Weekly book agenda: Tolstoy mash-up, Bourdain sequel, 'The Passage'

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The Independent Culture

Several highly anticipated book releases are scheduled for the upcoming week, in time to become hit summer reads. Stephenie Meyer's new novella goes online for free on June 7, American chef Anthony Bourdain is back with Medium Raw, Tolstoy gets the mash-up treatment with Android Karenina, and US readers are first in line to decide if Justin Cronin's The Passage lives up to its international hype.

Stephenie Meyer's 'The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner'
June 5/7

Two days after releasing The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, Stephenie Meyer will make her new novella available for free online, leaving it up through July 5. Bree Tanner is out as of June 5 in hardcover and as an e-book, then available for free at www.breetanner.com beginning June 7. The book tells the story of a character from Twilight: Eclipse, chronicling "the newborn vampire army's journey as they prepare to close in on Bella Swan and the Cullens, following their encounter to its conclusion." Stephenie Meyer has become a worldwide best-selling author with her young adult series The Twilight Saga, which has sold 100 million copies worldwide and been adapted into blockbuster films.

Anthony Bourdain's 'Medium Raw'

June 7/8

American chef and writer Anthony Bourdain is set to publish a sequel to Kitchen Confidential, his 2000 best-selling book about life behind the scenes in restaurant kitchens. Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook will reportedly tell the story of Bourdain's descent "into chaos under the impact of his sudden success." Bourdain is the executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles in New York and hosts the travel/food series No Reservations. He is the author of A Cook's Tour, Les Halles Cookbook, and the novels Bone in the Throat and Gone Bamboo.

'Android Karenina'
June 8

Quirk Books, the creator of internationally bestselling mash-ups Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Tolstoy's death with its next mashup tale. Android Karenina, due out June 8, sets elements of Anna Karenina in a "steampunk-inspired world" of robotic butlers and ultra-human cyborgs. The Tolstoy title will be co-authored by Sea Monsters author Ben H. Winters. Quirk Books' first title, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith, made US and UK bestseller lists and is now being made into a feature film.

Justin Cronin's 'The Passage'
June 8/24

With a glowing review from Stephen King (whose The Stand is a likely inspiration) and a deal with director Ridley Scott already in the works, Justin Cronin's The Passage has been pegged as a summer hit long before the book makes it into print. Cronin, a Pen/Hemingway-winning novelist for The Summer Guest, sets his story in a post-apocalyptic United States, after a security breach at a secret government facility unleashes the product of a military experiment, leaving behind a crumbling civilization of fearful survivors.

Orange Prize
June 9
London, UK

Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall and Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna are among six titles to make the shortlist for the Orange Prize for Fiction, an annual, high-profile UK literary prize awarded to a female English-language writer of any nationality. Also on the shortlist, which jury chair Daisy Goodwin says "achieves the near impossible of combining literary merit with sheer readability," are The Very Thought of You by Rosie Alison, Black Water Rising by Attica Locke, A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore, and The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey. The winning author will receive £30,000 (€34,000).

June 17
Dublin, Ireland

Open to novels published in English or English translation, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award is the world's most valuable literary prize for a single work of fiction published in English. The 2010 shortlist includes Marilynne Robinson's Home and Joseph O'Neill's post-9/11 novel Netherland, plus works by UK authors Robert Edric, Zoe Heller, and Ross Raisin. Translated titles include The Twin by Dutch author Gerbrand Bakker, German writer Christoph Hein's The Settlement, and French author Muriel Barbery's The Elegance of the Hedgehog. The 2009 IMPAC winner was American author Michael Thomas for his debut novel Man Gone Down. The winner will take home more €100,000.

Shakespeare & Company Literary Festival
June 18-20
Paris, France

The Shakespeare & Company Literary Festival was founded in 2003 as a biannual event that now welcomes more than 5,000 visitors. The festival is the largest in Paris and notable especially for its iconic location, the Left Bank bookshop that has been a gathering point for writers and artists for nearly 60 years (Paris's original Shakespeare & Company, was a center for expat literary culture from 1919 to 1941, welcoming visits from Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Gertrude Stein.) The 2010 edition is set to feature writers including Martin Amis, Jeannette Winterson, Fatima Bhutto, Philip Pullman, Njabulo Ndebele, and Nam Le, and will also mark the launch of a new literary journal, Paris Magazine.

Tokyo International Book Fair
July 8-11
Tokyo, Japan

TIBF is the leading book event focusing on the colossal Japanese publishing industry, which is estimated to be the second largest woldwide. In 2009, the fair welcomed 776 exhibitors from 29 countries and regions and 64,844 registered visitors from Japan and around the world. Focuses include general fiction, business titles, and manga, while a special Digital Publishing Fair will hone in on Japan's e-book market, which fair organizers say is growing at 200 percent per year. The fair will be open to the public on July 10 and 11.