Marisha Pessl: Hot & High-Rollin'
Book critics and the lit bloggers are all a-buzz over the huge cash advance Marisha Pessl was paid for her debut, Special Topics in Calamity Physics.
Despite what most agree is a disappointing, rocky start, the novel
blooms into an addictive, Nobokov-esqe (and god knows Word Up will sink
its teeth into anything Nabokovian--seriously, anything) thriller about a boarding school with a sinister past.
Chuck Klosterman: The Ultimate Indie-Yuppie
Ugh, Chuck Klosterman. You're a good writer, you're super-successful, you started out as a nerdy nobody, and you're more obsessed with the minutae of pop-culture ephemera than anyone on earth. We admire all of that. So why do we find you so fucking annoying? It's a dilemma, truly.
Hey hi, did you miss us? The internerd at Phoenix HQ was all crazy and unreliable through the end of last week. Thank Christ the www is just a series of tubes. Rest easy, everything's fixed now. Here's an interesting bit from the inbox:
Via Publisher's Marketplace:
Over the weekend the Wall Street Journal looked at books that come with soundtracks--sometimes formally packaged with the book, sometimes informally posted on the web.
A criminal lawyer who moonlights as a beer scribe? We feel as if we could trust Andy Crouch to impart real knowledge on subjects like the Constitution and hops. Two themes, in fact, that segue flawlessly into The Good Beer Guide to New England. Here, nearly 100 pubs, bars, and breweries are wittily profiled and rated with the kind of diligence found in the most conscientious of booze hounds.
"When people start writing there is this idea that
you have to get everything right first time, every sentence has to be
perfect, every paragraph has to be perfect, every chapter has to be
perfect, but what you're doing is not any kind of public show, until
you're ready for it. There is a kind of mysticism to writing.
Sick of the endless Snakes on a Plane hype? Us neither! Which is why you really ought to spend your morning learning everything possible about Snakes on a Book.
"They say you cannot judge a book by its cover, but what if your summer read is bound in snakeskin?
Most people would not relish opening a book wrapped in cobra or python skin, especially with the summer’s big movie Snakes On A Plane expected to remind us that snakes are one of the animal kingdom’s least popular critters."
This isn’t about books or authors or the practice of writing. Thanks goes to Adam Reilly for passing along this piece in the L.A. Times. In it, Claire Hoffman spends some time with Joe Francis, the guy behind the “Girls Gone Wild” empire. Without question one of the most sickening and powerful pieces of journalism I’ve read in a long, long time.
In April, 2005, a contest was announced. People ages 20 to 29 were invited to submit non-fiction essays on any subject to Matt (used to love C&C Music Factory!) and Jillian (went to three NKOTB shows!), two twentysomething editorial assistants at Random House. The blue-ribbon essay would earn the author a quick $20,000, and it, along the running-up essays would be included in an anthology published by Random House.
Screwed over by passion, saved by alcohol: Newtonville has another
cathartic double billing of deliciously dysfunctional fiction for the
sulkies and sensies. First up is Jami Attenberg and her debut novel, Instant Love, which is about a group of young woman whose love lives are more unpredictable than Paris Hilton’s
The author of YA fave Bad Girls, Alex McAuley, has a new fluff book out this month: Summer Love. MTV film execs are dying to cast Avril Lavigne and Kristen Cavalleri opposite each other on the film adaptation of the novel. McAuley's sums up the title on her website:
"It's Laguna Beach meets Cape Fear when a rich girl from California confronts murder and isolation on North Carolina's stormy Outer Banks."
From the author of Mystic River comes a collection of tales
no cheerier than his intense portrait of crime drama in working-class
Dorchester. Whether Dennis Lehane's characters are buckling under the
strain of class resentment, cheating on their spouses, or choosing
money over reconciliation, Coronado: Stories (five shorts and
a two-act play) is yet another brutal glimpse into lives perpetually
wrecked by violence and always touched by tragedy.
How'd we miss this? On Wednesday The Guardian UK ran Lionel Shriver's infuriating diatribe on "vapid" computer-generated book covers.
While we're not familiar with the author's work, we've decided to
pre-judge and say that we pretty much hate her already. Especially for
lines such as these:
"Ashima never thinks of her husband's name
when she thinks of her husband, even though she knows perfectly well
what it is. She has adopted his surname but refuses, for propriety's
sake, to utter his first. It's not the type of thing Bengali wives do.
Like a kiss or caress in a Hindi movie, a husband's name is something
intimate and therefore unspoken, cleverly patched over."
This half of Word Up is a little bit consumed with the whole Harry
Potter...everything. And we're having serious withdrawal issues this
summer since there's no 19438328289 lb. new book to carry around and
sink our teeth into. Really, we EAT Harry Potter books.
They taste like crumpets. With jam. Jolly good!
The United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization
(UNESCO) monitors both the number and type of books published per
country per year. In 2005, the US shelved 172,000 new books. We only
came in second to the UK, which printed a total of 206,000.
With numbers like that it's no surprise to anyone -- especially
struggling writers -- that landing a book deal, or even just scoring an
agent, has gotten harder than debuting a number one pop single without ever having released a record