Just out of curiosity, how many Book Case readers took off work today to read The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest? (Or maybe you're reading under your desk right now—or, most likely, watching the clock tick down until you can go home and read.) In any case, Happy Book Release Day! Judging from comments I've seen on this blog, many of you are very excited about this day. As Charles McGrath wrote in a lengthy article about Stieg Larsson in the New York Times,
Except for “Harry Potter,” Americans haven’t been so eager for a book since the early 1840s, when they thronged the docks in New York, hailing incoming ships for news of Little Nell in Charles Dickens’s “Old Curiosity Shop.”
Has anyone had a chance to start Hornet's Nest? What do you think? (No spoilers, please!)
Exciting news for Mark Twain fans—when he died in 1910, the author left behind hundreds of pages of an autobiography, complete with a stipulation that the book's publication be held until 100 years after his death.
Well, it's 2010, and on November 15 the University of California Press is releasing book one in the three-part series: Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume I: The Complete and Authoritative Edition. Here's a bit more from the publisher:
His innovative notion—to “talk only about the thing which interests you for the moment”—meant that his thoughts could range freely. The strict instruction that these texts remain unpublished for 100 years meant that when they came out, he would be “dead, and unaware, and indifferent” and therefore free to speak his “whole frank mind.”
Will you read Twain's uncensored bio?
If you think everyone interested in books will have one novel on the mind this week, you're probably right (hint: it starts with The Girl Who). But in case you're not a Larsson fan—or you were lucky enough to read an advanced copy of the novel—this week we're highlighting plenty of other books and genres on BookPage.com.
For those of you who do have Lisbeth Salander on the brain, we've got you covered, too. First up...
As you count down the minutes until tomorrow's release of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, read an interview with Knopf publisher and editor-in-chief Sonny Mehta, who introduced the works of Stieg Larsson to American readers.
If you're looking for an unusual memoir, try...
Vanessa Woods, an Australian chimp aficionado, had never heard of bonobos until she fell for Brian Hare, an American scientist whose dream is to compare the behavior of chimps and bonobos living in Congolese sanctuaries and figure out what the differences reveal about human evolution. Bonobo Handshake is Woods’ beguiling story of falling in love with bonobos and the Congo while her marriage to Hare matured.
Heading to the lake, beach or pool over Memorial Day weekend? Don't miss...
Romance columnist (and author) Christie Ridgway's book recommendations will start your summer with a sizzle! In her words: "With summer’s approach, it’s time for books destined to fill those long hours of daylight or the warmth of a flower-scented night with steamy stories. From regency to contemporary romances, this month’s selections really turn up the heat. Enjoy!"
Well, at least Abby and I are.
Sites like GalleyCat have asked what readers want to hear from the show floor. Not here: Given our already booked schedules and limited time at the show, our BEA postings will be dictated by our whims alone. But! We think you will enjoy them anyway.
On the schedule: more video author interviews for our YouTube channel; a Scholastic party for Suzanne Collins; a party at Zach Braff's apartment celebrating his brother Joshua Braff's new book; a trip to the Book Blogger Convention on Friday and much more. So stay tuned or follow BookPage on Twitter before the show starts on Wednesday! And if you'll be at BEA, stop by our booth (#4469) and say hi.
My "Best of the Blogs" posts are usually random, but this week I thought it'd be fun to spotlight a theme: the ever-popular top 5 lists.
Top 5 Children’s Books for Grown-Ups
Posted by Brain Pickings
There's nothing out of left field on this list, and I'd bet most of us have already read all 5 of these titles. But still, it's nice to be reminded of stories we loved as children, and the excerpts printed on the blog have inspired me to revisit these classics. Here's a quote from the #1 pick; can you guess the book? "Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Malcolm Gladwell’s Top 5 Novels of All Time
Posted by Read This
Short stories, a literary classic, spy thrillers. . . there's a lot of variety on Gladwell's list, and his comments on To Kill a Mockingbird fit nicely with the Top 5 Children's Books for Grown-Ups post: "I know, I know. Everyone read it as a kid. But I think it deserves to be read again, because if you read it closely, as an adult, all of a sudden a lot of what you thought was moving and beautiful turns out to be a bit creepy. That’s all I’m saying." When I read TKAM as an 8th grader I found certain parts disturbing, heartbreaking, funny—but never particularly creepy. (Well, Boo Radley was creepy.) Maybe it is time for another close read.
Yann Martel's Favorite Reads
Posted by The Daily Beast
If you've read Beatrice & Virgil, it'll come as no surprise that #1 on Martel's list is The Divine Comedy. Turns out he also loves Coetzee (his favorite living author) and Zora Neale Hurston.
What are your favorite book blog posts from the week? Seen any good top 5 lists?
Du Bose Heyward's classic 1939 picture book The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes—in which a mother bunny dreams of being an Easter Bunny–will be adapted into a series of animated holiday specials for TV and DVD. Animation Studio Rainmaker Entertainment bought the rights to the story, and Bernice Vanderlaan (Disney's "Life With Derek" TV show) will write the adapation.
Learning Magazine called the book—which teaches how a female bunny really can defy prejudice and be the Easter Bunny (all while raising a family)—a "very modern feminist tale." In a blog post on The New Yorker's book blog, Kelly Bare writes of the book's "small but worshipful following"—the 71-year-old story has never been out of print. Are you among that group? Will your family watch The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes when it comes out on TV?
The Moby Awards—recognizing the best (and worst) in book trailers—were announced last night in New York City. I am happy to say that the trailer for Lowboy by John Wray won for Best Cameo in a Book Trailer (actor/comedian Zach Galifinakis is hilarious in his interview with the author); you can watch the video in my original post about the awards.
