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Post BEA Book Buzz: September Gems Part II

Welcome to the fourth installment of a series of Post-BEA Book Buzz articles where I will be highlighting some of the hot new titles which I discovered at the BEA.

View the first three installments of this series:

In this edition of Book Buzz, I want to continue to share with you some amazing books which are slated for release in September 2010.

Dangerous Neighbors by Beth Kephart (Egmont USA) is young adult fiction. The blurb on the publisher’s site reads: It is 1876, the year of the Centennial in Philadelphia. Katherine has lost her twin sister Anna in a tragic skating accident.  One wickedly hot September day, Katherine sets out for the exhibition grounds to cut short the haunted life she no longer wants to live.

The themes of the novel include betrayal and guilt, hope and despair, love, loss, and new beginnings.

Beth Kephart is the author of numerous books, including the National Book Award finalist  A Slant of Sun. Kephart is a winner of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fiction grant, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a Leeway grant, a Pew Fellowships in the Arts grant, and the Speakeasy Poetry Prize. Her essays are frequently included in anthologies. If you don’t do so already, I highly recommend that you follow the author’s wonderful blog.

The Gendarme by Mark Mustian (Amy Einhorn/Putnam/Penguin) explores the power of memory. The publisher’s blurb describes the book as follows: Alternating between Turkey at the dawn of the 20th century and America in the 1990s, the novel shows how racism creates divisions where none truly exist, how love can transcend nationalities and politics, and how the human spirit fights to survive in the face of hopelessness.

Early reviews of this book have been stunning. Bob Shacochis, National Book Award-winning author, compares Mustian’s writing to such writers as Orphan Pamuk and Faulkner; and Pulitzer Prize winning author Robert Olen Butler calls the novel “harrowing and truly important.”

Mark T. Mustian is an author, attorney and city commissioner. He lives in Florida with his wife and three children. He is the current chair of the Lutheran Readers Project, which came about to connect readers and writers associated with the Lutheran faith. Mustian’s short fiction has been published in numerous publications. Learn more about Mustian and his work on the author’s website.

The Bells by Richard Harvell (Random House) is about a young opera singer who is castrated to preserve his voice. The publisher’s blurb reads: In this confessional letter to his son, Moses recounts how his gift for sound led him on an astonishing journey to Europe’s celebrated opera houses and reveals the secret that has long shadowed his fame: How did Moses Froben, world renowned musico, come to raise a son who by all rights he never could have sired?

The premise of this book fascinates me…thanks to the BEA, I managed to discover what looks to be a gem of a book.

Richard Harvell was born in New Hampshire and studied English literature at Dartmouth College. He now lives in Switzerland, with his wife and son. The Bells is his debut novel.

Some Sing, Some Cry by Ntozake Shange and Ifa Bayeza (St. Martins Press) is another book I had not heard about before arriving in New York City. This is a family saga which opens on a rice plantation off the coast of Georgia.The reader follows the Mayfield family through the events of America’s troubled history—from Reconstruction to both World Wars, from the Harlem Renaissance to Vietnam and the modern day. Compared to the writing of Toni Morrison and Isabel Allende, this has been called emotionally gripping.

Ntozake Shange is a renowned playwright, poet, and novelist.  Among her honors and awards are fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund and a Pushcart Prize. A graduate of Barnard and recipient of a Masters in American Studies from University of Southern California, she currently lives in Brooklyn. Learn more about the author and listen to her speak about her life:

Ifa Bayeza is an award-winning playwright, producer, and conceptual theater artist. Her work The Ballad of Emmett Till won a 2008 Edgar Award for Best Play. A graduate of Harvard University, Bayeza currently lives in Chicago.

Stay tuned for more Book Buzz posts next week…including October Highlights and Hot for the Holidays!

8 Comments

  1. Kay Kay
    June 11, 2010    

    Wendy, I’m really enjoying these features. Some good ones here too. Enjoyed the video.

  2. June 11, 2010    

    I’m so excited about Dangerous Neighbors and I’m pretty bummed that I didn’t get The Gendarme.

  3. June 11, 2010    

    I’ve been looking forward to Dangerous Neighbors for ages! And The Gendarme looks very intriguing to me, too.

  4. June 11, 2010    

    The Beth Kephart book looks especially good, especially because I have been meaning to read a book by her for awhile now.

  5. June 11, 2010    

    If you’re interested in The Bells, you might want to check out Anne Rice’s Cry to Heaven. It’s also about the castrati and is actually way better than most of her vampire books.

    I’ve also read Ntozake Shange’s “choreopoem” For Colored Girls Who Consider Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. If her prose is anywhere as good as her poetry, Some Sing, Some Cry should be excellent.

  6. June 12, 2010    

    I’ll be interested in your thoughts on Dangerous Neighbors since I don’t think you read a whole lot of YA, but Beth is of course so fabulous. I really liked it. 🙂

  7. June 15, 2010    

    Well, thank you. Thank you so much, for including Dangerous Neighbors here. That’s really beautiful of you (but then again, you are a beautiful person). DN is actually a true YA/A crossover book—written that way and hoped to be received that way by the world.

    We shall see (and keep our fingers crossed. wait. that’s my fingers crossed)…

    xo

    b

  8. June 16, 2010    

    Kay: Glad you’re enjoying the series!

    Kathy: I’ll look forward to your review of Beth’s book…sorry you missed out on The Gendarme 🙁

    Hannah: I agree!

    Stephanie: I know what you mean – I’ve been meaning to read one of Beth’s books for awhile now.

    El Fay: I’ve read Rice’s book and remember really liking it (I used to be an Anne Rice fan when I was younger!). Glad to hear you liked Ntozake Shange’s previous work.

    Amy: *nods* I don’t normally read a lot of YA – but the YA I’ve read, I have enjoyed. I expect to like this one 🙂

    Beth: you are so very welcome 🙂 I am looking forward to reading your book – I like that it is a YA/A crossover too! Thanks for letting me know that!

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