President Barack Obama has written a children's book titled Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters. It will be published on November 16 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers and have a first printing of 500,000 copies.
According to a press release from Random House, the President completed the manuscript prior to taking office in January of 2009. The book's proceeds will be donated to "a scholarship fund for the children of fallen and disabled soldiers serving our nation."
The story is "a moving tribute to thirteen groundbreaking Americans and the ideals that have shaped our nation—from the artistry of Georgia O'Keeffe, to the courage of Jackie Robinson, to the patriotism of George Washington."
Loren Long will illustrate. For a sample of his work, see this Meet the Illustrator Q&A he did with BookPage in 2008 about Drummer Boy.
ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper reports that this book is part of the three-book, $1.9 million deal that then-Sen. Obama reached with Random House in 2004. Of course, the first two books were the international bestsellers Dreams from my Father and The Audacity of Hope.
As far as I know (I'll post an update if I learn otherwise), this is the first time a sitting president has published a book. It may also be the first time a president has published a children's book. That territory is usually covered by First Ladies (Hillary Clinton's Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids' Letters to the First Pets; Laura and Jenna Bush's Read All About It!).
Will you check out Of Thee I Sing? What other people do you hope will be profiled?
I will admit that I haven't read anything by National Book Award finalist Cristina García (for Dreaming in Cuban, 1992)—although there are a couple of things that have drawn me to The Lady Matador's Hotel, her newest novel.
For one, BookPage reviewer Rebecca Shapiro compares it to Ann Patchett's Bel Canto, one of my favorite books; both novels are about a group of seemingly random international characters thrown together in the wake of political turmoil. In Bel Canto, the characters are thrown together in an embassy, all hostages. In The Lady Matador's Hotel, they are guests at a hotel. Instead of an opera singer, the center figure is—you guessed it—a female matador.
Which brings me to my second reason for wanting to pick up this book. I lived in Andalucía for a year in college and became somewhat fascinated by the sport of bullfighting, eventually going to watch a corrida de toro in Seville. As you might imagine, female matadors are few and far between, so it's interesting that García chose to write about such an unusual character.
In this book trailer, García explains why she chose the characters she did:
Does this trailer make you curious to read The Lady Matador's Hotel?
Readers of The Book Case expressed major excitement when we blogged about the publication of The Land of Painted Caves, the sixth and final book in the Earth's Children series by Jean M. Auel. (It's coming March 29, 2011.)
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And this weekend USA Today had more news for Auel fans: "On Oct. 6, the series will be released for the first time as e-books; paperback editions will be reissued with new covers next spring." Note that since the novels are published by Random House, they will not be available in Apple's iBookstore.
September 30 will be the 30th anniversary of the publication of The Clan of the Cave Bear—the start of a series that has now sold 45 million books worldwide (and certainly inspired this blogger, as a high school student, to stay up late reading). Will you celebrate by re-visiting the story of Ayla, Auel's protagonist?
Also in BookPage: Read an interview with Auel about The Shelters of Stone, the fifth book in the series.
Kim Edwards hit the big time in a big way with her 2005 debut novel, The Memory Keeper's Daughter. The novel became a word-of-mouth hit and a book club favorite. We said this family drama about a doctor and his wife who deny their daughter's existence once they discover she has Downs syndrome "reveals the strength of family bonds under unique and difficult circumstances."
Next year, Edwards will have another chance to delight readers with Lake of Dreams (Viking), which will hit shelves on January 4. From the catalog:
At a crossroads in her life, Lucy Jarrett returns home from Japan, only to find herself haunted by her father's unresolved death a decade ago. Old longings stirred up by Keegan Fall, a local glass artist who was once her passionate first love, lead her into the unexpected. Late one night, as she paces the hallways of her family's rambling lakeside house, she discovers, locked in a window seat, a collection of objects that first appear to be useless curiosities, but soon reveal a deeper and more complex family past. As Lucy discovers and explores the traces of her lineage—from an heirloom tapestry and dusty political tracts to a web of allusions depicted in stained-glass windows throughout upstate New York—the family story she has always known is shattered. Lucy's quest for the truth reconfigures her family's history, links her to a unique slice of the suffragette movement, and yields dramatic insights that embolden her to live freely.
