Many of the world's biggest authors join avalanche of new books

There's no doubt the world of publishing is in turmoil with no-one quite sure where the future lies so perhaps that's why so many big name authors have all come out with new books this Spring.

JK Rowling, Tom Wolfe, Salman Rushdie, Junot Diaz, Zadie Smith and Michael Chabon are just some of the award winning, best selling authors to compete for shelf space while Australian authors such as Bryce Courtenay and Kate Grenville are also in the mix but perhaps in danger of being somewhat overwhelmed.

Then there are the celebrity releases such as Justin Bieber's Just Getting Started and Kylie Minogue's new book Fashion. And let's not forget the Navy SEAL's first hand account of the killing of Osama bin Laden. So let's hope electricity bills aren't too high and we've all got plenty of reading money. In no particular order, here's a (partial) wrap-up of a particularly literary spring...

books, new book, Tom Wolfe, Cread, fiction, authorBack to Blood by Tom Wolfe is due for release in Australia on October 23 as a 720 page hardcover - his first novel since I Am Charlotte Simmons in 2004.

Back to Blood is described as "A big, panoramic story of the new America, as told by our master chronicler of the way we live now." From an opening scene of a police launch speeding across Miami's Biscayne Bay - with officer Nestor Camacho on board - and then "into the feverous landscape of the city, he introduces the Cuban mayor, the black police chief, a wanna-go-muckraking young journalist and his Yale-marinated editor; an Anglo sex-addiction psychiatrist and his Latina nurse by day..." and on and on goes the blurb like Wolfe stream-of-consciousness.  We are told to expect the "same sort of detailed, on-scene, high-energy reporting that powered Tom Wolfe's previous bestselling novels".

This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz has just been released in Australia on September 11, a 224 page hardcover.

Diaz is a Pulitzer Prize-winner whose first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, was named #1 Fiction Book of the Year by Time magazine and spent more than 100 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He's won many other major awards and so anticipation for This is How You Lose Her couldn't be higher. His topic this time is the power of love in all its mysterious forms with a circle of stories all teasing out the longing and agony of love with Yunior and his lover at the heart of it all. " In prose that is endlessly energetic, inventive, tender, and funny, the stories in This Is How You Lose Her lay bare the infinite longing and inevitable weakness of the human heart. They remind us that passion always triumphs over experience, and that 'the half-life of love is forever'."

Jospeh Anton A Memoir by Salman Rushdie is set for release as 656 paperback in Australia on September 18.

At a time of widespread violence and death over a film ridiculing "the Prophet" and with recent news that the price on his head has been raised by an Iranian extremist group, the timing could not be intense for Sir Salman Rushdie's account of living with a Muslim fatwa. He earned the death sentence from the Ayatollah Khomeini for writing The Satanic Verses. In an exceptionally frank and moving account, Rushdie writes about he and his family living under a threat of death for nine year, moving from house to house with the presence of an armed police protection team. And Joseph Anton? When asked to think of a code name for himself, he combined the names of writers he loves - Conrad and Chekhov. So begins the extraordinary story of how a writer was forced underground, moving from house to house, with the constant presence of an armed police protection team. He was asked to choose an alias that the police could call him by. He thought of writers he loved and combinations of their names; then it came to him: Conrad and Chekhov - Joseph Anton.

The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling will be released worldwide on September 27, 512 page hardcover.

Every book lover on the planet has read the brief official blurb released by publisher Little, Brown for The Casual Vacancy so for variety, let's check out John Purcell's interesting bookseller take on Booktopia: "This is the book which is making the bookworld nervous. The publisher is printing truckloads of the thing. Booksellers are playing along. No one knows if the readers will come out to play. JK's first book for adults... Will it be any good? Because of a strict embargo no one will know until the day of publication when bloggers worldwide will race each other to be first to post a review. Personally, I think it will be good." Either way, interest in the Harry Potter author's first adult novel will be magic.

NW by Zadie Smith was published on August 22 - paperback, 304 pages.

Smith's third novel, On Beauty, (September 2005) was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the 2006 Orange Prize for Fiction. Since then she has been teaching in US universities and is the new book reviewer for Harper's Magazine. In her long awaited fourth novel, Smith turns her attention to a vision of north-west London similar to where she grew up: "Hobbes, Smith, Bentham, Locke and Russell. Five identical blocks make up the Caldwell housing estate in North West London. If you grew up in this relic of seventies urban design, the plan was to get out and get on, to something better, somewhere else. Thirty years later, Caldwell kids Leah, Natalie, Felix and Nathan have all moved on, with varying degrees of success - whatever that means. Living only streets apart, they occupy separate worlds, and navigate an atomised city in which few care to be their neighbour's keeper. Then one April afternoon a stranger comes to Leah's door, seeking help, disturbing the peace, and forcing Leah out of her isolation..."

Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon was published on September 11, paperback 480 pages.

Michael Chabon is the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of seven novels - including The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (Pulitzer Prize 2001) and The Yiddish Policemen's Union - two collections of short stories, and one other work of non-fiction. It is five years since, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union and so once again, the timing helps make this spring literally auspicious. The publisher's blurb says, "An intimate epic, a NorCal Middlemarch set to the funky beat of classic vinyl soul-jazz and pulsing with a virtuosic, pyrotechnical style all its own. Generous, imaginative, funny, moving, thrilling, humane, triumphant, it is Michael Chabon's most dazzling book yet.

Sarah Thornhill by Kate Grenville was published on August 27, paperback 320 pages

One of Australia's most popular authors, Kate Grenville continues her series that began with The Secret River and continued with The Lieutenant in 2010.  Although the release is up against some big names, the success of her previous novels will assure this book builds in popularity. "Sarah and Jack have never doubted that they are made for each other. But there is someone in Sarah's family who will not tolerate the relationship. The reason lies in both the past and the present, and it will take Sarah across an ocean to a place she never imagined she would be. Kate Grenville takes us back to the Australia of The Secret River in this novel about love, tangled histories and how it matters to keep stories alive." We need to keep telling Australia's stories and so more power to you, Kate.

Australians: Eureka to the Diggers Volume 2 by Thomas Keneally was released on September 1, paperback, 464 pages. (Click the Booktopia banner to purchase.) - Australia's #1 online bookstore

Apart from his virtue in supporting the Manly Sea Eagles, Keneally is another of Australia's best-loved story-tellers. His fiction release just a few months ago, Daughters of Mars, is joined now by his latest non-fiction work. "In this companion volume of Thomas Keneally's widely acclaimed history of the Australian people, the vast range of characters who have formed our national story are brought vividly to life. Immigrants and Aboriginal resistance figures, bushrangers and pastoralists, working men and pioneering women, artists and hard-nosed radicals, politicians and soldiers all populate this richly drawn portrait of a vibrant land on the cusp of nationhood and social maturity. This is truly a new history of Australia, by an author of outstanding literary skill and experience, and whose own humanity permeates every page."

Unstoppable: The Incredible Power of Faith in Action by Nick Vujicic was published on September 1, paperback 256 pages.

Nick Vujicic may not be considered one of our major writers, but he is a major personality whose overcoming of adversity and contagious good humour has endeared him to millions the world over. In his new book he preaches what he practises: "Being unstoppable is about believing and achieving. It's about having faith in yourself, your talents and your purpose and, most of all, in God's great love and His divine plan for your life. Despite being born without arms or legs, Nick's challenges have not kept him from enjoying great adventures, a fulfilling and meaningful career, and loving relationships.But how does that happen? In Unstoppable Nick addresses adversity and difficult circumstances that many people face today, including: personal crises; relationship issues; career and job challenges; health and disability concerns; self-destructive thoughts, emotions, and addictions; bullying, persecution, cruelty, and intolerance; balance in body, mind, heart and spirit; and service to others..."

Mortality by Christoper Hitchens was published on September 1, hardcover 128 pages.

Hitchens is with us posthumously to remind that no one is ultimately unstoppable, in this life at least, not that he would countenance that reference. The famed atheist collapsed in his New York hotel room in excruciating pain during the US book tour for his memoir, Hitch-22. He later wrote a series in Vanity Fair and at one point described how he was being deported "from the country of the well across the stark frontier that marks off the land of malady." Before his death in 2011 Hitchens suffered through the range of modern cancer treatments,no doubt deepening even further his reflective ability, as seen in Mortality: " once an unsparingly honest account of the ravages of his disease, an examination of cancer bathroom etiquette, and the coda to a lifetime of fierce debate and peerless prose. In this eloquent confrontation of mortality, Hitchens returns a human face to a disease that has become a contemporary cipher of suffering."

We could go on and mention popular author's such as James Patterson with Zoo, Ian McEwan's Sweet Tooth, Bryce Courtenay's Jack of Diamond's and the eyewitness account of the killing of Osama bin Laden,  No Easy Day,  as other examples of how heavily jammed the publishing pathways are this spring. But I think you get the idea... and we'll review Zoo on the weekend...


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