In Tuesday's edition of BookPageXTRA we highlighted bestsellers (missed it? you can still view it here). If the newsletter made you eager to read more about Jan Karon, then you are in luck! We've got a Q&A with the author in the November issue of BookPage about In the Company of Others, her second book in the Father Tim series.
Here's a preview:
For details on Karon's personal idea of paradise, secret-keeping abilities and her words to live by—keep reading the Q&A.
If you could ask an author anything, what would it be?
By the way, we've gotten some interesting comments in this blog post about bestsellers from earlier in the week. Keep 'em coming!
Excuse the bad pun—especially since Auel's name is pronounced more like "owl" than "all"—but there's no time to dither over headlines when one has breaking news to report. In an interview with the AP, novelist Jean Auel says that the sixth book in the Earth's Children series, The Land of Painted Caves (March, Crown), may not be Jondalar and Ayla's last adventure.
"To be honest, I don't feel like I'm through," the author, 74, told The Associated Press during a recent telephone interview. "I still have some material and I'm going to keep on writing. It's what I do."
Leonardo DiCaprio and production companies Appian Way and Double Features have acquired rights to Erik Larson's 2003 nonfiction book, The Devil in the White City. DiCaprio will take on the role of the titular 'devil'—Dr. HH Holmes, considered America's first serial killer, who lured anywhere from 20 to 200 women to their deaths in his hotel during the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. In the novel, Holmes' murders are framed by the story of architect Daniel Burnham, who designed the fair. As author Larson put it in our 2003 interview, "One guy built this marvelous fair. The other guy built this twisted hotel. They were both architects in a way."
DiCaprio's business partner, Jennifer Killoran, says, "I think that a guy who is that intelligent and that charismatic is nothing less than complex, and it's that complexity that [DiCaprio] is drawn to."
Did you read Devil in the White City? Would you see the movie?
Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self by Danielle Evans
Riverhead • $25.95 • September 23, 2010
I was first drawn to Danielle Evans' debut book—short story collection Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self—because of the title, which is taken from "The Bridge Poem" by Donna Kate Rushin. I can't think of a single title from 2010 that has made me more interested to keep reading. (And I'm not the only one. Last week, I took my copy of the book with me on vacation, and the friend I was visiting promptly took it away from me so she could read the stories before I returned to Nashville.)
The characters in Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self are African-American or mixed race. As Lauren Bufferd writes in her BookPage review, they are "people in transition":
adolescents, children split between divorced parents, college graduates drifting between partners and jobs. Erica in “Virgins” is a prototype for several of the other young women who appear in these pages—independent but longing for connection, educated but not savvy enough to avoid the hurts of love and life.
Here's an excerpt from "Virgins," the story that's had the most acclaim. (It was originally published in the Paris Review and then The Best American Stories 2008.)
Inside at Michael and Ron's house, they put me on the downstairs couch and gave me a blanket. When Ron said good night and went into his bedroom in the basement, I thought maybe I'd only imagined the look he gave me earlier. I unlaced my shoes and took down my hair and curled up in the blanket, trying not to think about Jasmine and what kind of mess I'd left her in. I thought of her laughing, thought of the look on her face when she had closed her eyes and let that man kiss her, and for a second I hated her and then a second later I couldn't remember anything I'd ever hated more than leaving her. I was sitting there in the dark when Ron came back and put an arm around me.
Today I got word that Vanessa Miller's Long Time Coming—the #1 title on the Black Christian News/Black Christian Book Company National Bestsellers List—is available for free Kindle download on Amazon.com. (The ebook is only free until November 8.)
Long Time Coming is about two women from two very different circumstances: One has a seemingly perfect life, minus the children that she desperately wants. The other has a house full of kids—and a whole other set of problems. The story is about how the women come into each other's lives and grow and change. (Read more on Miller's website.)
I don't own a Kindle, so I don't usually monitor the books that are temporarily available for free on Amazon.com as part of a special promotion—but I thought some readers would be interested in this deal.
Are any of you inspirational/Christian fiction fans?
Also in BookPage: Love Christian fiction? Don't miss this roundup of six novels from our September issue.
Salon reporter Rebecca Traister's Big Girls Don't Cry (September, Free Press) answers the question: Was the 2008 election good for women?
You may know the ending to John Heilemann and Mark Halperin's Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime (out in paperback last week from Harper Perennial)—but it still manages to be a page-turner.
Of course, President George W. Bush's memoir, Decision Points (Crown), comes out next week. The book may be embargoed, but the Drudge Report has already posted leaked passages (via GalleyCat).
Want to go way back in our political history? Read Ron Chernow's Washington: A Life (October, Penguin Press). BookPage reviewer Roger Bishop writes that it's "historical biography at its best."
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As long as we're on the subject of bestsellers, I want to point out that November 2 is going to be a very happy day indeed for a lot of readers. The Penguin Group is hoping two million readers, to be exact—that's the print run for Nora Roberts' Happy Ever After, which comes out today.
