“‘It is a spectacular fall,’ says Carole Horne, general manager of the Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Mass. ‘One of the best that I’ve seen.’” (Oscar Villalon at SFGate agrees.)
Horne is reported in the Christian Science Monitor to have particularly high hopes for the new Philip Roth book, Exit Ghost, and the new Richard Russo, Bridge of Sighs, which will be published at the end of the month. While strong on fiction, the season looks to be short on biographies and memoirs, according to Horne. In the realm of non-fiction, she predicts that Stephen Colbert’s new book, I Am America (And So Can You!) will exert a strong attraction for buyers, as will former president Bill Clinton’s book, Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World, which is out now. He’s already appeared on Oprah and Late Night with Dave Letterman, as well as in NYC bookstores.
Sara Nelson of Publisher’s Weekly has her eye on Brock Clarke, whose just-released literary mystery, An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England, she terms ‘oddball.’ (It sounds like fun!) Bookstore marketer Danielle Marshall thinks Chelsea Cain’s mystery-thriller Heartsick, about a female serial killer, is a stand-out this season.
We can expect more imitators this fall, too. Daniel Goldin of Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops in Milwaukee says there are dog memoirs, Da Vinci Code-breakers, and ‘17 books that look like The Kite Runner,’ as well as the Freakonomics-type book, Richard Wiseman’s Quirkology: How We Discover the Big Truths in Small Things.
Other Fall Books Previews
- Book World has the big list (about 65 non-fiction titles, organised by category, and about 35 fiction titles), although we’re warned that it’s not comprehensive: “What follows is a quick, by no means complete list of books due to land on our desks over the next six months. A fascinating snapshot of America.”
- The Denver Post offers an annotated list of about 35 forthcoming fiction and non-fiction titles. Of interest to crime fiction fans are the new book in the Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell, due in Oct., and the latest in James Patterson’s Alex Cross series.
- The Cincinnati Enquirer titles its list “Fall books ripe for picky readers,” and notes the December release of Sue Grafton’s latest, T Is for Trespass and the release last week of The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman, the story of a Warsaw zoo under Nazi rule.
- Showbuzz (CBS) focuses on the political and war-related titles upcoming this fall, including two books, by David McCullough and Joseph Ellis, on the Revolutionary War; Tom Brokaw’s look at the Vietnam War in Boom; two books on the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks: Philip Shenon’s The Commission and Susan Faludi’s The Terror Dream (although Carole Horne, in the CSM, didn’t think ‘Bush-bashing’ books, as she considers Faludi’s, will be popular this year); the posthumous publication of David Halberstam’s Coldest Winter, a history of the Korean War; Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas’s memoir, My Grandfather’s Son; Alan Greenspan’s The Age of Turbulence; Conrad Black’s 1,100-page biography of Richard Nixon, titled Nixon; and others. (The AP via CNN looks at many of the same titles).
- Giles Harvey at The Village Voice takes a closer look at some upcoming literary fiction, including titles by J.M. Coetzee, John Updike, Philip Roth, Victor Serge, Edmund Wilson, and some non-fiction: a cultural history of modernism, an exploration of Israel and U.S. foreign policy, an account of Sigmund Freud’s final days, an examination of the origins of the U.S. Constitution and democracy, and poems by Julia Hartwig.
- Oscar Villalon at SF Gate is particularly high on “Junot Diaz’s long-long-long-awaited first novel,” years after his story collection Drown and on the basis, too, of his fiction in the New Yorker; Denis Johnson’s “mammoth novel about Vietnam and the CIA,” Tree of Smoke; and novelist Francisco Goldman’s The Art of Political Murder: Who Killed the Bishop?, “his work of reportage about the turmoil that has beset Guatemala for decades.” Villalon’s list is organised by month of publication, with separate lists for fiction and non-fiction within each month.
- Library Journal considers its Pick of the Fall Books “more personal and eclectic” than those of many other editors. Their favs include the aforementioned book by Diane Ackerman; fiction title Orpheus Lost by Janette Turner Hospital; the “heady historical novel” The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James (actually due out in January); Julie M. Fenster’s The Case of Abraham Lincoln: A Story of Adultery, Murder and the Making of a Great President; another January publication, a collecton of erotic literary fiction, Smut Vol. 1, from the editors of Nerve.com; culinary memoir Out of the Frying Pan: A Chef’s Memoir of Hot Kitchens, Single Motherhood, and the Family Meal by Gillian Clark; Legends of the Chelsea Hotel: Living with the Artists and Outlaws of New York’s Rebel Mecca by Ed Hamilton; The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters by Charlotte Mosley; and a spate of graphic novel crossovers.
- Maureen McLane at Critical Mass, the ‘blog of the national book critics circle board of directors,’ recommends Faludi’s book as well as Junot Diaz’s novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Julie Carr’s books of poetry titled Equivocal. Her cohort Steve Weinberg recommends The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible, a funny book, by Esquire editor A.J. Jacobs; Trashed, a novel with a journalist protagonist, by Alison Gaylin; and the Mitford sisters’ letters. Another colleague, Jessa Crispin, recommends The Best of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, edited by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant (stories); Apollo’s Fire: A Day on Earth in Nature and Imagination by Michael Sims, “a tour of a full day, from dawn to night;” All Things Are Labor by Katherine Arnoldi (more stories); Mercy by Lara Santoro, a novel about “a hard drinking journalist working in Africa;” and a small novel, Gold, by Dan Rhodes. There are more suggestions by other board members - check ‘em out!
- USA Today names about 35 adult titles (plus a few YA and kids’ books) that will be ‘big’ and explains why. They expect the big fall biography to be Schulz and Peanuts, about cartoonist Charles Schulz, by David Michaelis, and one of the big fall memoirs to be Look Me in the Eye: My Life With Asperger’s, written by John Elder Robison, the big brother of Augusten Burroughs (Running With Scissors). Among fiction they list Blonde Faith by Walter Mosley, perhaps the last of the Easy Rawlins series, and The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold.