This morning, The Daily Beast unveiled the cover of Meghan McCain's book Dirty Sexy Politics, which comes out August 31. (The cover is now available on Amazon.com, as well.) McCain is a weekly columnist for the online news and culture site, so I'm not surprised Hyperion gave Beast readers the first look at the jacket image:
Whether you agree with her politics or not, as one of the most vocal young Republicans around, McCain is an interesting person to follow. In the September issue, BookPage will run a hand-written Q&A with the author about Dirty Sexy Politics.
If you could ask McCain a question about her book, what would it be? Are you interested in what she has to say?
Also in BookPage: Browse past hand-written Meet the Author columns, including this month's interview with Go, Mutants! author Larry Doyle.
I know there are some Alice Hoffman fans among the Book Case readers, so we had to share when we heard that she's publishing a new novel on January 25, 2011. The Red Garden (Crown) sounds like classic Hoffman—small town, 300 years of history and secrets, a hint of magic (in this case, a garden where only red plants can grow).
Read our reviews of Alice Hoffman's past works here.
In a recent review for BookPage, Deborah Donovan wrote that Joanna Trollope is "known for her well-drawn characters, offering empathetic glimpses into the lives of the English middle class." Donovan was writing specifically about The Other Family, an engaging novel about what happens after a man dies and leaves behind two grieving families.
Trollope's just-announced next project, called Daughters in Law, is about a woman with three grown sons and three daughters-in-law who faces a crisis and "must come to terms with her family's shifting priorities and loyalties." Reviewer Amy Scribner has written that Trollope "reports from the front line of home and family like no one else." Daughters in Law sounds like it will show off what she does best.
The novel's out in spring 2011 from Touchstone Fireside—will you look for it? What's your favorite book by Joanna Trollope?
Way back in November, Abby wrote a "What We're Reading Wednesday" post about Let's Take the Long Way Home, Gail Caldwell's memoir of friendship, dogs and grief. "Read it," she wrote, "and try not to weep."
I finally read the memoir over the weekend, and I'll second Abby's request (confession: I tried not to weep, and I failed). Caldwell writes beautifully about her friendship with writer Caroline Knapp, who died in 2002 from lung cancer. In what will surely become one of the memoir's most frequently-quoted lines, Caldwell writes, "Finding Caroline was like placing a personal ad for an imaginary friend, then having her show up at your door funnier and better than you had conceived."
Let's Take the Long Way Home comes out three weeks from today. While you wait for the release, watch this just-released trailer from Random House, which provides an overview of the women's friendship and includes a clip of Caldwell reading an excerpt from the book:
Are you interested in Let's Take the Long Way Home?
Do you have a favorite memoir about friendship?
Novelist Andre Dubus has hit the bestseller list, been a National Book Award finalist and had one of his novels selected for Oprah's book club. But even this talented writer has had projects that ended in failure: In a 2008 BookPage interview, Dubus told us that he had been working on an autobiographical novel, but kept throwing away drafts. "Terrible, man. It was just so bad," he said. "So I think I've decided I'm not one of those fiction writers who can write from my life. It's like calling a dog. Maybe the dog just doesn't want to come."
But memoir? That, apparently, clicked: Townie (Norton) will be published on February 28, 2011. From the publisher's catalog:
After their parents divorced in the 1970s, Andre Dubus III and his three siblings grew up with their exhausted working mother in a depressed Massachusetts mill town saturated with drugs and crime. To protect himself and those he loved from street violence, Andre learned to use his fists so well that he was even scared of himself. He was on a fast track to getting killed—or killing someone else—or to beatings-for-pay as a boxer.
Nearby, his father, an eminent author, taught on a college campus and took the kids out on Sundays. The clash of worlds couldn't have been more stark—or more difficult for a son to communicate to a father. Only by becoming a writer himself could Andre begin to bridge the abyss and save himself. His memoir is a riveting, visceral, profound meditation on physical violence and the failures and triumphs of love.
Poet Natasha Trethewey, who won the Pulitzer Prize for her collection Native Guard, has sold a poetry collection* to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Titled Thrall, it will be published in fall of 2012.
Trethewey taught at Auburn University while I was at school there, and though I never took a class with her (my decision to concentrate in tech writing was partly a nod to my lack of creative writing ability) I attended one of her readings when her first collection, Domestic Work, was published in 1999. It drew such acclaim that the young assistant professor became one of the English department's most prominent faculty members, and Emory stole her away just a few years later with the offer of the Phillis Wheatley Distinguished Chair in Poetry.
