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'Fifty Shades' tints book world

September 9, 2012 12:10 am

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BY HILLEL ITALIE

AP National Writer

NEW YORK

--The "Fifty Shades" phenomenon may get even hotter this fall.

Booksellers and publishers expect at least a dozen novels to benefit from E.L. James' multimillion-selling erotic trilogy, a list-topper since early spring, and new ones continue to be acquired. Releases likely to catch on include Sylvain Reynard's "Gabriel's Inferno" and "Gabriel's Rapture," Sylvia Day's "Reflected in You" and a compilation of Harlequin novellas unsubtly titled "12 Shades of Surrender."

Just in the past two weeks, St. Martin's Press took on Sara Fawkes' self-published hit, "Anything He Wants (Dominated by the Billionaire)," and Gallery Books, a Simon & Schuster imprint, signed up Jennifer Probst's "The Marriage Bargain."

Open Road Integrated Media, a digital publisher, announced it would release the popular "Eighty Days" trilogy, written by a "well-known publishing insider" and a "familiar figure in London's fetish scene" collectively known as Vina Jackson.

"We're in a moment of time, let's put it that way," says Louise Burke, Gallery's publisher and executive vice president. "There's a flurry of agents coming to us with books."

Cindy Hwang, executive editor at Berkley Books and Sylvia Day's publisher, says that thanks to "50 Shades" the door between erotica and mainstream fiction has been "kicked down completely."

The market, "this fascination with the über-rich," demands more masters of the universe, at least fictional ones.

Still, Hwang adds, "there will be other kinds of books."

New novels are coming from James Patterson, Mitch Albom, Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, John Grisham and Patricia Cornwell. J.K. Rowling will find out how many of her adult "Harry Potter" fans are game for a book without wizards with "The Casual Vacancy."

Justin Cronin follows his best-selling "The Passage" with "The Twelve," the second of a planned trilogy.

FOLLETT'S EYES OPENED

Ken Follett has a pair of projects: A TV miniseries of his epic Medieval saga "World Without End" is scheduled to air on Reelz Channel starting in October. And his new novel, "Winter of the World," is the second of his "Century" trilogy on war. The author explained during a recent interview that "Winter of the World," a World War II story running nearly 1,000 pages, was as an education for him.

"Before I started 'Winter of the World,' I didn't know that the Nazis had killed thousands of handicapped people. That was completely new to me" he says. "World War II has been done so many times before that I needed to find something new. And I was so shocked and horrified by this program that as soon as I read about it I knew I had to use it."

Tom Wolfe, who helped define 1980s New York in "The Bonfire of the Vanities," has set the 650-page crime story "Back to Blood" in the contemporary "melting pot" of Miami.

Michael Chabon keeps it close to home with "Telegraph Avenue," named for the famous stretch of his longtime residence, Berkeley, Calif. Zadie Smith's "NW" is set in northwest London, where the author grew up.

Salman Rushdie's "Joseph Anton" is a memoir which for its title uses Rushdie's alias when he was in hiding after Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini called for his death for the alleged blasphemy of "The Satanic Verses."

Chinua Achebe's "There Was a Country" is a long-awaited memoir about 1960s civil war in his Nigeria.

Short stories will come from Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz and from an acknowledged master of the form, Alice Munro.

"There's a great finality to stories," Diaz, whose novel "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" won the Pulitzer in 2008, wrote in an email to The Associated Press. "Very bracing, a reminder of how life sometimes works."

Rushdie's ally Christopher Hitchens died of cancer, but his name will appear on a handful of books. His essays about his fatal illness will be published as "Mortality."

Martin Amis has dedicated "Lionel Asbo," a dark farce set in London, to his close friend, as did Ian McEwan for his novel "Sweet Tooth."

Meanwhile, two books will feature the late David Foster Wallace: his essay collection "Both Flesh and Not" and D.T. Max's biography "Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story."

PRESIDENTS AND POLITICS

Patricia Bostelman, Barnes & Noble Inc.'s vice president of marketing, notes a wave of Kennedy books, including David Nasaw's in-depth biography of patriarch Joseph P. Kennedy and White House tapes of John F. Kennedy, with daughter Caroline Kennedy providing an introduction.

Bill O'Reilly looks into the darkest days with "Killing Kennedy," a follow-up to his million-selling "Killing Lincoln." More on the Kennedys may come from an estranged in-law, Arnold Schwarzenegger, in "Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story."

Bob Woodward's "The Price of Politics" will test the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist's skill for scoops; Woodward promises a close, inside account of President Barack Obama's economic policies. Former FDIC chair Sheila Bair will give her version of the financial crisis in "Bull by the Horns."

Jeffrey Toobin's "The Oath" is a review of the current Supreme Court.

Jon Meacham, Random House editor and Pulitzer winner for his Andrew Jackson biography, has written "Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power."

AGE IS JUST A NUMBER

A handful of works prove there is no age limit for the writing profession. M.H. Abrams, who turned 100 this summer, has a book of essays, "The Fourth Dimension of a Poem."

Herman Wouk, 97, author of "The Caine Mutiny" and "The Winds of War" has a comic novel, "The Lawgiver."

One of the great scholars of early American history, 90-year-old Bernard Bailyn, continues his study of immigration to the colonies with "The Barbarous Years."

Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, 92, has a new book of verse, "Time of Useful Consciousness."

Most rock stars will stick to the memoir: Neil Young, Rod Stewart, Pete Townshend, Courtney Love, sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart.

CHILDREN'S BOOKS

Kids can look forward to Rick Riordan's "The Mark of Athena," Book 3 of his "Heroes of Olympus" series, and to Jeff Kinney's latest "Diary of a Wimpy Kid."

The very young might go for Dav Pilkey's tongue-twistingly named "Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers," while the very, very young can enjoy Norman Bridwell's "Clifford Collection," six favorite stories about the giant red dog whose 50th anniversary arrives next winter.

TICKLE YOUR FUNNY BONE

Humor books include the complete "Calvin & Hobbes" and the latest Calvin Trillin verse, "Dogfight: An Occasionally Interrupted Narrative Poem About the Presidential Campaign."

But the main event is a clash of titans, and titles: Stephen Colbert's "America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't" vs. The Onion's "Book of Known Knowledge: A Definitive Encyclopaedia of Existing Information."





Copyright 2014 The Free Lance-Star Publishing Company.