Sloane Crosley's first book, a collection of essays titled I Was Told There’d Be Cake, because a surprise hit and a New York Times bestseller. How Did You Get This Number, Crosley's sophomore effort, "is decidedly more grown-up," writes Katie Lewis in a review for BookPage. "It matures, say, from a fabric scrunchie to a sleek hair clasp without losing any of the can-you-believe-this-is-actually-happening-to-me moments."
There are a couple of trailers available for the book, which was released last week. Watch, and let us know: Will you read How Did You Get This Number?
What's on your TBR list for the week?
If you need any ideas, take a look at our new content highlighted on BookPage.com. Seems like our reading picks have taken a turn for the dark: murder-by-peanut, murder in Italy, Dracula. . .
This week, make sure you check out:
An interview with Adam Ross about debut novel Mr. Peanut
Ross spent 13 years writing his first novel, Mr. Peanut, in which an apparently loving husband fantasizes about the death of his wife, only to see his horrific dreams come true. With its layered storyline and allusions that range from Hitchcock to Escher, Mr. Peanut is being hailed as one of the season’s best debuts. BookPage asked Ross to elaborate on the novel’s inspirations and themes.
Note that the Q&A on BookPage.com is an expanded version of the interview in our July print edition. For more on Mr. Peanut (which will be available in stores tomorrow), read a review of the novel or an excerpt on our blog.
A behind-the-book essay from Dracula's Guest editor Michael Sims
“Would you like to edit a vampire anthology?” the editor asked me.
“Victorian vampires,” George clarified.
“I’m your man.” Fresh from writing my fourth book about natural science, I jumped at the thought of a holiday jaunt across misty moors.
Also, browse reviews of Michael Sims' books reviewed in BookPage.
A roundup of June mysteries from BookPage's Whodunit column
Leading off the first summer month of mystery reading is A Question of Belief, the latest Commissario Guido Brunetti novel from Donna Leon. Regular readers may remember that I have been singing the praises of European mysteries for some time now, and Donna Leon’s books are in the vanguard of that august group.
Anyone looking for a great book to read this summer read would benefit from a scroll through the comments sections of our Mockingbird post and contest. More than 300 readers have contributed their thoughts on which contemporary books will still be highly regarded 100 years from now.
An unofficial tabulation shows Kathryn Stockett's 2009 novel The Help as the runaway top choice of Book Case readers, once again demonstrating the book's broad-based appeal. Linda writes, "I believe THE HELP will become a classic — to be read and studied in classes and in book clubs for generations to come. 100 years from now it will be interesting to see how much progress we have made when it comes to race relations. Hopefully, nobody will believe people treated other people this way!" June writes, "I agree that The Help is a 'must read.' We who lived in the Northern part of the U.S. were not really aware of the injustices in the South during that period. A lesson in that book for all!" And we loved this comment from Morgan: "Without a doubt I would pick The Help as my new classic. Skeeter Phelan is Scout Finch all grown up and she isn’t about to let anyone tell her what is right or wrong, she already knows it! I have been in the book business for 8+ years and have not found a book since To Kill a Mockingbird that I have fallen in love with this much, it will be a classic!"
Though there are far too many choices to list them all here, these are some of the other contemporary books that have received mentions from multiple readers:
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Atonement by Ian McEwan
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Beach Music by Pat Conroy
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Gilead and Home by Marilynne Robinson
The Road and Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
It's interesting to see how our reader list overlaps (or doesn't) with The Millions list of books that have won the most literary prizes from 1995 to the present. Edward P. Jones' novel The Known World tops the prize list but was chosen by only one of our readers, while Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections is second on the prizewinners list, but didn't get a mention from any of our readers (though it would certainly be on my own list of future classics. Could there be a book that better captures the waning days of the 20th century?)
The contest closes Monday, so there's still time to add your thoughts.
