Galley Girl: Sharpton and Seagulls

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Kirkus flips over "The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits: Stories" by Emma Donoghue (Harcourt; May), giving it a starred review. "Seventeen stories by the Irish-born Canadian author ransack what Donoghue calls 'the flotsam and jetsam of the last seven hundred years of British and Irish life' for razor-sharp vignettes of the fates of women in judgmental male-dominated societies...These jewel-like stories vibrate with thickly textured detail and vigorous period language. Donoghue's colorful, confrontational historically based fiction is making something entirely new and captivating out of gender issues. One of the best books of the year thus far. Like Andrea Barrett, Donoghue has staked a claim to her own distinctive fictional territory."


Rev. Al Sharpton, primed for his presidential candidacy, is adding "author" to his resume. PW reports that in October, Kensington will publish "Al on America," to be co-written with NY Daily News columnist Karen Hunter.


The 1970 release of Richard Bach's "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" marked a true publishing phenomenon; 32 million copies have been sold in 39 languages. Now Bach is back, working on an unlikely new series of books called "The Ferret Chronicles," starring a band of "intelligent, pacifist ferrets who live and work in a world alongside of their human counterparts." The first two installments, "Rescue Ferrets at Sea" and "Air Ferrets Aloft" will be published on June 25. Will his readers find skunks' furry first cousins as appealing as seagulls? Stay tuned.


No, this Mr. Potter isn't Harry's dad. Mr. Potter, a native Antiguan of African descent, works on the Caribbean island of Antigua as a chauffeur for a Mideastern immigrant. He is the focus of Jamaica Kincaid's new novel, "Mr. Potter," (Farrar, Straus; May). PW is swept away, giving the book a starred review. "Another unsentimental, unsparing meditation on family and the larger forces that shape an individual's world...As in her previous books, Kincaid has exquisite control over her narrator's deep-seated rage, which drives the story but never overpowers it, and is tempered by a clear-eyed sympathy. Her prose here is more incantatory and hypnotic than ever...taut and often spellbinding."


TV, radio, movies, the Internet, and video games are the biggest competitors for American parents to their children's time and minds. According to children's advocate and Stanford professor James Steyer, many children spend as much as 40 hours a week with the media, and only 17 hours a week interacting with their parents. In his new book, "The Other Parent: The Inside Story of the Media's Effect on Children" (Pocket; May 20), Steyer traces how this has happened, and addresses what parents and concerned citizens can do at the corporate and federal level. Speaking of the federal level, the book boasts an afterword by Chelsea Clinton.


Civilization is declining, says social scientist James Q. Wilson, and the reason is the collapse of the traditional family structure. On March 21, HarperCollins will publish "The Marriage Problem: How Our Culture Has Weakened Families." Says his publisher, "Wilson offers an alarming portrait of modern marriage and argues that we must reassess our values in order to preserve the strength of family in a culture in which divorce and single parenthood has become more widespread than ever."


"The Bridges of Madison County" by Robert James Waller was a four-hanky production about the ill-fated love affair between Robert Kincaid and Francesca Johnson. Published ten years ago, it has been translated into 36 languages, with 12 million hardcover copies in print. Having spent over three years on the NYT bestseller list, it is now the No. 1 hardcover of all time, outselling "Gone with the Wind" and "Love Story." On April 23, John M. Hardy will publish "A Thousand Country Roads: An Epilogue to the Bridges of Madison County." Says his publisher, "For a decade, millions of readers have been eagerly waiting to learn the fate of Robert Kincaid and Francesca Johnson. This May, reviewers will have the opportunity to fulfill people's expectations by interviewing the man responsible for the Bridges phenomenon, Robert James Waller."


"One Nation," the LIFE September 11 book edited by TIME senior editor Bob Sullivan, takes the number 7 spot on the 3/17 NYT nonfiction list after 16 weeks. On March 19, Ecco/HarperCollins) will publish a new paperback edition of "The Essential Lewis and Clark," edited by Lanny Jones, who has reported, written and edited at LIFE, TIME, MONEY, and PEOPLE. In September, Norton will publish "In the Image," the first novel by former TIME intern Dara Horn. Her publisher calls the book "an extraordinary first novel illuminated by spiritual exploration, one that remembers 'a language, a literature, a held hand, an entire world lived and breathed in the image of God.' " Horn received a considerable advance for her book. She is now a doctoral candidate in comparative literature at Harvard, studying Hebrew and Yiddish.