Trethewey's background has profoundly influenced her poems, many of which, like "Flounder," are very personal. She was born in Mississippi in 1966 to a black mother and a white father. Their marriage was illegal in the state at the time. Though they divorced while Trethewey was still young—she moved with her mother to Atlanta—the poet spent childhood summers on the Gulf Coast.
*The original deal announced the sale of a novel, but Thrall is another poetry collection. The post has been corrected.
Is there something about the last name "Patterson" that gives you automatic thriller writer credentials? Maybe. According to audio columnist Sukey Howard, Richard North Patterson's courtroom scenes, "with their edgy retorts and rebuttals, showcase the immediacy and emotional force of a good audio performance." His latest book, In the Name of Honor, is her top audio pick for this month.
Read the full review here. Have you heard any good audiobooks lately?
What book blog posts caught your attention this week? My picks:
Twitter's #dearpublisher hashtag takes off
Posted by The Guardian's Books Blog
Most of you avid tweeters probably already know by now that a #dearpublisher thread took off on Twitter early in the week—readers, book bloggers, authors and publishers engaged in an online conversation about what's great—and what needs to change—within the industry. The Guardian's books blog describes this trend and samples a few publisher responses, such as: "Reading the #dearpublisher chat – keep them coming, people, we're listening!" from @PanMacmillanAus.
Did you participate in the thread? Do you think that publishers will take note of your suggestions? Is Twitter an appropriate forum for this type of conversation?
Spotlight on Bookstores: *Hub City Books* in Spartanburg, South Carolina
Posted by She is Too Fond of Books
This specific post is about Hub City Books in South Carolina, although I really want to draw your attention to the entire "Spotlight on Bookstores" series on She is Too Fond of Books, which highlights bookstores from around the country. I've spent time in California, Arkansas and New Mexico this summer, and in each destination I've made a beeline to the nearest bookshop—even if you're looking for a mainstream paperback that you could get at home, no indie bookstore has quite the same flavor, and it's fun to see the variety. (I recently peeked into a used bookstore in Albuquerque and there were no shelves . . . only stacks of books, as far as the eye could see! In San Francisco there was a bookstore that also sold beautiful bookshelves made from unfinished wood, with tons of varnish to choose from.)
Have you been to any of the bookstores in the "Spotlight" series? Want to give a shout-out to your favorite bookstore? Have at it in the comments section.
Some of you expressed strong opinions (mostly negative) when we posted about Katherine Heigl getting tapped to play Stephanie Plum in the film adaptation of Janet Evanovich's One for the Money. So we thought you'd be interested in this picture of Heigl on set, which we found via Jezebel.com.
What do you think? Anyone still pining for Sandra Bullock? Variety says that Sherri Shepard will play Lula, a choice we can definitely get behind.
Janet E. is also in the news these days for other reasons: She's currently renegotiating her contract with publisher St. Martin's Press. Reportedly Evanovich, who is represented by her son Peter, wants around $50 million for her next four "Plum" books, and St. Martin's is apparently not ready to pony up quite that much (the last four books in the series cost them about $40 million). Evanovich isn't saying much about the "private" details of the negotiation, but industry pros are wondering if she might take her fan base and self publish if she can't find a publisher ready to pay the asking price.
In today's mail, BookPage received a beautiful 25th anniversary edition of Tomie dePaola's Mother Goose, published by Penguin Young Readers. When my daughter was a baby (she'll turn 25 this fall), this wonderful volume of dePaola's cheery artwork and classic Mother Goose rhymes was a family favorite, and our well-worn first edition still rests on a bedroom bookshelf. Looking at the 25th anniversary edition, I realized that some new mother, just starting a library of books for her baby, would love to have it. And that got me thinking: if I was putting together a collection of books for a newborn, which ones would I choose? What books should be on every baby's bookshelf?
Here's what I came up with — a personal Top 10 List of "Best Books for Baby," ranging from classics to some newer books:
If you were going to a baby shower (with a book theme) what book would you take? Keep in mind that I'm asking about picture books you would give to a new baby. Requirements are: wonderful artwork and very few words on a page.
What books would be on your "Best for Baby" list?