We are big fans of novelist Gary Shteyngart here at BookPage. Not only can Shteyngart write wildly inventive, insightful fiction—it turns out he can put together one heck of a book trailer, too. Last summer we blogged about his trailer for Super Sad True Love Story, featuring cameos by actor James Franco and authors like Jay McInerney and Mary Gaitskill. Now Shteyngart is back with another trailer—this one publicizing the paperback release of Super Sad True Love Story, on sale this month from Random House Trade Paperbacks (check out our review here). If you didn’t think he could top his last effort, you might just be surprised. Academy Award nominee Paul Giamatti co-stars as Shteyngart’s rooomate, but we think Shteyngart’s dog, Felix, steals the show. Click the image below to check it out and tell us what you think in the comments!
Spoiled by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
Poppy • $17.99 • 9780316098250
On sale June 1, 2011
In Spoiled, we meet 16-year-old Molly Dix, a normal teenage girl living in suburban Indiana. Her life changes—literally overnight—when her single mother passes away and she discovers that her biological father is none other than world-famous movie star Brick Berlin. Molly moves to California to connect with her famous father and discovers that she has a half-sister, Brooke, who is the epitome of the spoiled, privileged Hollywood royalty the Fug Girls love to poke fun at. Take a peek at the scene when the girls first meet each other—and see if you can keep a straight face:
“You must be my new sister!”
A tall blonde with bouncing curls glided into the dining room, bringing with her the shortest skirt, longest legs, and tallest stilettos Molly had ever seen. It was Brooke Berlin in the flesh, showing off rather a lot of it.
“I’m so happy to meet you!” Brooke squealed, hugging her before Molly even had a chance to get out of her seat. “Welcome to our wonderful home!”
Brooke had her clasped so tight, she was practically lifting Molly out of her chair. Molly, taken aback, breathed in sharply and almost inhaled a chunk of Brooke’s hair.
“Brookie, it’s not polite to be this late,” Brick scolded.
“I know, Daddy, but Ari’s wardrobe malfunction wasn’t going to fix itself. I’m super sorry!”
Brooke dropped Molly and sailed over to her seat, shaking out her napkin with a wide smile that her suspiciously fawning Wikipedia page called “a beacon of hope for our future.” Molly tried not to stare, but it was difficult: Brooke may not have been truly beautiful, but she was so well groomed that you’d never notice. The dress was designer, the eyelashes were false, the hair was either abundantly natural or expensively synthetic, and the purse she’d brought to the table was a Chloé bag Molly knew wasn’t on sale yet to the great unwashed masses. Molly glanced at her own comfy hoodie and kicked herself for treating this like just another movie night.
This past weekend, I met up with one of my best friends in Asheville, North Carolina. With me in Nashville and Megan in Durham, Asheville seemed like the perfect place for a weekend getaway between our cities. Neither Megan or I had ever been to Asheville, and while we had heard wonderful things about the gorgeous mountains and charming downtown area, we had no idea Asheville is also a book lover’s mecca.
Like me, Meg is a total book nerd—and a publicist at the wonderful Algonquin Books—so I could not have asked for a better partner in crime. She was happy to indulge me with a visit to Battery Park Book Exchange, an amazing used bookstore that encourages you to enjoy a glass of wine while you browse (pretty much my idea of heaven). We checked out Malaprop’s, a great local bookstore where Meg sends her Algonquin authors on tour, and we loved their giant “staff picks” section—something I think all bookstores should have.
But we didn’t stop there. Thomas Wolfe, author of the American classics Look Homeward, Angel and You Can’t Go Home Again, was born and raised in Asheville, and his mother’s gorgeous boarding house is now a memorial to the author and his work.
For the bargain price of $1/person, we got a guided tour of the house, watched a 20-minute film about Wolfe’s life and wandered through an exhibition recreating the many places Wolfe lived over the course of his career. It was such a fun way to spend an afternoon, and we walked away knowing so much more about the author—and his wonderful hometown.
Don’t worry, we engaged in some low brow activity, too, with lots of shopping, wine drinking and sampling of local (delicious) cuisine, but we were thrilled to discover all that Asheville has to offer the bibliophile. And now, of course, we're looking forward to planning our next visit.
Fans of the hit show “Glee” know actress Jane Lynch as the cranky, conniving cheerleading head coach Sue Sylvester. In September, we’re going to get a peek behind the iconic tracksuit when Hyperion’s Voice imprint publishes Lynch’s memoir, Happy Accidents.
According the New York Times, "the book will recount her comedy career at the Second City improv theater and her work in films like Best in Show and The 40-Year-Old Virgin while addressing how she learned to her embrace her homosexuality and overcame alcoholism, and perhaps show how intertwined she and her 'Glee' persona are.”
Lynch is one of the funniest women on television today, so we can’t wait to hear what she has to say in Happy Accidents.
Are you a fan of "Glee" and Jane Lynch? Will you be on the look out for Happy Accidents?
Fans of Sara Gruen’s blockbuster 2006 novel, Water for Elephants, are a rabid bunch, and we think it’s safe to say that Gruen’s fan base is going to increase exponentially come April 15, 2011. That’s the theatrical release date for the big screen version of the novel, starring Twilight heartthrob Robert Pattinson and Oscar-winners Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz.
Water for Elephants is the story of Jacob Jankowski (played by Hal Holbrook and Pattinson), an old man in a nursing home reflecting on his remarkable life spent with the Benzini Brothers, a second-rate depression-era circus. He falls in love with the circus’s beautiful animal trainer, Marlena (played by Witherspoon), and his life is forever changed.
I listened to Water for Elephants on tape last year, and while I enjoyed it, I had some major quibbles with the structure. When I heard Rob and Reese had been cast as Jacob and Marlena, I was excited; after seeing this trailer (which was released yesterday) I am absolutely chomping at the bit to see the movie. The glamour! The intrigue! The romance!
Are you a fan of Water for Elephants? Will you go see the film next spring? Check out the trailer and let us know what you think in the comments.
As part of our Best Books of 2010 coverage, our editors weigh in on some of their personal favorites from the list.
It’s no secret that we love to talk—and write—about our favorite books here at BookPage. And this year, I’ve had no problem talking about Emma Donoghue’s remarkable novel Room. I read Room over the summer, when we were debating who to interview for our September issue.
When I’m reviewing fiction for BookPage, I read as much as I can of the novels we are interested in. But with over 100 novels to consider each month, I don’t get to read as much of each novel as I would like. I try to read 50 pages or so, just to get the feel of the novel. But with Room, I couldn’t stop at 50 pages. I read the entire novel sitting at my desk one day, and then I walked into our editor Lynn’s office and told her we had to interview Emma Donoghue.
I was bleary-eyed from reading such a powerful novel so quickly, but I knew Room was a book we had to tell our readers about. I wasn’t the only one who felt this way about Room, but I still remember the power of the reading experience and the urgency I felt to get the word out to other readers.
Room’s premise is hauntingly familiar given recent headlines—a five-year-old boy, Jack, is being raised by a loving, attentive mother he calls Ma, in the only world he’s ever known, Room. Through the innocent eyes of Jack—and the completely original, inspired writing of Donoghue—we come to learn that Room is a soundproof converted shed in the backyard of a twisted kidnapper Jack knows as Old Nick, who has held Ma hostage for years, and Jack for his entire life.
If the novel sounds dark, well, it is; but what makes it great is the way in which Donoghue pitch-perfectly captures the voice of Jack in all his childlike wonder—even in the most unimaginable situation. Room is his home, his school and his playground, and Donoghue makes it ours, too. She gives us a haunting image of what it would be like, god forbid, to be a child raised in captivity—and worse, what it would be like to be that child’s mother. And yet somehow, despite the horrific storyline, Donoghue manages to teach us a great deal about the power of love, the importance of hope and the resilience of the human spirit. It’s unlike anything I have ever read, and it’s a book I still haven’t stopped thinking about, all these months later. When it came time to cast my votes for the best books of 2010, I didn’t hesitate—Room was my #1 pick. And as it turns out, it is our overall #1 pick, too. If you haven't read it yet, I have only these words for you: Go read it. Now.
Maryglenn McCombs is a local book publicist and a great friend to BookPage. Maryglenn emailed us with a great story this morning, and we just had to share:
Those of you who know me probably know that I love dogs—especially my beloved and humongous Old English Sheepdog, Garcia. Some of you have any suggested that I am obsessed with Garcia. (Note the absence of denial.) Most of you probably also know that I am, by trade, a book publicist who loves books. I am writing to share a story about the unusual collision of my love of dogs and love of books.
Please let me introduce one of my all-time favorite mystery writers, Don Bruns (www.donbrunsbooks.com) with whom I have worked for years.
When Don came to me with the idea for his ninth novel, I asked (okay, begged) that he consider including Garcia, in all his Old English Sheepdog glory, as a character in the book.
