It's always exciting when a debut clicks with critics and readers alike—especially if it's a novel we championed at BookPage. So, I was thrilled to find out today that Tom Rachman's The Imperfectionists is hitting the New York Times Bestseller list at #13 this Sunday.
The novel is about the personalities who work for an English-language newspaper based in Rome, and it's told in the form of stories. BookPage reviewer Harvey Freedenberg wrote:
Each of Rachman’s stories focuses on a different staffer, and from one to the next he deftly hits all the notes on the emotional scale. Comic highlights include “Bush Slumps to New Low in Polls,” in which Lloyd Burko, the aging and desperate Paris correspondent, fabricates a story about a shift in France’s policy in Gaza to save his job, and “The Sex Lives of Islamic Extremists,” starring Winston Cheung, a feckless one-time primatologist fighting a losing battle for the position of Cairo stringer.
My agent phoned from New York with the news. I stood there in my small apartment in Paris, shifting from leg to leg as she drew out the story. Finally, there it was: I had sold my novel. I put down the receiver, took a deep breath and began darting from one side of my living room to the other (not a great distance; about three strides each way), punching the air, shouting, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” until remembering that I had neighbors. Next, I ordered champagne to be sent to my agent, and popped a bottle myself, sending the cork flying from the living room, into the kitchen, out the open window. Click here to continue reading the Q&A.
Have you read The Imperfectionists? What'd you think?
Counting down the days until Stephenie Meyer's Eclipse comes out in theaters? Tickets go on sale at midnight tonight through Fandango and other online outlets. After New Moon drew the biggest ticket pre-sales in history, Summit decided to give viewers even longer to pack the theaters on Eclipse's opening night, June 13. Will you be buying your tickets early?
Charlaine Harris fans will be excited to hear that HBO show True Blood—based on the Sookie Stackhouse books—will be made into a comic, according to an article from USA Today:
Creators of the blood-drenched show have teamed with comic veterans for new stories of Sookie Stackhouse, her undead lover, Bill Compton, and the rest of the sex-crazed cast of mythical Bon Temps, La.
The first issue includes four alternate covers and a story line that traps the cast with an unnamed beast in Merlotte's Bar.
A little research shows that True Blood fans are passionate about this "uniquely carbonated, slightly tart, lightly sweet blood orange drink." A contributor at the True Blood Blog gives her positive impressions of the beverage in a post titled "Your True Blood Party Begins with Tru Blood!" I can't say that I blame anyone who wants to drink a beverage inspired by a TV show (/book). I have definitely bought some Bertie Bott's Jelly Beans and Chocolate Frogs in my day.
Sookie-inspired "synthetic blood nourishment beverage". . . weird or awesome?
Also in BookPage: Read an interview with Charlaine Harris.
John Vaillant's book The Golden Spruce—about a logger and a 300-year-old tree—won The Governor General Literary Award for Nonfiction in 2005. His next book doesn't come out until August 24, but it's already building a fair bit of buzz.
From its publisher description, The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival sounds like nothing if not gruesome and incredibly suspenseful:
When Yuri Trush was called in to investigate an attack by a Siberian tiger, what he found was unlike anything he'd ever encountered. Nothing remained of the victim but stumps of bone protruding from his boots. Even more chilling was the evidence that this attack had been carefully orchestrated, as if the tiger was seeking revenge. Before long, the beast struck again, and Trush, leader of a tiger conservation unit, found himself forced to hunt this animal through the brutal cold of a Siberian winter, becoming intimately acquainted with the tiger's history, motives, and unique method of attack--until their harrowing final encounter.
Stumps of bone? A man-eating tiger? Brad Pitt? Sounds like a blockbuster to me. Will you read The Tiger?
Also in BookPage: Read a review of The Golden Spruce.
This week, we go back to the beginning of the menu with a delicious appetizer recipe from the Bromberg Brothers, whose Blue Ribbon Restaurant has been a favorite of foodlovers since 1992. Read on for a spicy treat from two sibling chefs with a passion "for making whatever they make the best it can be."
We started making these hard-boiled-egg snacks when we were building and opening Blue Ribbon Bakery. One day, a farmer from upstate showed up at our door. He explained that he had only a handful of birds and produced a modest number of eggs per week, but he was sure if we tried the eggs we’d be hooked.
We put a pot of water on the stove, and in went several of the randomly sized and colored day-old eggs. Once they were boiled and we sliced them in half, the yolks were vibrant and the whites pristine and pale. The eggs tasted fantastic all by themselves, but when Flavio Guaman, our sous-chef, sliced up a jalapeño to put on top, sprinkled on some kosher salt, and gave one to the farmer, it was the farmer’s turn for revelation! We added a little mayo and decided to use pickled peppers instead of raw jalapeños. A whole new egg concept was born.
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons Olive Oil Mayonnaise
2 Pickled Peppers, thinly Sliced
Perfect Saute Seasoning or salt and freshly ground white or black pepper
1. Place the eggs in a saucepan; fill with cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let stand for 10 minutes. Drain the eggs, then plunge in ice water to cool. Peel and halve lengthwise.
2. Arrange the egg halves yolk side up on a platter. Top each half generously with mayonnaise. Sprinkle the eggs with peppers and seasoning and serve.