Other winners include:
Best Low Budget/Indie Book Trailer: I am in the Air Right Now by Kathryn Regina
Best Big Budget/Big House Book Trailer:? Going West by Maurice Gee
Best Performance by in Author: Dennis Cass in Head Case
Least Likely Trailer to Sell the Book: Sounds of Murder by Patricia Rockwell
You can watch all the trailers on the Moby website. Also, do you know of any particularly good (or bad) book trailers you'd like to share?
Here's another update for Kathryn Stockett fans. (I keep thinking The Help may have lost some momentum—but then someone new will recommend it to me, not knowing that I've read it, or beg for a book suggestion because they just finished The Help and they loved it. No wonder Penguin's holding the paperback release until January 4, 2011. . . nearly two years after the hardcover's publication.)
Anyway, the news is that Octavia Spencer has been cast as Minny Jackson, Aibileen’s feisty best friend and Celia Foote's maid. According to Entertainment Weekly, Stockett and Spencer have known each other for "close to a decade" and the actress "served as the inspiration for the outspoken character." (She's also Minny's voice on the audio version of The Help.) Spencer has appeared in a number of movies and TV shows, but she's probably best known for her role as Constance Grady in "Ugly Betty."
I mentioned this briefly during Children's Reading Week, but I want you all to know that next Wednesday (May 26) we're launching a children's/teen e-newsletter called Reading Corner. I am really excited about this project because I love teen and middle grade novels (see here, here, here... here) and I think it will be a lot of fun to share our children's coverage with a group who especially appreciates books for young readers.
We're creating the newsletter for parents, grandparents, teachers, librarians, young readers and adults who love kid lit. Each issue will be filled with interviews, news and reviews of the best new books—and much of the content will appear in the newsletter before it's published on BookPage.com.
In the first edition, we're doing a mega-giveaway. You could win these five new novels (a couple of which I'd bet will be serious Newbery contenders). So, if you want a chance to win the books, sign up for the newsletter here.
As we approach the launch date, I'd love to hear any thoughts on what type of kids books you like to read about: picture books? dystopian teen novels? Feel free to leave a message in the comments section, and I hope you enjoy Reading Corner!
Another week, same cookbook: the Brombergs had so many to choose from. First Spicy Egg Shooters, now dessert. Read on for a sweet treat from two sibling chefs with a passion "for making whatever they make the best it can be." This one comes with a great story.
October 25, 1992. One week prior to opening Blue Ribbon, we place a call to Paris: “Bruno, help!”
The faint reply from the other side of the ocean: “Don’t worry, guys, I’ll be there. Besides, I could use a break.”
And with that, our mentor, Chef Bruno Hess from Le Recamier restaurant in Paris, was on his way to the rescue.
Bruno worked four nearly 24-hour days in a row, sleeping on the floor of the dining room while helping us get to opening day. Some break!
One of the nights during his stay we attacked the famed Fondant Chocolat, a dense chocolate mousse that was one of Bruno’s specialties in Paris. Due to the differences between American and French eggs and butter, we couldn’t get the recipe to work at all. We were incredibly frustrated; it was something we’d made hundreds of times before in France, so why wasn’t it coming out right in SoHo? By sunrise, and several hundreds of eggs later, we arrived at something completely different but perhaps even more delicious than the original. It could no longer be called Fondant Chocolat. Voilà, the birth of Chocolate Bruno.
5 ounces white chocolate, chopped
2 ounces graham crackers (½ sleeve, or 4 full crackers), crushed (1 cup)
18 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup (2 sticks) plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons brewed espresso
8 large egg yolks
8 large egg whites
1 tablespoon sugar
Unsweetened cocoa powder, for serving
Hot Fudge, for serving
Raspberries, for serving (optional)
1. Line the bottom of 6 (8-ounce) ramekins with parchment or wax paper. In the top of a double boiler or in a bowl set over (but not touching) a pan of simmering water, melt the white chocolate; stir in the graham crackers. Divide equally among the prepared molds, using a spoon to spread evenly on each base.
Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
2. In the top of a double boiler or in a bowl set over (but not touching) a pan of simmering water, melt the semisweet chocolate and butter with the espresso.
Let cool for 2 minutes. Stir in (do not whisk) the yolks until just incorporated.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the
whites until foamy. Slowly add the sugar and increase the speed. Beat until the
whites form soft, floppy peaks.
4. Fold a little bit of the whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Spoon the mousse into the molds and level the tops with an offset spatula or spoon. Chill until set, about 3 hours or overnight.
5. To serve, gently dip the bottoms of the ramekins in a bowl of hot water for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Run a spatula along the edges of each ramekin (outside the parchment paper) and pop out the mousse. Remove the paper. Transfer the desserts to plates and dust with cocoa powder. Serve with a drizzle of hot fudge and raspberries, if desired.
Note: Pregnant women, the elderly, and people who have compromised immune systems should exercise caution when consuming the raw eggs in this recipe.
Blue Ribbon Wisdom
Chocolate, White and Otherwise
White chocolate can be a pretty sketchy product if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Read the ingredients and check for cocoa butter, which is the only thing about white chocolate that’s related to chocolate at all! If it’s not made with real cocoa butter, chances are the manufacturer is substituting cheap hydrogenated vegetable oils instead—resulting in a product euphemistically called “white confectionary tablet.” You might be surprised that this recipe calls for semisweet rather than bittersweet chocolate. There’s a reason, of course. Calling for semisweet chocolate allows us to use less sugar when beating the eggs whites, which makes a looser, lighter meringue. This keeps the Bruno mousse-like and fluffy rather than dense.
Reprinted from Bromberg Bros. Blue Ribbon Cookbook by Bruce Bromberg, Eric Bromberg, and Melissa Clark. Copyright (c) 2010. Photos (c) Quentin Bacon. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc.