Between the Covers 20/10/2013

Your weekly guide to what's really going on in the world of books

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The Independent Culture

The two most successful literary genres of the past three years have finally met, in the most inevitable literary mash-up of the 21st century. Wolf Bride by Elizabeth Moss is described as “Hilary Mantel meets Sylvia Day”. The first and hopefully last time that those two authors have ever appeared in the same sentence. It is published by Hodder & Stoughton on 7 November.

That means nothing, however, as pretty much everything is published on 7 November. Last week a publisher contacted the IoS asking us to review a book it can’t send us a copy of yet. “Why DO we all publish at the same time?!” he joked. “Well, why do you?” we asked. “I know!!” he replied. We’re still none the wiser as to why almost all books are published on the first Thursday of the month. First one to tell us gets a prize. Maybe even in the form of a book review...


As the former editorial director and managing director of Jonathan Cape, Tom Maschler was a figure greatly admired by the authors in his stable. Years after they worked together, Ian McEwan gave him a walk-on part in his latest novel, Sweet Tooth. McEwan sent Maschler the pages in which he appeared before the book was published and Maschler gave them his blessing. So what does he think of the finished novel? “I still haven’t read it,” he confided at the Man Booker Prize dinner. Maschler is not the only Great Man being ignored by subsequent generations who owe him their existence. Between the Covers has received an advance review copy of the new paperback of Nelson Mandela’s (top) inspiring autobiography Long Walk to Freedom, which is released in January 2014 to tie in with a new film of his life. Just so young readers know who the book is about, it bears a large portrait on its front cover: of Idris Elba, who plays Mandela in the movie.


Badgers are still popular with the book-buying public, in spite of everything. Badgerlands: The Twilight World of Britain’s Most Enigmatic Animal by Patrick Barkham is the fourth best-selling natural history title this week, according to Waterstones. (Two very seasonal books on mushrooms also appear in the Top 10).