File this one under "We Can Hardly Wait Seriously."
The publishing industry is buzzing over the recent announcement that maverick novelist Tom Robbins will finally publish his long-awaited memoir, "Tibetan Peach Pie," in 2014.
"For years, the women in my life have been bugging me to put down on paper some of the absolutely true stories I've been telling them over the years stories from what I must confess has not exactly been a normal life," said Robbins, 76, in a statement. "It will lift the curtain on a succession of highly personal magical-mystery peep shows."
"What an honor to share part of the pie that has been the real, homemade Tom Robbins," said Daniel Halpern, president and publisher of Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins.
Robbins' books underline the offbeat and the outlandish, with underlying metaphysical themes and a whole lot of humor. His titles include "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues," "Jitterbug Perfume" and "B Is for Beer."
"The function of the artist is to provide what life does not," he has famously said. The acclaimed literary critic Fernanda Pivano once called him "the most dangerous writer in the world."
Though he is a veteran world traveler who has included among his friends movie directors Gus Van Sant and Robert Altman, mythologist Joseph Campbell and poet Robert Bly, his sense of the absurd is foremost in his lifestyle. For instance, for eight years he participated in an annual Spam-carving contest, and he has been the host of an annual mayonnaise tasting at his residence in La Conner, Wash.
Robbins appeared for The Bee Book Club in 2000, for "Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates." About 1,400 fans crowded into the Scottish Rite Center to see him. His "guidance" for that novel, he told me in an interview, came from the "wisdom" of Julia Child: "Learn to handle hot things. Keep your knives sharp. Above all, have a good time."
Three by Sparks
The Nicholas Sparks juggernaut doesn't slow down. The New York Times best-selling author ("The Notebook") and former Sacramentan has turned to cable TV with three projects now in development.
"It's a chance to venture into stories I don't always write about," he told the Hollywood Reporter.
TNT plans a show based on Sparks' novel "A Bend in the Road." It's described as a romantic drama focused on a recently widowed small-town coastal-Georgia sheriff and his relationship with his son's second-grade teacher.
Lifetime is planning on "Deliverance Creek," described as "a post-Civil War drama that explores the lengths one woman goes to protect her family, as she is caught between trying to be good and surviving."
ABC Family will run "The Falls," "a modern re-imagining of 'Romeo and Juliet.' "
On Hemingway's coattails
When it comes to writers, editors and critics writing about or referencing writers, it seems that Ernest Hemingway is everybody's favorite target for better or for worse.
Two more titles join the long list: "Hemingway's Girl" by Erika Robuck (NAL, $16, 352 pages) and "To Have and Have Another" by Philip Greene (Perigee, $24, 320 pages).
In "Girl," a novel set in Depression-era Key West, the young island beauty Mariella is hired by Hemingway's second wife, Pauline, as a housemaid. Her immersion in a volatile new world inevitably leads to high drama and high risk. Symbolically, a hurricane is bearing down on Key West.
"Another" is a "Hemingway cocktail companion" by cocktail historian and co-founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans. Anecdotes, letters, recipes, reminiscences, great stories about legendary cafes and bars. Make a drink and turn the page.
More new titles
Try this disparate bibliography:
"After the Fall" by Victoria Roberts (W.W. Norton, $24.95, 192 pages): When a wealthy New York City family loses its fortune, their penthouse is emptied and its contents dumped in Central Park. There, they make a rather comfortable home for a while. The book has been called a "delicious love letter to family, creativity and New York." An easy, whimsical read with 225 illustrations.
"Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf Goodman" by Sara James Mnookin (Harper, $35, 240 pages): The luxurious department store has hosted a who's who of celebrity shoppers in its 111-year history, including Jackie Kennedy, Grace Kelly, Candice Bergen and Joan Rivers. This amusing, nostalgic portrait of a Fifth Avenue legend is spiced with spectacular photos and original sketches.
"This Generation: Dispatches From China's Most Popular Literary Star (and Race Car Driver)" by Han Han (Simon & Schuster, $24, 288 pages): Han Han is a very big deal in China singer, sportsman, satirist and author. This collection of his blogs gives the Western reader a tour inside the world's most populous country.
A note from the Strand
Whenever we hear from Strand magazine managing editor Andrew Gulli, something interesting is involved. Gulli has a talent for finding lost short stories by famous authors, such as Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammett, Graham Greene and Cornell Woolrich.
This time around, Gulli has published a Ray Bradbury tale titled "Dear Santa," in which a 12-year-old boy meets a man who may be the real Santa Claus.
"I've always been a big fan of Bradbury's stories, especially the ones he wrote later in his life, when he was very much to the point," Gulli said on the phone. "This story is about how important it is to have hope in life. It's a lot like Bradbury's best works, (in which) people want to cling to the child within them."
Look for the story in the Holiday Issue of Strand, now at Barnes & Noble and other bookstores ($6.95). To subscribe to the quarterly: (800) 300-6652 or www.strandmag.com.
Gulli and his sister, Lamia Gulli, are co-editors of "No Rest for the Dead," a serial by 26 mystery writers (Touchstone, $24.99, 272 pages).
Two-thirds of a trilogy
Elaine Macko of Elk Grove was happy to email the news: Her new book, "Poisoned," has been released (L&L Dreamspell, $14.95, 260 pages). It's the second in a trilogy (after "Armed") starring reluctant P.I. Alex Harris, owner of the Always Prepared temporary agency. Once again, she must solve a murder in her hometown of Indian Cove, Conn.
Macko will appear at 5 p.m. Dec. 1 at Face in a Book, 4359 Town Center Blvd., El Dorado Hills; (916) 941-9401. Visit the author at www.elainemackobooks.com.
LET US KNOW
If you have information on author appearances or other book-related special events, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org at least two weeks before the event. To read the online calendar, go to www.sacbee.com/books. Questions? Call The Bee's Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128.