Books highlighted on our website this week take readers from the border between Burma and Thailand, to Nagasaki harbor, to Butte, Montana. To go on the journey, all you have to do is. . .
Read a review of Ivan Doig's Work Song
Ivan Doig, born and bred in Montana, has written many popular works of fiction about the American West. In Work Song, he returns to his best-selling 2008 novel The Whistling Season [BookPage review] and its central character, Morrie Morgan. The place: Butte, Montana of 1919, a bustling post-World War I copper mining capital, where “The Richest Hill on Earth” has enticed Morrie to try his luck at siphoning off a few of the riches said to be waiting in its famed copper veins under the earth. Keep reading...
Read an interview with Mitali Perkins about Bamboo People
Guerilla warfare, child soldiers and landmines: What do these ripped-from-the-headlines terms have to do with a coming-of-age story for young readers? As it turns out, quite a bit. While displacement camps and military maneuvers are not the trappings of your standard touchy-feely “do the right thing” tale, they bring a sense of hard-edged reality to Mitali Perkins’ Bamboo People, an intriguing and insightful story about two boys learning how to become men in the midst of chaos. Keep reading...
Read a review of David Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
A versatile and imaginative writer, David Mitchell has earned a devoted following for his virtuosic novels, two of which have been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. With his sumptuous new novel, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, Mitchell eschews the postmodern razzle-dazzle of Cloud Atlas and Number9Dream for a more straightforward, albeit exquisitely detailed, historical romance about a Dutch outpost in Nagasaki harbor at the turn of the 19th century and Japan’s reluctant passage from isolation to trading partner of the West. Keep reading...
Which of these books will you read first? I have my eyes on The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.
Bantam Dell has announced that Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Stephen Hawking will publish another book about "the ultimate mysteries of the universe" (via GalleyCat). Hawking is something of a celebrity scientist as a result of his mega-bestselling book A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes. The new book will be titled The Grand Design and be published Sept. 7.
In a review of The Universe in a Nutshell, Hawking's follow-up to A Brief History of Time, Michael Sims wrote that the "fun and accessible" book includes "such challenging topics as time travel, the reconciliation of Einsteinian relativity and quantum theory, and even the frightening possibilities in the inevitable co-evolution of biological and technological life."
In The Grand Design, you can expect to learn about "a single theory that can describe and explain all the forces of nature." Sounds intriguing—will you look for this book?
For more on Hawking, watch his TED talk on "some Big Questions about our universe."
It's been another great week for reading book blogs, and I especially enjoyed the following two posts. What about you? Please share your own recommendations in the comments.
Other Audiobook Week discussions
Posted by Jen on Devourer of Books
Over at Devourer of Books, Jen has hosted a fantastic Audiobook Week series since Monday. This particular post provides a roundup of other audiobook-appreciation posts from around the book blog community. Read about why people keep coming back to audiobooks, recommendations for great listens, thoughts on narrators and more.
In honor of National Audiobook Month, don't miss this essay from Jane Smiley on the companionship of audiobooks, featured in the June edition of BookPage.
Meeting the Goose
Posted by Justine van der Leun on The Paris Review Daily
I loved Justine van der Leun's post on The Paris Review's blog about meeting MLH—aka "My Literary Hero." I think most of us can identify with van der Leun's adoration: "Like MLH? I loved MLH: immediately, completely, and obsessively. It wasn’t a romantic crush; it was a writer crush, and it endured." But the horror of meeting MLH and realizing—gasp—that you don't get along!
The post title is taken from a quote by Arthur Koestler: “To want to meet an author because you like his books is as ridiculous as wanting to meet the goose because you like pate de foie gras.” Do you agree? Have you ever met your own personal MLH? (Abby has. Read about her experience here. Luckily, her meeting was positive.)
I have never met anyone who's read more mysteries than our own Bruce Tierney, Whodunit columnist extraordinaire. For years he's been choosing a mystery of the month, and Karin Slaughter has been a pick multiple times. He says her latest, Broken, which went on sale Tuesday, is the best so far: "There are secrets in Grant County, and unearthing some of them can be lethal, even if you carry a badge."
Yesterday Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book—which won the Newbery Medal in 2009—took home The Carnegie Medal in Literature. The Carnegie is the UK's most prestigious children's book award, and according to Gaiman in his acceptance speech, it's also the most important book award that exists—since it was the first literary award he became familiar with when he read C.S. Lewis' The Last Battle.
Gaiman is the first author to win both the Carnegie and the Newbery.
For more on The Graveyard Book, read a review in BookPage—in which Angela Leeper praises Gaiman's "sharp, spine-tingling storytelling." Also, watch Gaiman's acceptance speech or the embedded video below of Gaiman talking about the award.
