In the News: New Books, Old Books and Banned Books
Feb 20, 2014
by Shoaib Alam, Colorado Review Editorial Assistant
The Internet is aflutter this week with news of new books that will be coming out this year. Haruki Murakami’s novel Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is expected to be a big hit in the US when it comes out in English this fall (translated by Philip Gabriel) with a print run of 250,000 copies; the novel is already a big success in Japan, where it sold over a million copies in its first week, and in Europe, where it is also a bestseller. According to The Bookseller, the new novel “ tells the story of Tsukuru Tazaki, whose life changed when his relationships with his high school friends were severed.”
After creating mass fan-hysteria when she announced she had made a mistake by pairing Hermione Granger with Ron Weasley, instead of the main character Harry Potter in the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling will be releasing a new book titled The Silkworm, using her pseudonym Robert Galbraith. The novel will feature detective Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott, both characters from Rowling’s last novel published under the Galbraith name, The Cuckoo’s Calling. Rowling sought legal action after being outed as the author of The Cuckoo’s Calling last year and donated the damages she received to charity. The Silkworm will be released in the US on June 24.
Lorrie Moore’s new book Bark comes out on February 25, says its publisher Knopf. The New York Times calls it a “reminder and a departure” (there is a ‘ghost story’ in the collection).According to The New Yorker, Bark will “feature crumbling marriages and unmoored divorcées, and aging parents raising teen-agers or caring for adult children.” Creative writing students may be aware that Moore taught for many years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison but recently moved to Vanderbilt. She told The New York Times in a recent interview that she is beginning to settle in at the new program. Bark will be Moore’s first collection of short stories in over fifteen years. Her last collection, Birds of America, was a bestseller.
Meanwhile, an American author has caused an uproar halfway across the world in India, where her publisher had been locked in a legal battle with religious activists until it chose to settle out of court. University of Chicago professor Wendy Doniger’s The Hindus: An Alternative History is now being taken off the market by Penguin Books India. All copies in the country are going to be destroyed to appease the Shiksha Bachao Aandolan, a right wing activist group that filed multiple cases against the book for being “anti-national” and “abusive.” In an interview with Time, the group’s president Dinanath Batra, a retired headmaster, said Doniger is “insulting our gods and goddesses and religious leaders and texts and even our freedom fighter” in her book. Prominent writers and activists in India, including Arundhati Roy, have criticized Penguin Books India for its decision to destroy existing copies of the book. In the US, the controversy in India has helped sales of the book on Amazon.
Finally, the contenders for the L.A. Times Book Prizes have been announced while new research finds that high profile awards cause book ratings to nosedive. The finalists for the L.A. Times Book Prizes include John Grisham and Robert Galbraith (see above). Young adult writer and prominent YouTuber John Green will be given the Innovator’s Award for his “dynamic use of online media to entertain and engage” according to the L.A. Times. Susan Straight is being recognized with the Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement. There are a total of 50 finalists in 10 categories for the L.A. Times Book Prizes. Awards will be announced on April 11 at Bovard Auditorium on the USC campus.