synopsis of his upcoming book, 11/22/63. The plot is pretty out there: Jake Epping, a teacher, travels to 1958 via a portal in his friend’s diner, where he takes on a mission to prevent the Kennedy assassination. In the meantime, he meets a disturbed man named Lee Harvey Oswald, deals with culture shock of finding himself in a past decade (I can already picture a time travel cliche in the film version: Jake at a soda shop, where “One Fine Day” is playing in the background), and falls passionately in love with a comely librarian named Sadie Dunhill. The upcoming 1,000-page novel sounds like an intriguing departure for Uncle Stevie, but not all of his readers are convinced. Allison Flood of the Guardian counts herself among King’s fans but remains skeptical as to whether he can make time travel interesting.If you’re a true fan of Stephen King, by now you’ve probably read the
Tag: Stephen King (21-30 of 38)
announced his next novel, 11/22/63, scheduled to be released by Scribner November 8th of this year. Described as a “1,000-page tour de force,” the story follows Jake Epping, a high school English teacher, who finds a secret portal to 1958 and takes on a mission to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Jake finds himself in a new world of “Elvis and JFK, of American cars and sock hops,” and in the midst of growing accustomed to life in a past decade, he encounters a “troubled loner” Lee Harvey Oswald and falls in love with a beautiful librarian.Stephen King has
Everybody has something they want to ask Stephen King, whether it’s “Where exactly is the rip in space/time that allows you to write all of these books?” or, as it is for me, “Why did my parents let me read It as a child and then take me to the circus?” Luckily, EW has an exclusive video of Uncle Stevie answering fans’ questions related to his new collection of novellas, Full Dark, No Stars, as well as a whole bunch of other topics. Watch below:
So do you now know everything you wanted to know about King? Have any of you read the new book yet? What do you think?
Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot helped to bring vampires back to their Bram Stoker origins, with an emphasis on the heartless, frightening nature of the bloodsuckers combined with a side-focus on real estate, so he knows a little something about the creatures of the night. In his introduction to the first volume of the upcoming American Vampire series from DC Comics, the horror maestro makes his feelings about how vampires should really be portrayed known: That is, as truly monstrous and evil, not fanged and fabulous. And most definitely not as “lovelorn southern gentlemen,” “anorexic teenage girls,” or “boy-toys with big dewy eyes.”
So is King right? Does scary beat sexy? Are you excited for American Vampire?
Blockade Billy, a new baseball-themed novella from King. The work is the tale of William Blakely, a player long erased from the history books, who harbored a deep, dark secret. Knowing the author, I suspect it’ll be something a lot creepier than steroids or pine tar.Stephen King is a big fan of baseball, particularly the Boston Red Sox, as anyone who’s read The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon can tell you, and now he’s ready to take us out to the ballpark again. In the lead-up to Opening Day, indie publisher Cemetery Dance has just announced the release of
“People have asked me for years when I was going to write a baseball story,” King said in the press release. “Ask no more; this is it.” According to Cemetery Dance, Blockade Billy will be available to ship in a few weeks, but you can order a copy now via the publisher’s online store. The first copies will also come with a baseball card of the protagonist. (And those who don’t order online may be out of luck. As the Cemetery Dance website notes, “We’ll be filling direct orders first and then distributors, online stores, and the chains if there are copies left available after we’ve taken care of our regular customers.”)
It’s interesting to see one of the biggest-name authors in popular literature publishing through a relatively small specialty house like Cemetery Dance. The company kept news of the book quiet so it would be a surprise just in time for the upcoming baseball season. What do you think? Surprised? Any fans of both King and baseball particularly excited for this?
Though it didn’t sell as strongly as The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol moved more than 5.5 million copies to dominate Publishers Weekly‘s just-unveiled list of the best-selling hardcover books of 2009. A few other expected author names populate the Top 15, including John Grisham (No. 2 and No. 6), James Patterson (No. 5), and Patricia Cornwell (No. 12 and No. 14). Stephenie Meyer landed in the ninth spot with her 2008 sci-fi novel The Host, but the lack of a Twilight book was evident, particularly in the ascendancy of two entries from P.C. Cast’s Twi-lite House of Night series, which rose up to fill a vampire-shaped hole. The real surprise, though, is Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, which itself was helped by tremendous word of mouth to become the fourth best-selling fiction book of the year with 1.1 million copies sold. On the nonfiction side, it was politics, mainly conservative, that got the cash register ringing. Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue capped the list, but books by Glenn Beck, conservative radio host Mark Levin, and the late Edward Kennedy all made it into the top five.
Whereas sales of albums and movie tickets are tallied virtually in real-time, the figures for the publishing industry are often as closely guarded as the Colonel’s secret recipe, so PW’s yearly ranking offers one of the best snapshots of the literary marketplace. And while the top contenders on both the fiction and nonfiction lists sold millions of copies, the overall list reveals a far less rosy picture of book sales. The number of titles that sold at least 100,000 copies is down by significant double-digit percentages from 2008 in both fiction and nonfiction.
E-book sales figures weren’t included this year (they will be for 2010), but since digital editions rarely exceed 5 percent of a book’s total sales it’s unlikely that the 2009 sales list would have received a big boost from their inclusion. Here are the top selling books of 2009 (since some publishers did not provide PW exact sales figures, several titles’ rankings are based on estimates or sales figures provided in confidence for the purposes of ranking):
1. The Lost Symbol: A Novel, Dan Brown (5,543,643 copies)
2. The Associate: A Novel, John Grisham
3. Tempted, P.C. Cast (1,141,818)
4. The Help, Kathryn Stockett (1,104,617)
5. I, Alex Cross, James Patterson (1,040,976)
6. Ford County, John Grisham
7. Finger Lickin’ Fifteen, Janet Evanovich (977,178)
8. Hunted, P.C. Cast (931,219)
9. The Host: A Novel, Stephenie Meyer (912,165)
10. Under the Dome, Stephen King
11. Pirate Latitudes, Michael Crichton (855,638)
12. Scarpetta, Patricia Cornwell (800,00)
13. U Is for Undertow, Sue Grafton (706,154)
14. The Scarpetta Factor, Patricia Cornwell (705,000)
15. Shadowland, Alyson Noel (609,355)
1. Going Rogue: An American Life, Sarah Palin (2,674,684 copies)
2. Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment, Steve Harvey (1,735,219)
3. Arguing With Idiots: How to Stop Small Minds and Big Government, Glenn Beck
4. Liberty & Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto, Mark R. Levin
5. True Compass: A Memoir, Edward M. Kennedy (870,402)
6. Have a Little Faith: A True Story, Mitch Albom (855,843)
7. It’s Your Time: Activate Your Faith, Achieve Your Dreams, and Increase in God’s Favor, Joel Osteen
8. The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow (610,033)
9. Stones Into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books Not Bombs, Greg Mortenson (515,566)
10. Superfreakonomics, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (487,977).
11. Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia Child (487,228)
12. Master Your Metabolism: The 3 Diet Secrets to Naturally Balancing Your Hormones for a Hot and Healthy Body! Jillian Michaels (486,154)
13. The Yankee Years, Joe Torre and Tom Verducci (397,954)
14. Open, Andre Agassi (383,722)
15. Time of My Life, Patrick Swayze and Lisa Niem
'American Vampire' comic book: New twists on the vampire genre, with a little help from Stephen King
The first issue of American Vampire (Vertigo/DC) goes on sale today, and it’s something rather rare: a non-super-hero comic book that does something new with the vampire genre. Created by writer Scott Snyder and drawn by Rafael Albuquerque, the debut introduces us to Skinner Sweet, a low-down, rattlesnake-mean vampire. Forget the neurasthenic, elegantly neurotic, aristo vamps of so much popular literature. Skinner is more like crossing Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul with a young, slim, undead Ronnie Van Zant from Lynyrd Skynyrd: a tough little cuss who wants to bite for the blood, for the class-revenge, and for the pleasure of it.
The book spans decades. Snyder is launching American Vampire with his own story, about a Roaring Twenties version of Skinner, on the shady outskirts of the movie industry. Very smart, knowledgeable stuff. And Snyder gets an assist, and a little extra publicity, by having enlisted Stephen King to write a Skinner origin-story: A lean, mean cowboy Skinner in the Old West. As I’ve written before, one of the best ways King uses his popularity is to draw attention to the work of other writers and artists he admires, so his generosity here is matched by his cool storytelling.
It’s good to know that American Vampire will take its unique character and skip him across many different decades; the story possibilities are abundant. Add Rafael Albuquerque’s excellent art, which mixes shadowy action with bright sunlight and sketchy characters, and you’ve got one promising new series.
I wasn’t a huge Salinger fan, but I’m sorry to hear of his passing — the way you’d feel if you heard an eccentric, short-tempered, but often fascinating uncle had passed away. Not as great a loss as Beverly Jensen (her marvelous The Sisters from Hardscrabble Bay will be published this summer), who wrote only one book before dying of cancer at the age of 49, or of Raymond Carver, who was barely into his 50s; Salinger was, after all, in his 90s.
But it is a milestone of sorts, because Salinger was the last of the great post-WWII American writers, and in Holden Caulfield — maybe the greatest American-boy narrator since Huck Finn — he created an authentic Voice of the Age: funny, anxious, at odds with himself, and badly lost.
Salinger’s death may answer one question that has intrigued readers, writers, and critics for nearly half a century — what literary trove of unpublished work may he have left behind? Much? Some? Or none? Salinger is gone, but if we’re lucky, he may have more to say, even so.
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