This morning has revealed the cover for John Grisham's upcoming novel, Sycamore Row. The long-awaited sequel to Grisham's first novel, A Time to Kill, will be available October 22. In our XTRA newsletter reader poll, Sycamore Row was voted the #1 most anticipated book of the fall—quite a feat, given this great group of upcoming releases.
May is here, bringing lots of exciting new books and a new issue of BookPage. Since we're a recommendation guide, every book that appears in BookPage is worth your attention—but if you want a quick and easy way to find to the best of the best, don't miss our Top 10 newsletter. It gives you an overview of our editors' favorites from each issue. Wondering what books we chose for May? Check out this excerpt from the newsletter:
A CONSTELLATION OF VITAL PHENOMENA
By Anthony Marra
Marra's first novel is already earning him comparisons to Tolstoy, Jonathan Safran Foer and Abraham Verghese, among others. This searing story of a hunted child and the doctor who tries to save her is set in the Russian republic of Chechnya, where war has raged for more than a decade. In the middle of the night, 8-year-old Havaa watches as her father is taken away by Russian soldiers, forcing her to flee into the snowy forest. A neighbor finds her and seeks refuge at a bombed-out hospital, where one brilliant young surgeon remains. With its war-torn international setting, intense plot and expertly connected characters, this is likely to be one of the most talked-about debuts of the season.
By David Sedaris
If you're already a Sedaris fan, you won't need much prodding to put his latest book on your to-be-read list. And if you haven't yet discovered Sedaris' unique and twisted humor, you have a lot of catching up to do. In his seventh collection, the frequent traveler and keen observer captures the absurdity of everything from French dentistry to Hawaiian sea turtles. As always, though, Sedaris' funniest reflections center on his own family, from his father, who sat down to dinner in business casual, minus his pants, to his sister Gretchen, who carried an insect-killing jar wherever she went. And then there's Sedaris himself: neurotic, incisive and perpetually annoyed—just the way we like him.
You'll find the full list here.
Sign up for Top 10 now, and look for the next issue in the first week of June!
Working at BookPage has a lot of perks, but one of the best, in my opinion, is getting to look at and read great new books before they're even in the stores. This fall will see the publication of plenty of nonfiction sure-to-be-bestsellers. Here are some of the season's highlights:
Laura Hillenbrand, author of the blockbuster hit Seabiscuit, returns on November 16 with a story of adventure and survival during World War II. Unbroken follows young bombardier Louis Zamperini through his incredible ordeal after his plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean. Hillenbrand's long-awaited follow-up to Seabiscuit will not disappoint her legions of fans.
Several excellent new biographies will hit shelves this fall, including Ron Chernow's Washington: A Life (Oct. 5); Jane Leavy's The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood (Oct. 12); Michael Korda's Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia (Nov. 16); and the Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1, which goes on sale Nov. 15. Twain left instructions that his memoirs should remain unpublished for 100 years after his death, so that he could feel free to speak his mind frankly. Who knows what revelations those pages might contain?
In other nonfiction news, Bill Bryson is back this season with At Home: A Short History of Private Life (Oct. 5), in which Bryson narrows his focus from A Short History of Nearly Everything to the confines of his own house, while Simon Winchester's Atlantic (Nov. 2) calls itself a "biography" of the Atlantic Ocean, weaving in both historical facts and personal details from Winchester's own experiences at sea. And on Oct. 26, Oliver Sacks (Musicophilia) treads new ground with The Mind's Eye, a collection of essays on the interplay between vision and recognition, reading and communication, and other brainteasers, including Sacks' reflections on his own experience with eye cancer.
And finally, for those looking for a lighter read, Nora Ephron once more taps into the thoughts and concerns of "women of a certain age" with I Remember Nothing (Nov. 9), a follow-up to the major bestseller I Feel Bad About My Neck, while Vicki Myron returns to the subject of her beloved "small-town library cat" with Dewey's Nine Lives (Oct. 12), a collection of stories about and inspired by Dewey.
