Daniel Handler, aka "Lemony Snicket," has just signed a deal with the UK's Egmont Press to publish a new four-book, middle-grade series starting in 2012. Snicket commented to BBC News: "I can neither confirm nor deny that I have begun research into a new case, and I can neither confirm nor deny that the results are as dreadful and unnerving as A Series of Unfortunate Events. However, I can confirm that Egmont will be publishing these findings."
According to the New York Times, Snicket has not yet sold the books in the US, but his HarperCollins editor, Susan Rich, has been working with him on the series.
Snicket fans can look forward to the 2010 publication of a picture book, 13 Words, which Snicket worked on with the artist Maira Kalman.
The Series of Unfortunate Events was a publishing sensation, and the first three books inspired a 2004 film starring Jim Carrey.
The Daily Mail's recent account of Hilary Duff's time shooting on the set of "Gossip Girl" was focused on Hilary's "drab to fab" transformation when she changed from a gray T-shirt into a Herve Leger dress. I was more intrigued by the fact that a young actress had a book in her hand:
That's Jodi Picoult's Salem Falls. A quick Google search revealed that Duff had been caught reading The Pact on an earlier "Gossip Girls" shoot.
Which makes me wonder: has Duff made it to page 315 of Nineteen Minutes yet?
Now that we've listed some our favorites of 2009, let's look ahead to 2010. We're already getting tons of January books -- here are a few recent arrivals that are on our radar.
Roses was a big buzz book at BEA and is a four-generation family saga that has been compared to The Thornbirds. Juicy!
Tracy Chevalier was one of the writers who kicked off the latest wave of historical fiction. Her new novel, Remarkable Creatures (Viking) is about two female fossil-hunters in Lyme Regis, England, in the 19th century. Isn't the jacket gorgeous? The UK edition (which went on sale earlier this week) uses the same elements in a different way.
Chevalier talks about her inspiration for the book here.
Then there's the return of Elizabeth Kostova with The Swan Thieves (Little, Brown), which we blogged about earlier this summer.
I was intrigued by the fanciful cover of Ali Shaw's The Girl with the Glass Feet (Holt). Shaw said his debut—the story of a girl who visits an island where strange things are happening and subsequently finds herself slowly turning into glass—was inspired by the European fairy tale tradition.
And Mo Hayder has Skin (Grove), a sequel to Ritual, coming out in January. Though so far none of her recent books have topped the creepiness of The Devil of Nanking in my mind, fans of literary horror will have something to keep them up at night.
And of course, there's the new Joshua Ferris—The Unnamed.
Any January releases you're looking forward to?
Oprah has selected a new book for her club and will share this pick with readers on September 18. All we know now is that it will be a Little, Brown trade paperback priced at $14.99. Given their extensive backlist and Oprah's esoteric taste, this could mean anything at all. What book gets your vote?
UPDATE: The always-stellar Publisher's Lunch has narrowed it down to the following selections based on the Amazon.com listing, which says the book was priced at $23.99 in hardcover:
Amigoland by Oscar Casares (August 10)
Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness by Lyanda Lynn Haupt (July 27)
This Wicked World by Richard Lange (June 30)
Do Over! by Robin Hemley (May 11)
The Man's Book: The Essential Guide for the Modern Man by Thomas Fink (May 6)
Secrets to Happiness by Sarah Dunn (March 25)
Eat, Drink and Be From Mississippi by Nanci Kincaid (January 6)
The Book of Calamities: Five Questions About Suffering and Its Meaning by Peter Trachtenberg (August 27, 2008)
The Bible Salesman by Clyde Edgerton (August 11, 2008)
Undiscovered Country by Lin Enger (July 3, 2008)
Say You're One of Them by Uwem Akpan (June 9, 2008, with trade pb published at $14.99 on July 15, 2009)
One of the best things about working at a book review is being one of the first to know when a favorite author has a new book on the horizon. Today brought that pleasure for me—Lionel Shriver has a March 2 release scheduled with Harper.
Info on So Much for That is scarce (they don't even have a cover design available yet), but the catalog describes it as "a searing, deeply humane new novel about the tragic costs of the American healthcare system."
Before you think, ugh, a novel about issues, consider that Shriver has previously taken on such controversial topics as violence in schools, maternal ambivalence and infidelity in her novels, and still managed to make them completely absorbing. Plus, her current status as an expat (she is an American who lives in England) gives her a different perspective on the health care controversy. It also doesn't hurt that she's a sharply intelligent writer who won't pull punches. I have high hopes that this novel will be another winner.
Read our interview with Shriver for The Post-Birthday World.
The box office success of Julie & Julia has spurred sales of Julia Child’s opus, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Amazon sold out of copies on Aug. 10 and has yet to restock, though there are copies available from private sellers; The Associated Press reports that Knopf has rushed 75,000 copies into print.
