Category Archives: Upcoming Books

TBR: 2014

Jessamine Chan -- December 27th, 2013

In 2014, I want to promise that I’ll become the sort of reader who always finishes one book before starting another, but honestly, I’m usually reading four books at a time and a more reasonable goal might be to finish the following titles by the summer. Here are some selections from my personal To-Be-Read pile: four titles forthcoming in the new year, plus one children’s classic.

barkBark: Stories – Lorrie Moore (Knopf, Feb.) : Though the rest of the world was clued into Lorrie Moore’s genius years, nay decades, earlier, I was introduced to her stories by my teacher, Rebecca Curtis, in 2009. How I survived my twenties without her fiction, I do not know, but I’ve made up for lost time by becoming a loyal, intense fan.

 

on such a full sea

On Such a Full Sea – Chang-Rae Lee (Riverhead, Jan.) This author plus this spooky cover plus a dystopian plot means that I will make time for this book.

 

 

the giverThe Giver – Lois Lowry (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1993) A friend lent me this children’s book just last week, with the short explanation that it’s super dark, also dystopian, and has a perfect ending.

 

 

blood will outBlood Will Out: The True Story of a Murder, A Mystery, and A Masquerade – Walter Kirn (Norton/Liveright, Mar.): In the new year, I will read more true crime. Kirn tells the story of his 15-year friendship with “Clark Rockefeller,” who turns out to be a serial imposter and double-murderer.

 

 

in the course of human eventsIn the Course of Human Events – Mike Harvkey (Soft Skull, Apr.): It pleases me to no end that my former PW colleague Mike Harvkey’s debut novel publishes in the spring. All I know about it is that it’s dark, violent, set in the Midwest, and the result of many years of Mike’s hard work.

For the sake of levity, I will also (finally) finish Anna Karenina, and hopefully tackle The Portrait of a Lady.

An [Imagined] Oral History of Oral Histories

Annie Coreno -- September 3rd, 2013

To mark today’s publication of the much-anticipated Salinger biography by David Shields and Shane Salerno and the release of the accompanying documentary later this week, I decided it was time to further explore the book’s format and the “oral history” book fad.

As those who have taken on the topic before know, it begs to stay true to form. So here is how I imagine a written oral history of oral history books might sound–errr–read.

PW EDITOR: It was the summer of 2011 that I really started to see this trend emerge. At first we were all a little confused by it. An oral history in written format? Is that even possible—it sounds like an oxymoron. But as it turns out, it can be done and actually has been around for a while—more so in magazines and eventually the blogosphere. But it wasn’t until 2011 that it really started to pick up in the book publishing world. First came the the ESPN book, then I Want My MTV the following year.

REVIEWER: It seemed to be especially popular for music and television related books. Please Kill Me and Live From New York being the books that really lead the way for the ESPN, MTV and Nickelodeon histories. They often take on a gossipy, behind-the-scenes feel.

READER: I’ve read several of them. Live from New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, as Told By Its Stars, Writers and Guests is definitely one of my favorites. They are always entertaining though sometimes a bit long. Usually pretty easy to get through—because you’ve got all those different voices in there.

HISTORIAN: Good history books usually incorporate multiple first-person account—and in a more authoritative fashion. These so called oral histories aren’t exactly books in my opinion! They are more like a bunch of transcripts copied and pasted together, no coherent voice, not enough analysis. If you want to read a history book, read one of Robert Caro’s book–now there’s a man who can write history.

CULTURAL CRITIC: I personally love the format. It feels very fitting for the times. The internet provides an avenue for anyone and everyone to have a voice.

POST-STRUCTURALIST: It’s easy to forget that the interviews are taken out of context and woven together. Every response is directed by an answer that is not always made obvious in the narrative. Remember there is no truth. Everything is a social construct…

HISTORIAN: Sighs Here we go again…

REVIEWER: They definitely tend to cater toward trade publication, less academically focused. The author is not defining history as much sewing together a narrative. It’s up to reader to assess story along with the credibility of its sources.

READER: I plan on reading the biography and seeing the documentary and then comparing the two!

Of course, this is all heavily based in my imagination, but who knows with the publication of Salinger and Slimed! An Oral History of Nickelodeon’s Golden Age among others in the upcoming weeks, there may be some REAL voices to form this narrative.

Will the Most Important ‘Housewife’ Get Real In His Book?

