Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Liz and Gianna's Bad Ass Book Fall Preview, Part 3

Hello again,

Thus far we've previewed the big releases from Gianna's University of Texas Press, and then part two featured the half of Random House that Liz sells.  For part three, we're teaming up to cover the other half of Random House.

Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
Jon Meacham

(Gianna) I noticed last month that the description of this book promises to deliver the goods on the passion and sensuality of Jefferson, and to that I say…sold! Turns out however, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham felt he should give you a full portrait of the man, so you will also get details of everything from The Declaration of Independence to the famous dinner parties, to Monticello, to the Louisiana Purchase (he had no idea kids would just use it as a playground!), and Jefferson's tactical political maneuvers. Random House has a handful of really great nonfiction books this year, and this may just be the biography of the year.

A Wanted Man 
Lee Child
On Sale Now

(Gianna) It sounds crazy, but I don't think Child has had a stinker in any of his dozen or so books. He receives rave reviews, booksellers absolutely adore the series (and him), and if you can find a better book in the genre, well Jack Reacher would just die…but then not really die, you see you would just think he died but then he would show up in the next book. If you haven't tried this great series, you really can dive in anywhere, and unlike so many writers, Lee Child just gets better and better.

The Twelve 
Justin Cronin

(Gianna)I am so excited that this book is finally here! I haven't worked for Random House in over a year but that doesn't stop pretty much every single bookseller I see from asking me when it's coming out, and if I can get them an early copy. The wait is over (sort of …two more weeks….sorry). And I don't want to freak anyone out but…The Twelve is even better than The Passage. I know!

The Devil in Silver 
Victor LaValle
On Sale Now

(Gianna) Between this novel and Gone Girl, I had a pretty creepy summer. In fact, I think for everyone who read Gone Girl, this should be the next one on your list. I would compare his writing a bit more in line with Dan Chaon, but for readers of smart, psychological thrillers, this is a must have. LaValle is smart, original, and has written an unputdownable book with The Devil in Silver.

Joseph Anton
Salmon Rushdie
On Sale Now

(Gianna) Joseph Anton is the Random House book that I have been most excited to read.  As of right now I am about 200 pages in and its just fascinating. For those who don't know or remember, when Rushdie's Satanic Verses was published, conservative Muslims accused him of blasphemy which resulted in Ayatollah Khomeini calling for a fatwa – asking good Muslims to kill Rushdie and those associated with the book. While Rushdie was never harmed over the book, many others were, including the Japanese translator who was murdered. Of course because of timing, this book really resonates.  [Liz: "Joseph Anton" was the alias that Rushdie used while in hiding, picked from his two favorite writers--Joseph Conrad and Anton Chekhov.  The reviews are calling this book one of Rushdie's finest.]

Rod Stewart...Gianna's ex?
Rod Stewart

(Liz) According to my New York colleagues, Rod Stewart lives in the Broadway building where Random House is headquartered, so how awkward would it be if, say, Simon & Schuster were his publisher?  I admit that I know little to nothing about music, but Gianna, she's a music aficionado, and I'm pretty certain that she once sang me a song about wanting her body and thinking she's sexy.  Actually, I kinda think that Gianna and Rod were a couple back in the day.  Didn't he sleep with a lot of people?  Why not Gianna?

Silent No More
Victim One

(Liz) The biggest scandal of the year came when the revelation that longtime Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky abused children over the course of many, many years, and that school officials covered up his transgressions.  Lives were destroyed, reputations ruined, and innocence lost.  Now Victim One from the court case reveals his story of courage and survival in confronting his abuser.

The Black Count
Tom Reiss
On Sale Now

(Liz)  I've been hearing about this book for months.  Seriously, my RH colleagues won't stop talking about it.  It turns out that Alexandre Dumas, the author of classics like The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo, based his swashbuckling characters on his father, General Alex Dumas, and more incredibly, Daddy Dumas was the son of a black slave in Haiti.  Briefly sold into slavery, Dumas managed to rise in social stature to the rank of general, joined the French aristocracy, and commanded armies.  The Black Count is the sort of literary sleuthing that makes reading the classics fun.

Brian McGrory

(Liz) Brian McGrory owned a dog who was ailing, so he took his pooch to the vet.  The dog didn't make it, but Brian found love with the vet instead.  The vet?  She has a couple of kids...and a chick that grows up to be Buddy, a rooster with an attitude.  Buddy likes the family, but he doesn't like Brian.  Brian, learning to relate to children and a new family, takes his clues from the cantankerous fowl.  It's Marley & Me with poultry.

The Headmaster's Wager
Vincent Lam
On Sale Now

(Liz) This is my kind of book--literary fiction from an up-and-coming author, set in a region I don't normally encounter in fiction.  The title character in Vincent Lam's novel is the Chinese headmaster of a school in Vietnam.  His son, trying to prove his devotion to his father, says the exact wrong thing at the exact wrong time, and as civil war begins to engulf the country, the headmaster, Percival Chen, finds himself risking everything to save his son--his school, his fortune, his life.  With the help(?) of his longtime friend (who is shady), Percival is thrust into the middle of a political landscape in revolutionary Vietnam and China that he cannot comprehend, a world where influence and allegiances suddenly matter more than money.  Put Vincent Lam on your radar.  He's an author to watch.

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