One of the best parts of my day is going through the mail here at BookPage. That might sound strange, but it gives me a chance to get up from my desk, clear my head and see what goodies the mailman has brought for us. I love paging through copies of recently published books and eyeing the galleys I’ve been eagerly anticipating; I don’t love it when mailers made from recycled material explode all over me (usually when I’m wearing black), but I’m proud to say I’ve gone several days without a mail mishap.
The most exciting thing that landed in our mail on this cloudy Wednesday was a package from HarperPerennial introducing their new HarperPerennial ClassicStories line. HarperPerennial is publishing collections of short stories from greats like Leo Tolstoy, Willa Cather, Oscar Wilde, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Herman Melville and Stephen Crane this month, and they were nice enough to send along a set for us. The compact paperback editions are beautifully designed and reasonably priced at just $10 a pop.
Whether you are a classics fanatic or just a collector of important works, be sure to check out these new paperbacks from HarperPerennial. And as for me, well, as the saying goes: finder's keepers!
While the Internet has been abuzz with news about Dan Brown’s latest novel, The Lost Symbol, for weeks, we thought our Book Case readers might want a bit more on Brown. Years (and several title incarnations) in the making, the long-awaited follow-up to The Da Vinci Code will be released from Doubleday on September 15th, 2009.
When the news of this momentous publication hit the web, The Lost Symbol shot to #1 on Amazon.com almost immediately. And B&N.com is offering pre-order customers a whopping 40% discount. With an unprecedented first printing of five million copies, we’re sure the folks at Doubleday are hoping to break all kinds of pre-order—and overall—sales records.
About The Lost Symbol, Brown’s longtime editor, Jason Kaufman, says, “Nothing ever is as it first appears in a Dan Brown novel. This book’s narrative takes place in a 12-hour period, and from the first page, Dan’s readers will feel the thrill of discovery as they follow Robert Langdon through a masterful and unexpected new landscape. The Lost Symbol is full of surprises.”
While you’re waiting for publication of The Lost Symbol, you can check out Ron Howard’s big screen adaptation of Angels & Demons, the prequel to The Da Vinci Code, which hits theaters nationwide on May 15th. Fan favorite Tom Hanks stars again as Robert Langdon, and this time we’ll watch Landgon track a legendary secret society, the Illuminati, and their connection with the recent murder of renowned physicist.
So which Dan Brown event are you more excited about—the movie of the summer or the bestseller of the fall?
The Mystery Writers of America were celebrating in New York City last night! In addition to hosting their annual gala to honor the winners of the Edgar Allan Poe Awards (more simply known as “The Edgars”), the WMA were celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of their awards’ namesake—Edgar Allan Poe.
Here are some highlights from the 2009 awards for best in mystery fiction, non-fiction, television and film published or produced in 2008. For a complete list of results, and more information on The Edgars, click here.
Blue Heaven by C.J. Box (St. Martin’s Minotaur)
Read a BookPage interview with C.J. Box here.
BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR
The Foreigner by Francie Lin (Picador)
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
China Lake by Meg Gardiner (New American Library – Obsidian Mysteries)
Check out BookPage’s review of another Gardiner book.
BEST FACT CRIME
American Lightning: Terror, Mystery, the Birth of Hollywood, and the Crime of the Century by Howard Blum (Crown Publishers)
BEST YOUNG ADULT
Paper Towns by John Green (Penguin Young Readers Group – Dutton Children’s Books)
See our review of Paper Towns here.
BEST MOTION PICTURE SCREENPLAY
In Bruges, screenplay by Martin McDonagh (Focus Features)
Have you read any of the winning books? Who do you think was overlooked? Any predictions for the 2010 Edgar Awards?
One of our favorite books from the upcoming May issue of BookPage is Alan Bradley’s debut novel, Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. In Sweetness we meet Flavia de Luce, an 11-year-old aspiring chemist with a passion for poison and intrigue. When a series of inexplicable events strikes Buckshaw, the decaying English mansion that Flavia and her family call home, Flavia is delighted to get to the bottom of things.
70-year-old author Alan Bradley has written a memoir and collaborated on a work of nonfiction, but this brilliant mystery is his first novel. Fans of Flavia de Luce will be delighted to hear that Sweetness is just the first in a series following Bradley’s charming new heroine.
To read our review of Sweetness—and get a sneak peek of the May issue—click here.
To enter to win a free copy of Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, leave a comment (by May 1) that includes the title of your favorite mystery novel.
UPDATE: This contest has ended, but you can still join the discussion by commenting on your favorite mystery.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of months, you’ve probably seen a trailer for The Soloist, a new movie about the remarkable bond between a Los Angeles journalist (played by Robert Downey, Jr.) and a homeless, classically trained musician (Jamie Foxx). But did you know the movie is based on a book by that L.A. journalist, Steve Lopez?
In 2007, a young, handsome and totally unknown writer named Joshua Ferris rocked the publishing scene with his brilliant debut novel And Then We Came to the End. Writing in a first-person-plural narrative, Ferris satirized the American workplace by exploring a fictional Chicago advertising agency at the end of the 90s Internet boom. The book won the PEN/Hemingway Award, was named one of the New York Times Book Review’s “10 Best Books of the Year” and became a finalist for the National Book Award. Not bad for a 32-year-old who worked in—you guessed it—advertising before turning to writing.
In January 2010, Ferris will be back with The Unnamed—a novel that sounds as mysterious as its title. The novel focuses on Tim and Jane Farnsworth, a long-married couple who seem to have it all. But Tim has twice battled a bizarre, inexplicable illness, and when that illness returns, Tim’s behavior becomes so frightening that he and Jane are forced to leave their comfortable existence and battle against a series of terrifying new realities. Industry buzz says that while this book is absolutely a departure for Ferris, the new novel is well-worth the wait.
To read more about Ferris and his debut novel, check out his 2007 interview with BookPage.
Exciting news for Barbara Kingsolver fans—Harper has just announced that they will release The Lacuna, Kingsolver’s first novel in nine years, this November. Kingsolver’s last novel was The Prodigal Summer, following the tremendous success of her blockbuster (and Oprah pick) The Poisonwood Bible.
Seven years in the making, The Lacuna is set in Mexico and the U.S. during the 1930s, 40s and 50s. According to Kingsolver’s publisher, the novel “tells the story of Harrison William Shepherd, a man caught between two worlds—an unforgettable protagonist whose search for identity will take readers to the heart of the twentieth century’s most tumultuous events.” And a bonus for history buffs—The Lacuna includes real-life historical figures like Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Leon Trotsky—a first for Kingsolver’s fiction.
We haven’t read a word of The Lacuna just yet, but Kingsolver is an office favorite and we can’t wait to see what amazing world she has created for her readers this time.
Like all of the BookPage staffers, I've always been an avid reader. But after majoring in English in college and then working in publishing in New York, I never thought I had the time to join a full-fledged book club. A few publishing girlfriends and I briefly began "The Bad Girls' Book Club" (where we would only read fun, self-indulgent books we couldn't admit to reading in the office) but we only met twice—and we weren't terribly diligent about our assignments. For the record, we WERE diligent with the delicious appetizers and specialty cocktails—and maybe that was the root of our problem...
After leaving the craziness of New York City for Nashville, I found myself with more time to read outside of work. The idea that I might actually finish one of the many books on my "to read" list was thrilling. And while gleefully explaining to my Nashville friends that I had all this time to read again, just for fun, I decided it was time to start a REAL book club. I pitched the idea to a few friends, who pitched the idea to a few of their friends, and voila—instant book club. We decided our first read will be Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. It's almost 1,200 pages long, so I'm a bit worried we've set the bar a little too high for our first meeting. But I have faith in our group. I'll check back in after our first meeting—hopefully in the next month or so!
What are your book clubs reading? Here are a few ideas, just for fun.
Bad Girls' Book Club reading list
The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe
Lighting Up by Susan Shapiro
From my mom’s "Ladies Who Lunch" book club
Peony in Love by Lisa See
The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan
From my dad’s “Guys Only” book club
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
The Tender Bar by J. R. Moehringer
(For the record, they meet at a bar, and they talk about sports, too)
Like a lot of readers, I'm a huge Pat Conroy fan. If I had to pick a favorite book, it would be The Prince of Tides, and I devoured Beach Music and The Great Santini, too. I was thrilled when I heard Conroy would be back with a new novel this fall – his first in 14 years!
At BookPage we’re lucky enough to get advanced copies of books a few months ahead of publication, but I wasn’t expecting to see the new Conroy, called South of Broad, until May or June. So imagine my delight when it arrived in our piles of mail yesterday! The on sale date has moved up from September 15th to August 11th and I can hardly wait to dig in this weekend.
Conroy’s latest narrator is Leopold (Leo) Bloom King, and South of Broad tracks his life in Charleston, South Carolina after the suicide of his older brother. His family shattered, Leo eventually finds his place with a tightly knit group of high school friends, and the novel follows the intersections and complications of their lives through adulthood. I can’t wait to meet these characters, and I couldn't resist taking a sneak peek at the Prologue this morning. Conroy begins: “It was my father who called the city the Mansion on the River. He was talking about Charleston, South Carolina, and he was a native son, peacock proud of a town so pretty it makes your eyes ache with pleasure just to walk down its spellbinding, narrow streets. Charleston was my father’s ministry, his hobbyhorse, his quiet obsession, and the great love of his life. His bloodstream lit up my own wit a passion for the city that I’ve never lost nor ever will. I’m Charleston-born, and bred. The city’s two rivers, the Ashley and the Cooper, have flooded and shaped all the days of my life on this storied peninsula."
If the first paragraph is any indication, we are in for another treat, courtesy of the great Pat Conroy.