The New York Times may be bemoaning the state of publishing/bookselling, but there's a strong fall shaping up, with the return of many favorite authors. We've already posted about Stephen King, Pat Conroy, Dan Brown, Barbara Kingsolver and A.S. Byatt. Now Diana Gabaldon enters the list in October with a new installment in her popular Outlander series. An Echo in the Bone is set during the American revolution and pits Jamie against his illegitimate son who is fighting for the British. At a reported 992 pages, this is a book readers can get lost in, and should keep them occupied until Spring 2010, when Del Rey will release a graphic novel based on the series.
Gabaldon was an early internet adopter, and former BookPage editor Ann Shayne was an early fan. Check out their 1997 Q&A here.
That's what David Young, chairman and CEO of Hachette Book Group, hopes for Twelve's upcoming memoir from Senator Ted Kennedy. At a recent meeting with Books-A-Million, Young told buyers that editor Jamie Raab says True Compass "delivers" and described the book as "electrifying."
True Compass covers everything from Kennedy's youth to the current day in surprising detail. "Revelations in this book will amaze people," Young said, promising that Kennedy "went everywhere we wanted him to go" in the memoir -- including Chappaquiddick -- and that the scene where Kennedy informs their father of his brother Jack's death is especially poignant. The book will, of course, be embargoed until its October 6 release date. Will you read?
That’s the scoop, according to paleontologists studying a 47-million-year-old complete fossil unearthed around 25 years ago in an unused quarry near Frankfurt, Germany.
The lemur-like primate—scientific name Darwinius masillae, nickname “Ida”—is being hailed as the missing link; not necessarily our direct ancestor, but a member perched on a neighboring branch of the family tree. Or, as one oft-quoted scientist, Jens Franzen, put it to the BBC and others, not our “grand, grand, grandmother,” but our “grand, grand, grand, grand aunt.”
But, wait, Ida was found 25 years ago? Where's the breaking news?
Ida was in a private collection for most of that time, until being purchased (in secret) by the University of Oslo. Now, after years of clandestine research, the fossil is suddenly a star, subject of a book pubbing today—The Link: Uncovering Our Earliest Ancestor (Little, Brown) by biologist/writer Colin Tudge—an audiobook version also published by Hachette and a film. Find out about all these on the Ida website, where you can read about the discovery of the fossil, download the first chapter of the book or listen to a clip from the audiobook.
BTW, have you been to Google’s homepage today? Cool.
This morning's email brought news of a book deal for the passengers of US Air Flight 1549. Ballantine will publish their story on November 3.
From the press release:
A unique collaboration between many of the passengers themselves and two expert story-tellers, William Prochnau , MIRACLE ON THE HUDSON will provide the first and the only full account, minute-by-minute, of that fateful day, in the survivors’ own words. . . . The survivors' stories about their ordeal are moving and unforgettable. We see passengers watching as birds enter one engine. We relive the eerie silence in the cabin, save for fervently whispered prayers after both engines fail. We feel the impact as the plane violently hits the river, water pouring into the fuselage. We meet the passenger who opened the first door to safety, and another who stripped to his underwear in readiness for an impossible swim to shore. Then we see an incredible rescue take place from the viewpoint of the people caught in the middle of a frigid metropolitan river.
ETA: Perhaps more newsworthy than the passengers' book deal is the New York Times' report that some of them will actually be getting their luggage back. This may be a bigger miracle than their survival. [Via]
The New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association has chosen Tasmanian author Richard Flanagan's Wanting as their very first NAIBA Notable title. The novel, which goes on sale today, is a haunting story set in 1841 that features two titans of Victorian England, Charles Dickens and John Franklin (whose ill-fated Northern expedition was the subject of a recent Dan Simmons novel) while drawing parallels to modern society.
Flanagan is known for complex, thematic works like Gould's Book of Fish, but he's not afraid to go commercial—he also co-wrote the screenplay for the Baz Luhrmann film Australia. Grove Publisher Morgan Entrekin says Wanting has the same intellectual depth as his earlier novels "yet may be more approachable for many readers."
Wanting goes on sale today, but the book has already received a rave review from novelist Jon Fasman in the Los Angeles Times. As a fan of historical and Victorian fiction, I'm looking forward to digging into our copy.
