Here are the books I am working on this fall. To request review copies or to inquire about an interview with the authors, please email me at gabrielle.gantz [@] picadorusa.com.
Author: Arnaldur Indridason
On Sale: August 27, 2013
Haunted by personal demons, Detective Erlendur decides to take a short leave of absence, putting his female assistant, Elínborg, in charge while he is gone. When a disturbing case lands on her desk, Elínborg is quickly thrust into a world of violent crime. A serial rapist is on the loose, and the clock is ticking as the police race to catch him before he strikes again.
ARNALDUR INDRIÐASON won the CWA Gold Dagger Award for Silence of the Grave and is the only author to win the Glass Key Award for Best Nordic Crime Novel two years in a row, for Jar City and Silence of the Grave.
Title: My Heart is an Idiot
Author: Davy Rothbart
On Sale: September 2, 2013
Davy Rothbart is looking for love in all the wrong places. Constantly. He falls helplessly in love with pretty much every girl he meets—and rarely is the feeling reciprocated. Time after time, he hops in a car and tears across half of America with his heart on his sleeve. He’s continually coming up with outrageous schemes, which he always manages to pull off. Well, almost always. But even when things don’t work out, Rothbart finds meaning and humor in every moment. Whether it’s humiliating a scammer who takes money from aspiring writers or playing harmless (but side-splitting) goofs on his deaf mother, nothing and no one is off limits.
DAVY ROTHBART is a frequent contributor to This American Life and a variety of magazines, the founder of Found Magazine and the editor of its various bestselling anthologies, and the author of The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas. Learn more about his book here
Title: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
Author: Robin Sloan
On Sale: September 24, 2013
The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco Web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The customers are few and never seem to buy anything; instead, they “check out” obscure volumes from strange corners of the store. Clay concludes the store must be a front for something larger and engineers a complex analysis of the clientele’s behavior with the help of his variously talented friends. But when they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls.
ROBIN SLOAN grew up in Michigan and now splits his time between San Francisco and the Internet. You can find him online here
Title: The Rise to Greatness
Author: David Von Drehle
On Sale: September 24, 2013
As 1862 dawned, the American republic was at death’s door. The federal government appeared overwhelmed, the U.S. Treasury was broke, and the Union’s top general was gravely ill. The Confederacy—with its booming economy, expert military leadership, and commanding position on the battlefield—had a clear view to victory. To a remarkable extent, the survival of the country depended on the judgment, cunning, and resilience of the unschooled frontier lawyer who had recently been elected president.
Twelve months later, the Civil War had become a cataclysm but the tide had turned. The Union generals who would win the war had at last emerged, and the Confederate Army had suffered the key losses that would lead to its doom. The blueprint of modern America—an expanding colossus of industrial and financial might—had been indelibly inked. And the man who brought the nation through its darkest hour, Abraham Lincoln, had been forged into a singular leader.
In Rise to Greatness, acclaimed author David Von Drehle has created both a deeply human portrait of America’s greatest president and a rich, dramatic narrative about our most fateful year.
DAVID VON DREHLE is the author of three previous books, including the award-winning Triangle, an account of the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire that The New York Times called “social history at its best.” He is an editor-at-large at Time magazine.
Title: Cursing Mommy’s Book of Days
Author: Ian Frazier
On Sale: October 1, 2013
Based on his widely read columns for The New Yorker, Ian Frazier’s uproarious first novel, The Cursing Mommy’s Book of Days, centers on a profoundly memorable character, sprung from an impressively fertile imagination. Structured as a daybook of sorts, the book follows the Cursing Mommy—beleaguered wife of Larry and mother of two young boys—as she offers tips on how to do various tasks around the home, only to end up on the ground, cursing, surrounded by broken glass. Her voice is somewhere between Phyllis Diller’s and Sylvia Plath’s: a hilariously desperate housewife with a taste for swearing and large glasses of red wine, who speaks to the frustrations of everyday life.