Rachel Deahl -- August 23rd, 2011

There’s always been something a little depressing, and a little fascinating, about Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise. The recent suicide of Russell Armstrong, fleeting cast member of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (and husband to full-fledged cast member Taylor Armstrong), got me thinking about why I’ve been watching the series for so long…and why I haven’t been able to fully turn away.

On some level I think it’s the Gatsby-esque quality of the show that’s kept me tuning in. Sure it’s crass, but the “real housewives” are strivers, just like Gatsby. While none of the Housewives are in search of something pure, like love—even the single ones admit the most important thing in a man is the size of his bank account—they are all searching. The Housewives feel like bastardized versions of Jimmy Gatz living the lifestyle of Jay Gatsby. (Gatsby, after all, did make the money he spent, even if he made it in an unsavory way.) This has been the brilliance of the Real Housewives and, while it didn’t take Russell Armstrong’s suicide to point it out, the fact that he hanged himself in a rental apartment after moving out of his McMansion in the midst of a dissolving marriage and a mounting pile of debt, certainly does highlight it.

I’ve watched more episodes of the Real Housewives than I care to admit, on and off, since the series launched in Orange County and began spinning off across the country–New York, Atlanta, New Jersey, DC. As the seasons wore on, and the “characters” became more shrill and despicable, the real joy of the show was watching these women—most of whom had married into new money—deal with the elephant in the room: they were going broke while they were getting paid to look rich. The irony! The hilarity! The anguish! It was a brilliant and lucky moment for Bravo, which had unknowingly tapped into the zeitgeist: it had a suite of reality shows about Americans who’d been living on easy credit and trumped-up housing values just as the bill was coming due.
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HuffPo Excerpts Sifry’s ‘WikiLeaks and the Age of Transparency’

Craig Morgan Teicher -- February 9th, 2011

Today, HuffPo has an exclusive excerpt from Micah Sifry’s WikiLeaks and the Age of Transparency, coming in March from Counterpoint. Here’s a little sample:

Assange went on to argue that such courage was needed not just in the developing world, but also in the advanced countries of Europe, using words that in retrospect seem eerily prophetic.

Why aren’t more journalists being arrested in Europe? Why aren’t more transparency activists being arrested in Europe? It’s not because Europe has no problems. It’s not because Europe is a gentle society . . . Europe is involved in big geopolitical games internally, it’s overrun with Russian oligarchs, there are extreme problems in Europe . . . . Where is the civil courage amongst civil society in Europe? I see some of it, but I think there should be more . . . I encourage you to not become martyrs, but instead to intelligently understand how far you can push government into doing something that is just, by exposing injustice.

There’s lots more over at HuffPo.  Sifry’s is one of a number of WikiLeaks books coming in the next few months, including Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website by Daniel Domscheit-Berg, pubbing nexts week from Crown.

Galley of the Day: Of Lamb by Matthea Harvey and Amy Jean Porter

Craig Morgan Teicher -- January 20th, 2011

Today’s G.O.T.D is anything but a kids’ book, though it is a (deeply twisted) version of the “Mary Had A Little Lamb” story, though the lamb does far more than follow Mary to school (Mary and her little lamb at one point contemplate romantic entanglement). The book, Of Lamb, is a collaboration between poet Matthea Harvey and visual artist Amy Jean Porter.  It’s being published by McSweeney’s in March, and I’ll let the illustration above, and the others you can find on Porter’s Web site, speak for themselves.  This book ain’t for the faint, but it’s really crazy and really good.

Harvey is a beloved poet and author of three collections of poems, including the National Book Critics Circle Award finalist Modern Life.  Porter is a prolific painter who has made a project of trying to draw as many species of animals as she can.

McSweeney’s to Publish Novel About Donald Rumsfeld

Craig Morgan Teicher -- January 12th, 2011

Authors Stephen Elliott (The Aderall Diaries) and Eric Martin (Winners) have collaborated on a fictionalized portrayal of Donald Rumsfeld to be published by McSweeney’s on February 8, the same day the former Secretary of State will publish his own memoir.

