Now I've got some more Lehane news for you, and this tidbit's a biggie: The author of Mystic River, The Given Day and many others will write a trilogy called the Three Months Trilogy. The first book, September, will come out in 2013, and it will be followed by October and November. According to Publishers Marketplace, the series is about "a cold case detective with a terminal diagnosis." The detective will investigate a "notorious Boston murder" and become "heroic through his final act."
It's so exciting to learn that a favorite author has a major new project in the works—will you mark your calendars (eh . . . your 2013 calendars) for this one?
Here's a forensic news tidbit with a literary angle: The bones of Australian outlaw, Ned Kelly, have been identified. Kelly was hanged and buried in a mass grave with more than 30 other criminals; his remains were identified thanks to a DNA sample provided by a relative. (The skull is missing; you can read more on that mystery here.)
Kelly, who was referred to by the head of the institute where the DNA identification took place as "the most controversial individual that Victoria has produced," has inspired more than one piece of art, but the biggest standout for readers is the take on his life provided by Australia's best-known novelist Peter Carey. The True History of the Kelly Gang won the Booker Prize in 2001 and has become something of a book club favorite.
Today's BookPageXTRA is all about the many ways readers can use BookPage.com: They can win free stuff (here); watch trailers (here); read excerpts (here); ask for book fortunes (here); and so much more.
What do you wish we were covering on the website? Let us know in the comments.
A post from the Author Enablers
With more than 25 years of experience, Kathi Kamen Goldmark and Sam Barry have the inside scoop on writing and publishing. Together, they are the authors of Write That Book Already!: The Tough Love You Need to Get Published Now. Email them your questions (along with your name and hometown) about writing and publishing, and don’t miss their column on BookPage.com.
Publishing is changing by the minute. In some ways this is scary and upsetting, as we worry that good books will not get published and the art of writing and reading will disappear.
But all change is not bad, and in fact, the rise of new technologies and shifting markets sometimes present an opportunity. While the giant publishers fix their sights on blockbuster hits, new, smaller, nimbler publishers are coming into existence to fill the void and publish important books.
One exciting example of this phenomenon is the newly released We’re Not Leaving: 9/11 Responders Tell Their Stories of Courage, Sacrifice, and Renewal, by Benjamin J. Luft, M.D. (Greenpoint Press). We’re Not Leaving is a compilation of powerful first-person narratives told from the vantage point of World Trade Center disaster workers—police officers, firefighters, construction workers, and other volunteers at the site. This worthy book might not have seen light of day or been properly published were it not for the efforts of creative thinkers using new models of publishing. In this case the agent and author worked together to find Greenpoint Press, a dedicated publisher utilizing print-on-demand technology to publish important books that might be overlooked by the big commercial presses.
At BookPage, we have a Nook Color and a Kindle at our office, both of which I have used extensively. And I usually have a book or two on my iPhone. I like the convenience of reading digitally enough to consider purchasing a dedicated e-reader of my own. But I've been hesitant to take the plunge. A recent essay by Mark O'Connell on The Millions does a beautiful job of explaining some of the conflicts a reader might feel when going digital. First, he outlines the positives.
There is, obviously, something to be said for being able to walk around with the complete works of Tolstoy on your person at all times without fear of collapsed vertebrae or public ridicule. There is also, just as obviously, something to be said for having immediate access to a vast, intangible warehouse of books from which you can choose, on a whim, to purchase anything and begin reading it straight away.
No page is its first page; no page is its last. . . . [I]t has the uncanny, shape-shifting potential to encompass all of them, to embody them all both individually and as a whole. Unsettlingly, it makes all those other books appear suddenly unnecessary, superfluous, seeming to haunt them with the imminent prospect of their own redundancy.
The piece gradually evolves into a sort of elegy for the book.
The insatiable desire for ever more and ever newer forms of convenience that drives our global economy and our technological culture leaves a scattered trail of obsolescence in its wake. As much as I don’t want my bookshelves to become part of this trail of obsolescence, I can already see early warning signs of my own desire for convenience — for instantly getting what I want, for not having to deal with mere objects in all their cumbersome actuality — beginning to outrank my love of the book as a physical thing.
I could go on quoting, but you should really click over and read the whole piece.
Overall I don't think that ebooks are a bad thing—as one of the many intelligent comments on O'Connell's essay points out, for one, they have the potential to offer many more people access to many more books (provided they can spring for a digital device to read them on). And hey, if you're really nostalgic for the book form, you can purchase a beautiful vintage book e-reader cover, which, as the seller says, "shows you still appreciate the real thing!"
Where do you stand on the digital divide?
p.s. Today is Borges' 112th birthday -- check out the Google doodle.
We are pleased to share this review of a scholarly work on Benjamin Franklin, submitted by a professional bookman and longtime admirer of BookPage, George Hopkins.
Reading a scholarly book with all the expected arms and legs of such a work—footnotes, afterwords, appendices and their brethren—one finds a rare, unexpected pleasure waiting in the pages of Kenneth Penegar’s The Political Trial of Benjamin Franklin. The book has all the elements of a seductive mystery story, albeit a story shaped by facts, not fiction. Although Franklin lived in England for 18 years (1724-26, 1757-62, 1764-75), the author focuses on the last four years of his residency, 1771-1775, during which time he acted as an agent for New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Georgia in presenting various petitions and grievances that his clients wanted heard by Parliament and King. In this capacity, Franklin’s world (and ours, as fate would have it) turned upside down.
