A writer should have the precision of a poet and the imagination of a scientist.
• Vladimir Nabokov •
TIME has just released its annual list of the 100 most influential movers and shakers around the globe, and we were delighted to see the inclusion of a couple of writers alongside the likes of Jay Z, Malala Yousafzai, Gabrielle Giffords, and, of course, Barack Obama.Congrats are in order for Hilary Mantel for making the list. Mantel also picked up a nomination earlier this week for the prestigious Women’s Prize for Fiction for Bring Up the Bodies, which came in at #9 on our Best Books of 2012.
Also on the list is George Saunders, whose collection of short stories, Tenth of December, was predicted by the New York Times—on January 3, no less—to be the “Best Book You’ll Read This Year.” We, ourselves, predict that the book will be on our list of the Best Books of 2013.
What do you think? Are there other writers you feel deserved a spot on the list?
Mad Hungry Cravings: 173 Recipes for the Food You Want to Eat Right Now by Lucinda Scala Quinn transforms all those favorite takeout foods into tastier, healthier and much less expensive recipes you can do at home.
Save this recipe for a gorgeous summer day!
Makes 12 rolls
Summer rolls are a healthful way to satisfy an Asian food craving. They are fresh room-temperature rolls, not deep-fried. Here, julienned veggies (see page 83), blanched shrimp, herbs, and thin noodles are wrapped in rice papers and served with a flavorful dipping sauce. Set up an assembly line to make them—it’s a great family activity.
Today is Poem in Your Pocket Day! To participate, all you have to do is keep a copy of your favorite poem in your pocket (or carry it around in your purse or backpack or some other way) and pull it out to share with others throughout the day. Learn more here.
If you’re looking for inspiration, check out our review of some recently published poetry collections here.
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
ISBN 978-0062200570 • Morrow • $28.99 • 704 pages
I like scary stuff—movies, roller coasters and, yes, books. My favorite horror novel is actually a tie between The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson and ’Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. So, I quickly called “dibs” on one of the advance reading copies of Joe Hill’s forthcoming novel, NOS4A2, one of our most anticipated books of spring.
Charles “Charlie” Talent Manx may be one of the creepiest villains of all time—with his sidekick, Bing, not far behind. Simplistic in his beliefs and pure evil in his actions, Manx preys on children, picking them up in his menacing 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith and taking them to a fantastical place called Christmasland, where it’s Christmas every day and from where the children will never return.
Victoria “Vic” McQueen has her own supernatural ability to locate lost items and is the only child to ever escape Manx’s clutches. Fast-forward several years. Neither Manx nor Vic has been able to forget their encounter. Circumstances force another face-off between them. Who will emerge victorious in this ultimate battle of good against evil? I don’t know because I’m only on page 406 of 704 of this thoroughly engrossing, spine-tingling page-turner—but even if I did, I wouldn’t spoil it for you, of course.
Here’s an excerpt—in which Vic has just come upon one of Manx’s victims, a young boy—to tide you over until the book comes out on April 30. And be sure to check out the May issue of BookPage, which will feature an interview with Hill about the book.
He gripped her wrist, and she screamed at his touch. His hand, blazing against her skin, was as bad as pressing her wrist to a hot frying pan. It took her an instant to register the sensation not as heat but as cold.
The horn sounded with a great blast. In the confined space of the garage, the noise was almost too much to bear. Vic didn’t know why it went off. She hadn’t touched the steering wheel.
“Let me go! You’re hurting me,” she said.
“I know,” he said.
When he smiled, she saw that his mouth was full of little hooks, rows of them, each as small and delicate as a sewing needle. The rows of them seemed to go all the way down his throat. The horn sounded again.
The boy raised his voice and shouted, “Mr. Manx! Mr. Manx, I caught a girl! Mr. Manx, come see!”
What do you think? Does this sound like your cup of tea? And what about you—what are you reading this week?
As promised, we’re passing along the Setterfield news as soon as we have it. Bellman & Black will be published by Emily Bestler Books on November 5, 2013, and the novella is being described as a “heart-thumpingly perfect ghost story.”
William Bellman has a happy marriage, a beautiful family and a thriving business. Until one day, those around him begin to die, one by one. At each funeral, William sees the same man in black. What does he have to do with William’s misfortunes? Knowing Setterfield, we’ll be surprised by the answer.