According to an I-Play press release,
In Agatha Christie 4:50 from Paddington, fans step right into the story as they travel the English countryside and witness a frightful murder through the window of a passing train. With little evidence, players must team up with expert sleuth Miss Marple to investigate an English country estate, uncover critical evidence in London, and solve perplexing puzzles in Paris to find out what happened that fateful night. The game features all-new mini-games, hours of original hidden object and light adventure fun, and new game play modes including the Find All mode, challenging even the most advanced sleuths.
You tell me: Will you download a game to solve a mystery with Miss Marple? For a preview, watch this forboding game trailer:
What book blog posts have you enjoyed this week? A couple that I bookmarked include. . .
Everything Austen II is here!
Posted by Stephanie's Written Word
From July 1 until January 1, 2011, Stephanie's Written Word will host The Everything Austen Challenge. "All you need to do is pick out six Austen-themed things you want to finish to complete the challenge," Stephanie writes. You can find more details here, including how to connect with other Austenites during the Challenge. Sounds like fun! Any Book Case readers plan to participate?
The Afghan Women's Writing Project
Posted by She Is Too Fond of Books. . .
I first heard about the Afghan Women's Writing Project when I read that recent Bellwether Prize-winner Naomi Benaron works with the organization, and I was interested to learn more about the group today on Dawn's book blog. She writes, "the AWWP is a non-profit group which mentors Afghan women in writing their short stories, poetry, and personal essays. These women’s voices are published in the AWWP online magazine in a blog-like format which invites commentary from readers." Click here to read more and for some highlights from the online magazine.
It's Father's Day this Sunday, and we predict a mass firing-up of grills around the country. If you need a few tips for spicing up your outdoor cooking techniques, don't miss these tips from grilling guru Steven Raichlen. The author of numerous best-selling barbecue books traveled around the world to learn more about grilling in other cultures in his latest release, Planet Barbecue!.
First tip: tune up your grill. Says Raichlen,
Charcoal grill owners will want to scrape out any old ash and spray the vents with WD-40. Gas grill owners should make sure the burner tubes are free of cobwebs and spiders. Replace the igniter batteries if the grill won’t light. If you smell gas, brush the hoses and couplings with a leak detection liquid (made of equal parts water and dish soap)—bubbles will show any leaks.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at the Universal Orlando resort officially opens tomorrow. And though I've never been to Disneyland or Walt Disney World in my life—and I've never even been tempted to visit Universal Studios (the lines! the pricey souvenirs!) . . . after reading New York Times reporter Neil Genzlinger's report on the Potter-themed amusement park, all I want to do is apparate down to Florida.
The art director for the park is Alan Gilmore, who also worked as Art Director for the Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire films. And if Genzlinger's article (and accompanying video) is any indication, the park's effect is quite magical. Ollivanders, the Three Broomsticks, the Hog's Head, even Dervish & Banges . . . it's all there.
I don't know about you Potterheads, but as far as I'm concerned November 19 cannot come soon enough (the release date of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1).
Will anyone be checking out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando?
Sundee Frazier won the 2007 Coretta Scott King Award for her middle grade novel Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything In It, about a 10-year-old biracial child who uses detective-like skills to uncover the history of his past.
In her first novel, author Sundee Frazier is careful to draw Brendan as a well-rounded character with both silly and serious sides. She weaves suspense into Brendan's search for self and throws in a bit of science along the way. Readers, even reluctant ones, will read on to see where Brendan's journey will lead.
Candace Bushnell of Sex and the City fame has signed a deal to write two novels for Grand Central.
The first of the two is called The Two Mrs. Stones and is about "a love triangle" (a lot of possibilities there!). It will be published in 2012 .
This news comes just weeks after the publication of The Carrie Diaries, Bushnell's YA Sex and the City prequel about Carrie's years in high school.
Have you had enough of Bushnell's world of cosmos, designer shoes and wealthy Manhattanites, or will you count down the days until the new book's release?
Also in BookPage: a handwritten interview with Candace Bushnell.
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.