The book of the same name by blogger Julie Powell that inspired the movie has seen sales volume pick up as well. ABC News reported that it sold 42,000 copies the week of the movie’s debut. Here’s our take on Julie & Julia. If you’re waiting for a review on all 750+ pages of Mastering, you’ll have to give us a minute on that one! Or just check out our interview with Child's grand-nephew, Alex Prud'homme, who collaborated with her on a memoir about her life with her beloved Paul and her years in France.
As a child I stole my mom's Stephen King novels from her bedside table (nothing like the lure of the forbidden!) and continued to read him through my teens. Over the last few years I've been a more sporadic King reader—skipping pretty much everything except Lisey's Story since Bag of Bones—but when I heard Under the Dome was along the lines of one of my favorites, The Stand, I was ready to dive in.
Then I opened our galley and found out it started on . . . page 73. Oops. Gives a whole new meaning to the term in media res, doesn't it?
Apparently we were the only unlucky ones, and Scribner got us a complete copy within a week. I've been working my way through the book ever since and can say that the Stand comparison is not too much of a stretch. After the jump, more on my impressions of the book so far (no real spoilers or plot details beyond those given in the published summary, but if you don't want to know anything about this one before you buy, stop here).
Since Under the Dome takes place in a small town sealed off from the world, it lacks the epic feel of The Stand. However, as in The Stand King uses his characters' predicament to address some major questions about human nature. The Stand asks if humans can avoid repeating their mistakes, and King's answer is ambiguous. In Under the Dome, the emphasis here is on compassion—or, sparing that, pity. What could force us to feel these emotions for the people we hurt, or see being hurt? What makes us stop seeing people as people, and why? The world watches as the situation in Chester's Mill goes downhill fast, and then turns away once the novelty of a town sealed off from the rest of the world fades and other news stories take top billing, recalling tragedies like Hurricane Katrina.
Under the Dome also contains signature King moments—images you'll remember, for better or for worse. And though the cast is huge, the characters manage to stand out as individuals. King fans should definitely mark November 10 on their calendar.
Congrats to Neil Gaiman, winner of the Hugo Award for Best Novel for The Graveyard Book. Guess the judges were "astounded by Gaiman's sharp, spine-tingling storytelling," as BookPage reviewer Angela Leeper promised readers would be in our October 2008 review of the book. The Hugo is the most prestigious award in science fiction and fantasy, and past winners include Robert A. Heinlein, Lois McMasters Bujold, Susanna Clarke, Michael Chabon and Isaac Asimov. This is Gaiman's second "Best Novel" win (American Gods received the 2002 Best Novel Hugo).
The full list of 2009 winners can be found here.
Today’s publication of Nick McDonell’s third novel, An Expensive Education, probably has more than a few would-be writers twitching with jealousy—McDonell’s first novel, Twelve, was published when the author was just 18 years old.
On Sunday, the New York Times profiled the now 25-year-old writer. McDonell comes from a literary background—his father edits Sports Illustrated, and Hunter S. Thompson was a family friend. Although these connections no doubt helped McDonell get his first book deal, critic Michiko Kakutani validated the writer’s talent by calling Twelve “as fast as speed, as relentless as acid.” In BookPage, the novel was praised as being “energetic and episodic, brimming with tension. . . . McDonell, who is only 18, writes with a worldliness and wisdom that exceed his years.” Currently, Twelve is being turned into a movie by director Joel Schumacher, starring Kiefer Sutherland, Chace Crawford and 50 Cent.
Does anyone have other favorite authors who were discovered at a young age? A few immediately come to mind: Michael Chabon (The Mysteries of Pittsburgh was Chabon’s honors thesis and published when he was 25); Marisha Pessl (Special Topics in Calamity Physics debuted when Pessl was 28; Night Film is forthcoming in 2010); and Jonathan Safran Foer (Everything Is Illuminated was drawn from Foer’s senior thesis and published when he was 25). Young writer Kaleb Nation (age 20) is starting to get some buzz. His YA novel Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse will be published on Sept. 1.
Over the past year, novelist Ian McEwan (Atonement, Enduring Love) has dropped several tantalizing tidbits about his work-in-progress, an 11th novel—his first since 2007's On Chesil Beach. It's about global warming. It features a physicist whom McEwan has described as “an intellectual thief. He’s sexually predatory. He’s a compulsive eater, a round and tubby fellow who has profound self-belief.” It's not a comedy—but has "extended comic stretches." And just yesterday he revealed a title, Solar, in a long interview with the Eastern Daily Press.
Where's the controversy, you ask? In the new novel, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist suggests that "men outnumber women at the top of his profession because of inherent differences in their brains, rather than any gender discrimination," according to The Guardian.
This plotline revelation has made major headlines since McEwan himself has faced criticism for giving his opinion on such things as radical Islam and Christianity. (Everyone loves an autobiographical angle!) The twist here is that after transforming himself into something of a media scapegoat, Beard makes a discovery that might help save the planet—if only anyone would listen to him. As McEwan explained to the New Yorker in February, “It isn’t angels necessarily who are going to save us."
Doubleday, McEwan's publisher in the U.S., hasn't announced a release date for the novel yet, and it's unlikely to appear before next year. Between now and then, we can probably expect a few more of those revelations . . .