You didn't think we were finished posting about National Poetry Month, did you?! (If you missed earlier posts, click here to read about poem-a-day e-mails, and here to read about the Favorite Poem Project.)
Today we're highlighting Poem in Your Pocket Day, which has been celebrated on April 29 since 2002. Poets.org has some suggestions for how to celebrate:
· Start a "poems for pockets" give-a-way in your school or workplace
· Urge local businesses to offer discounts for those carrying poems
· Post pocket-sized verses in public places
· Handwrite some lines on the back of your business cards
· Start a street team to pass out poems in your community
· Distribute bookmarks with your favorite immortal lines
· Add a poem to your email footer
· Post a poem on your blog or social networking page
· Project a poem on a wall, inside or out
· Text a poem to friends
How will you celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day? (I, for one, intend to ask for a discount at my local bookstore for carrying a poem!) Feel free to post a favorite poem in the comments section.
Last month I posted about the Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movie, and I could tell from the comments that readers are really excited about this adaptation—not to mention The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, book three in Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy (out May 25).
So I know you'll be happy to hear this news from Hollywood, too. Rumors are swirling about the American version of the movie, directed by David Fincher (Fight Club, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and produced by Scott Rudin (No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood). Word is that Carey Mulligan (An Education) will play Lisbeth Salander and Brad Pitt will star opposite as Mikael Blomqvist.
Casting has not been confirmed, although this IMDb message board suggests Mulligan and Pitt are a "strong bet." Do you agree with these picks? Is there anyone you'd rather see as Lisbeth and Mikael?
Related in BookPage: Reviews of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire. We'll be covering The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest in our June issue, along with info on how the books came to be published in the United States. Stay tuned!
Delhi: Adventures in a Megacity by Sam Miller
St. Martin's, July 20, 2010
And I'm so glad I did. Delhi is an engrossing book, by turns romantic and down-to-earth. It takes the form of a travelogue: Miller sets out to walk through Delhi in a spiral, slowly moving out from the city's center at Connaught Place, and recording his impressions and encounters along the way. Miller is an appealing travel guide; a white Englishman married to an Indian woman from Mumbai, he's lived in India long enough to take the country's eccentricities in stride, but he's still enough of an outsider that he makes the reader feel they are discovering the city along with him. Delhi is a fascinating city with a long history and a rapidly approaching future, and Miller's many asides, footnotes and "intermissions" are as enlightening (and entertaining) as the journey itself.
Hidden away behind the construction site . . . is Agarsen's Baoli, central Delhi's oldest building. Six thousand years old, and built by the uncle of the Hindu god, Lord Krishna, according to its watchman. A mere seven hundred years old, according to historians. Agarsen was probably a thirteenth-century chieftain and a baoli is a rectangular step-well. Through a padlocked gate opened by a taciturn, bidi-smoking watchman, I climb up onto a large plinth from where one hundred stone steps lead down to the bottom of the well.
Although this is only my second visit, it is a view I have seen many times before, thanks to a Delhi photographer called Raghu Rai, with a Cartier-Bresson-like instinct for the decisive moment. In a photograph taken in 1976, a young boy is caught at the moment of launching himself from a wall into the waters of the baoli, a dive of at least twelve feet. Above loom some of the newly constructed high-rises of Tolstoy Marg and Barakhamba Road, but beneath is the ancient step-well. I ask the watchman if he has seen the photograph, and he stuns me by saying that he, Bagh Singh, grizzled and grey-haired, was that diving boy. He sends a young girl off to get a copy of the picture he has cut from a magazine and gets me to photograph him holding it. In the thirty years in which Bagh Singh has aged so rapidly, the water level at Agarsen's Baoli has fallen by twenty feet. A shortage of water is one of the biggest problems facing Delhi today.
Just a few weeks ago, Random House announced that the Bantam Dell imprint would be merging with Ballantine to form Ballantine Bantam Dell (or BBD), under the leadership of senior vice president and publisher, Libby McGuire. And just yesterday, BBD announced their first major acquisition—a debut novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh titled The Language of Flowers.
