Finally, a celebrity memoir that has a chance of being interesting! On Wednesday St. Martin's Press announced the acquisition of a memoir from Judi Dench, And Furthermore. As the press release puts it, "For the first time, Dench writes about her life, both on-stage and off, in a book that takes the measure of both her astonishing career and her private life. " The book will be published in October.
Dench made her acting debut in 1957 and has amassed a string of impressive credits in the years since. Seeing her name on a cast list feels like a guarantee of quality to me -- her turn as Lady Catherine de Bourg made the sub-par 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice worth watching (OK, Matthew MacFadyen helped with that too!). It's hard to say what role of hers is my favorite, but right now I'm going to go with Miss Matty Jenkyns in the Cranford adaptations. (I blogged about the series here.)
I'm also looking forward to her turn as Mrs. Fairfax in the upcoming version of Jane Eyre. (More on that here.)
Do you have a favorite Dench film? Has anyone seen her on stage? And will you read her memoir?
The iPad went on sale today (if you order now you’ll receive the device on April 3), and I wondered how many e-reader users following The Book Case are tempted by Apple’s sleek new toy.
Forbes has some information on how browsing the iBookstore will work:
Apple has designated about 20 "top-level" categories for books, including "Fiction & Literature", "Reference," "Romance," "Cookbooks" and "Comics & Graphic Novels." Below those categories lie more than 150 sub-categories, including some very specific genres, such as "Manga" under "Comics & Graphic Novels," "Special Ingredients" under "Cookbooks," and "Etiquette" under "Reference." Some sub-categories, such as "Fantasy" and "Science Fiction & Literature," even have sub-sub-categories ("Historical" and "Paranormal," for example.) There are also two sections for "Erotica" books; one under "Fiction & Literature" and one under "Romance."
Rumor has it we’re getting an iPad at BookPage, so when that happens we’ll be sure share the experience of reading on the gadget.
Are you going to buy an iPad?
Some of you may look forward to college basketball in the spring. As for me, I get my March Madness fix every year (well, since 2005, anyway) with the Morning News Tournament of Books, which puts the year's best fiction in head-to-head competition.
The race for the Rooster started this week, and so far the commentary and matchups have been epic. Where else would you find John Wray's Lowboy facing off against Kathryn Stockett's The Help? (I won't give the winner away, but judge Andrew Womack concludes, "Were the two books somehow collated into a single work, the result would be more formidable: a cooler, more memorable, disarming contender. Something with teeth of its own.")
And don't miss the commentary on each round from returning hosts Kevin Guilfoile and John Warner. A sample from the discussion of the aforementioned Help/Lowboy matchup:
Take the following one question quiz—If a black person were in your house, where would you send her if she asked to use your restroom? If your answer is not “the driveway,” The Help will make you feel good about yourself.
The book’s been compared to Small Island and Sophie’s Choice (tall order, huh?), and Annan calls it "a powerful novel of acceptance, survival and love.”
Just two days after I blogged about Starcrossed, the high school Greek tragedy billed as “a Percy Jackson for teenage girls,” another huge YA deal goes through. Dutton Children’s Books (a Penguin imprint) has paid six figures to publish The Catastrophic History of You and Me, by debut novelist Jessica Rothenberg. Rothenberg is an editor at Razorbill, another Penguin imprint. Here’s more on the plot:
In the book, a 15-year-old girl who literally dies of a broken heart must pass through five stages of grief before she can move on to the afterlife...and restore her faith in love.
When I was a pre-teen, I had a fascination with tragic stories—for a while there, anything by Lurlene McDaniel was a must-buy from the book fair. Sounds like heartbreak and mortality still haven't gone out of style.
Will you (or your teen) pick up The Catastrophic History of You and Me (out fall 2011)?
Variety reports that we have a couple of very different TV adaptations to anticipate from Craig Anderson Productions: Chris Bohjalian’s Secrets of Eden and Donna VanLiere’s The Christmas Secret. (So far, only the rights for these books have been purchased; there’s no network attached to the projects, or air dates.) Secrets of Eden is a “mystery that does not at first appear to be a mystery.” The Christmas Secret is an inspirational tale—classic VanLiere—about a single mom “with a jerk of an ex-husband.”
Bohjalian told BookPage contributor Alden Mudge that he’s “interested in seeing what happens to ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.” That doesn’t sound unrelated to what attracted Anderson to the novel: "I'm fascinated by people who have lives we think [are] normal, but there are actually sort of demons in their closets,” he said.
The Christmas Secret is Anderson’s fourth deal with VanLiere, who told us she “never imagined” she’d write about Christmas or get TV deals back when she brainstormed her first book idea “on a hot, sweaty day in July.”
What do you think, readers? Can TV adaptations do justice to a book?
Senator Scott Brown—the Republican who surprised many when he beat out Martha Coakley for Ted Kennedy’s seat in Massachusetts—has signed a deal with HarperCollins to publish a memoir. The book, which comes out in 2011, will address Brown’s “family background, his early career, and his ascent to the office of Massachusetts senator, one of the biggest political coups of the decade.”
But will he mention his stint as a Cosmopolitan centerfold?
Do you have a favorite political biography or memoir?
I first heard about Helen Grant's debut, The Vanishing of Katherina Linden, in a British look ahead at anticipated debuts of 2010. Intrigued by the description of the novel, which is told in the voice of an 11 year old in a small German town who is the last one to see her missing classmate alive, I searched for a U.S. release date. No dice.
Until today, when I heard that Delacorte would be publishing the book in August. I love the deliciously creepy cover, which is a good fit for a book that sounds like a blend of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and the Brothers Grimm. According to the Guardian, "The excellent writing, and the eschewing of anything remotely winsome or mawkish, make this an eerily subtle literary page-turner." Sleeper hit? We'll find out.
A month ago we reported on Libba Bray’s $2 million deal to write a jazz-age trilogy for Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Now, it looks like the huge YA contract of the month is going to a newcomer: HarperTeen has paid seven figures to Josephine Angelini for a trilogy billed as "a Percy Jackson for teenage girls.”
From Publisher’s Weekly:
In Starcrossed, which brings Greek tragedy to high school, a shy Nantucket teenager named Helen Hamilton attempts to kill the most attractive boy on the island, Lucas Delos, in front of her entire class. The incident proves more than a bit inconvenient for Helen, who's already concerned that she's going insane—whenever she's sees Lucas (or any of his family members) the image of three crying women appear to her.
Last week's mail brought a copy of the latest from Ann Brashares. Best known for her work on the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series (read our interview with her on the books here), she's now making her second foray into adult fiction after The Last Summer (of You and Me), your basic first-novel narrative of love and friendship.
My Name Is Memory sounds a bit more exciting. Like the Traveling Pants stories, it has a magical angle. The book follows a pair of star-crossed lovers—Daniel and Sophia—through several incarnations as they find, and then lose, each other again. The twist? Daniel can remember his past lives.
Brashares says on her blog, "This new book is kind of a departure for me. Not a total departure--it's mainly about love. But it takes place on a broad canvas of time." Though the novel won't hit stores until June, it's already been optioned by New Regency, who saw the book as a blend of Twilight and The Time-Traveler's Wife. Sounds like a bestseller, but judge for yourself—there's an excerpt on Brashares' site. We'll be digging into this one soon and will keep you posted!