Elizabeth Berg fans are a passionate group, relishing her stories of family and relationships and how women think. Or, as reviewer Carrie Rollwagen wrote of Berg's 2009 bestseller Home Safe: "When your mood runs more toward cozy than chic, turn to Elizabeth Berg, an author with a great talent for comfort."
Berg's next offering, Once Upon a Time, There Was You, is about a divorced couple—parents of a teen daughter—who are suddenly brought back together when "tragedy strikes." The author elaborated in a recent blog post:
This one is about a long-divorced couple in their fifties who have an 18 year old daughter to whom something pretty awful happens. The couple come together again around this, and ....Well, what happens when they're together again is what the book is about. There's humor here, gotta have humor, and there's a couple times where you might cry, and as you know crying is good for you, as stress hormones are released in tears. I think this is the longest book I've done, and I like it a lot. I hope you will, too.
Read more about Berg on BookPage.com. Do you have a favorite novel by this prolific author?
I admit, I let out a gasp when I came across the catalog listing for The Uncoupling (Riverhead) by Meg Wolitzer. Her 2008 novel The Ten-Year Nap was one of my favorites of the year [read our interview here]; that was a big year for books on the "mommy wars" debate, and Wolitzer's novel took on the issue in a much more honest and entertaining way than any nonfiction study.
Her eighth novel, The Uncoupling, is inspired by Lysistrata (need I say more?). When the Stellar Plains High School drama club chooses Aristophane's classic story for the annual school play, the women of the community begin to turn away from their partners, and both men and women "are forced to look at their partners, their shared history, and their sexual selves in a new light."
Look for the book on April 4.
We've reported on Ken Follett's Century Trilogy throughout the past year—from the book deal in Frankfurt to the release of the cover. Now, believe it or not, we are approaching the pub date of book 1: Fall of Giants. The 985-page, $36 novel comes out one week from today.
The trilogy is about the intertwined fates of five families—American, English, German, Russian and Welsh—throughout the 20th century. Fall of Giants takes readers through World War I, the Russian Revolution and the struggle for women's suffrage.
BookPage contributor Alden Mudge interviewed Follett for the September issue of BookPage. You can read the full interview on BookPage.com next week, but here's a little preview:
My mantra while writing Fall of Giants was ‘they don’t want a history lesson.’ So I had to find ways in which all of these developments were part of the lives of characters in the story.
What book trailers are you buzzing about today?
Related in BookPage: a Q&A with Follett about World Without End, the sequel to Pillars of the Earth
The beginning of the year is the perfect time for publishers to introduce new faces, and two February debuts are already building up some buzz.
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Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown (Feb. 17, 2011; Amy Einhorn Books): Three sisters named for Shakespeare's heroines have one summer to pull their disorganized lives together—is there really no problem a library card can't solve?
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (Feb. 2011; Viking Books): A novel about an ages-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious alchemical manuscript that draws them together—this book provides a dose of the paranormal for the adult crowd and was one of the hottest titles on offer at the 2009 Frankfurt Book Fair.
What debuts are you looking forward to?
Here's one item we can guarantee will be found under many readers' trees this holiday season: a boxed set of Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy. Packaged in a slipcase, the three books include maps and beautifully designed endpapers. The set also includes On Stieg Larsson, a collection of essays about and correspondence with the author. Retail price is $99, and you can buy them on November 26.
Either of these on your gift list—or wish list!—this year?
Here are some details from correspondent Nellie Andreeva:
I hear the hourlong project is expected to stay closer to Pat Conroy's 1986 novel than to the 1991 Columbia Pictures movie starring Barbra Streisand and Nick Nolte that it spawned... Conroy is on board as a non-writing consultant.
The novel tells the story of the Wingo children, including Tom—the narrator—a former high school teacher/coach; Savannah, a genius and suicidal poet; and Luke, the adventurous, full of life and also idealistic oldest brother. It's a sweeping story—full of drama with a capital D, mystery, violence and love.
And I'm not quite sure how it'll adapt to a TV series (I can't imagine watching the story in episodes, for example), although it's good to hear it'll have Conroy's stamp of approval.
What do you think, readers?
Also in BookPage: Read more about Conroy on our website.
What the trailer of the 1991 movie version of The Prince of Tides:
BookPage has relocated to France!
I wish. In fact, at this very moment our Web Editor Trisha Ping and Editor Lynn Green are both on vacation in Paris. Lynn sent us these photos with the note that she and Trisha have just had an editorial meeting in a Parisian cafe.
Here's what we really want to know: What are they reading on vacation? Is Trisha's bag (in the photo to the right) weighted down with French novels??
Although the weather in Nashville is beautiful, Trisha and Lynn's coworkers are all very jealous!
What's your favorite book about Americans abroad? (I'll give a shout-out to Tom Rachman's best-selling debut, The Imperfectionists.)
Bon voyage, Trisha and Lynn!
A book club favorite for novels like The Sparrow and A Thread of Grace [read our interview], Mary Doria Russell has never been afraid to take on new frontiers. That's exactly what she's doing in her fifth novel (after 2008's Dreamers of the Day), Eight to Five, Against, which will be published by Random House in May 2011. The book stars gunslinger Doc Holliday and his longtime girlfriend Kate, aka "Big Nose Kate," and takes place over one fateful summer in Dodge City, Kansas. It's a big change from the settings of Russell's previous works, which focused on either Europe's more recent past—Dreamers, Thread—or the future—Sparrow, Children of God.
While researching the novel, Russell "learned to ride horses, play classical piano and even reread all the Greek and Latin classics beloved by Doc and Kate," according to the Random House catalog.
What bookish blog posts did you most enjoy this week? A few of my picks are below.
The Century (Post) Mark, and What I've Learned From Readers
Posted by Greg on The New Dork Review of Books
The New Dork Review of Books is a new-ish book blog I get a kick out of reading regularly. This particular post marks Gerg's 100th post—and highlights a few of the things he's learned while blogging. (For example, EPL author Elizabeth Gilbert had a book contract prior to her spiritual journey. The shame!)
Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie
Posted by Sarah on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
Lately I've been thinking about reading my first Jennifer Crusie book—especially after Jennifer Weiner and The Book Lady blogged about her, and Amy Scribner called her "one of the most deeply satisfying writers around" in the September issue of BookPage. Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, one of the best romance blogs around, weighed in this week, sharing conflicted feelings about Crusie's latest. Definitely worth a read (and a blog worth bookmarking if you're into romance).
Awards & Nominations
Posted by Book Blogger Appreciation Week
Since it's BBAW, after all, I figured I'd direct you to an excellent list of book blogs—the BBAW nominations and awards page! If you're looking to find some new book blogs of all persuasions—literary fiction, industry, fantasy, YA, GLBT and more—this roundup is where it's at.
Have you discovered any new blogs thanks to this year's BBAW?
The rumors were correct:
Oprah's Book Club is reading Freedom by Jonathan Franzen—an epic family saga that has it all—sex, love…even rock 'n' roll! Get your complete reader's guide and start reading today. Plus, follow the reading calendar, and you'll finish the book in time for our book club discussion with Jonathan Franzen.