Some of you were pretty psyched when we posted about Jan Karon's In the Company of Others back in April. So when the galley came in today's mailbag, I felt like I had to share the opening lines with you:
Sheets of rain lashed the windshield; the high beams of their hired car barely penetrated a summer twilight grown black as pitch. It was a classic Irish downpour.
The road had narrowed to a single lane scarcely wider than a sheep track and was bordered by dense hedges. He took Cynthia's hand; his wife's fear of being hemmed in was only slightly greater than his. Crammed into the rain-hammered Volvo with a carton of books and a testy driver and pressed on either side by the sullen hedges, he counted this very moment as the reason he was no traveler.
The flight from Atlanta to Dublin had lived up to his worst expectations. Following a delay of seven hours due to storms in the Atlanta area, the trip across the Pond had been an unnerving piece of business which shortened his temper and swelled his feet to ridiculous proportions. Then, onto a commuter flight to Sligo airport at Strandhill, where—and this was the final straw, or so he hoped—they met the antiquated vehicle that would take them to the lodge on Lough Arrow. When he located an online Sligo car service a month back and figured out how to dial the country code, hadn't he plainly said the trip would celebrate his wife's birthday as well as her first time in Ireland? Hadn't he specified a nice car?
Excerpt from In the Company of Others by Jan Karon, published October 19, 2010 by Viking Books.
Bantam Dell has announced that Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Stephen Hawking will publish another book about "the ultimate mysteries of the universe" (via GalleyCat). Hawking is something of a celebrity scientist as a result of his mega-bestselling book A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes. The new book will be titled The Grand Design and be published Sept. 7.
In a review of The Universe in a Nutshell, Hawking's follow-up to A Brief History of Time, Michael Sims wrote that the "fun and accessible" book includes "such challenging topics as time travel, the reconciliation of Einsteinian relativity and quantum theory, and even the frightening possibilities in the inevitable co-evolution of biological and technological life."
In The Grand Design, you can expect to learn about "a single theory that can describe and explain all the forces of nature." Sounds intriguing—will you look for this book?
For more on Hawking, watch his TED talk on "some Big Questions about our universe."
Another author with a Nashville connection made news today: Ann Patchett has completed and sold a new novel to Harper for publication in 2011.
The new book is described as "Conradian" and is set in the Amazon jungle, where two female physicians make "hitherto unimaginable discoveries on both a personal and global scale."
South America was also the setting of Patchett's biggest hit (and one of my favorite novels ever), Bel Canto. [Read Patchett's behind-the-book story on that novel here.] Will the new novel and its similar blend of the personal and the global strike the same chord with readers? As Patchett fans, we can't wait to find out.
Ernie Cline, the screenwriter behind 2009 movie Fanboys, has signed a "major" (aka $500,000+) deal with Crown to write a novel titled Ready Player One.
The book is described as "Charlie & the Chocolate Factory set in the world of massive multiplayer gaming, TRON, and Hot Tub Time Machine."
Online magazine Daemon’s Books has already asked if Ready Player One will be the new Avatar (there's already a movie adaptation in the works from Warner Bros., with Cline writing the screenplay). Here's more on the plot:
“Player” combines a young teen protagonist and a virtual world in its story line. The story follows an outcast young teen who escapes from the harsh realities of his life by logging onto a virtual world known as Oasis. While in Oasis users can lead drastically different lives from those they experience in the real world. When the creator of Oasis dies, he leaves a vast fortune as the prize in a massive treasure hunt that takes place within his virtual world.
Candace Bushnell of Sex and the City fame has signed a deal to write two novels for Grand Central.
The first of the two is called The Two Mrs. Stones and is about "a love triangle" (a lot of possibilities there!). It will be published in 2012 .
This news comes just weeks after the publication of The Carrie Diaries, Bushnell's YA Sex and the City prequel about Carrie's years in high school.
Have you had enough of Bushnell's world of cosmos, designer shoes and wealthy Manhattanites, or will you count down the days until the new book's release?
Also in BookPage: a handwritten interview with Candace Bushnell.
Late last week, Doubleday unveiled the cover for John Grisham's newest legal thriller on the author's official Facebook page:
That image is Lady Justice—blindfolded—signifying the objective nature of justice (or, justice as it should be).
There's no real information available on the plot yet; all we know is that The Confession is filled with "the intriguing twists and turns that have become Grisham’s trademark."
To build buzz, there was a 59-foot-long banner on the Javits Center at BEA:
The Confession is out October 26, about 21 months after the publication of Grisham's latest legal thriller, The Associate, and less than a year after the publication of Ford County and Thedore Boone: Kid Lawyer.
Will you read The Confession? Any plot predictions?
Also in BookPage: Browse our Grisham archives.
Now publisher Little Brown has announced that Angelina Jolie will play the part of Cleopatra in an upcoming film adaptation (produced by Scott Rudin).
This is the second literary adaptation this year for Jolie, who will also play Patricia Cornwell's M.E. Kay Scarpetta in an upcoming feature film. What do you think of the casting choice?
After nearly three hundred years of deliberation, Double Falsehood has been included in the latest Arden Edition of the Shakespeare canon, which was published last month. This lost play, first published in 1727, has always claimed to be a reworking of a 1613 play written by Shakespeare and John Fletcher, but from the first, Bard watchers have been skeptical. Double Falsehood was clearly not 100% Shakespeare, after all. Even Brean Hammond, the Shakespearean scholar who spent 10 years studying the play and editor of the Arden Shakespeare Edition, believes that the 18th century publisher of the play, Theobald, significantly "cut and altered the work to suit his 18th century audience" though in an interview with the BBC, he says he is certain that Shakespeare "had a strong hand in" the first act, the second act, and at least part of Act III.
The 17th-century stage was somewhat collaborative, but should anything outside of the 1623 First Folio count as canon? Arden and Hammond voted yes, and a reignited interest in Shakespeare is the result.
A representative from Bloomsbury, who publishes the Arden Shakespeare series, says "the Arden General Editors and Arden publisher, Margaret Bartley, took considerable risk in publishing this title because they believed it was in the best interest of Shakespeare scholarship. It was a bold move but true to Arden’s roots as the pre-eminent publisher of Shakespeare and early modern drama studies for more than a century."
Decide for yourself: The Guardian has a short excerpt. I haven't read Shakespeare since college so my opinion means exactly less than zilch, but I have to say I'm curious.
(The Orange Prize is a British award given to the best novel written by a woman in English and published in the UK in a given year.)
Daisy Goodwin, chair of judges, commented on the prize selection: "We chose The Lacuna because it is a book of breathtaking scale and shattering moments of poignancy."
For more on The Lacuna, read this excerpt from BookPage's November interview with Kingsolver:
It’s the epic story of Harrison William Shepherd, a young boy whose Mexican mother takes him back to her home country in the 1930s after splitting with his father, a Washington, D.C., bureaucrat ... The novel is a brilliant mix of truth and fiction, history and imagination, presented as a compilation of Harrison’s journals, along with newspaper clippings and other notes that make for a compelling and utterly believable read ... For Kingsolver, this book was her exploration of that “in between” space where pieces are missing and the truth is hidden. She also set out to probe the question:
Do artists have a responsibility to address social issues and express their opinions?
Kingsolver was up against some stiff competition: Lorrie Moore, Hilary Mantel . . . Do you agree that The Lacuna was the best novel written by a woman (and published in the UK) this year?
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?