Published every weekday, Shelf Awareness is the online newsletter for independent booksellers. They publish an April Fool’s edition that has been known to fool many intelligent people. Here’s my favorite article, along with a list of headlines from today’s issue.
Summer of Discoveries: “New” Salinger, Dickens, Homer on Way
Following the discovery of manuscripts by both Dr. Seuss and Harper Lee earlier this year, long-lost works by J.D. Salinger, Charles Dickens and Homer have been found and will be published this summer, too.
J.D. Salinger’s Franny & Zooey & Buddy & Bessie, which was written in the early 1970s, is the first Glass family novel to be published following the author’s death. According to a Hachette spokesman, the novel marks a peculiar philosophical shift from the rest of Salinger’s work and is set very soon after the events of the novella “Zooey.” The plot, said the spokesman, involves Franny “finally getting it together and getting a job.”
Simon & Schuster, meanwhile, will publish a Charles Dickens novella called “The Actress” this summer. Written not long after the beginning of the author’s affair with Ellen Ternan, the semi-autobiographical story apparently was never shown to anyone and hidden immediately in a lockbox. Less a story than an allegory, the novella suggests that there’s nothing weird about a prominent public figure leaving his wife of 21 years for an 18-year-old.
By far the most surprising discovery is the transcription of an untitled, previously unknown epic poem attributed to Greek poet Homer. The transcription, believed to be the work of a medieval scholar whose name is now lost, was found recently in the ruins of an abbey in France. The epic continues the story of Odysseus after his return to Ithaca. No longer contending with angry gods, being imprisoned by nymphs or waging war, the Greek king struggles to adjust to domestic life, the onset of middle age and the departure of his son Telemachus to have his own adventures.
After a fierce bidding war, Penguin Random House obtained rights to publish the poem’s English translation. Although the epic did not quite stand the test of time like The Iliad or The Odyssey, the publisher’s spokespeople have insisted that it’s still a very compelling read, as it shows a more “introspective, subtle and relatable” side of the blind poet. A first printing of three million is planned. —Alex Mutter
Click on Shelf Awareness to read the articles below, and more:
Obama Appoints James Patterson “Book Czar”
Barnes & Noble Adding Indiebound Kiosks
Algorithim’s First Novel: 7R345UR3 15L4ND
Amazon to Team Up with Indie Booksellers
European Takeover of American Bookselling
They all sound pretty legit at first glance, don’t they? Happy Spring!