In other exciting news for Setterfield fans, BBC has ordered a movie-length adaptation of Setterfield’s best-selling debut, The Thirteenth Tale. Casting has already begun, with a planned release during the 2013 Christmas season.
Though they may have been a bit overshadowed in the U.S. by yesterday’s Pulitzer announcement, this week has also brought two important literary news items from the UK.
First, the shortlist for the prize formerly known as the Orange Prize and now known simply as the Women’s Prize for Fiction. It’s an incredible list—Hilary Mantel seems to be up against her toughest competition yet. Will she sweep all three of the U.K.’s major awards?
Speaking of Zadie Smith, she also figures in the second item of literary news from the U.K: She’s one of the 2013 “20 under 40″ list from Granta magazine. Created every 10 years, the list honors the most promising 20 British writers under the age of 40. It’s Smith’s second time on the list, which for the first time contains a majority of female authors—12/20. It’s also the most international list yet.
Click on the author’s name to see their author page on BookPage.com.
We love celebrating libraries every week at BookPage, but April 14-20 places national focus on one of our favorite times of year: National Library Week!
This year, the theme of National Library Week is “Communities matter @ your library.” Libraries are more than just buildings filled with books; they offer programs and resources based on their community’s interests.
Here are a few ways to celebrate the week:
What is your library doing this week? In what special way does it support your community?
After the second world war’s end, baseball players left the trenches for the baseball field and the modern era of baseball began. Players like Jackie Robinson emerged as one of baseball’s greatest players while established players like DiMaggio, Williams and Feller returned to the sport.
Robert Weintraub, author of The House that Ruth Built, returns to the subject of baseball, shedding light on an era that new generations of baseball fans never experienced and will doubtless be fascinated by.
The Victory Season serves as a great kick off to the spring baseball season and may also make an interesting gift for fathers and husbands as Father’s Day approaches.
Read our review here and watch the book trailer put out by Hachette:
Are you a baseball fan? Will you read The Victory Season or give it as a gift?
Back in January, we shared our list of 20 most anticipated books of 2013. Now it’s time to see the books that have had you buzzing this year. We’ve compiled the Top 20 books of 2013 (so far!)—based on the number of page views on BookPage.com—and included excerpts from their reviews or interviews with the authors. Click on the links to read more about each book.
What do you think of the list? Any surprises? Or ones you feel are missing? Let us know in the comments.
#20: THE TIN HORSE by Janice Steinberg
“Steinberg, the author of five mysteries, has transcended genre to weave a rich story that will appeal to readers who appreciate multigenerational immigrant family sagas as well as those who simply enjoy psychological suspense.” (February 2013)
#19: THE FEVER TREE by Jennifer McVeigh
“The Fever Tree, Jennifer McVeigh’s riveting debut novel, follows a pampered British woman, Frances Irvine, who leaves her insular life and journeys to the Southern Cape of Africa during the 19th-century diamond rush.” (April 2013)
#18: WHITE DOG FELL FROM THE SKY
by Eleanor Morse
“Some novels percolate in their authors’ minds for years. In the case of Eleanor Morse’s superb third novel, White Dog Fell from the Sky, the brew-time was at least a dozen and possibly as many as 40 years.” (January 2013)
#17: BENEDICTION by Kent Haruf
“There’s no manufactured drama in this novel, and that’s of a piece with Haruf’s previous books. The mastery he displays in this simple, quiet story, and in all his fiction, lies in portraying what one character thinks of as ‘the little dramas, the routine moments,’ what he calls the ‘precious ordinary.’” (March 2013)
#16: THE DEATH OF BEES by Lisa O’Donnell
“This is a dark and mordant novel, yet despite its fighting words, a tender heart beats deep at its center. Although undeniably bleak at times, Marnie and Nelly’s story is not devoid of hope and has much needed punches of humor throughout. The result is a riveting and rewarding read.” (January 2013)
#15: WITH OR WITHOUT YOU by Domenica Ruta
“‘Write me a letter,’ Kathi asks her daughter. In this stunning new memoir, Domenica Ruta writes a love letter to the woman she had to leave behind in order to live.” (March 2013)
