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Settle into an easy chair and get ready to crack a good book. An early peek at 2014’s hottest book offerings finds novels by Stephen King, J.K. Rowling and James Ellroy on tap.
Plus, this year will see high-profile memoirs from ABC’s Robin Roberts, comedian John Cleese and singer Elvis Costello as well. Sometime later this year (a date has not yet been announced), Lena Dunham’s book of essays Not That Kind of Girl is likely to roll into bookstores.
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (Viking, Jan.)
The newest selection in Oprah Winfrey‘s rebooted book club fictionalizes the real-life story of abolitionist Sarah Grimke and her slave Hetty. The novel follows Grimke from her childhood on a South Carolina plantation to her work fighting slavery. Hetty was real as well, but since little is known about her, Kidd uses her imagination to fill in the details. Oprah praised the book as “a conversation changer.”
Loudest Voice in the Room by Gabe Sherman (Random House, Jan.)
The long-anticipated takedown of Fox News and its Chairman Roger Ailes by New York magazine’s contributing editor.
Hollow City by Ransom Riggs (Quirk, Jan. 7)
The sequel to the creepy-quirky smash hit Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children — itself set to be adapted by Tim Burton for the big screen — picks up the story in the immediate aftermath of the first novel, as the story moves from the island to London.
The Triple Package: Why Groups Rise and Fall in America by Amy Chua (Penguin, Feb.)
Ugh, she’s back. The cynical Chua, a Yale professor (best reason to get rid of tenure), is back with more silly nonsense — this time about why Jews and Asians and certain other groups are more successful — designed to panic parents into buying her book so they can get their kid into Harvard. Don’t fall for it. Avoid this book like plague.
One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak (Random House, Feb.)
The Office star and The Mindy Project producer shows himself to be a gifted writer in this collection of short stories. Novak’s offbeat, quirky tales build to more of a quiet chuckle than an LOL explosion, but the good feelings linger. The book’s a winner, no doubt. The real question is whether Novak’s brand of funny has mainstream appeal.
Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham (Random House, Summer/Fall)
The Girls creator recently told Salon that she was just making the final edits on her hotly anticipated book that garnered a $3.7 million advance. That would put the still-unscheduled book on track for a summer or fall release. We lean to thinking fall, but also see the beach-read appeal for the book’s core audience of young women. Like Novak (though with much higher stakes), Dunham needs to move from cult idol to mass-market star to justify Random House’s big investment in her work.
Uganda Be Kidding Me by Chelsea Handler (Grand Central, March)
A comedic travelogue from the uncensored E! talk show host.
Love and Treasure by Ayelet Waldman (Knopf, April)
The novelist (and wife of Michael Chabon) returns with a based-in-fact thriller about the search for the train loaded with Hungarian state gold that disappeared at the end of World War II and has never been found.
Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King (Scribner, June)
A detective hunts a terrorist with a bomb in a story that King told USA Today was “too creepily close for comfort” to what happened in Boston’s marathon bombing (though his idea pre-dated the terror attack).
Perfidia by James Ellroy (Knopf, June)
The esteemed crime novelist returns with the first book in what is to be his second “LA Quartet” of novels (the first included Black Dahlia and L.A. Confidential). This one starts in December 1941 and revolves around Pearl Harbor and the Japanese internment that followed in a story that Ellroy calls his most “intimate” and “accessible.”
Armada by Ernie Cline (Crown, July)
Cline’s retro-futuristic video game and pop culture-suffused first novel, Ready Player One, is a geek classic and Armada treads similar territory in a story whose film rights have already been scooped up by Universal.
Untitled Nick Hornby Novel by Nick Hornby (Viking, Summer)
This humorous novel about the on and off-screen lives of the stars of a fictional BBC sitcom from the ‘60s seems to put Hornby where he’s best — mixing pop culture and ennui about growing up.
Untitled Robert Galbraith by J.K. Rowling (Mulholland, Summer)
The follow up to the Harry Potter scribe’s debut adult mystery The Cuckoo’s Calling (written under her pen name of Robert Galbraith) doesn’t have a publication date yet, but expect it for beach-read season (Cuckoo’s came out in late April), unless Rowling’s duties scripting Fantastic Beasts cuts into her book writing.
Robin Roberts (Grand Central, April)
The story of the ABC newswoman surviving cancer alone would have garnered this book significant attention, but add to that more details about her coming out as a lesbian and this is likely to make a big splash.
Rob Lowe (Simon & Schuster, April)
The preternaturally young-looking actor follows up his 2011 Stories I Only Tell My Friends with Love Life.
John Cleese (Random House, Sept.)
His take on Monty Python and more.
Elvis Costello (Penguin, Fall)
The attraction of this story is obvious: The life of the creative — and sometimes controversial — music genius who made “Alison,” “Accidents Will Happen,” and “My Aim is True.”
Molly Bloom (HarperCollins, Summer)
Hollywood’s Poker Princess tells all.
Hilary Clinton (June)
A second memoir from the former first lady and recent secretary of state arrives shortly before she’ll officially announce (or not) that she’s running for president in 2016.
Mad as Hell: The Making of Network and the Fateful Vision of the Angriest Man in Movies by Dave Itzkoff (Henry Holt, Feb.)
The New York Times writer goes inside the classic movie skewering the news business and its volatile screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky.
Blood Will Out By Walter Kirn (Liveright, Feb.)
The celebrated novelist (Up in the Air) writes about his long friendship with Christian Gerhartsreiter, who impersonated a Rockefeller and committed murder.
The Selected Letters of Elia Kazan edited by Albert Devlin (Knopf, April)
The celebrated filmmaker’s correspondence with everyone from John Steinbeck to Warren Beatty and Darryl Zanuck promises a fascinating peak inside the golden age of Hollywood.
The Lost Notebook: Herman Schultheis & the Secrets of Walt Disney’s Movie Magic by John Canemaker (Weldon Owen, May)
A secret notebook from the ‘30s detailing the special effects wizardry at the Mouse House that was rediscovered in the ‘90s is reproduced in print with annotations and additional material.
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