Chip MacGregor

September 6, 2010

Talking Books


People have been asking me about books…

Vicki wrote to ask, “With all the new books coming out this fall, is there one that really stands out? Something you can’t wait to read?”

Sure. I’m a huge Mark Twain fan, and when he wrote his autobiography he asked that it not be published until 100 years after his death. The first volume (of three) releases this fall. I CAN’T WAIT.

Dawn asked me, "What is the book you're most excited about these days?" 

From a business point of view? Well, Jim Rubart's ROOMS has been a steady-but-slow-grower, but after several months on the market it's just now hitting the bestseller lists (currently #18 on the ECPA fiction list). I'm excited about that one, because I think the more people who hear about it, the more will read it, and the bigger the fan base it will develop. I've said from the beginning that one had a chance to be a huge hit. And I should note that one author who is really generating excitement in the industry these days is Irene Hannon. I was listening to some editors talk at a conference recently, and the fiction director at a major house said, "Of course, Irene Hannon looks like she's going to own the romantic suspense category in CBA — she's taken the place of Dee Henderson." As you can imagine, that made me very happy. Irene is a total pro, has sold more than a million Harleqiun books, and it’s nice to see her books at Revell do so well in the broader market.

Deborah sent this: "I like literary fiction, and you tend to talk about literaries a lot. Which new releases would you recommend I read?"

I'm finally finished THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE ASSOCIATION, and loved it. Then read Audrey Niffenegger's HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY and was disappointed. But I'll tell you, if you don't read Lisa Samson's RESURRECTION IN MAY or Susan Meissner's LADY IN WAITING, you're missing out on two great reads. Sandra Bishop gave me a copy of Carla Stewart's CHASING LILACS — a wonderful read. So is Gina Holmes' novel, CROSSING OCEANS. (And yes, I represent several of these authors.)

Melody asked, "What book have you read recently and simply loved?"

That's always hard because we represent a lot of books, and frankly I don't represent anything unless I actually LIKE it. (For example, I think STUFF CHRISTIANS LIKE is a fabulous, wonderfully funny book. I was proud to represent it.) So I could point to great books from a dozen authors I’m really proud ot. But it's a fair question, so let me list a book or two I did NOT represent… THE HELP is really good. So is THREE CUPS OF TEA. Take a look at RADICAL, a book from David Platt. I'd never heard of it until the editor, Laura Barker, handed me a copy. Loved it. Oh, and I picked up a copy of ANCIENT PATHWAYS by David Robinson yesterday, which takes the Rule of St Benedict and moves it into contemporary times. Very well done.

Lauren came to me with this: "Can you recommend any hidden gems — books or authors we haven't heard about, but ought to?"

Well, sure… I really like Philip Gulley's work, and nobody seems to give him much attention any more. A fabulous writer. And I just re-read a couple of Tom Bodet's novels (he's the guy who says, "We'll leave the light on for you"), and was reminded of what a good writer he is. Try THE END OF THE ROAD. Among the authors I represent, I'd encourage you to take a look at Ginger Garrett's works, as well as the novels of Kimberly Stuart. They're both producing excellent books (Ginger writes historicals, Kim contemporary comedic novels) that haven't received their due. 

Lori wrote, “You spend a lot of time talking about fiction, but I know you’re a nonfiction reader. Aside from the authors you represent, what excites you?”

I’m a huge Sebastian Junger fan, and I’ve yet to read WAR, so I’m looking forward to digging into that. I still have yet to read my copy of THE ART OF RACING WITH THE RAIN. And I’m looking forward to Vikram Akula’s A FISTFUL OF RICE, because friends in the industry have told me his book about creating a business model that combines capitalism with social justice is really strong.

Finally, Dave wants to know, "Now that it's football season, are there are great sports books you can recommend?" 

Absolutely. Check out BLOOD, SWEAT, AND CHALK, which is a great book about how the best NFL coaches built today's game. And Pat
FF THE BALL is a must for those who want to understand football better. Chad Gibbs has just released GOD & FOOTBALL, about the religion of the sport in SEC country. He's an excellent writer, and the book is funny and insightful. And one you haven't heard about yet is David Thomas' REMEMBER WHY YOU PLAY, the true story of a private high school football team that plays a game against a reform school team. Davis is a full-time sports writer, his book is being made into a movie, and you'll find the book has interesting storylines and nice insights into life.  



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