Our teen top pick for April is Printz Award winner John Corey Whaley's refreshingly unique novel, Noggin. When 16-year-old Travis Coates is faced with terminal cancer—acute lymphoblastic leukemia—he decides to donate his head to a cryogenic lab. But instead of "waking up" to a future of flying cars and jet packs, he's reinstated just five short years later with the body of a teen who suffered from brain cancer.
Travis is suddenly thrust back into a world that has moved on without him: his girlfriend and first love is engaged to someone else, his parents grieved, his best friend is navigating college and yet Travis is the same high schooler he was five years ago.
With plenty of wit and head puns, Whaley makes a bizarre concept absolutely lovable and surprisingly moving.
Check out the quirky trailer from Simon & Schuster below:
What do you think, readers? Interested in picking up Whaley's second teen novel?
Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby want to help home cooks achieve "big flavor without big effort" with their new cookbook, The Big-Flavor Grill: No-Marinade, No-Hassle Recipes. Today's recipe is for Grilled Corn with Basil and Parmesan, a super quick and flavorful side dish that just might steal the show at your next outdoor BBQ.
Super-Basic Grilled Corn
Build a two-level fire in your grill, which means you put all the coals on one side of the grill and leave the other side free of coals. When the flames have died down, all the coals are covered with gray ash and the temperature is medium (you can hold your hand 6 inches above the grill for 4 to 5 seconds), you’re ready to cook.
Rub the corn ears all over with the oil and sprinkle them with the salt and pepper. Put the ears on the grill directly over the coals and cook, rolling them around to ensure all of the sides are getting some attention from the fire, until they are golden brown all over, which should take 4 to 6 minutes. Remove the corn from the grill, place the ears in a large bowl (along with some butter if you like) and serve.
| Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish |
Grilled Corn with Basil and Parmesan
With super fresh corn and basil right out of the garden, this dish has the unmistakable flavor of summer—but then we throw in some cheese, because after all, why not get that complexity and richness?
While the fire heats up, get these ingredients ready but keep them separate in small individual containers:
Follow the recipe for Super-Basic Grilled Corn on page 206.
When the corn comes off the grill, put it in a big bowl, add all the other ingredients one after another and toss so the corn gets well coated.
The story unfolds in three separate sections, each centered on the larger story of the Hungarian Gold Train during World War II. Readers follow three different men through three different time periods: Jack, a young Jewish-American captain in the war; Amitai, an Israeli-born art dealer in the current day who deals with repatriated items; and Dr. Zobel, a pioneering psychiatrist at the turn of the 20th century in Budapest.
An intricate gemstone peacock pendant holds the key to the novel's decades-spanning mystery, but the male narrators and Waldman's unique female characters (Jack's love Ilona, his daughter Natalie and the suffragette Gizella) truly make this novel shine.
Watch the captivating trailer for Love & Treasure below:
What do you think, readers? Are you interested in this new historical novel?
ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read our web-exclusive Q&A with Waldman for more on Love & Treasure!
For those of us pining away for a Parisian vacation, Greg Marchand's first cookbook of nouvelle vague bistro fare may be the next best thing. Frenchie is our April Top Pick in cookbooks, and Marchand's recipe for this light and sophisticated dessert is the perfect example of why his innovative, light-handed French fusion is garnering international attention.
Chamomile Panna Cotta and Citrus Soup
4 servings / Wine pairing: Sake
This delicate panna cotta is made with less gelatin than many recipes call for, so be sure to allow enough time for it to set. Infusing the cream with chamomile gives it slight notes of hay, and the panna cotta and citrus fruit soup are an exciting combination, both floral and wild, acidic and sweet. I like to serve this dessert with a good sake.
For the panna cotta
For the citrus soup
The panna cotta
1. With a small knife, split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds; reserve the pod and seeds.
Combine the cream, sugar, chamomile, and vanilla seeds and pod in a small nonreactive saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let infuse for 20 to 30 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl.
2. Meanwhile, put the gelatin in a bowl of cold water and let stand for 10 minutes, or until softened.
Drain the gelatin and squeeze out the excess water. Heat the milk in a small saucepan, just until warm, then add the gelatin and stir to dissolve it. Pour the milk into the infused cream and stir well. Pour into four 4-ounce timbale molds (about 2 inches high and 2 inches wide) or 4-ounce ramekins.
3. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
The citrus soup
1. Juice one of the grapefruits and both oranges; reserve ½ cup of each type of fruit juice.
Quarter the kumquats lengthwise and remove the seeds. Place them in a saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water.
