Michael Kimball, author of the deeply sad novel, Dear Everybody, and a master of the micro-biography, has sold his new novel, Big Ray, to Bloomsbury.

In The Believer’s music issue, historian Paul Collins recounts the golden era of cars equipped with record players, including this description of Chrysler’s harrowing road-test: “Horn-rimmed execs swapped records in and out of the player as the auto giant’s president wildly drove a car over a torture-track of cobblestone, speed bumps, and washboard test strips . . . . [The] player performed perfectly, and the car swung into the test garage with music swelling from its windows.” Meanwhile, to promote his debut novel, How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive, Christopher Boucher is going on tour, driving (or attempting to) a 1972 Volkswagen Beetle from Boston to Los Angeles. “I’ll read to people, roadsigns, potholes, old barns, paramedics, flowers, and railroad tracks.”

With summer in full swing, The Millions unveils its most anticipated booklist for the second half of 2011. Along with new releases by Bolaņo, DeLillo, and Murakami (all in November—mark your calendar), editors flag Nicholson Baker’s erotic novel House of Holes, which allegedly stemmed from a dare with his publisher; Beijing Welcomes You, Tom Scocca’s look at the Chinese capital before the 2008 Olympics; and Paul La Farge’s Luminous Airplanes, a novel that will be accompanied by an online “immersive text.” New work by Helen DeWitt, Lydia Millet, and Jonathan Littell also get shout-outs, as does Nothing, Blake Butler’s take on insomnia, which features the observation, “bad sugar fuels fucked dreams.”

Writer Jen Campbell collects weird things customers say in bookstores [via The Hairpin.]

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