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.
Note to publishers: Last I heard, London was only a 6-hour plane ride from New York City. And Canada? Even closer. So why do US fans have to wait nearly six months for A.S. Byatt's new novel, The Children's Book, which was published in the UK and Canada on April 21?
Set during the idealistic epoch before the Great War, The Children's Book is already being described as "a tour de force" "panoramic" and "a rich, sprawling chronicle" by various Canadian and British news outlets. What a shame that the US media won't get a chance to weigh in until October 6, Knopf's current publication date for the book. Sure, Byatt is your typical big-name literary fall release, but to really build momentum for a novel, wouldn't it be better if all the English-speaking media* were talking about it at once? (And for the record, I would have loved to take this one to the beach. The movie industry seems to have figured out that fall isn't the only time a serious film can do well—publishers should give it a try.)
The Internet doesn't differentiate between countries, and books are often impulse buys. By October, we might not remember that this is the same novel The Guardian called Byatt's Middlemarch, or we might have added too many other books to our reading lists—or we might have already ordered a copy from an overseas retailer. Guess Knopf is willing to roll the dice, but this type of arbitrary, disconnected publication schedule only makes books seem more archaic than most people already think they are.
Lucky Canadian blogger Crooked House has an excerpt.
*Australian release date is May 15 and New Zealand's was May 1, according to their Random House websites.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a recent release from Quirk Books, is just the latest in a long line of riffs, adaptations and yes, parodies, of Jane Austen's novels—though it is the first to pit her beloved characters against a supernatural enemy.
Taking its success as proof that the publishing world must be in want of a few more Austen/supernatural mash-ups, there are at least two more in the works. Instead of adding to a classic, though, both authors have chosen to give Jane herself a starring role.
Today's Publisher's Lunch listed the sale of "Janet Mullany's The Immortal Jane Austen, a humorous novel about Jane Austen in Regency England who joins the vampire resistance in Bath when England is invaded by French forces," to Harper/Avon editor May Chen.
And the Washington Post announced that 2010 will see the publication of Jane Bites Back by Michael Thomas Ford (Random House), the first in an intended three-book series that casts Jane as a vampire bookstore owner (can you hear those cash registers ringing?).
In case you thought the diehard Janeites were the ones to be won over in this meeting of the genres, consider this: not all zombie fans have a taste for 19th-century literature. As demonstrated in this comment from the horror novel discussion site Shocklines, "So far I'm not tempted to slog through the other 80% of the book in order to enjoy the zombies." Boing Boing's Cory Doctorow had the same problem. "I found myself skimming, skipping larger and larger chunks of text to get to the zombie sequences, desperate to escape the claustrophobic drawing-room chatter of Austen's characters with a little beheading, disemboweling and derring-do."
As our national poetry month ends, the 10-year term for Britain's new poet laureate, Glasgow-born Carol Ann Duffy, begins. The 53 year old is the first woman to hold the position in its 341-year history.
Accessible yet insightful, Duffy's work has achieved best-selling status in the UK, and she was a front-runner for poet laureate in 1999 (rumor has it that she lost out to Andrew Motion only because Tony Blair was worried about a lesbian laureate alienating "Middle England"). The Guardian reports that Duffy, who was somewhat reluctant to accept the position, is donating the approximately $11,000 yearly stipend to the Poetry Society but will accept the 600 bottles of sherry that are traditionally granted to the laureate.
Maybe it's because they serve longer terms (prior to Motion's appointment, the position was for life), but it seems like British poets laureate get a lot more press than their American counterparts. Of course, we did appoint our first woman way back in 1945. But can anyone name her, or our current poet laureate (also female)? Answer is after the jump, along with a poem from Duffy.
America's first female poet laureate was Louise Bogan.
Our current poet laureate? Kay Ryan.
And a sample of Duffy's work:
Not a red rose or a satin heart.
I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
It promises light
like the careful undressing of love.
It will blind you with tears
like a lover.
It will make your reflection
a wobbling photo of grief.
I am trying to be truthful.
Not a cute card or a kissogram.
I give you an onion.
Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,
possessive and faithful
as we are,
for as long as we are.
Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding-ring,
if you like.
Its scent will cling to your fingers,
cling to your knife.
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.