Since you’ve probably heard already about JK Rowling’s second novel as Robert Galbraith, allow us instead to draw your attention to a more long-awaited book whose forthcoming publication will prove just as exciting as Rowling’s to a certain crowd (albeit probably a significantly smaller crowd). Samuel Fuller – reporter, Purple Heart recipient, pulp novelist and, most famously, writer and director of such bracingly tough films as Shock Corridor, Pickup on South Street, The Naked Kiss and The Big Red One – died in 1997 aged 85, having quit America for France after the release of his 1982 film White Dog and last directed a film full stop in 1990. Fuller wrote novels throughout his life, from his time as a journalist pre-World War II through to the posthumous publication of his autobiography, A Third Face, in 2002. He was capital letters A Fascinating Man. Now, the Hard Case Crime imprint (published through Titan Books) has announced that it is to release Fuller’s “lost” novel, 1993’s Brainquake, on September 9th. This is capital letters Exciting.
Frankly, it can be hard enough finding stuff to blog about the rest of the year*, so if you think BookMachine is going to continue posting over the festive period when everyone who would do the stuff we’d blog about is off not doing stuff we’d blog about, well, you can go stuff yourself. As the publishing industry winds down for 2013, so will we – the site is coming offline for some maintenance work over the Christmas holidays, so if you want to get one last look at the many and varied ways I’ve pissed off Ayn Rand fans this year, for example, or my almost subliminal attempts at shoehorning my own interests into posts that are meant to be about publishing before the calendar turns to 2014, now’s the time to do that. Thanks to all of you from all of us for reading, happy Festivus an’ aw that, and we’ll see you back here in January, as long as none of us suffer from chronic eye injuries over the next couple of weeks.
*(If I’ve learned one thing from this past year, it’s that not everyone reads these posts with the deadpan inflection I imagine and that I should make clear when I’m joking, so consider this your notification of that.)
Helen Fielding’s third Bridget Jones novel – Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy – has returned to the top of the UK hardback fiction charts for the first time since its release in October. The long-awaited book, published 14 years after prior instalment The Edge of Reason, spent three weeks at number one following its release, fuelled by Super Thursday first day sales of more than 46,000 copies across all formats. Whilst it hasn’t quite maintained that level of success (if it had, it would currently be nearing the 3,000,000 copies sold mark), presumably the onslaught of the Christmas shopping season has had some part to play in its selling 23,000 copies this past week.
Morrissey’s Autobiography – the singer’s self-explanatory memoir, released with some degree of fanfare by Penguin Classics in the UK in October – has already met with great success on these shores, despite (or, given the devotion of his fanbase, perhaps because of) the fact that the book was seemingly largely unedited from his original manuscript, a brief acknowledgement given to Penguin’s Helen Conford for being ‘a steady scrutineer’ the only suggestion that anyone at the publisher was even allowed to read the book before it went to press. Several sources, however, are now reporting that that is emphatically not the case for the book’s American release through Penguin imprint G.P. Putnam’s Sons, with all details of Morrissey’s relationship with photographer Jake Owen Walters apparently removed from the text. A photo of Walters as a young boy present in the UK edition is also nowhere to be found.
Though foundational indie rock heroes Pixies have seemingly been doing everything in their power of late to alienate long-term fans – parting ways with iconic, indispensable bassist Kim Deal in a Welsh branch of Caffè Nero, finding a somewhat agreeable replacement in The Muffs’ Kim Shattuck only to drop her unceremoniously after a couple of months, releasing their first new material in 22 years only for it to turn out pretty depressingly bad – acolytes of their still untouchable brand of weirdo sci-fi surf-rock pop-candy assault may perk up at the news that frontman Black Francis is working on a graphic novel that sounds very him.
As part of Book Week Scotland – which ran throughout last week from 25 November to 1 December – the Scottish Book Trust has revealed the final result of its public vote on the 10 best Scottish novels of the past 50 years, drawn from a previously released longlist. Whether due to the current resurgence of interest in all things Irvine Welsh or simply because of its indelible mark on the Scottish cultural landscape these past 20 years, Trainspotting claims the top spot, a triumph made no less welcome by its predictability and one that presumably prompts another sigh of relief for Rebel Inc.
The Galley Club – the not for profit London-based social organisation for those who work in publishing – holds its last event of the year this coming Wednesday, 4 December, in its usual venue of The George in Strand, with proceedings kicking off at 6.30pm. Its speaker this time round will be Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller, giving a talk entitled “That Was The Year That Was – 2013 in retrospect and 2014 contemplated”. Entry is £5 for non-members, and a buffet and wine are included in the price.
Sceptre has announced that David Mitchell will publish his new novel on 4 September 2014. The Bone Clocks is Mitchell’s sixth novel, his first since 2010’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. A Dutch interview with Mitchell from earlier this year contained the assertion that The Sunken Garden – his 2013 collaboration with English National Opera – acts as ‘a kind of prologue’ to the novel.
Following another successful run at this year’s Edinburgh Festival, ever-popular essayist David Sedaris has announced a 2014 tour of England with his show An Evening With David Sedaris (sadly not, as reported by some, the UK as a whole, with his only non-English date a night in Dublin). Beginning in Manchester on 25 March, the tour encompasses dates in Leamington Spa, Dublin, Cheltenham, Brighton, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Newcastle and a four night run at London’s Cadogan Hall before finishing up in Oxford on 12 April. If his Edinburgh engagements are anything to go by, Sedaris will read from his essays and stories, along with unpublished diary entries, and take questions from the audience.
Once again firmly in the zeitgeist following the huge success of Filth, the cinematic adaptation of his 1998 novel of the same name, Irvine Welsh has revealed that he has revisited one of his most infamous characters for charity this festive season. “He Ain’t Lager” – a short story Welsh has written for the International Network of Street Papers (whose output includes The Big Issue) – sees the return of Francis (“Franco”) Begbie, the frequently violent, perpetually terrifying psychopath who first appeared in Welsh’s own debut, 1993’s Trainspotting, and was last seen (chronologically) emerging from a coma at the end of its 2002 sequel, Porno (although his most recent appearance in print was in Welsh’s 2012 Trainspotting prequel, Skagboys).