2. With a sharp knife, peel the remaining grapefruit and the clementines, removing the skin and all the bitter white pith. Then cut between the membranes to remove the citrus segments. Combine with the kumquats in a bowl.
3. Put the gelatin sheet in a bowl of cold water and let stand for 10 minutes, or until softened.
4. Combine the orange and grapefruit juice, cinnamon and honey in a small nonreactive saucepan and heat until warm. Drain the gelatin, squeeze out the excess water and add to the juice, stirring to dissolve it. Let cool to room temperature.
5. Pour the cooled juice over the fruit segments and refrigerate until chilled.
To unmold the panna cottas, briefly place each one in hot water, then invert into a shallow bowl. Pour the citrus soup around (discard the cinnamon stick) and garnish with mint leaves.
Random House will release Leaving Time, formerly titled “Elephant Graveyard,” on October 14. The story mines territory familiar to Picoult—family, memory and identity—as it follows 13-year-old Jenna Metcalf, whose mother Alice (a scientist specializing in elephant behavior) went missing in the wake of a tragic accident more than a decade ago. Refusing to believe she would be abandoned as a toddler, Jenna scans her mother's old journals for clues and enlists the help of a famous psychic and the now-jaded detective who originally investigated Alice's case.
Read an excerpt from the first chapter below:
My first memory is white at the edges, like a photo with too bright a flash. My mother is holding spun sugar, on a cone, cotton candy. She raises her finger to her lips—This is our secret—and then tears off a tiny piece. When she touches it to my lips, the sugar dissolves. My tongue curls around her finger and sucks hard. Iswidi, she tells me. Sweet. This is not my bottle; it's not a taste I know, but it's a good one. Then she leans down and kisses my forehead. Uswidi, she says. Sweetheart.
I can’t be more than nine months old.
This is pretty amazing, really, because most kids trace their first memories to somewhere between the ages of two and five. That doesn't mean that babies are little amnesiacs—they have memories long before they have language but, weirdly, can't access them once they start talking. Maybe the reason I remember the cotton candy episode is because my mother was speaking Xhosa, which isn't our language but one she picked up when she was working on her doctorate in South Africa. Or maybe the reason I have this random memory is as a trade-off my brain made—because I can't remember what I desperately wish I could: details of the night my mother disappeared.
Are any of you BookPage readers particularly interested in Leaving Time? If so, find more information and an even longer excerpt at Picoult's website.
Author photo by Adam Bouska.
We're highlighting a new batch of the most humorous, unsettling and vibrant short story collections this April, and one of our favorite stars from NBC's "The Office" may surprise you with the strength of his literary muscle.
B.J. Novak is most often recognized for his role as Ryan, the Dundler Mifflin temp, but his first collection, One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories, is anything but a vanity project. Novak’s Harvard degree in English and Spanish literature combined with his sharp, absurdist style of humor are more than enough to convince us that he’s the real deal.
With 64 pieces that dip into everything from pop culture and celebrity to Mark Twain’s word choices in Huckleberry Finn, Novak delivers a fresh and emotionally astute literary debut.
The hilarious trailer stars Novak himself as he desperately tries to get his chic yet snobby Parisian crush (a fellow "Office" alum) to notice him.
What do you think, readers? Are you planning to read Novak's first collection? Is he giving Gary Shteyngart some competition for most entertaining book trailer?
Lena Dunham's envelope-pushing HBO series "Girls"—which recently wrapped up its third season—has won her legions of fans and plenty of critical praise. The irreverent and witty 27-year-old actress, director, show runner and writer will soon be adding "author" to her résumé with the release of her feverishly anticipated first book, Not That Kind of Girl.
Random House is officially set to publish Dunham's blend of advice and memoir on October 7.
Duhman recently unveiled the simple, '70s inspired cover via Instagram:
Hungry for more details? Read a description of Not That Kind of Girl in Dunham's own words below:
If I can take what I’ve learned in this life and make one treacherous relationship or degrading job easier for you, perhaps even prevent you from becoming temporarily vegan, then every misstep of mine will have been worthwhile. This book contains stories about wonderful nights with terrible boys and terrible days with wonderful friends, about ambition and the two existential crises I had before the age of twenty. About fashion and its many discontents. About publicly sharing your body, having to prove yourself in a meeting full of fifty-year-old men and the health fears (tinnitus, lamp dust, infertility) that keep me up at night. I’m already predicting my future shame at thinking I had anything to offer you with this book, but also my future glory in having stopped you from trying an expensive juice cleanse or having the kind of sexual encounter where you keep your sneakers on. No, I am not a sexpert, a psychologist or a registered dietician. I am not a married mother of three or the owner of a successful hosiery franchise. But I am a girl with a keen interest in self-actualization, sending hopeful dispatches from the front lines of that struggle.
