Today in books and literature: John Grisham returns to the baseball diamond, Bill O'Reilly's Killing Lincoln is on sale at one Ford's Theatre Kiosk, and Haruki Murakami's 1Q84 print sales are outplacing digital by a 3-to-1 margin.
- John Grisham has sold a book about baseball called Calico Joe to publisher Hodder & Stoughton, because that's what John Grisham thinks an old-time baseball nickname sounds like. Grisham proclaims that the book is his "first baseball novel." That is technically true, but he also wrote the screenplay for Mickey, a little-seen 1996 Harry Connick, Jr. movie about a dad on the run from the IRS whose plans for escape are foiled by his son getting another year of Little League baseball eligibility. It's unclear from the synopsis why the dad didn't just the boy they have baseball in Venezuela, but the whole leads to learning, facing the past, and, alarmingly, getting Cuba's Little League team banned from international competition. Based on the book's synopsis, Grisham's going for a Tuesday's with Morrie at the Old Ballyard -vibe with a" 13-year-old boy from a dysfunctional family who is caught in a conflict of loyalties when his troubled baseball-playing father comes face to face with the greatest young player of his age" and then decides to get the two back together again on their deathbeds years later. Though we do think the Calico Joe book trailer could improve on certain aspects of the Mickey theatrical preview, like using the Ken Burns effect for a shot of little, John Grisham in his little baseball uniform. He's not Stonewall Jackson, he's just going to grow up to write The Pelican Brief. [The Bookseller]
- Publisher Henry Holt has said all four inaccuracies in Bill O'Reilly's Killing Lincoln have been corrected, including the very big one about how Lincoln would repeatedly retire to the Oval Office to mull things over, even though there was no Oval Office until William Howard Taft had it built in 1909, 44 years after the 16th president was assassinated. Errors like that got O'Reilly's book banned from the Ford's Theatre basement bookstore, but the Ford’s Theatre Society, which runs the theater in coordination with the parks department, is selling the book in the ground floor lobby gift shop. Paul Tetreault, the director of the Ford's Theatre Society, said the decision would "let our visitors judge the book themselves.” Which is a circuitous way of saying, "We want them to give us, not Amazon, their money if they're going to buy the most popular Lincoln book since Team of Rivals." [Political Bookworm]
- Christian publisher Zondervan will release a special version of Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow's best-selling memoir Through My Eyes that will be "adapted for young readers." Other than the size of the book and occasional footballeese, we can't think of much in Through My Eyes that would confuse kids, let alone offend their sensibilities. Home-schooled, proudly celibate Heisman Trophy winners very rarely work blue in their memoirs. [MarketWatch]
- Well, this is interesting: Haruki Murakami's 1Q84, currently second on The New York Times fiction bestseller list, has sold 75,000 hard copies compared to 25,000 digital editions. Publishers Weekly praises the design team at Knopf, including Chris Kidd, who designed the elaborate jacket and inside flaps, with assembling "the kind of object--beautiful and collectible--that readers want." We wonder if it's less than the design and more of the Big, Important Book factor. When the new Stephen King's 11/22/63 came out last week, we wanted to get our hands on it. Same thing with Edmund Morris' final Teddy Rosevelet biography, and the newest Tom Perrotta book, and Joan Didion's Blue Lights, and even the sad and self-flagellating Jerry West autobiography. At first, we thought maybe it had to with length or shelf prestige (no living room in Northwest D.C. is complete without the Robert Caro L.B.J. trilogy and David McCullough's big blue Harry Truman biography), but the West and Didion are both slender volumes. Some books just demand a hard read. [Publishers Weekly]
- It's somewhat frustrating that we were only able to identify two classic fictional characters with their real-life inspiration. On a ten question quiz, that's only 20 percent correct. Not even utility infielders and backup catchers can hit .200 and expect to stay on a big league roster, unless they play for the Baltimore Orioles. We were able to get number 2 and number 9, and probably should have had number 10. As for Palle Huld, the 15-year-old Dane who went around the world in 44 days, wrote about it, and provided the inspiration for Tintin, we're going to have to plead ignorance. [FlavorWire]