Archive

Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

McDonald’s as UK Bookseller?

January 12th, 2012 No comments

This month, McDonald’s restaurants may earn the unlikely title of UK’s biggest children’s book seller, as it begins a promotion that includes one of Michael Morpurgo’s Mudpuddle Farm books with every Happy Meal. Partnering with Harper Collins publishing house, the fast food chain is set to give out 9 million books over the next four weeks. As reported in The Telegraph, last year, children’s book sales in the UK averaged about 1.16 million a week, or 6.4 million in a four week stretch. McDonald’s is poised to distribute a much higher volume of books. Read more…

Share

Philippa Gregory Paints History in Fact and Fiction

January 6th, 2012 No comments

Last Fall, fans of British history and historical fiction were twice blessed with new books from bestselling historical novelist Philippa Gregory. Esteemed historians David Baldwin and Michael Jones joined the author in writing The Women of the Cousins’ War (Touchstone, 352pgs), a book of factual essays on three influential female figures during the events of England’s Wars of the Roses (1455–1485). Baldwin writes of Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV, who was noted as being the first commoner in England to marry a king for love. Jones, outlines the life of Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII, and one of the lesser known women of the Tudor dynasty. Gregory presents the early life of Jacquetta, duchess of Bedford, who at one time stood trial for witchcraft. Along with this non-fiction account, Gregory also published The Lady of the Rivers (Touchstone, 464pgs), a fictional telling of Jacquetta’s life. Read more…

Share

Real Life Inspiration for A Christmas Carol

December 21st, 2011 No comments

This week The Huffington Post recounted the true, but little known, story of the inspiration behind Charles Dickens’ iconic holiday tale A Christmas Carol. Though the British author had already published several novels, he was struggling to make ends meet in the fall of 1843. During an evening constitutional through a seedy London neighborhood, Dickens was reminded of his own hardscrabble childhood, and was struck with the inspiration to write a cheerful, uplifting Christmas story for all those who had felt the harsh sting of poverty.

With the holidays quickly approaching, he decided on a short story format, and gave the publisher very detailed instructions on the book design, specifying a gold stamped cover, a green and red title page and several etched illustrations. Despite the high production values, the book was reasonably priced at five shillings, so that it would be affordable to a large segment of the population. Read more…

Share

Patricia Cornwell: Author and Philanthropist

December 14th, 2011 No comments

Fan favorite, author Patricia Cornwell, is busy at work promoting her latest novel in the Kay Scarpetta series Red Mist. The 19th installment has the formidable medical examiner traveling to a remote women’s prison in Georgia to meet with an inmate who might have knowledge of the brutal murder of Jack Fielding, Scarpetta’s former deputy chief. While investigating Fielding’s death, the Dr. uncovers links to other murders committed across the country, as well as a potential international terrorist threat.

Besides unravelling a murder mystery, Red Mist, addresses the larger issues of death penalty ethics and the prison system. In a phone interview with The Oregonian, Cornwell spoke about working to keep the 22 year-old series interesting to herself and her readers. “It’s not a job,” she says, “it’s like a relationship that I treat with sensitivity and selflessness and that needs to be nurtured.” Read more…

Share

David Sedaris and the Joy of Book Tours

December 12th, 2011 No comments

David Sedaris at WBUR studios in June 2008.

Bestselling memoirist David Sedaris recently spoke to the San Francisco Chronicle about his penchant for telling stories with a dark twist and the enjoyment he gets out of interacting with his fans while on a book tour. When asked about touring, he says, “To me that’s my reward for the solitude of writing – you get to be in front of that audience, and you get to read it out loud.” Sedaris is well known for his patience at book signings, conscientiously trying to talk to everyone in line, to the point of spending hours in one location. Read more…

Share

The Trials and Tribulations of Choosing a Pen Name

December 7th, 2011 No comments

According to novelist Alison Potter, one of the most enjoyable things about writing is creating names for her characters. “You can let your imagination run free, stripped of caution and compromise.” Yet, when she was asked to choose a pen name for herself, the naming process was no longer carefree. Hodder, her publisher, approached her about a name change as they were working on her debut thriller Wink Murder. “Suddenly, it’s personal and heartfelt, challenging your identity and family history,” she writes in an article for The Guardian.

“We may spend our lives escaping our parents and their influence, carving out our own identities, but our name is given to us and most of us never change it. Even if women marry, they have no choice over the surname they take. Alison Potter had served me perfectly well for about 40 years, until now. Read more…

Share
Categories: Fiction, Mystery, News, Thriller Tags:

Judy Blume on Banned Books and Getting Kids to Read

December 5th, 2011 No comments

Author Judy Blume has captured the hearts and imaginations of generations of young readers with beloved characters like Peter Hatcher and his hilariously annoying little brother Fudge. The acclaimed author has also tackled weightier subjects like family tragedy and budding sexuality in YA novels such as Tiger Eyes and Forever. Because of her popularity, and the honesty with which she approaches her work, it should come as no surprise that several of her titles have banned at various schools and libraries. Blume, who is staunchly opposed to censorship, recently appeared on NPR’s Talk of the Nation to discuss her experience with challenged books and why she thinks every child should be free to read whatever he or she chooses. Read more…

Share

Alzheimer’s Mystery Novel Takes Wellcome Prize

November 9th, 2011 No comments

Turn of Mind (Atlantic Monthly Press, 320pgs), the debut mystery novel by Alice LaPlante was announced today as the winner of the U.K. based Wellcome Trust Book Prize, an award for medical literature. The thriller is told through the perspective of Dr. Jennifer White, a retired surgeon battling the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease. When her best friend Amanda is found dead with one hand mutilated with surgical precision, Dr. White becomes the main suspect, though she cannot remember having played any part in the crime. As the story unfolds, details about the long lasting, yet turbulent, friendship between the two women are revealed, leaving Dr. White to question weather her absence of memory is hiding her guilt or protecting her from harm. Read more…

Share

New Release: 11/22/63

November 8th, 2011 No comments

By Stephen King
Scribner | 960pgs
Release Date: November 8, 2011

Stephen King’s new novel, the highly anticipated 11/22/63, arrives in stores today. The opus, which falls just short of the 1,000 page mark, follows English teacher Jake Epping through a time portal in his friend Al’s basement on a quest to prevent the assassination of JFK. Using the name George Amberson, Jake enters the past in the year 1958, and spends the next 5 years working towards changing the outcome of that fateful day, moving to a small town in Texas, falling in love with a sweet librarian and encountering a troubled young man named Lee Harvey Oswald along the way. Will Jake be able to change history? If so, will the future of the world better for this change? Read more…

Share

Cartoonist Mo Willems Talks Elephant and Piggie

November 2nd, 2011 No comments

Happy Pig Day!, the latest in the hugely popular Elephant and Piggie picture book series by author and illustrator Mo Willems was released last month. The cartoonist recently spoke with Jeff Labrecque at Entertainment Weekly and discussed the genesis of his two quirky main characters. “Elephant and Piggie are the first characters that I created that I intended for multiple books. I really developed them almost in the way that you would develop television. I knew that they were going to have to carry a lot of weight…I knew there were things that I hadn’t imagined that they were still going to have to handle,” Willems explained. Read more…

Share