In one corner: Stephen King, longtime channeler of America's id, takes on one of the pivotal events in our history: the Kennedy assassination. But this is no stolid reportage. There's time-travel from the back of a seedy hamburger joint, a love story between a "lanky librarian" from the 1960s and a fed-up high-school teacher from the present and, oh yeah, Jake's mission to try to stop a certain event coming up in November 0f 1963. I've been reading Stephen King ever since lugging It home from my local library branch at the age of 10 and always look forward to his new releases.
In the other corner: Robert K. Massie, Pulitzer prize-winning biographer of Russia's royal family, confronting one of its most fascinating figures: Catherine the Great. The story of how this German child bride grew a Russian soul and brought the Enlightenment to her adopted country (as well as plenty of scandal) during her 30-year reign. Massie is a brilliant, meticulous writer with an astounding knowledge of European history, and his biography of Peter the Great ranks among one of my favorite books of all time (his memoir, Journey, co-written with his then-wife Suzanne about their son Bobby's battle with hemophilia is another terrific read).
Both books are behemoths (more than 700 pages), so there's zero chance I'll be able to finish them BOTH over the weekend. So which should I dive into first? Place your vote in the comments, or let me know what you'll be reading this weekend.
Ha Jin (Waiting, War Trash, A Free Life) will publish a new novel on October 18 that is set during the notorious Nanjing massacre. Nanjing Requiem (Pantheon) fictionalizes the experiences of a real-life American missionary, Minnie Vautrin, who stays in China during the 1937 Japanese invasion in the hopes that she can help the community she has lived in for more than a decade. Unfortunately, nothing can stop the violence that happens in Nanjing, and Vautrin is instead forced to bear witness to one of the worst atrocities in modern history. In its aftermath, she is haunted by those she could not save.
Jin, a Chinese-American, used Vautrin's diaries and other contemporary accounts of the massacre to research his novel. He's written about the dark side of war before, most notably in War Trash—although our interviewer reports that he's a playful, ebullient person in conversation.
Will you pick this one up?
Related in BookPage: reviews of Ha Jin's previous books.
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?
I linked to the book trailer for The Poison Tree a couple weeks ago, and I thought you'd be interested in this follow-up. I got my hands on the novel (Erin Kelly's debut) last week and finished the novel yesterday.
It is fantastic—a dark, sultry, obsessive love story/thriller with some very disturbing twists. Here's a bit more from The Poison Tree's review in BookPage:
Perfectly paced, it starts with a bang and teems with twists that will keep you guessing right up until its thrilling and shocking conclusion. Kelly masterfully ratchets up the suspense, constantly causing readers to reappraise what is true as well as which dark and dirty secret will be unearthed next, all while nimbly maneuvering back and forth in time to keep tensions running high.
Have you read this novel? What new releases have been calling your name?
It doesn't seem that long ago that Maeve Binchy was regretfully informing her public that she would write no more. After the announcement, she released two more novels with then-publisher Dutton and lapsed into silence for 3 years.
Whatever Knopf promised her to get her to continue—more money? a less punishing schedule? both?—it has resulted in two novels since 2007, with a third to come in March 2011. Minding Frankie, like Binchy's Whitethorn Woods, is another "small town knows best" story that finds a single father fighting for custody of his daughter when a meddling social worker thinks the recovering alcoholic is an unfit parent. What she doesn't realize is that the whole town has been pitching in to "mind" baby Frankie.
Read reviews of Maeve Binchy's past work on BookPage.com.
One of the biggest deals of the year was announced last week at BEA. Jean M. Auel's Earth's Children series has been capturing the imaginations of millions since 1980. We interviewed Auel in 2002 about Shelters of Stone, the fifth book in the series, and ever since have been receiving questions about when, oh when, Auel would release the sixth and final book. The answer: March 2011. Here's the deal as announced by Publisher's Marketplace:
THE LAND OF PAINTED CAVES, continuing the story of Ayla, her mate and their little daughter, taking readers on a journey of discovery and adventure as Ayla struggles to find a balance between her duties as a new mother and her training to become one of the Ninth Cave community's spiritual leaders and healers; rendering the terrain, dwelling places, longings, beliefs, creativity, and daily lives of Ice Age Europeans as real to the reader as today's news, to Bantam Dell.
Just a few weeks ago, Random House announced that the Bantam Dell imprint would be merging with Ballantine to form Ballantine Bantam Dell (or BBD), under the leadership of senior vice president and publisher, Libby McGuire. And just yesterday, BBD announced their first major acquisition—a debut novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh titled The Language of Flowers.
According to BBD, “the novel tells the story of a woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to come to terms with her own troubled past as a foster child. When she falls in love with a young farmer at the flower market, she must confront a memory that has haunted her for years, and decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.” BBD won North American rights in a “heated auction with eight bidders” and translation deals have already closed in Holland, Spain and Italy, with other international auctions underway.
BookPage traded emails with editor Jennifer Smith, who acquired the novel, and is clearly thrilled to have The Language of Flowers on the BBD list. Smith says, “We all fell in love with this novel immediately. There was such an outpouring of enthusiasm in-house, and nobody could put it down. It’s definitely a special book, and one that we think will really resonate with readers. We’re so excited to be publishing it.”
Author Vanessa Diffenbaugh was “inspired by her own experience as a foster mother. To write the novel, she researched the original Victorian language of flowers—used by lovers to communicate—in which every flower corresponds to a specific meaning.” The novel is set to publish in August 2011, and we can’t wait to hear more about it.
Are you excited about The Language of Flowers?
Fans of The Office—and funny women everywhere—rejoice! Writer/producer/blogger/twitterer Mindy Kaling (who plays the hilarious Kelly Kapoor on the workplace sitcom) has just inked a book deal with Random House’s Crown imprint.
The Contents of My Purse, slated for a fall 2011 release, will be “a collection of comic essays detailing moments from a woman’s life, including everything from relationships to fashion.”
Or, as Kaling tweeted: “My book will be essays and personal anecdotes, pictures, fashion, and general opinionated bossiness about how women should live. Twitter has an 140 character limit, but I hear books can have something like 500,000 characters!”
While she is best known for playing the outrageous, unstable Kapoor on The Office, Kaling is also co-executive producer of the show and has written 18 episodes over the course of its six seasons (the most recent of which was last night’s hilarious, ridiculous “Secretary’s Day.”)
If that didn’t keep her busy enough, Kaling has signed a deal to write and star in a new NBC comedy, and is in the process of writing her first feature-length film, The Low Self-Esteem of Lizzie Gillespie. Not too shabby for a woman on the cusp of her 31st birthday.
Are you a fan of Mindy Kaling? Will you buy her book?