According to BBD, “the novel tells the story of a woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to come to terms with her own troubled past as a foster child. When she falls in love with a young farmer at the flower market, she must confront a memory that has haunted her for years, and decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.” BBD won North American rights in a “heated auction with eight bidders” and translation deals have already closed in Holland, Spain and Italy, with other international auctions underway.
BookPage traded emails with editor Jennifer Smith, who acquired the novel, and is clearly thrilled to have The Language of Flowers on the BBD list. Smith says, “We all fell in love with this novel immediately. There was such an outpouring of enthusiasm in-house, and nobody could put it down. It’s definitely a special book, and one that we think will really resonate with readers. We’re so excited to be publishing it.”
Author Vanessa Diffenbaugh was “inspired by her own experience as a foster mother. To write the novel, she researched the original Victorian language of flowers—used by lovers to communicate—in which every flower corresponds to a specific meaning.” The novel is set to publish in August 2011, and we can’t wait to hear more about it.
Are you excited about The Language of Flowers?
Jen Lancaster has charmed readers with hilarious nonfiction books like Bitter is the New Black and Such a Pretty Fat. (Brief backstory: Lancaster was making a ton of money at a technology company before 9/11, and then she got laid off, chronicled her experiences on a blog, Jennsylvania, and landed several book deals.)
Yesterday, news broke that Lancaster will write her first novel, Apocalypse House, which "follows a couple from the city through the frustrating and hysterical process of buying and renovating their first home in the suburbs" (per Publisher's Marketplace).
According to The Historical Jennsylvania Timeline on her website, Lancaster's family moved from Metro New York to small-town Indiana when she was 10—and she wasn't happy about it. Inspiration?
The novel will be published by NAL, and it's part of a multi-book deal. On her blog, Lancaster elaborated: "Remember that novel I said I was working on? There was an announcement about it on Publishers' Marketplace today. So that's what I'm doing for the next three years (in addition to writing non-fiction)."
Are you a fan of Lancaster's nonfiction? Will you check out Apocalypse House? If you've never read her work before, read Linda Stankard's BookPage review of My Fair Lazy (on sale Tuesday). The review is written in the form of an e-mail to the author. A preview:
Hey Jen! I just wanted you to know that when I was first asked to review your latest book, I hadn’t read your other books and had a slight case of up-in-the-air nose (Shame Rattle!) concerning the subtitle: “One Reality Television Addict’s Attempt to Discover If Not Being A Dumb Ass Is the New Black, or a Culture-Up Manifesto” (being pretty much a TCM gal myself), but I totally loved My Fair Lazy and I am soooo bringing Bitter is the New Black, Bright Lights, Big Ass, Such a Pretty Fat and Pretty in Plaid to the beach this summer so I can laugh and tan at the same time and catch up on all the Jen I have heretofore missed! You’re hilarious!
Publishers are always looking for innovative ways to promote books, and it seems that Sarah Mlynowski has found a winning idea to spread the word about Gimme a Call, a teen novel about a high school senior whose phone can only call her freshman self.
First, Mlynowski tweeted, Ever wonder what YA authors would tell their high school selves? (If they had magic cell phones that could call the past?) #gimmeacall.
And over the next few days she posted follow-up tweets ("What @sarazarr would tell her high school self: You are NOT FAT. You will be, but you're not now, so enjoy it. #gimmeacall") and the concept went viral. In the last week, Mlynowski has contributed essays to the Huffington Post and Publisher's Weekly about the #gimmeacall phenomenon, and today—the book's pub date—the trend is still going strong. (Just search #gimmeacall on Twitter.)
I became familiar with Gimme a Call when Emily Booth Masters gave it a great review in BookPage, writing:
Sarah Mlynowski’s Gimme a Call is chick lit for teens, but the focus on a very pertinent life lesson makes it more than just a fun read. Readers will think about their own past mistakes in a new light as they see what can happen when the present is informed by the future.
I was just scanning Publisher's Marketplace for interesting book news, and I had to laugh at Melissa Horozewski's deal with Running Press: Austentatious Crochet, "crochet patterns for lovers of Jane Austen." I'm not a crocheter myself, but I can see some BookPage readers getting excited about this one.
