I love stories of writers coming out of nowhere—and I mean nowhere—like the author of Pigeon English (HMH). Englishman Stephen Kelman worked jobs from house-cleaner to warehouse operative until he was inspired by news stories about British youth violence to write his debut.
Combining street inspiration with stories from his own childhood, Kelman crafted the tale of Hari Opuku, the narrator of Pigeon English, whose life changes when he and his friend Dean decide to solve a crime.
Our reviewer found the 11-year-old narrator compelling and believable, and this trailer from Bloomsbury gives a glimpse of his voice:
For more on the child narrator, check out our interview with Kelman.
Pigeon English is not only one of our favorite debuts of the season, but it's also on the longlist for the 2011 Man Booker Prize. Who's grabbing a copy of Kelman's debut?
It's sinister, it's dark -- it's everything we'd hope from a debut thriller. S.J. Watson has crafted "unquestionably a suspenseful and gripping psychological thriller" of Before I Go to Sleep (Harper).
Its premise is familiar yet decidedly unique -- an amnesiac woman begins to spiral into paranoia, as each morning she awakes, she cannot remember her own life. How can she possible figure out the truth about her life, her marriage, anything, when she can't remember any of it?
Sounds intense, and so is this cool trailer:
Be sure to check our our interview with S.J. Watson!
Peter Spiegelman's fourth and newest thriller, Thick as Thieves, is one of our Whodunit picks for August, and reviewer Bruce Tierney called it "genre-defining" and "twisty as a corkscrew." No surprise there, as Spiegelman's book is not only the story of a "dream crime," but it is also one of the most exciting thrillers to hit shelves this summer.
Check out our Q&A with Spiegelman for his take on crime thrillers, great books and great writing.
And if you needed any more convincing about Thick as Thieves, here's the trailer:
Spiegelman's newest is already on shelves. Will you make room for it on your TBR list?
Debut author David Whitehouse's Bed (Scribner) carries some serious weight -- and not just because it tells the story of the bedridden fattest man in the world. It's a mix of intense, eccentric characters and the "merry revelry in the grotesque," as Whitehouse delves into the life story of the huge man to exhume his reasons for choosing a horizontal life.
The following trailer from Simon & Schuster captures the balance of tenderness and despair in Bed:
Bed is one of our top debut novels in our August issue. It comes out today! Will you be picking up a copy of Whitehouse's novel?
We would expect a pretty cool trailer from Daniel H. Wilson's Robopocalypse -- it is, after all, in the works to become a Steven Spielberg film.
The coolest part about this trailer, however, is that it was made by a fan for a contest hosted by Doubleday. Contestants were provided with images of the cover, excerpts from the book, advance praise and audio clips (including an interpretation of Archos, the robot leader).
The following trailer by Stephen Lunsford was the winner:
I was lucky enough to review Wilson's debut novel, and I found it haunting, mostly for the humans' reactions to the robot rebellion.
What do you think? Has the winner earned it?
The book's on shelves now. Are you grabbing a copy?
Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran is one of our top summer reads this July. It is the first in a brand new series, and Claire DeWitt has all the makings of a favorite detective. Claire must return to Katrina-ravaged New Orleans, the city that haunts her past, to answer the call of an unsolvable murder. Her tactics range from befriending homeless men to experimenting with drugs, but at her core, she's a super smart sleuth, always one step ahead.
The trailer from HMH gives a preview of Sara Gran's unorthodox thriller:
If that's not enticing enough, check out what our reviewer had to say: "This is a page-turner with an unexpected ending that will leave readers wondering what is just around the corner for Claire DeWitt and her unlikely crew of accomplices."
Will you be finding room for Claire DeWitt on your summer reading list?
July's Book Club column features three great books now in paperback, including Kate Morton's The Distant Hours. It's a WWII mystery that spans five decades, and our reviewer described it as "old-fashioned tale" that "tips [its] hat to previous novels that feature great English houses with something to hide, such as Rebecca, The Secret Garden and Jane Eyre." Morton's characters are so convincing, you may find yourself Googling the lives of people who did not exist (like I did).
The trailer from Macmillan is a little bit haunting and a whole lot of creative. Made me want to bust out the scissors.
The Distant Hours comes out in paperback tomorrow. Who will be picking it up?
Tom McNeal, author of Goodnight Nebraska, seems to have just the right touch to capture stories of reconciliation and gritty heartache. Goodnight Nebraska was described as "uncommonly human," and it seems his next book, To Be Sung Underwater, is of similar spirit.
It is the story of Judith, who begins to withdraw from her husband and their life in California. In the midst of her sadness, she drops everything and returns to her childhood home of Rufus Safe, Nebraska to reconnect with her old love Willy, and in that moment charges headlong into a clashing of past and present. It spans 30 years of regret and has the depth of character to match.
The minimalistic trailer from Little, Brown shares a tiny bit of what BookPage contributor Tara Pettit calls "the essence of the human heart."
To Be Sung Underwater is on shelves now! Will you be picking it up?
Inspired by blogger/travel-writer-turned-novelist Ransom Riggs's collection of fantastical and grotesque vintage photographs, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is already on the way to making it big. The movie rights were recently acquired by Fox after a rather heated auction, and if it's anything like the following creepy trailer from Quirk Books--which features some of the 50 twisted black-and-white photographs that punctuate the book--then I can't wait.
Sixteen-year-old Jacob's world shudders to a halt when his yarn-spinning grandfather suddenly dies, sending Jacob across the pond to seek answers on a remote island off the coast of Wales. The secrets found within the ruins of Miss Peregrine's orphanage suggest that perhaps the peculiar children (one of whom was Jacob's own grandfather) were hidden away for a reason . . .
It's one of those great crossover books that both teens and adults will love. I took a gander and had serious trouble putting it down.
What do you think? Sound like a good book?
How about as a movie?
Our Father's Day Feature includes four books that would all be great gifts for dads, and Man with a Pan: Culinary Adventures for Fathers Who Cook for Their Families gives a huge pat on the back to dad-chefs and kings-of-the-grill. Author John Donohue has collected advice, testimonies and recipes from writers, editors and journalists and compiled it into a great book.
The trailer from Algonquin (which stars the author himself!) is pretty funny, and the 50's style nails it on the head: no longer are the days of women-dominated kitchens. Dudes, it's your time!
BookPage contributor Martin Brady writes, "A must-have for kitchen-friendly dads, this volume should reap rewards down the road for family appetites everywhere."
Just in time for Father's Day! Whose dad is king of his kitchen?