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Bob Hoover
Bob Hoover
Children's Corner
Some literary offerings to anticipate

Sunday, September 03, 2000

By Bob Hoover, Post-Gazette Book Editor

Not all wizards are British and wear glasses. There's that fella from Kansas who marks his 100th birthday this year.

L. Frank Baum wrote "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" in 1900. Thirteen more followed, and then there was Judy Garland. To celebrate the milestone, W.W. Norton will publish "The Annotated Wizard of Oz" ($39.95) this month.

A companion volume, "Oz Before The Rainbow: L. Frank Baum's 'The Wizard of Oz' on Stage and Screen to 1939" by Mark Evan Swartz is coming next month from Johns Hopkins University Press ($34.95).

Those titles are two of the more intriguing ones on the fall book release lineup. Again, as in the spring, no readily apparent "big" books are in the pipeline, but there are plenty of offerings to consider.


"The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay" (Random House, $26.95) is Michael Chabon's first novel not set in Pittsburgh. The Pitt grad turns to history in his new book -- the heyday of the comic book. The title characters dream up a Superman-like hero in 1939 but sell the rights for a pittance and watch as their creation makes a bundle. September.

"The Golden Age" (Doubleday, $27.50). We move from relative youth to a real Golden Ager with Gore Vidal, who completes his historical narrative of America at 75 with this novel set in the World War II years. September.

"A Friend of the Earth" (Viking, $24.95). Now calling himself T.C. Boyle, the flamboyant and prolific novelist takes on an environmental crisis in 2025. September.

"Pagan Babies" (Delacorte, $24.95). Every year we expect Elmore Leonard's battery to run down, but he keeps on scribbling, this time devising a story which moves from Rwanda to his favorite back yard of Detroit and his favorite characters, mobsters. September.

"The Blind Assassin" (Doubleday, $26). Continuing her quirky approach, Canadian writer Margaret Atwood offers a novel within a novel and a controversial death. September.

"The Bridegroom" (Pantheon, $22). Chinese immigrant Ha Jin, who emerged from obscurity when he won the National Book Award last year, comes forward with a short-story collection. October.

"Disobedience" (Doubleday, $24.95). "A Map of the World" and "The Book of Ruth" showed Jane Hamilton emerging as a serious American novelist. She tries to nail down the title with this account of a family in crisis thanks to indiscreet e-mail. October.

"Licks of Love: Short Stories and a Sequel, Rabbit Remembered." (Knopf, $25). The title gives away the contents of John Updike's newest foray. November.

"Demonology" (Little, Brown, $24.95). Away too long, Rick Moody returns with his collection of short stories, following the novels "The Ice Storm" and "Purple America." January.

"In Sunlight, in a Beautiful Garden" (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $23). Pittsburgh native Kathleen Cambor's second novel uses the Johnstown Flood as its background. January.

"The Body Artist" (Scribner). Don DeLillo returns after the triumph of "Underworld" with this intriguing tale of a man who can tell the future. February.

Scary stuff

"The Last Precinct" (Putnam, $26.95). What's more frightening about a Patricia Cornwell novel, the plot or the author? Pistol-packin' Patty sends her favorite forensic pathologist, Kay "Slice and Dice" Scarpetta back out for more blood and gore. October.

"Merrick" (Knopf, $26.95). It's witchcraft, not vampires, in this newest creeper from Anne Rice. October.

"Roses Are Red" (Little, Brown, $26.95). The formula works, so James Patterson goes with detective Alex Cross again who this time is faced with a rash of bank holdups. November.

"From the Corner of His Eye" (Bantam, price to be announced). Old reliable Dean Koontz never lets the word processor get cold, hammering out yet another thriller, this one about a blind man who regains his sight. December.


"On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft" (Scribner, $25). Stephen King has become as much of a newsmaker as a writer lately, but in this case, he turns off the horror fiction spigot to explain his approach to writing. (Hint: Buy a lot of paper). October.

"Hooking Up" (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $25). While Tom Wolfe went a decade between novels, the old "New Journalist" has cranked out another bit of reportage with his observations about teen-age sexual mores, among other things. October.

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