More from Simon Hopkinson, whose new book, The Vegetarian Option (Stewart, Tabori & Chang), was Sybil Pratt's Cookbook of the Month for June. This recipe mixes meaty eggplant with fresh pesto, a flavor combo that's hard to beat.
An old favorite, which I could not resist including here.
1 large eggplant
about 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons pine nuts
a large bunch of basil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
3 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino or Parmesan
½ lemon, to serve
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Cut the eggplant lengthwise in half, through the stalk. Using a small, sharp knife, make a crisscross pattern across the cut surfaces, to a depth of about 3/4 inch. Brush with a little of the olive oil and season. Bake in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes. The flesh should be very soft.
Meanwhile, lightly toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet, then remove from the skillet and cool. Process the basil, garlic, and pine nuts, together with a little salt and pepper, to a paste in a food processor (or use a mortar and pestle for a more authentic result). Now add enough of the olive oil to produce a loose-textured purée.
Finally, briefly mix in the cheese. Spread the pesto over the scored surfaces of the eggplant and broil until golden and bubbling. Serve with a squeeze of lemon.
Reprinted from The Vegetarian Option by Simon Hopkinson. Copyright (c) 2010. Published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang.
Late last week, Doubleday unveiled the cover for John Grisham's newest legal thriller on the author's official Facebook page:
That image is Lady Justice—blindfolded—signifying the objective nature of justice (or, justice as it should be).
There's no real information available on the plot yet; all we know is that The Confession is filled with "the intriguing twists and turns that have become Grisham’s trademark."
To build buzz, there was a 59-foot-long banner on the Javits Center at BEA:
The Confession is out October 26, about 21 months after the publication of Grisham's latest legal thriller, The Associate, and less than a year after the publication of Ford County and Thedore Boone: Kid Lawyer.
Will you read The Confession? Any plot predictions?
Also in BookPage: Browse our Grisham archives.
The trailer for Never Let Me Go (based on Kazuo Ishiguro's latest novel) is live, and we have to agree with the Wall Street Journal: This is pure Oscar-bait. Starring Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, Charlotte Rampling and Andrew Garfield (Red Riding, 1974), the performances should live up to the nuanced source material and compelling story.
In fact, after watching the trailer, it looks like the transition to film will help ameliorate what was, to me, the novel's major flaw--its detatched narration. Sure, it was a reflection of the way the students at Hailsham were conditioned to think of themselves, and it added to the chilling aspects of the novel's premise (which, on the off chance the movie keeps it quieter than the book, I won't reveal here), but it ultimately left me not caring as much about the students' fates as I might otherwise.
Did you read Never Let Me Go? Will you see the movie?
Related in BookPage: our review of Never Let Me Go.
If you've got some time to kill online, or you'd like to join an interesting conversation about the impact of books, follow the "books that changed my life" thread on Twitter. (I'd say, at this moment, people are responding via Twitter at a a rate of about 5 tweets a minute.)
All you have to do is click here and read the tweets, all marked with the #booksthatchangedmylife hashtag. (And, if you have a twitter page, tweet your own response!)
Publishers, book bloggers and readers everywhere are getting into it, and answers range from classic novels to reference texts to picture books.
If you're not into tweeting, feel free to leave your answer in the comments right here on The Book Case.
Update: #booksthatchangedmyworld is also a popular topic on Twitter.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Crown, $26, February 2, 2010
All the HeLa cells ever grown would weigh about 50 million metric tons, and HeLa cells are still used in labs around the world. They have helped develop drugs for treating numerous diseases, from influenza to Parkinson's. While this research was taking place—and pharmaceutical companies were making millions of dollars—Henrietta's family could not afford health insurance.
Skloot spent 10 years of her life working on this book, and over that time period she became close with the Lacks family, especially Deborah Lacks, Henrietta's daughter and the heart of the book. The excerpted passage describes the moment Deborah agreed to cooperate with Skloot.
A few days later, ten months after our first conversation, Deborah called me. When I answered the phone, she yelled, "Fine, I'll talk to you!" She didn't say who she was and didn't need to. "If I'm gonna do this, you got to promise me some things," she said. "First, if my mother is so famous in science history, you got to tell everybody to get her name right. She ain't no Helen Lane. And second, everybody always say Henrietta Lacks had four children. That ain't right, she had five children. My sister died and there's no leavin her out of the book. I know you gotta tell all the Lacks story and there'll be good and bad in that cause of my brothers. You gonna learn all that, I don't care. The thing I care about is, you gotta find out what happened to my mother and my sister, cause I need to know."
