First, I received many emails in my inbox from mainstream media outlets, alerting me to Khaled Hosseini's new novel that will be published in May. And the Mountains Echoed will center around the themes of family and generations, subjects that he also visited in The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.
And, although I am not a fan, Dan Brown introduced his new book on the Today show this week. Titled Inferno and once again featuring symbologist Robert Langdon, the novel also will debut in May.
The "big reveal" was preceded by a social media event on Facebook and Twitter that asked fans to guess which "major literary masterpiece" would be the inspiration for the title.
Even though Dan Brown has "legions" of fans (according to most coverage of the event), the campaign had the unintended consequence of giving his critics a good laugh as they came up with some title suggestions. My favorites: The Bleak House Code, Harry Potter and Demons, and Fifty Shades of Robert Langdon. I even submitted The House with the Seven Demons.
I contend I was closest to the mark because both my guess and his actual inspiration (Dante, of course) are no longer widely read "masterpieces."
While I still say Dan Brown needs a good editor, he definitely scored with his PR team.
McDonald's also entered the literary news recently (using the term "literary" loosely) with the announcement that all Happy Meals in Britain will now contain books rather than toys. That has the good-news-bad-news issue that the Dan Brown announcement also had, but I like the idea that more kids will have books in their hands, particularly since McDonald's says it will hand out 15 million books by the end of 2014.
Now that makes me happy.