With surprises at every turn, brimming with vibrant detail, The Lake of Dreams is an arresting saga in which every element emerges as a carefully placed piece of the puzzle that's sure to enthrall the millions of readers who loved The Memory Keeper's Daughter.
Ellen Hopkins fans have a lot to be excited about.
Fallout, the final book in a free verse trilogy that includes Crank (2004) and Glass (2007), comes out tomorrow. (Crank is about a girl's life spinning out of control after she becomes addicted to crystal meth, and was inspired by Hopkins' daughter's experience. Glass continues Kristina's story, and Fallout is told from the point of view of her children.)
And now Hopkins will write her first adult novel, called Triangles. According to Publisher's Marketplace, it's about "the dark side of love and friendship for three women at mid-life, as they face infidelity, the trials of parenting adolescents, and turning forty."
The novel will be published by Atria, and Hopkins has tweeted that it will likely come out in the fall of 2011.
I wonder if Triangles will be told in free verse, which is a trademark of the author. This writing style was praised in BookPage's review of Tricks, in 2009: "Hopkins is a fine practitioner of the free-verse novel; her voices are distinct and put readers directly into the minds and hearts of her characters."
Are you a fan of Hopkins' teen books? Will you look for Triangles?
Are you a book blogger, or do you enjoy reading blogs about books? (If you're reading The Book Case, we hope the answer is "yes"!) Then you have to check out Book Blogger Appreciation Week, which starts on Monday, September 13. (There are giveaways—including a prize from BookPage—guest posts and interviews galore! How fun does that sound?)
To get more information on this celebration of the book blogging community, we invited Amy Riley, BBAW's founder and a blogger at My Friend Amy, to tell us about the history of the week.
In 2008, I discovered the vibrant and lively community of book bloggers. For a lifetime reader, it felt a bit like a dream come true to discover a whole community of people who wanted to spend a significant chunk of their time reading books and talking about them. And I also discovered there were so many books I knew nothing about! Reading my new friends' thoughts on books encouraged me to try books I normally would have thought were outside of my reading taste.
Book Blogger Appreciation Week seeks to connect the existing book blogging community; introduce others to the idea of reading book blogs for book recommendations; and elevate the profiles of book bloggers.
Unfortunately not everyone felt the same way and I noticed some criticism of book blogs by the more established critical blogs. I couldn't understand how enthusiasm for books could ever be a bad thing or what sort of threat we posed by sharing our musings on the internet. And so I decided to turn my frustration with these criticisms into positive action, and Book Blogger Appreciation Week was born.
We are now entering our third year, and the book blogging landscape has changed a lot. New book blogs are popping up all of the time and more formalized relationships are developing among publishers and bookstores, but that's really only a segment of book bloggers. There is no one definition or set of rules for a book blogger; we are as varied as the many books we cover. The only real requirement is a love and enthusiasm for books.
Book Blogger Appreciation Week seeks to connect the existing book blogging community; introduce others to the idea of reading book blogs for book recommendations; and elevate the profiles of book bloggers. It's a sort of retreat for bloggers who work hard all year long and a chance for everyone else to come in and see what we're doing. There are awards, interviews, guest posts, giveaways and more. If you love books or if you're curious about book bloggers, you'll definitely want to check it out! We welcome you with open arms. Friends of books are friends of ours.
When we hear about politicians landing book deals, the book in question is almost always a memoir or some sort of inspirational guide.
So, I was interested to see that former U.S. Senator Bob Graham (D-Florida)—also a former governor of Florida—has signed a deal to write The Key to the Kingdom, "a topical and provocative debut political thriller." The book will be published by Vanguard Press, which is part of the Perseus Books Group.