I know we've got some "Girls" fans out there! What do you think, readers? Are you excited to pick up a copy of Not That Kind of Girl?
Springtime is officially here! The sun is shining and the weather is finally warming up, so it's time to drag your grill out of the garage and show it some love. This two-part recipe for Grilled Steak Tips with Homemade Korean Barbecue Sauce comes from The Big Flavor Grill: No-Marinade, No-Hassle Recipes by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby, who make grilling "radically easy, without marinating, brining or using fancy equipment."
Super-Basic Grilled Steak Tips
| Serves 4 to 6 |
Build a two-level fire in your grill, which means you put all the coals on one side of the grill and leave the other side free of coals. When the flames have died down, all the coals are covered with gray ash, and the temperature is medium-hot (you can hold your hand 6 inches above the coals for 3 to 4 seconds), you’re ready to cook.
Put the steak tips in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper and mix until the tips are evenly coated.
Put the tips on the grill directly over the coals and cook, rolling them around frequently so they get well browned on all sides, until done to your liking, about 8 to 10 minutes for medium rare. To check for doneness, cut into one of the chunks and see if it’s done just a bit less than the way you like it. (Remember that it will continue to cook after being taken off the heat.) Remove the steak tips from the grill, cover them with foil and allow them to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Grilled Steak Tips with Homemade Korean Barbecue Sauce
Check out your local Asian store, and you’ll likely find prepared ingredients that you’re not familiar with but which can quickly and easily add a ton of flavor to your food. The fermented red pepper paste known as gochujang, essential to many Korean dishes, is a perfect example.
While the fire heats up, combine in a small saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring frequently, for about 12 minutes—you just want it heated up and well combined:
Now take it off the heat and let cool to room temperature.
Follow the recipe for Super-Basic Grilled Steak Tips on page 33 (listed above).
When the steak tips come off the grill, put them into a large bowl, add the barbecue sauce and toss well.
Toss together in a bowl and then sprinkle the steak tips with:
Best-selling author John Grisham, who currently has over 275 million books in print worldwide, will explore some fresh territory with his 21st novel, which will be his first to feature a female protagonist—a young law associate named Samantha Kofer.
A title has yet to be released, but this high-stakes legal thriller is slated to go on sale October 21 and will be published by Doubleday. Find a brief and tantalizing description from the publisher below:
The Great Recession of 2008 left many young professionals out of work. Promising careers were suddenly ended as banks, hedge funds and law firms engaged in mass lay-offs and brutal belt tightening. Samantha Kofer was a third-year law associate at Scully & Pershing, New York City's largest law firm. Two weeks after Lehman Brothers collapsed, she lost her job, her security and her future. A week later, she was working as an unpaid intern in a legal aid clinic deep in small-town Appalachia. There, for the first time in her career, she was confronted with real clients with real problems. She also stumbled across secrets that should have remained buried deep in the mountains forever.
What do you think, readers? Are you excited about Grisham's decision to dive into the world of literary leading ladies?
Emma Donoghue's 2010 novel Room took the literary world by storm, selling more than 1.5 million copies in the U.S. alone. With only one short-story collection released since then, fans have been waiting a while for a new novel.
Luckily for them, the wait is over: Donoghue returns to her roots in well-researched historical fiction with Frog Music, which hits shelves next Tuesday!
Set in San Francisco during 1876, the novel is based on a real-life unsolved murder at the height of a summer heat wave and a deadly smallpox outbreak. Donoghue's story follows French burlesque dancer Blanche Beunon as she searches for clues to her cross-dressing, frog-hunting friend Jenny Bonnet's murder. Even more complications arise when Blanche's child, who was supposed to be safely cared for outside of Blanche's wild life, surfaces in need of help.
Our reviewer calls Donoghue's latest an "endlessly intriguing" book, filled with "intricate plot developments that will keep you revising your version of the action from one hour to the next."
Watch the trailer, complete with plenty of historic photographs, below.
What do you think, readers? Have you been waiting for this new novel from Donoghue?
Correction 4/1: An earlier version of this blog post listed Frog Music's publication date as April 1, not April 8.