Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer was the surprise literary bestseller of the past season, and now his editor, Eric Chinski at Houghton Mifflin, has signed him for a second novel. He bought North American rights from agent Nicole Aragi in a so-far-untitled book that tells about three lives that converge at a museum show on a once-famous diarist. Chinski says that while the new novel contains the same mixture of wild humor and tragic sense that informed the previous book, it is also "entirely new and unexpected and will without doubt surprise people." He plans to publish in spring 2004. Meanwhile, Foer is still on the road in an elaborate promotion campaign for his first book; he has been booked this fall at no fewer than 20 Jewish book festivals.

Another recent buy for Chinski was also of a next book by a surprise bestseller. This time the author is Joseph Epstein, whose Snobbery just made the list. His book on friendship was signed for North American rights with agent Georges Borchardt, and will appear in 2005.