BookPage romance columnist (and author) Christie Ridgway writes that Happy Ever After, the conclusion of Roberts' best-selling Bride Quartet, "should not be missed." The story follows Parker Brown, the mastermind behind wedding planning company Vows, as she falls for mechanic Malcolm Kavanaugh—her opposite. Learn more from Roberts herself:
Have you been waiting to say "I do" to Happy Ever After? (Sorry! Couldn't help it.)
What book trailers are you buzzing about this week?
Last spring we discovered from our 2010 Reader Survey that half of BookPage readers rank bestsellers as their favorite kind of book. Now, BookPage reviews a lot of different kinds of books, from commercial books that have print runs in the millions, to literary novels by debut authors with much smaller first printings.
It would be impossible to cover all the bestsellers being published (and as we learned a couple months ago during the Jonathan Franzen-inspired literary vs. commercial fiction showdown, many people would ask, what's the point?). But in tomorrow's edition of BookPageXTRA (our bi-monthly e-newsletter), we've devoted our full attention to this particular kind of book—fast-paced, entertaining, often funny stories that will inspire thousands of people to pull out their wallets at the bookstore then run home to start turning the pages.
You'll have to sign up for BookPageXTRA to learn which books we're highlighting*, but for now, I'd love to know:
Which bestsellers do you think are worth the hype? (Or, who is your favorite best-selling author?)
What makes a bestseller?
*You'll also get a chance to win copies of all the featured books.
Writer Tasha Alexander and her Victorian-era novels featuring the intrepid, ahead-of-her-time Lady Emily should be well-known to BookPage readers—see our reviews of them here. The fifth in the series, Dangerous to Know, came out last week. Here, Alexander gives us a glimpse behind the scenes of the research required for Dangerous, making us even more jealous of the life of an author!
I spent much of last summer housesitting in rural Normandy, writing and doing research for my latest book. It was heavenly. The landscape is extraordinary, like walking through an Impressionist painting, and the food is everything you’d expect from France. I’d do just about anything right now for the village boulangerie’s still-hot croissants. Spending a significant amount of time in the place your novel is set enriches the story in ways you can’t anticipate—and in ways that would be impossible if you limited your research to reading.
But the thing that surprised me the most about my time in France was driving. Or navigating, really. And that was something that couldn’t go into a novel set in 1892.
To start, let me say, for the record, that I absolutely adore France and the French. Always have, always will. Until I came to Normandy, I’d not spent much time in France outside of Paris (it’s pretty hard to tear yourself away from Paris), and I was looking forward to exploring the coast, the crumbling châteaux, and the lush countryside. Armed with directions printed from Google Maps, I set off for my first excursion, to the seaside town of Étretat.
Within about half an hour, I was hopelessly lost.
Google Maps, you see, doesn’t quite fit with France. I was approaching the trip like an American—an American planning to follow numbered highways to numbered exits.
Now. The French have both numbered highways and numbered exits. But to get to them isn’t quite so easy as you might think. It requires a different frame of mind. You don’t want to look for the number—instead, you need to go through each roundabout in the direction of the next village that’s on your way to your final destination. Knowing you need the N15 or the D8 isn’t enough. From that day on, I abandoned Google for a real, hard copy map, and made lists of towns before setting off. In the end, it made for much more pleasant excursions. How lovely to look for Pierrefiques or Fauville-en-Caux, wondering what you’ll see there, rather than fixating on numbers. Sure, you may eventually wind up on the N15, but more likely, you’ll never see the entrance and will spend a gorgeous afternoon meandering through charming places you’d never have seen otherwise.
Once you get accustomed to it, switching back to taking I-80 to exit whatever seems pedestrian and crass. I’m already looking forward to my next trip along the back roads of France.
Thanks, Tasha! Next time you go to France, take us with you. :) Visit her site for more about Tasha Alexander and the Lady Emily series.
It's been another great week of reading blogs—especially because of all the spooky and kooky holiday posts. (I've already mentioned a couple this morning.)
A few of my favorite posts from the week:
Leading up to the 31st, Jenn of Jenn's Bookshelves has been hosting a wonderful (and freaky!) series called Halloween Fright Fest. Two of my favorite posts are linked above, on what makes a book fit into the horror vs. thriller genre.
Horror forces us to realize and confront our fears. In many cases, as I’ve stated repeatedly, horror forces us to examine social issues that are often ignored or frowned upon. Notice I didn’t state that said writing must contain vampires, ghosts, werewolves, or anything supernatural?
A thriller is a story where a basically innocent person endures increasingly terrible events until they can’t take it anymore, and in a fit of fight-or-flight syndrome, they choose to run. (By the way, the post on thrillers was a guest post from Carrie of The Books I Read.)
October's Compendium of Literary Links
Posted by Greg on The New Dork Review of Books
I highlighted The New Dork Review of Books a couple months ago in "Best of the Blogs" and have enjoyed perusing this smart and funny blog ever since. Today (because we all love roundups!), I want to direct you to a "compendium of literary links"—a "few really good, really long articles" about books and reading. The separation of art and artist. Nicole Krauss. Philip Roth. It's good stuff!
What blog posts have you enjoyed this week?