Well, hello there! Yep, we're still here. So let's talk shop.
The 39 Clues, a new series that Scholastic is billing as the successor to Harry Potter sounds remarkably dull. Collector cards? Why not just package the books with Pogs. More Paper Cuts contributors are on the way. Editorial Ass is a blog we recently discovered, written by an extremely witty former ed assistant.
Here's the thing, as we are fond of saying when we want to rant about something. We found this week's "Questions For..." very amusing in light of recent now-simmering accusations that Solomon uses certain less-than-ethical methods to give her column its trademark snap-crackle-pop. We keep reading and re-reading her interview with Pierre Bayard, a professor of French literature at the University of Paris, a fake-reader of Proust (self-described!), and the author of How To Talk About Books You Haven't Read
There's something vaguely diabolical about Jessica Seinfeld's book, Deceptively Delicious. The basic concept is that you hide good-for-you things like spinach and sweet potatoes in yummy things like brownies and mac & cheese. Except 1) People say her recipes are actually disgusting and 2) She may have stolen the ideas from another lady who thought of those gross combinations first
Penguin is teaming with Amazon.com for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. They're taking submissions through Nov. 5, and the winner receives a publishing contract and a $25,000 advance from Penguin! If only we had participated in last year's NANOWRIMO. We're a bit more preoccupied by short stories lately, although Stephen King's Sunday Book Review essay made us think twice:
The new Oprah's Book Club pick has not yet been revealed, but Publisher's Lunch informed us that the publisher is Vintage. Also, that James Wood's first New Yorker book review piece, "Desert Storm," is up and online. There's a new best-seller list (for trade paperback fiction) included in The New York Times Sunday Book Review
A piece in the New York Times' business section today about author Ayn Rand and her economic legacy got us thinking.
We read all of Rand's fiction back in high school, when we were feeling rebellious and anti-establishment and hating on adolescent suburban sheep (even though, duh, we were one of them).
The New York Times T Style magazine has a lovely slideshow up that attempts to merge the contextual style of classic literature with a proper dress code. Our one gripe: where are the ladies? Click on the image above to view the rest of the spread.
HarperCollins will be publishing Frey's new novel, Bright Shiny Morning.
Publisher Jonathan Burnham said that "Mr. Frey was a “media lightning rod” but that “my opinion about James Frey and whatever he did is beside the point.”
“What matters is this is a very, very good work of fiction, and it very much stands up on its own.
From the New York Times Sunday Book Review, here's David Oshinsky's great essay about Knopf's biggest (and most regretable) rejections.
See for yourself.
I cite A Wrinkle in Time as one of my favorite books of all time. This is sad news. You can read the New York Times obituary here.
Local favorite Pagan Kennedy (Confessions of a Memory Eater, The First Man-Made Man) discusses MySpace's literary communities in this week's New York Times Book Review podcast. Subscribe!
She also penned an interesting essay for the newspaper on the same topic, which you can read here.
The NY Times noticed the recent commercialization of Jane Austen on Sunday:
How did this early-19th-century novelist become the chick-lit, chick-flick queen for today? It is not only because she is an enduring writer. So is Melville, but bumper stickers and T-shirts read “What would Jane do?” not “What would Herman do?” A few other female writers have achieved pop culture celebrity: Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath for the drama of their suicides, the Brontës for the gothic romance of their novels and the contrast to their quiet lives.
The NYT's Sunday Business section asked, "What makes a best-seller?" and this three-page musing is their version of an answer. No real revelations, per se. What I found most fascinating was Shira Boss's interwoven explanation of what might have made Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep such a runaway hit:
When Ms. Sittenfeld was writing the novel, she recalled, colleagues said, “The boarding school book has already been written.
Just as soon as we're done pouring over Avril Lavigne's manga, "Make 5 Wishes" Vol. 1, we'll be heading over to TIME. They've got an excerpt of George Tenant's slam-dunking At the Center of the Storm. There's also an interview with Tenant up. Of course, Kakutani weighs in over at the NYT.