- Suite Story: The New York Times takes a look at two new books about controversial, posthumously-bestselling author Irène Némirovsky, starting with the biography The Life of Irène Némirovsky: 1903-1942.
The biographers, Olivier Philipponnat and Patrick Lienhardt, who are French and have already received enthusiastic reviews in France and Britain, had access to a trove of untapped letters, journals, archives and personal remembrances that fill in gaps about Némirovsky’s life. They even unearthed an unknown short story and said they believe there is more unpublished work yet to come, including a radio play discovered just weeks ago.
The other book is Némirovsky's short story collection, Dimanche and Other Stories.
Némirovsky wrote at least 50 short stories and 15 novels, including Suite Francaise....The two parts capture the chaotic escape of French civilians from the German Army in 1940 and present a sympathetic portrait of a billeted German soldier. In the thick of the maelstrom she was describing, Némirovsky wrote, "I'm working on burning lava."
Some of the 10 stories written between 1934 and 1942 and published in the new collection...came from that same molten pit.
Dimanche and Other Stories is available now. The Life of Irène Némirovsky will be published on May 4th.
- November Rain: George W. Bush's eagerly awaited memoir is slated for a November publication.
The cover of the book, entitled Decision Points, features Bush standing alone in the White House's rose garden colonnade holding a presidential briefing book.
Unfortunately, the briefing book is upside-down. But that pretty much describes his presidency.
- iPerish: Last night's Fresh Air with Terry Gross devoted an entire episode to interviewing Ken Auletta, the author of Googled: The End of the World As We Know It, who wrote a piece for The New Yorker called "Publish or Perish: Can the iPad topple the Kindle, and save the book business?"
Auletta explains that the different strategies employed by Amazon's Kindle and Apple's iPad for pricing e-books are changing the way we choose, buy and read online material. Until the iPad was released, Auletta explains, Amazon sold e-books at a loss with the hope of obtaining a bigger market share. When the iPad was released, Apple instead let publishing companies set the price of their own e-books. Though Amazon was eventually forced to go along with the new pricing policy, Auletta says it appears to be examining ways to cut the publisher entirely out of the equation.
I used to feel a little dismissive of the iPad — but I had the chance to handle my first, real-live, in-the-digital-flesh iPad last weekend, and it's pretty impressive. The next model will certainly be better, but there's no denying that it feels like a game-changer. And I want to spend more time fondling one.
Book News Round-up:
- Michael Oher, the Baltimore Ravens player whose life story was featured in Michael Lewis's book The Blind Side (and then in the Oscar-nominated film), is planning to tell his own side of the story in I Beat the Odds My Amazing Journey from Foster Care to the NFL and Beyond, which is scheduled for February 2011.
- In a new British TV series, Stephen Hawking expresses his belief that intelligent life forms may exist on other worlds — but if they do, they're trouble. Which is good news for me, as I much prefer movies where aliens travel billions of light-years to snack on humans over the ones where they come to cuddle and play songs.
- NPR's Morning Edition takes a look at the life of Depression-era photographer Dorothea Lange, whose story is told in Linda Gordon's book Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits.
- Literary magazines get ranked. Quick, take a wild guess at the top two! Yup, you're right.
- No more blog-to-book deals? Then what will unemployed bloggers have to look forward to?
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Chris Bolton co-created the all-ages webcomic Smash, which will soon be published by Candlewick Press, and created the comedy series Wage Slaves. His short story "The Red Room" was published in Portland Noir from Akashic Books.
Books mentioned in this post