VARIATION: Egg Shooters with Smoked Trout and Trout Roe
Substitute crème fraîche for the mayonnaise and omit the peppers and seasoning. Top with 1 ounce flaked smoked trout, 2 tablespoons trout or salmon caviar, and chopped fresh chives.
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.
Trisha posted about the Orange Prize longlist a couple months ago, and today we got some good news—Rosie Alison's The Very Thought of You, one of the shortlisted titles, will be published by Atria in the United States.
Here's a plot summary from British publisher Alma Books UK:
England, 31st August 1939: the world is on the brink of war. As Hitler prepares to invade Poland, thousands of children are evacuated from London to escape the impending Blitz. Torn from her mother, eight-year-old Anna Sands is relocated with other children to a large Yorkshire estate which has been opened up to evacuees by Thomas and Elizabeth Ashton, an enigmatic childless couple. Soon Anna gets drawn into their unravelling relationship, seeing things that are not meant for her eyes - and finding herself part-witness and part-accomplice to a love affair, with unforeseen consequences.
Alison has stiff competition for the Orange Prize; other finalists include Barbara Kingsolver (The Lacuna); Attica Locke (Black Water Rising); Hilary Mantel (Wolf Hall); Lorrie Moore (A Gate at the Stairs); and Monique Roffey (The White Woman on the Green Bicycle). The winner will be announced June 9.
Has anyone snagged a copy of The Very Thought of You from overseas? What'd you think? Any Orange Prize predictions?
Though I agree that it represents a somewhat creepy invasion of privacy, I can't stop reading Amazon's new list of what readers are highlighting on their Kindles. The Amazon e-book device allows readers to highlight a passage in a book simply by dragging a cursor across it, and somehow (we don't really want to know how, do we?) Amazon is tracking these selections and reporting them to the whole wide world.
At Amazon.com, one list displays the Most Highlighted Passages of All Time, with "all time" presumably referring to the two and a half years since the Kindle was introduced. A second list aims to identify what's trendy by reporting Recently Heavily Highlighted Passages. The current number one on the "all-time" list is this passage from Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers: "Those three things—autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward—are, most people agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying." Why did this passage hit home for 1,742 Kindle users? Are they unhappy in their jobs? Searching for fulfillment? Mad at their boss? I also couldn't help but notice that the dominant book on the all-time list is The Shack, with SIX of the top 10 passages. Here's a sampler of what readers choose to highlight from William P. Young's allegorical Christian novel: "Paradigms power perception and perceptions power emotions. Most emotions are responses to perception—what you think is true about a given situation. If your perception is false, then your emotional response to it will be false too." Hmm. Perhaps they were highlighting that passage so they could figure out what it means?
My personal favorite passage is this one from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which has been highlighted by 581 Kindle users (so far): “Is it so small a thing to have enjoyed the sun, to have lived light in the spring, to have loved, to have thought, to have done, to have advanced true friends?” It's a lovely sentence and one that I might have marked myself.
Do you highlight passages in books as you read them? And what do you think of Amazon's new effort to track and report what readers are doing on their Kindles?
Children's Book Week has been around since 1919, and this year the celebration runs from May 10-16. I love these posters for the week:
The Children's Book Week website is a great resource for parents and young readers themselves. You can. . .
If you've been looking for a fun and easy way to get comprehensive info about books for kids and teens, this is it. Our first issue will come out May 26, but you can sign up now.
As our launch date gets closer, I'll post more about the newsletter, including info on how to enter a stellar kids book giveaway.
What is your family, library, school or bookstore doing to celebrate Children's Book Week? Let us know in the comments section, and share some ideas for other readers. . .
Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things
by Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee
Houghton Mifflin, April 20, 2010
Debra's obsessions with preservation and perfection have become her identity. She is "the keeper of magazines." If she were to stop colecting or to get rid of them, her sense of self would be lost. When I asked her about this, she said, "To stop would make all those years a waste of my life. It would make my existence invalid." At the same time she realized the cost. "This has ruined me, " she said. "I'm smart and creative, and I could have been happy. But I'm not anything. I have done nothing. I'm collecting life without living it."
In her review, Becky Ohlsen described it as "no ordinary coming-of-age novel. Or rather, it is ordinary, in the sense of being universal, even though the story’s primary setting will strike most readers as exotic and unfamiliar."
To learn more about the story, which follows Kimberly Chang through 20 years of her life, watch Kwok describe it in her own words in the book trailer below. Here's an excerpt: "It's basically a story about loss of innocence, it's about overcoming hardships. . . but at its core, it's a love story."
If you're interested in the behind-the-scenes life of an author, Kwok keeps a funny and informative blog. ("And hotels will give you stuff, like bottles of wine and extra flowers and chocolates. At one hotel, I found a copy of my book. ‘That’s a strange gift,’ I thought, ‘I already have a copy of my book.’")
Abby, our fiction editor, has expressed a lot of excitement for this novel, and I personally can't wait to read it. To give you an idea of the buzz it's already built up, consider this: I'm #9 out of 21 holds at the Nashville Public Library.
Have you read Girl in Translation? Is it worth the hype?