#14: THE LAST RUNAWAY by Tracy Chevalier
“Evoking 19th-century Ohio life with a quiet lushness, Chevalier seamlessly seeds vivid period details into her writing. . . . [she] questions the difference between bravery and foolishness and explores whether ideology should displace family ties, and her characters are drawn with satisfying shades of gray.” (January 2013)
#13: CHANEL BONFIRE by Wendy Lawless
“There are bad mothers and there are alcoholic mothers, and then there are bad, alcoholic, psychotic mothers like Georgann Rea. Add glamour, beauty and a rapidly dwindling divorce settlement, and you’ve got Chanel Bonfire.” (January 2013)
#12: THE HISTORY OF US by Leah Stewart
“Stewart is a wonderful observer of family relationships, and she adroitly weaves the stories of Eloise and the children she’s raised—their work, their loves, their disappointments and dreams—while focusing on what ties families together, and what ultimately keeps those ties from breaking.” (January 2013)
#11: INDISCRETION by Charles Dubow
“The complex characters evolve until the final pages, allowing the reader to sympathize and bond with each one. Equal parts passion, heartache and anger, Indiscretion transcends the love story archetype.” (February 2013)
#10: A TALE FOR THE TIME BEING by Ruth Ozeki
“[O]ne of the questions Ozeki explores here is what it means to live in the present. The book began in her imagination, she says, when the voice of a young girl spoke the words that are now the opening lines of the novel: ‘Hi! My name is Nao, and I am a time being.’” (March 2013)
#9: THE SUPREMES AT EARL’S ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT by Edward Kelsey Moore
“The centerpiece of the novel is one year in the lives of the three friends, but flashbacks told from various points of view reveal mileposts along the women’s journeys, both individual and intertwined. . . . Throughout, everyone circles back to Earl’s, where Moore conjures up the events, sounds and scents of the diner with writerly ease.” (March 2013)
#8: THE OBITUARY WRITER by Ann Hood
“Vivien and Claire face individual challenges and quests for meaning in their lives as well as in their romantic relationships. Their compelling stories push the reader forward, to discover both how their lives may intertwine and how each resolves the unanswered questions in her relationships.” (March 2013)
#7: COVER OF SNOW by Jenny Milchman
“The suspense locks you in on every page, and snow piles up everywhere: thick, white, all-encompassing and holding everything in its freezing grasp. You can try to run, but you’ll probably slip and fall in a drift.” (January 2013)
#6: GHOSTMAN by Roger Hobbs
“Hobbs’ thriller has more twists and turns than a 10-yard-long corkscrew. It opens with an early-morning attack on an armored car delivering money to an Atlantic City casino. Things go terribly wrong when the carefully planned heist turns into a scene of epic carnage.” (February 2013)
#5: THE DINNER by Herman Koch
“Koch’s mesmerizing and disturbing novel starts out slowly, as two couples meet for dinner at a pricey, somewhat snobbish restaurant in Amsterdam. . . . Readers will be able to identify with the faults and fears of each of his perceptively drawn characters.” (February 2013)
#4: THE STORYTELLER by Jodi Picoult
“In The Storyteller, [Picoult's] latest, she weaves together two parallel stories from the darkest hours of the Holocaust. She explores, along with the reader, the perhaps unanswerable questions of who has the power to forgive—and are there some acts which are simply unforgiveable?” (March 2013)
#3: THE DROWNING HOUSE by Elizabeth Black
“A page-turning chronicle of grief and memory, The Drowning House is a remarkable blend of human drama and satisfyingly Southern Gothic mystery, propelled by Black’s lyrical, haunting narration.” (January 2013)
#2: ME BEFORE YOU by Jojo Moyes
“Unusually for me—I’ve written 10 books—Lou and Will were both crystal clear in my head before I even started the book. I knew them inside out. That meant that all I had to do was to put them in different situations and sit back and see what happened. It meant that the book was actually a pleasure to write.” (January 2013)
And your #1 pick for 2013 (so far!) is:
#1: THE HOUSE GIRL by Tara Conklin
“[A] rare novel that seamlessly toggles between centuries and characters and remains consistently gripping throughout. . . . Conklin’s debut novel is a quiet book . . . it is that very quietness that makes The House Girl so powerful.” (February 2013)