Tom Wolfe's New Book Gets a Cover; Joan Didion on the Mend

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Today in books and publishing: Consumer Reports endorses The Nook, Joan Didion has suffered another scary bone injury, and Tom Wolfe's new book will have a very bright cover.

77-year-old Joan Didion has cancelled a scheduled reading next month at UCLA "due to injury," according to an e-mail that was sent out to ticketholders, Didion's publisher Knopf confirmed that the Year of Magical Thinking author recently suffered a broken patella (kneecap) at lunch when she "banged her leg." The author has been wearing a brace and doctors are apparently advising her to get some rest. This is the second major injury Didion has sustained in the last 13 months. Last February, she had to scrap a planned speech at the University of Minnesota after suffering a fractured collarbone.  [Los Angeles Times]

Little, Brown has settled on a bright cover design for Tom Wolfe's fourth novel, Back to Blood. The publisher swears the Miami-set tome -- which they shelled out a $7 million advance for back in 2007 based on Wolfe's 20-page outline -- is coming out October 23. We'll believe it when we actually have the book in our hands and see our first exclamation point. Following Wolfe's move to Little, Brown, The Wall Street Journal reported the publisher hoped for a one million copy print run in 2009. But in 2009, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noted in an interview with Wolfe that the new Back to Blood target date was "fall 2010." In Wolfe's defense, part of his brand is enthusiastic research and a willingness, as he told the San Francisco Chronicle in 1998, to cut "bales" of material from his already hefty books. (Notably, the research process for A Man in Full -- which more than anything is about real estate and the changing American south -- included a ten-day trip to Tokyo for Wolfe to gather information on modern Japan.)  Plus, the subjects he's dealing with this time around -- including immigration, modern art, Florida real estate, the state of journalism, and the habits of the blindingly rich at play -- have been far from "fixed" over the past four years.  [@lenabitts]

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Here's a feather in Barnes & Noble's e-reader hat: the folks at Consumer Reports have deemed the Nook Simple Touch superior to the Kindle, after comparing the two devices head-to-head. Testers apparently found battery life and wireless access on the two devices to be interchangeable, but appreciated the "minimal fuss and extra features" on the Nook. 

John Schoenfelder, formerly the editor of Mulholland Books, is leaving for a job with frightening and literate movie producer Scott Rudin. Deadline reports Schoenfelder will be a "senior vice president" for Rudin, while Publishers Lunch says he'll "oversee the development department." Either way, it's a big and important hire, since Rudin sometimes seems to have a bottomless supply of book-to-screen adaptations in his development hopper. And Schoenfelder seems to have a pretty good idea for the kind of material that can be the stuff of super-duper blockbusters. Last April, he won a battle to acquire the top-secret first installment in a planned series of thrillers "hatched with a concept" by J.J. Abrams. [Vulture]

Netflix has gobbled up the rights to Hemlock Grove, an upcoming horror novel -- check that, an upcoming  Farrar, Straus, Giroux horror novel -- by author Brian McGreevy. The plan is to turn the book -- about a gruesome murder in Pittsburgh-- into an original series for the streaming video service. A publicist for the book -- which comes out next week -- says that Netflix offered the ability to take "a ‘hard R’ approach" to the material, which is only reasonable, since Hostel director Eli Roth has signed on as a producer. [Publishers Weekly]

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.