Graham is best known for his tenure as Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee during and after 9/11 (he opposed the Iraq War). He is also known for his "workdays," when he decided to "experience the lives of ordinary Floridians firsthand by working their jobs."
He worked as a teacher, a plumber, a social worker, a shrimper . . . and now he can add "thriller writer."
Will you look out for this book? On a related note, former White House Communications Director Nicolle Wallace's debut novel, Eighteen Acres, hits shelves on October 19.
A few of our favorite recent posts from the book blog world...
Dispatches from the Decatur Book Festival
Posted by PWxyz
The Decatur Book Festival took place on Labor Day Weekend. If you missed the action, I'd recommend reading the coverage on PWxyz, the news blog of Publisher's Weekly. Their posts include a run-down of Jonathan Franzen's keynote speech; a summary of Orange Prize-winning author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's talk on storytelling; and notes from talks by fantasy authors Cassandra Clare and Lev Grossman.
Book Blogger Appreciation Week 2010
Posted by BBAW
Book Blogger Appreciation Week starts Sept. 13, and the theme is "A Treasure Chest of Infinite Books and Infinite Blogs." This post outlines the blogging topics for every day of BBAW—if you're participating, we'd love for you to post a link to your blog in the comments section of this post. BookPage donated a prize to BBAW, so we hope you join the fun!
Julia Glass: The Not Quite Yes
Posted by Meg Waite Clayton
Meg Waite Clayton, author of The Wednesday Sisters, posted a link to a guest post by Julia Glass in the comments of our Monday Contest this week, a giveaway of Glass's The Widower's Tale. Since we've gotten so many thoughtful responses to our contest, I thought you all would appreciate the post, in which Glass writes about her long road to publishing Three Junes and the encouragement she felt from every "Not Quite Yes" she got from magazine editors. If you have dreams of publishing some day, this post is worth a read.
What book blog posts did you enjoy this week?
During my Labor Day travels I listened to Victoria Lautman's fall interview with Audrey Niffenegger—and was intrigued by the tantalizing tidbits about her work in progress, which is tentatively titled Chinchilla Girl in Exile.
Apparently the project is no secret, though—Niffenegger has a description posted on her own site:
It is about a nine-year-old girl named Lizzie Varo who has hypertrichosis (she is covered with hair) and her desire to go to school (she’s been home-schooled by her clever and amusing Aunt Mariella) and what happens when she does go to school (things get weird).
Diehard Niffenegger fans have something else to get excited about—to celebrate the paperback release of Her Fearful Symmetry, Niffenegger is giving away a trip to London and a guided tour through Highgate Cemetery and other amazing prizes. There's also a special blogger-only contest! You can enter here.
Click here for our interview with Niffenegger, and reviews of The Time-Traveler's Wife.
This past week has brought us news of two major awards:
Miéville's "The City & The City is a murder mystery, old-fashioned in its way, narrated by a tough-talking police investigator and layered with all the shadow and menace of a film noir." (BookPage, June 2009)
And how's this for premonition? From the September 2009 issue of BookPage: Bacigalupi's "The Windup Girl will almost certainly be the most important SF novel of the year for its willingness to confront the most cherished notions of the genre, namely that our future is bright and we will overcome our selfish, cruel nature."
Click here to read the complete list of Hugo winners. What SF&F book would you rank at the top?
The Man Booker Prize shortlist was announced on Sept. 7. The Man Booker honors the best novel (written in English) published by a citizen of the Commonwealth of Nations, Ireland or Zimbabwe. Here's the shortlist, narrowed down from a longlist of 13:
Peter Carey for Parrot and Olivier in America
Emma Donoghue for Room
Damon Galgut for In a Strange Room
Howard Jacobson for The Finkler Question
Andrea Levy for The Long Song
Tom McCarthy for C
Each of these novels is currently available in hardcover, with the exception of The Finkler Question, which is available on a Kindle.
Got any predictions for the award? The big winner will be announced on October 12. (I'll admit that I'm rooting for Room.)