one: Proulx is set to publish a memoir, Bird Cloud, with Scribner in January.
"Part autobiography, part natural history, Bird Cloud is the glorious story of Annie Proulx's piece of the Wyoming landscape and her home there."
Read more about Annie Proulx at BookPage.com.
Do you pick out books based on the Oprah sticker? While I'm not crazy about having the logo on a book in my collection, I have loved many of Oprah's past choices: She's Come Undone, The Poisonwood Bible, Daughter of Fortune, Middlesex. . . And that "Summer of Faulkner" box set sure came in handy during my Faulkner seminar in college!