Beginning with a farcical, but potentially deadly, duel between John Temple and William Whately that took place in Hyde Park on the morning of December 11, 1873, the story of Franklin’s last years takes shape. The argument between the combatants centered on a cache of letters written years earlier by the future governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Hutchinson. The letters were to Thomas Whately, the older brother of William, and had become known to all in England and America after their publication in a Boston newspaper in 1773. Whately, now executor of his brother’s estate, believed Temple was the scoundrel who stole the letters, the personal property of his late brother, and sent them to the Boston publisher.
Thus the duel! And here, perhaps, we find most significant reason for the unyielding enmity of England’s peers toward America. Indeed, the publication of the Hutchinson Letters, as they are known to historians, was much more offensive to them than even the Boston Tea Party, of which they learned only after Franklin confessed that it was he who sent the letters to the speaker of the Massachusetts Assembly. After the acknowledgment of his part in this drama, made to prevent any future duels between innocent men, dark events moved quickly into Franklin’s life.
On January 29, 1774, we find this much-honored American, a man now in his 60s who walked with a cane, standing alone for over an hour before the Privy Council, silently hearing Alexander Wedderburn, Solicitor General, demean and disgrace him before an overflowing crowd of English peers. For the most famous and most respected American in European society, this humiliating experience had to be the nadir point of his life. He stood accused of the theft of personal letters and, more ominously, of sedition as a British subject who incited and led the colonial rebels to overthrow the lawful government. The prospect of arrest culminating in imprisonment not only found its way into his dreams, but became very real, as attested by the arrest warrant that was issued in London, which Franklin became aware of after he arrived in Philadelphia on May 7, 1775.
Feeling embarrassed about my ignorance of these matters, I consulted the splendid history written by Morison & Commager, The Growth of the American Republic, 1000-1865 in its fourth edition (1951), the textbook that I had used as an undergraduate. Not one mention of the Hutchinson Letters or the Privy Council trial of Franklin appears. It makes one wonder about history and its pictures locked in time, why emphasis is given to this event but not to the other, why or whether the decisions made by historians that build a society’s sense of itself are proper or indeed right. After finishing Penegar’s fine book, I consider Benjamin Franklin as belonging to that small group of people whose actions were demanded and made magnificent in building the edifice of liberty we now call the United States of America.
So I finally went to see Midnight in Paris last night. Partially to stop hearing gasps from all my friends when I admitted that I had not seen it. They know me well; it was exactly my cup of tea. From the lengthy opening shots of Paris' limitless beautiful monuments and street corners, the stage is set for magic and the movie delivers.
For those who don't know: Gil (Owen Wilson), a Hollywood writer with aspirations to become a novelist, is on vacation in Paris with his soon-to-be in-laws and materialistic fiancée, Inez (Rachel McAdams). While she shops and hangs on the words of a pedantic old college friend (Michael Sheen), romantic Gil prowls the streets, dreaming of his favorite writers from the 1920s doing the same.
I guess I won't say more in case you haven't heard what happens next (I had) but let's just say that if you enjoy modernist art and literary references, you won't be disappointed (and hey, you read this blog, so signs point to yes on that account!). Readers who don't want to see The Help this weekend should check this one out. Anyone else seen the film?
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.
I'm feeling a teeny bit guilty for blogging so much about 2012 releases lately. But Ron Rash is a real in-house favorite here at BookPage, so when we heard that he was publishing a new book with Ecco in April, we had to spread the news.
The Cove, Ecco's lead title for spring, "captures the wondrous beauty of nature and love and the darkness of superstition and fear in this atmospheric and exquisitely rendered novel set in Appalachia during World War I." (Another for my WWI list!) The catalog also promises that it is "as mesmerizing as the brilliant Serena," which is saying something—if you like memorable heroines, 2008's Serena is a novel that is not to be missed. As reviewer Kristy Kiernan put it in BookPage, Serena "has all the markings of a career-making novel, and should firmly establish poet and novelist Rash as a literary star."
On June 10, we announced the great big Book of the Day contest: Our 10,000th subscriber would receive a box of 10 books + a $10 Books-A-Million gift card, and 10 current subscribers who shared a Book of the Day newsletter via e-mail or social media would also receive a box of 10 books.
One month later, here's an update: Not only has our Book of the Day audience hit 10k subscribers, but we are currently up to nearly 10,400 members. I hope all you subscribers are enjoying your daily book reviews and finding good reads for your TBR (like today's Book of the Day, The Girl in the Blue Beret by Bobbi Ann Mason).
Notifications have been sent to our winners:
Richelle from Oskaloosa, IA, was our 10,000th subscriber, and our 10 (randomly-selected) sharers are:
David — who shared on LinkedIn
Jenn, Maria and Lora — who shared on Facebook
Kathleen, Michele and Stacy— who shared on Twitter
Gerri, Kathy and Kim — who shared via e-mail
Congratulations, winners! Also: sign up here if you'd like to receive Book of the Day.