Here’s what Elliott told GalleyCat about the novel’s portrayal of Rumsfeld:

There was a lot of research. Everything that happens in Donald has happened to prisoners in Bagram and Guantanamo. When we were starting out we worked with a group of McSweeney’s interns researching both Donald Rumsfeld and prisoners of the “war on terror. The important thing, Eric and I both realized, was that Donald had to be sympathetic. A lot of liberals think Rumsfeld is an idiot, but we didn’t think an idiot would be named CEO to all these major companies and Secretary of Defense twice. So we did a lot of research on Rumsfeld with that in mind. He’s a sympathetic character.

What do you think?  Will you read it?

Can Berkley Score Another Book Club Hit?

Lynn Andriani -- December 17th, 2010

Berkley is on something of a book club roll. In January 2008 it released the paperback reprint of Kate Jacobs’s The Friday Night Knitting Club, with a 200,000-copy initial print run. A successful marketing and publicity campaign led to paperback sales of more than a million copies. And now the publisher is hoping to repeat that success with another women’s fiction title, The Postmistress by Sarah Blake.

Putnam/Amy Einhorn published Postmistress in February 2010. The novel weaves together the stories of three very different women loosely tied to each other, and moves back and forth between small town America and war-torn Europe in 1940. PW’s review praised its “deft sense of character and plot, and a perfect willingness to take on big, complex questions, such as the merits of truth and truth-telling in wartime.”

Like Einhorn’s long-running bestseller The Help by Kathryn Stockett, Postmistress hit the New York Times bestseller list when it came out in hardcover, though it only stayed on the list four weeks (Help has been on 89 weeks as of December 26, and Berkley has no plans to release a paperback, with the hardcover doing so well). Berkley’s paperback sales force thinks the trade paper version of Postmistress has serious potential, though. The book is set to drop February 1, 2011. Like Knitting Club, the first printing is over 200,000 copies, and a Berkley spokesperson said the house “expects to double that within a few months.”

Blake has published one previous novel, Grange House, with Picador in 2000. She’ll go on a month-long national tour to promote Postmistress in February to Atlanta, Chicago, and Seattle, among other cities. Berkley also says it’s lining up print, TV, and radio coverage for the book, and Nantucket’s One Book One Island has already selected the book for its 2011 program.

We’ll wait to see if Berkley can ring twice with this one.

Memoir by Stieg Larsson’s Companion Eva Gabrielsson to Be Published by Seven Stories Press

Craig Morgan Teicher -- December 14th, 2010

In what surely represents a big coup for the indie publisher, Seven Stories Press has acquired North American rights to an as-yet-untitled memoir by Eva Gabrielsson, the life-partner of the late Stieg Larsson, author of the internationally bestselling Millennium Trilogy. The book, which is being translated into English by Linda Coverdale, is slated for June 2011 publication.

The memoir, which will be published in French, Swedish and Norwegian in January 2011, recounts Larsson and Gabrielsson’s 30-years together, traces sources of episodes and characters in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, discusses Larsson’s sudden death in 2004, and describes the ongoing saga of the lost fourth book. It’s sure to be a huge seller among ravenous Larsson fans.

PW Poetry Reviews Update: November 2010

Craig Morgan Teicher -- November 15th, 2010

Reviews of upcoming books by Billy Collins, Robert Duncan and Leslie Scalapino, among others, in this week’s issue of PW.  Don’t forget to follow PW Poetry Reviews on Tumblr if you just want the poetry and nuthin’ else.

Click the links below to go directly to the reviews:

Horoscopes for the Dead by Billy Collins
Sobbing Superpower by Tadeusz Rózewicz
Address by Elizabeth Willis
The H.D. Book by Robert Duncan
Lucky Fish by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
Of Indigo and Saffron: New and Selected Poems by Michael McClure
The Dihedrons Gazelle-Dihedrals Zoom by Leslie Scalapino

A Book We Should Not Blog About

Craig Morgan Teicher -- November 8th, 2010

For the sake of good taste, we shouldn’t be writing this post.  But in the spirit of fun, we are.  This book, Images You Should Not Masturbate To by Graham Johnson and Rob Hubbert, is coming from the Perigee imprint of Penguin.  For a mere $9.99, you can see a whole lot of the unsexiest pictures around, including a closeup of someone clipping a toenail, a man in tighty-whities and a rabbit mask, and, of course, the dashing fellow on the cover of the book, as you can see above.  Also, a pic of a very cute dog wearing a red wig is especially un-masturbation-worthy.  Too late for Christmas, but will probably make a good “just-for-no-reason” gift.  Or a very bad one, depending on the person receiving the gift.  Ugh.