For our summer reading round-up, we spoke with publishers, authors, independent booksellers, online retailer Amazon and chain stores such as Barnes and Noble. We asked them to name the coming releases they were most excited about—including such titles as The Monster of Florence , Beijing Coma and One Minute to Midnight—and picked our favourites after reading the works they recommended.
In the coming weeks, bookstores will welcome new works by some best-selling authors, including essayist David Sedaris (When You Are Engulfed in Flames), Andre Dubus III (The Garden of Last Days) and Joyce Carol Oates (My Sister, My Love). “I had a dream the other night that I did a book signing and signed five books,” jokes Sedaris, one of the industry’s biggest draws. “I realize I’m very lucky.”
The summer will also see books by many first-time authors, including the short-story collections One More Year by Ukrainian-American Sana Krasikov and Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan, a Jesuit priest from Nigeria. “One of the things that makes American literature so vital at this point is that we have input from so many different cultures and linguistic backgrounds,” says Paul Yamazaki, coordinating buyer at City Lights bookstore in San Francisco.
Since it’s an election year, there’s a surge of political books in the US. Among them: a still-untitled work from Ron Suskind on national security, Your Government Failed You by Richard A. Clarke and What Happened by former White House press secretary Scott McClellan.
The $28 billion (around Rs1.18 trillion) American book industry faces challenges in a sluggish economy. Bookstore sales in the first quarter totalled $4.46 billion, a 5.1% increase over the comparable period in 2007, according to the US Census Bureau. But last month, Barnes and Noble lowered its sales forecast for the year. “There are people who believe that books are recession-proof,” says Stan Hynds, head buyer for Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, Vermont. “We’re going to find out.”
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