Here are the first lines of the new David Mitchell novel, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, forthcoming in July: “‘Miss Kawasemi?’ Orito kneels on a stale and sticky futon. ‘Can you hear me?’ In the rice paddy beyond the garden, a cacophony of frogs detonates. Orito dabs the concubine’s sweat-drenched face with a damp cloth.”
According to a report for The Wall Street Journal (paywall), Barnes & Noble will be lessening its floor space allotted to traditional books in order to make way for more Nook displays. Over at Melville House’s blog, MobyLives, publisher Dennis Johnson speculates that this move could signify the end of the road for Barnes & Noble as a bookseller.
Visual Editions wants to send photographer Jacob Robinson to La Mancha… by way of camper van. Along the way, he’ll be tasked with “captur[ing] the spirit of Don Quixote” on film and combining his shots with text from Miguel de Cervantes’s novel in order to create a re-imagined, “faithful and contemporary” edition. You can find out more on the effort’s Kickstarter page.
As a child, Xiaolu Guo hunted birds and toads to survive. Now, as a writer in Britain, she’s written a memoir about her difficult childhood, which you can read more about in this review in The New Statesman. Sample quote: “Perhaps it is no coincidence that the reason that Guo gives for deciding to write in English is to be free of Chinese government censorship, a process that she describes as the wearing down of a rock’s sharp edges to a smooth pebble.”
You’d expect excessive swearing, smoking, and sex in a Bridget Jones novel, but a few copies of Mad About the Boy have accidentally included 40 pages of English actor’s David Jason’s memoir, My Life. Publisher Penguin Random House has admitted to the hilariously postmodern mistake. To find out what’s really in the book, read an excerpt at NPR.