Hello to all of our THOUGHTS on THIS ‘n THAT blog followers and to all of America! We hope you are celebrating a happy month of July and are ready to be assaulted by every form of political media coverage possible. In the next few weeks, get ready for the circus to arrive in town; first, the Republican Convention, July 18th – 21st in Cleveland, Ohio and then the Democratic Convention, July 25th – 28th in Philadelphia.
It’s my hope and I’m sure many of yours, that these Conventions will get us all fired up for Tuesday, November 8th, when we, each and every one of us Americans, exercise our Constitutional right to vote for whomever we want to be the next Commander-In-Chief. I’m not only referring to the Presidency, although that’s a biggie, but we have state and local elections, too. It really matters this time, actually every time, but especially this time, so keep your eyes on the prize!
We kick off our summer must-read list with Jennifer Close’s novel, THE HOPEFULS (Knopf) which will be published Tuesday, July 19th. It’s about a wife who leaves New York City to follow her husband who after the campaign, gets a position in the Obama Administration. Once in DC, the back-biting, constant competition and gossip begins. I met Jennifer at BEA and she said she was just a bit worried that readers may be over-saturated with the political stuff. I told her my feeling is, she couldn’t have picked a better time to write this particular novel.
Among all the recent fiction around WWII, author Chris Cleave’s miniseries of a novel, EVERYONE BRAVE IS FORGIVEN (Simon&Schuster), is a surprising standout, with irresistibly engaging characters who sharply illuminate issues of class, race, and wartime morality. This novel about three entangled lives is written by the author of best-selling LITTLE BEE.
Richard Russo’s, EVERYBODY’S FOOL (Knopf) is a sequel to his 1993 NOBODY’S FOOL (Knopf). Having met him for only a brief time at BEA, according to my non-scientific survey, I have to say he was the nicest guy autographing novels. He also had one of the longest lines of fans, but never brushed off. EVERYBODY’S FOOL revisits fictional New Bath, New York and continues on with the unmet expectations of working-class hero, Sully.
Here’s the debut novel the publishing world can’t stop talking about. It’s California 1969 and THE GIRLS (Random House) are part of a Manson-like cult. 14-year old, Evie sees them in the park and goes over, she doesn’t have enough sense of who she is to resist the lure. Emma Cline’s novel, THE GIRLS (Random House) is rumored to have sold at auction for seven figures and Scott Rudin has acquired the film rights.
Yaa Gyasi’s debut novel, HOMECOMING (Knopf) follows one Ghanaian family’s experience over two continents and three centuries. The characters experience far-reaching consequences of the African slave trade and diaspora, as they migrate from mud-hut villages to Ghana’s beaches to Harlem’s jazz clubs. It’s a story of place, home and discovering where you belong.
In the suspenseful new novel BEFORE THE FALL (GrandCentralPublishing) by Emmy Award-winning creator of “Fargo,” the TV show, Noah Hawley, a struggling painter is drawn into the lives and fiery death of two powerful men – one media the other financial. It’s one of the biggest hits so far this summer.
Mary Frances (Frankie) is a country child, protective of her perfect life on the family’s apple farm in Jane Hamilton’s, THE EXCELLENT LOMBARDS (GrandCentralPublishing). This coming-of-age story, is a warm portrayal of complex, believable characters stepping up and facing change. Jane Hamilton lovers will not be disappointed.
Tracy Barone’s debut novel, HAPPY FAMILY (Little, Brown and Co.) begins with a teen mother giving up her baby. Forty years later, she’s supposedly an adult, juggling her own brood and obsessed with her adoptive dad’s distant, secret family. A funny story about growing up – at any age.
Anton DiSclafani’s, THE AFTER PARTY (Riverhead Books) takes us into the circle of well-to-do ’50s Houston high society. Cece’s friend Joan has dazzled the ladies who lunch and their rich powerful husbands for years, but Joan’s unladylike desires are catching up. Cece must choose between gossip and gin with the girls or her bff, Joan. “One woman always needs the other woman less.” The After Party
As both a tomboy and a late bloomer, comedian, Jessi Klein grew up feeling more like an outsider than a participant in the rites of the whole girl thing. Chances are, she’s made you laugh, without you even knowing it. Jessi’s the head writer for the Comedy Central TV show, “Inside Amy Schumer.” Prepare to laugh even harder with her first essay collection, YOU’LL GROW OUT OF IT (GrandCentralPublishing). I like to call it “pee your panties funny.”
Bestselling author of The Three Weissmanns of Westport, Cathleen Schine returns with her new novel, THEY MAY NOT MEAN TO, BUT THEY DO (FSG), a look at three generations about aging, family, loneliness and love from her signature hilarious perspective.
Former Bureau Chief for the New York Times, Elaine Sciolino has lived in Paris since since 2002, and shares her love for the City of Lights in her latest book THE ONLY STREET in PARIS: LIFE on the RUE des MARTYRS (Norton). She focuses on The Rue des Martyrs, which despite modernization keeps is charm – the small cafes, cabarets, bread and cheese shops flourish and refuse to join the hustle and bustle of the 20th Century. Elaine Sciolino captures a street we all must visit soon before it’s charm disappears … and a Pottery Barn appears.
I hope you enjoy some of our suggestions. Feel free to share some of yours in the comments section. Novels for fall are already being published. We’ll be posting some reviews and suggestions soon.
Remember: The Republican Convention starts Monday and THE HOPEFULS will be published Tuesday.
Have a wonderful weekend … Viva la France!