Did you enjoy The Graveyard Book?
We've already posted once today about book jackets-meet-reality TV, so why not continue on the topic?
Bravo recently launched a new program called Work of Art, in which artists compete for a solo show at the Brooklyn Museum (and a $100,000 cash prize). Last night, the challenge was to design a new cover for a classic book—and Penguin will actually put the winning design on a paperback!
The titles in question were The Time Machine, Pride and Prejudice, Frankenstein, Dracula, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
For a detailed analysis of last night's episode, check out Hillary Busis's amusing post over at the Wall Street Journal's entertainment blog Speakeasy. ("Jaclyn wants her cover to depict 'the love story between Elizabeth and Darby.' For crying out loud, has this woman not even seen Bridget Jones’s Diary?")
See a collage of the jackets below (or click through a slide show on Bravotv.com). Which one is your favorite? (I'm partial to the Frankenstein cover on the top left.) The name of the winner is below the graphic.
Contestant John won with his cover for H.G. Wells' The Time Machine! (The jacket in the center of the second row.)
In Wellesley, MA, where I went to college, there was one truly excellent restaurant near campus—the kind of place you couldn't afford unless parents (or a hot date!) were treating, or maybe on a special occasion. The restaurant's called Blue Ginger, and diners from all over Massachusetts come to feast on Chef Ming Tsai's "East-West" cuisine.
So, I was happy to see that Tsai is publishing another cookbook in November of this year. Called Simply Ming One-Pot Meals: Quick, Healthy & Affordable Recipes, the Asian-influenced recipes will feature ingredients you can find at a local market. Also, "every recipe will track its salt and fat intakes, calories, and allergens (keeping it healthful), every dish will cost under $20, and you'll only have to use one vessel in which to cook," according to a pre-pub blurb.
Tsai has already published several cookbooks: Blue Ginger, Simply Ming, and Ming's Master Recipes. Have you discovered his delicious dishes yet?
Just about everybody on the BookPage staff who has read Rebecca Stead's Newbery-winning novel When You Reach Me has raved about it. (I am most guilty, posting here and here—and don't miss our post-Newbery Q&A with Stead.) I loved spunky sixth-grade narrator Miranda. I loved how Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time was subtly integrated into the plot. I loved how Stead depicted a realistic relationship between mother and daughter. And I loved the combination of mystery and fantasy.
So, I was thrilled to read this morning that Amber Entertainment won a bidding war to produce a movie version of the novel. Both Stead and Ileen Maisel (The Golden Compass) will produce.
I can't wait to see New York City of the 1970s come to life, and the scenes that take place on game show "The $20,000 Pyramid" should be fabulous.
When A Wrinkle In Time was made into a TV movie in 2003, L'Engle said of the adaptation, "I expected it to be bad, and it is." Let's hope the movie of When You Reach Me doesn't get a similar reception—but how could it, since Stead is involved?
Do you think When You Reach Me will translate successfully on the screen? Are you looking forward to this movie?
By the way, we shared this news in Wednesday's Reading Corner, but in case you don't subscribe—this weekend a couple of our editors are off to attend the Newbery Caldecott Banquet in Washington, D.C. When they return, they'll post a full report of Stead's and Jerry Pinkney's speeches on this blog.
Kiera Cass, who has sold three books in a YA series pitched "as The Hunger Games meets "The Bachelor," following a 17-year-old, one of the eligible young women selected to compete to become the next queen, who finds herself falling in love despite only wanting to break her family out of the lower castes and leaving her boyfriend at home." The book will be called The Selection and will be released early in 2012.
As a Hunger Games fan (who recently met Suzanne Collins!), and a fascinated follower of the train wreck commonly known as "The Bachelor" franchise, this announcement pretty much blew my mind and inspired me to create the following graphic. Kiera, if you need a cover artist, call me! We'll have to wait until 2012 to see if the reality measures up to my imagination.
Summer is a good time to gather friends to share some small plates; if you give this one a try, let us know in the comments!
Crumble the Roquefort into a bowl and mash lightly with a fork. Add the pine nuts, raisins, wine or sherry and cream and mix to a paste. Remove the pits (stones) from the prunes and fill the cavities with the Roquefort paste. Close the prunes and secure with a wooden toothpick (cocktail stick). Put the prunes on a plate, cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.
Note: To use standard prunes, soak them in warm water to rehydrate them, following the directions on the package, then remove the pits.
Shared with permission from The Book of Tapas by Simone and Inés Ortega, published by Phaidon Press, 2010, $39.95. Photograph by Mauricio Salinas.