She took a deep breath, then laughed.
"Get ready, girl," she said. "You got no idea what you gettin yourself into."
What are you reading today?
You're going to hear more about this story, as next month Focus Features will start shooting a movie adaptation, with Jim Sturgess (Across the Universe) and Anne Hathaway starring.
According to UK paper The Guardian, the book was made for the screen:
Former actor David Nicholls writes novels with at least one eye on the big screen. Having successfully translated his debut Starter For Ten into a film, his latest novel suggests more feelgood outings to the local picture house. One Day tells the story of potential love thwarted by the disappointments of post-university existence. It begins with a drunken tryst on the night of Emma and Dexter's graduation, and each subsequent chapter visits the pair on the same day of the year as they stumble through their adult lives. While the plot might sound like a movie pitch, Nicholls is a great comic writer, and One Day's characters are so luminously rendered that they quickly assume heart-thumping significance.
For a preview of the novel, read chapter one on Vintage's website.
When Trisha sent me the link to this trailer, she joked that "we're draining the blood from the vamp craze." (Amish vampires, anyone?) Still, seems like the trend isn't going anywhere, and Blood Oath author Christopher Farnsworth got a major nod when Janet Maslin mentioned his novel in a New York Times roundup of guilt-free reads. As you might guess from the book's tagline ("The Ultimate Secret. The Ultimate Agent. The President's Vampire."), Blood Oath is about the President's undead protector. Not hooked yet? Take a look at the dramatic trailer:
Will you read Blood Oath? What book trailers are you buzzing about this week?
Today Publisher's Marketplace posted a new book deal from Ellen DeGeneres—as the comedian and talk-show host said, "I found that between my talk show, American Idol and my late night blogging, I didn't have enough ways to express myself."
Ellen has already written a couple other books: The Funny Thing Is. . . and My Point. . . and I Do Have One. And if you can't get enough of all things Ellen, her mother, Betty, wrote a book called Love, Ellen: A Mother/Daughter Journey.
The new book is pitched as a look at DeGeneres' "life through her humor." A lot has happened since DeGeneres published The Funny Thing Is. . . in 2003: from marriage to Portia de Rossi, to judging American Idol, to appearing on Oprah's magazine.
Are there any topics you hope Ellen will address? Will you look for this book? (It's coming in fall 2011 from Grand Central.)
Our June print edition has been available in bookstores and libraries for a couple weeks now, but in case you haven't had a chance to pick up the issue, we're highlighting all the reviews and features on BookPage.com. This week, a few books get a special shout-out on our homepage:
Read an interview with Aimee Bender on her novel, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
A boy with keys for fingers. A woman who gives birth to her own mother. Imps and mermaids falling in love. If all of this sounds too strange—even for fiction—then you’ve obviously never read anything by Aimee Bender. But now, with the publication of her second novel, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, it’s clearly time that you should.
Plan a summer trip in the USA with reviews of great travel books
How can you get away without the fuss and expense of flying? Road trip! These travel guides showcase America’s natural, historical and cultural wonders, so gas up the car and hit the road. Spontaneous jaunts can be memorable, but why not invest some planning in your trip? And if you like a little history and learning with your getaway, the Complete National Parks of the United States, is a great starting point for exploring America’s gorgeous parklands.
Read a review of Joshilyn Jackson's first-rate new novel, Backseat Saints
You only think you know what you’re in for when Backseat Saints begins: “It was an airport gypsy who told me that I had to kill my husband.” Joshilyn Jackson’s fourth novel isn’t a series of funny, trashy set pieces out of Dogpatch; rather, the tale Jackson tells is grim, and unless you count the narrator’s dog and a few minor characters, there’s not one likable person in it.
Will you be reading any of these books?
Now publisher Little Brown has announced that Angelina Jolie will play the part of Cleopatra in an upcoming film adaptation (produced by Scott Rudin).
This is the second literary adaptation this year for Jolie, who will also play Patricia Cornwell's M.E. Kay Scarpetta in an upcoming feature film. What do you think of the casting choice?