• Alice Sebold's Almost Moon (Little, Brown). Sebold achieved instant fame in 2002 with The Lovely Bones, a sweet, unmawkish novel narrated from beyond the grave by a 14-year-old girl who's been raped and murdered. Fans have eagerly awaited her sophomore effort. They may — or may not — be happy to learn she hasn't gone soft. Almost Moon tells the story of a woman who murders her mother.
At Sunday's Book & Author Breakfast, Sebold, who attended the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program for a year in the mid-'80s, told a funny story about her Houston days. At a big UH reading, Sebold, dressed in miniskirt and cowboy boots, introduced poet Cynthia Macdonald and as she walked offstage slipped and executed a perfect split. "Babe, get used to it," the novelist Leonard Michaels told her afterward. "Humiliation is the writer's bedfellow."
• Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns' The War: An Intimate History, 1941-1945 (Knopf). Sumptuously illustrated companion volume to a seven-part PBS series on World War II that airs beginning Sept. 23.
• Stephen Colbert's I Am America (And So Can You!) (Grand Central Publishing). The Comedy Central satirist can only hope his book does half as well as Jon Stewart's.
• Richard Russo's Bridge of Sighs (Knopf). Another capacious novel from the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Empire Falls.
• Philip Roth's Exit Ghost (Houghton Mifflin). Fifth and final volume in Roth's Nathan Zuckerman series.
• Denis Johnson's Tree of Smoke (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). Literary fiction from the author of Jesus' Son.
• John Grisham's Playing for Pizza (Doubleday). Grisham continues his forays outside genre fiction with this novel about a U.S. football star who goes to play for the Parma Panthers in Italy. Grisham is due to deliver another legal thriller next spring.
• Junot Díaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Riverhead). Eagerly awaited debut novel from Dominican-born author of story collection Drown.
• Joseph J. Ellis' American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies in the Founding of the Republic (Knopf).
• Ann Patchett's Run (HarperCollins). About two African-American boys adopted by a Boston mayor.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Book Review Tuesday
Reviews of John and Teresa Kerry's This Moment on Earth and Melinda Henneberger's If They Only Listened to Us are in the pipeline. For now, here's an appetizer of ten must-reads from Fritz Lanham of the Chron: