First up, President George W. Bush's memoir, Decision Points. Though embargoed with a release date of November 9, the last two weeks have seen the book's contents leaked all over the place. Reviews are mixed, but there seems to be no dispute that Decision Points is stuffed full of revealing insights about the 43rd president. New York Times book reviewer Michiko Kakutani says the book "could as well have been titled 'The Decider Decides.'" In Salon's War Room, Maxwell Strachan gives us "12 takeaways from the Bush memoir." I'm probably not alone in that my favorite so far of all the leaks is the revelation that the lowest moment of the presidency for Mr. Bush was Kanye West's post-Katrina accusation that the president didn't care about black people. Needless to say, this book will sell huge and generate lots of discussion.
Then there's poor old put-upon Greg Hefley, whose adventures continue in The Ugly Truth, the fifth installment, after last year's Dog Days, in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. What's the ugly truth that Greg must face? As the purple ad banners on Shelf Awareness and PW Daily and other internet book newsletters proclaim: EVERYTHING CHANGES. Growing up, including 8th grade stuff like boy-girl parties and--gulp--puberty, is tough. Author Jeff Kinney always strikes a wonderful balance between the ridiculous and the serious (landing, as is appropriate for an independent reader level book, more often on the side of ridiculous than not), and there's no indication that this book will be any different. One thing is absolutely certain: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth will be the go-to gift for the seven to eleven set this holiday, along with the the earlier books (for those kids who need to catch up before they can read the new one), the DVD of the movie version of the first book, and the related merchandise--games, T-shirts, caps, and more--that will be available. It doesn't take much of a seer to say that this book will probably be one of the top five sellers of the year...possibly even number one.
There's new fiction from David Baldacci and Stephen King this week. Josh Olds, reviewing Baldacci's latest Camel Club outing on the blog Fiction Addict says, "Hell’s Corner is a rush from beginning to end." And about Stephen King's new collection of short stories, New York Times reviewer Janet Maslin marvels that King, "seems able to write compact tales or gargantuan ones with equal ease" and "Whatever the length at which he writes, Mr. King leaves readers with a simple, one-word message: Gotcha!" Hey, I'm in.
Nora Ephron's I Remember Nothing is the follow-up to I Feel Bad About My Neck, her 2006 collection of humorous essays which spoke particularly to women of a certain age. Once again, Janet Maslin: “I Feel Bad About My Neck had 15 entries, most of them tight, beguiling, exemplary essays written for print magazines (O, Vogue, The New Yorker) and The New York Times. I Remember Nothing has 23 pieces, and most of them are much shorter and less shapely." Whatever the critical reception, though, I've already had fans of the last book clamoring for this one. Gift-y and book group-y.
Fannie Flagg reliably delivers sweet/tart comic novels about small town life. Her publisher's description says of I Still Dream About You "Bestselling author Fannie Flagg’s trademark comic flair is out in full force in this fabulous new novel about the unpredictability of life." Her audience will be thrilled, and so will booksellers.
New in paperback are offerings from Thomas Fleming and Jodi Picoult. Fleming's book is in the vein of Joseph Ellis's Founding Brothers and David McCullough's 1776. The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers, examines the women behind the men--Abigail, Dolly, Martha, Sally, et al--and the influence they had on the establishment of a new country.
And Picoult's House Rules is another ripped-from-the-headlines melodrama, this one about a teenage boy with Aspberger's Syndrome, the symptoms of which make the boy appear guilty when his tutor turns up dead one day.