Well, he did.
And much to Don’s surprise, Garcia wound up “taking over” the plot and ultimately becoming a major character in Don’s new novel, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, which Oceanview Publishing will release in hardcover and eBook on December 6, 2010. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff is a hilarious mystery about two stumbling, bumbling amateur detectives who get mixed up in investigating a crazy traveling carnival show—and nearly lose their lives in the process of contending with a cantankerous cast of carnies who don’t take kindly to the investigation.
While many of us think of the summer months as prime reading season, publishers tend to save plenty of their sure-to-be fiction hits for fall. And this year’s crop of late 2010 novels is certainly no different.
Our September issue has already gone to press, and we are particularly excited about our interviews with Jonathan Franzen and Emma Donoghue. Franzen’s Freedom and Donoghue’s Room are two of the most talked-about upcoming releases, and we can’t wait to see what readers make of them once they go on sale in the coming weeks (for Freedom, that’s August 31 and Room, September 13).
September also marks the release of Sara Gruen’s follow-up to the smash hit Water for Elephants, Ape House, (Sept. 7), Ken Follett’s first part in a new trilogy, Fall of Giants (Sept. 28), another love story from Nicholas Sparks, Safe Haven (Sept. 14) and Michael Cunningham’s first novel since Specimen Days, By Nightfall (Sept. 28).
But things don’t slow down in October. Nicole Krauss is back (after The History of Love) with Great House on Oct. 12 (be sure to check out our interview with Krauss in the October issue of BookPage) and John le Carré returns with Our Kind of Traitor (also on sale Oct. 12).
In November, we’re excited about a new—and very dark—story collection from Stephen King, Full Dark, No Stars (on sale Nov. 9) and Dennis Lehane’s follow up to Gone, Baby, Gone, Moonlight Mile (on sale Nov. 2).
If courtroom dramas and thrillers are your cup of tea, you are certainly in luck this fall. Vince Flynn, John Grisham, Lee Child, David Baldacci, Patricia Cornwell, James Patterson, Tom Clancy and Steve Berry all have new releases in the coming months.
So as the kids go back to school and the leaves change from green to red, be sure to pick up one of these new novels. You won’t be disappointed!
If you’re an avid Glee fan like me, last night’s season finale was more bitter than sweet. Sure, the kids from New Directions sang their hearts out at regionals, several romantic entanglements got even more complicated and Quinn finally had her baby girl. But with our favorite show on hiatus, what’s a Gleek to do? Well, it turns out you don’t have to watch endless reruns of season one or listen to the cast recordings over and over on your iPod . . . because Glee is hitting bookstores this fall!
Glee: The Beginning: An Original Novel by Sophia Lowell goes on sale September 1 from Poppy, a young adult publishing division of Hachette. And while this first book is a prequel to the TV show, multiple book projects are in the works—and all are authorized by Twentieth Century Fox. Now that’s music to our ears.
Are you a fan of Glee? Will you read the books?
At BEA last week, the BookPage team got to meet a number of notable people. Actor Zach Braff and his brother, author Joshua Braff. Justin Cronin (The Passage), Gail Caldwell (Let’s Take the Long Way Home), Joshilyn Jackson (Backseat Saints) and Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games). I silently swooned as Trisha and I found ourselves in a hotel elevator with Cory Monteith, star of Glee and total dreamboat. But the crowning glory of the celebrity-spotting week—at least for me—came on Thursday afternoon.
Trisha and I were walking around the Javitz Center, making our way back to the BookPage booth, when I saw him: Pat Conroy, my favorite author, deep in conversation with someone I didn't recognize. Trisha can attest that she has never seen such a high-level freak out from me. I literally stopped in my tracks, paced, stared and obsessed over what to do. Would I go say hi? Would I just watch from afar like a crazy person? Would I pass out? Finally Trisha just told me if I had this chance and didn’t say something, I would regret it forever. So I took a deep breath, walked over and opened with, “I’m so sorry to interrupt, but you’re my favorite author, and I just had to come say hi.”
Mr. Conroy smiled, took my hand and said, “Well, thank you so much. Now, what’s your name, darling?” We chatted briefly about his novels, Charleston and how he plans to keep writing as long as people keep reading. His southern drawl was everything I hoped it would be, and I was thrilled—and honored—that someone of his literary stature would take time out of his day to talk with a fan. I thought I loved Pat Conroy before. And now I know it’s the real deal.
Have you gotten the chance to meet your favorite author? If you did, what would you say?