IAN FRAZIER is the author of Great Plains, The Fish’s Eye, On the Rez, Family, and Travels in Siberia, as well as Coyote v. Acme, Dating Your Mom, and Lamentations of the Father, all published by FSG. He is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker. You can find his New Yorker columns here
Title: A History of Britain in Thirty-Six Postage Stamps
Author: Chris West
On Sale: October 22, 2013
Hailed by The Times of London as “a splendid reminder of the philatelic glories of the past,” this unique book tells the breathtaking history of Britain through thirty-six of its fascinating, beautiful, and sometimes eccentric postage stamps. West shows that stamps have always mirrored the events, attitudes, and styles of their time. Through them, one can glimpse the whole epic tale of an empire unfolding. From the famous Penny Black, printed two years after Queen Victoria’s coronation, to the Victory! Stamp of 1946, anticipating the struggle of postwar reconstruction—A History of Britain in Thirty-six Postage Stamps is hugely entertaining and idiosyncratic romp, told in Chris West’s lively prose.
CHRIS WEST has written widely in a variety of genres. His titles include a bestselling business guide, and a quartet of crime novels. He inherited a love of history from his father and an Edwardian “Lincoln” stamp album from his great uncle as a child. His love for stamps was revived when he found that same dust-covered album in his attic as an adult.
Title: The Fun Stuff
Author: James Wood
On Sale: October 22, 2013
With The Broken Estate, The Irresponsible Self, and How Fiction Works, James Wood established himself as the leading critic of his generation. The Fun Stuff confirms his preeminence, not only as a discerning judge but also as one of fiction’s most ardent appreciators. In these twenty-three sparkling dispatches—which range over such crucial writers as Thomas Hardy, Leo Tolstoy, and Edmund Wilson—Wood offers a panoramic look at the modern novel. He effortlessly connects his encyclopedic understanding of the literary canon with an equally in-depth analysis of the most important authors writing today, including Cormac McCarthy, Lydia Davis, and Aleksandar Hemon. From the brilliant title essay on Keith Moon and the lost joys of drumming to Wood’s incisive piece on the writings of George Orwell, The Fun Stuff is indispensable reading for anyone who cares about contemporary literature.
JAMES WOOD is a staff writer at The New Yorker and a visiting lecturer at Harvard University. He is the author of How Fiction Works, as well as two essay collections, The Broken Estate and The Irresponsible Self, and a novel, The Book Against God. You can find his New Yorker archive here
Title: Detroit City is the Place to Be
Author: Mark Binelli
On Sale: November 5, 2013
Once America’s capitalist dream town, Detroit is our country’s greatest urban failure, having fallen the longest and the farthest. But the city’s worst crisis yet (and that’s saying something) has managed to do the unthinkable: turn the end of days into a laboratory for the future. Urban planners, land speculators, neopastoral agriculturalists, and utopian environmentalists—all have been drawn to Detroit’s baroquely decaying, nothing-left-to-lose frontier.
With an eye for the darkly absurd and the radically new, Detroit-area native Mark Binelli has chronicled this convergence. Throughout the city’s “museum of neglect”—its swaths of abandoned buildings, its miles of urban prairie—he tracks both the blight and the signs of its repurposing, from the school for pregnant teenagers to a beleaguered UAW local; from metal scrappers and gun-toting vigilantes to organic farming and GM’s risky wager on the Volt electric car.
Sharp and impassioned, Detroit City Is the Place to Be is alive with the sense of possibility that comes when a city hits rock bottom. Beyond the usual portrait of crime, poverty, and ruin, we glimpse a longshot future Detroit that is smaller, less segregated, greener, economically diverse, and better functioning—what could be the boldest reimagining of a post-industrial city in our new century.
MARK BINELLI is the author of the novel Sacco and Vanzetti Must Die! and a contributing editor at Rolling Stone. You can find Mark online here
Author: Stéphane Gerson
On Sale: November 26, 2013
Who was Nostradamus? In this new biography, historian Stéphane Gerson takes readers back in time to explore the life and afterlife of Michel de Nostredame, the astrologer whose Prophecies have been transformed into today’s Gospel of Doom. Whenever we enter a new era, Nostradamus offers certainty and solace. In 1666, guests at posh English dinner parties discussed his quatrain about the Great Fire of London. In 1942, Irène Némirovsky latched her hopes for survival to Nostradamus’s prediction that the war would soon end. And on September 12, 2001, Brooklyn teenagers proclaimed that “this guy, Nostradamus” had seen 9/11 coming. Through prodigious research in European and American archives, Gerson chronicles the life of this mystifying figure and our lasting fascination with his predictions.
STÉPHANE GERSON is a cultural historian of modern France and the editor of a new edition of Nostradamus’s Prophecies for Penguin Classics. He teaches French history at New York University