With so many excellent books to choose from, which one will you read first?
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?
Country music superstar Sara Evans was in Nashville Monday night to promote her first novel, The Sweet By and By. Evans teamed up with veteran author Rachel Hauck to write the first in a four book fictional series about a young Southern woman, Jade Fitzgerald, and her evolving quest to balance the traumatic events of her past with the bright prospects on her horizon.
BookPage editors Abby and Trisha were lucky enough to sit down and talk with the lovely and candid Ms. Evans. Press the play button below to hear our chat about the stories behind the book, how Sara balances her work and family life and why she is afraid of elevators.
Our chat with Sara Evans:
The Sweet By and By is on sale now. Will you pick up a copy?
We'll believe it when we see it, but The Washington Post is reporting that Uwem Akpan's 2008 short story collection, Say You're One of Them, will be Queen O's next book club pick. The Post says that Ingram International, a book distribution company, unintentionally leaked the information this morning. Oprah will officially announce this, her 63rd book club selection, to a live audience in New York City's Central Park tomorrow (September 18th).
Published by Little, Brown, Say You're One of Them is Nigerian-born Akpan's first book. The collection features five short stories, one of which was originally published in The New Yorker. Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review, saying:
"Akpan's prose is beautiful and his stories are insightful and revealing, made even more harrowing because all the horror—and there is much—is seen through the eyes of children."
If the Post is right, Akpan's stories are about to gain a much wider audience. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: It's official! Oprah just announced that Say You're One of Them is indeed her latest book club selection. Congratulations to Uwem Akpan and his publishers!
An Amazon spokesman said in an email that "the big surprise" was that the edition of the book for the company's Kindle electronic-book reader outsold hardcover editions on the book's release day, excluding pre-orders.
Yesterday Minotaur announced that mystery writer Nevada Barr was leaving her longtime publisher, Putnam, and signing on with them for her next three books in the Anna Pigeon series. The first book will appear in 2010.
In the official press release, Minotaur VP and Publisher Andrew Martin called Barr "a star author," saying that he was "absolutely delighted to be welcoming her onto our list.”
Barr's final novel with Putnam, Borderline, was just released last month, and she has a stand-alone thriller, 13 1/2, coming from Vanguard Press on September 29.
As Associate Publisher at BookPage, one of the most enjoyable aspects of my job is going to NYC to visit book publishers face-to-face. It's always fun to find out what they are most excited about, and get the inside scoop on what's coming in the months ahead. For instance, on my most recent trip, I learned that Dutton is publishing the sequel to Dracula in mid-October, Dracula, The Un-dead. Wow! A new book resurrecting the original blood-sucker who started the vampire-mania that continues today! Best of all, it's written by Bram Stoker's great-grandnephew, Dacre Stoker, who used Bram Stoker's own handwritten notes for characters and plot threads excised from the original edition. Can anyone say, "Bestseller?"
Another benefit of traveling to NYC is spoiling myself at the countless incredible restaurants found on virtually every corner in Manhattan. A girl's gotta eat, ya know? However, my favorite meal this trip was the cedar plank salmon that I had in Ben & Kristal's kitchen, located in a funky Jersey City brownstone. (Sorry, this kitchen is only open to family and friends...) That leads me to the other upcoming book that piqued my interest --- a cookbook from one of my favorite non-NYC restaurants, Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, AL. Running Press is publishing the cookbook in early October. I hope it includes the chef's special recipe for grilled oysters! Yum!
And, lastly, I must mention the galley I started reading while in NYC that I'm still delightfully devouring --- The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. If you missed Zafon's book, The Shadow of the Wind, you must read it immediately so that you'll be ready for The Angel's Game when it publishes in June. You'll be glad you did. Both novels are well-written, mysterious and are books for book lovers. Be sure read to the BookPage review of The Shadow of the Wind, pulled from our archives.