Listed below that deal was another one that had me cracking up: I'm Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship. If that title has you raising eyebrows, maybe this will change your mind. The book is
an anthology of humorous essays about dogs from bestselling writers, including Rita Mae Brown, Laurie Notaro, Carol Leifer, Jen Lancaster, and Tony Award winner Jeff Marx, with the full support of the Humane Society.
Also in The Book Case: Read about Trisha's clever title pick from a couple weeks ago.
Have you seen any funny titles lately?
Last Friday night, I went to see David Sedaris at Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium. I've been a fan of Sedaris' odd sense of humor and way with words since I first read 2000's Me Talk Pretty One Day, and it was exciting to see and hear him in person!
He started off by reading two stories from his upcoming book of fables, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk (which we blogged about several weeks ago). The stories were about animals with decidedly human characteristics, including a young stork who wants to know where babies come from and an Irish setter who loves his wife (they were married by their owner's former girlfriend) but has resigned himself to her infidelity. Though the stories were different from Sedaris' usual essays, they were unmistakably stamped with his caustic wit.
He followed the stories with a longer essay about airplane travel, which was my favorite piece of the night, and then he read some selections from his diaries and took questions from the audience -- including a couple who had cut short their honeymoon in order to come to the show! Now that's devotion -- but Sedaris is worth it.
Related in BookPage: Read Sedaris' handwritten answers to a few of our questions about 2008's When You Are Engulfed in Flames.
British author John le Carré, who does spy suspense like few others, has a new book coming this fall—from a new publisher. His 22nd novel, Our Kind of Traitor, will be published by Viking on October 12.
Though not much is known about the new book yet, Viking describes it as "a fast-moving story that reveals the battles of the British Secret Service in addition to the brutal maneuvering of the international criminal world."
Le Carré is nearly 80, but like his compatriot P.D. James, his age hasn't affected the quality of his work, which continues to garner top-notch reviews and hit bestseller lists.
Related in BookPage: Review of le Carré's last thriller, A Most Wanted Man.
Those of you who read Kate's interview with Neil Gaiman in honor of National Library Week will be happy to hear that we have some more information from the prolific author: background on his latest project, Instructions, a picture book for all ages.
Before you read Gaiman's comments, you have to watch this book trailer—one of my favorites in recent memory. In it, Gaiman reads the whole book out loud, and illustrator Charles Vess's illustrations come alive:
Kate Pritchard: How did Instructions come about? I know the poem was one you had written a while back, but how did it become a picture book?
Neil Gaiman: It became a picture book because Blueberry Girl came out, hit the New York Times bestseller list, much to everyone’s astonishment, and became a beloved book in no time flat. [Laughs]
Normally it takes a very long time for these things to happen, and Charles Vess and I are looking around and faintly reeling. And our editor, the lovely Elise Howard, said, you know, I would love another book from you guys. Now, bear in mind that Blueberry Girl had taken Charles Vess four or five years to draw and paint, he’d been working on it for years and years. So I thought, oh good, we’ve got another book for 2013 then. And Charles and I started talking and he suggested, I think, doing a book of my poetry. And I said, well, you know what, doing the book poetry, I’m not sure, and I’m not sure we’re ready for that yet. I’m sure one day we’ll do a collected poetry of Neil Gaiman, but why don’t we just take a poem that everybody loves, like "Instructions," and do that? And Charles said OK, and Elise said, what a great idea, and I figured we had a book for 2013.
And, it was magic. Absolutely, absolutely magic. The pages just started flooding in. A few weeks later, there’s all the pencils, and I’m going, who is this man and what has he done with Charles Vess? And then he painted them, and then we had a book! And now it’s out, and it’s out a year after Blueberry Girl, which means it took Charles something ridiculous like four months to do. Which is only mad, when you know that it took Charles, working on Blueberry Girl, years and years and years and years and years. And it’s just . . . I kind of think of it as a strange bonus from the gods, you know, that Instructions shouldn’t be out for years, but it is. And Charles just got inspired, and did it. So that’s why it exists, and I’m so happy with it.
Also in BookPage: Like what you read? Browse our Neil Gaiman archives.
Will you read Instructions, now on sale?