I just finished Diane Vadino's amazing debut, Smart Girls Like Me, last week. In preparation for the review I've been assigned to write, I Googled around and found her also-amazing and mouth-wateringly delicious fashion-and-shopping blog, Bunnyshop. (Bookmark. This. Now.) For a few days, I've been thinking about all the things I adore about Smart Girls while trying to figure out a way to discuss and justify the fact that it's packaged in a baby-pink cover with a picture of a rack of designer clothing.
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
The Washington Post has a story on the latest winner of the Nobel Prize in literature. Oh, those sweet-talking Brits:
Doris Lessing was out grocery shopping near her home in London yesterday when the Swedish Academy announced she had won the 2007 Nobel Prize in literature. She returned from the store to find a media circus, the wire services reported.
Today, researching a story about celebrity comebacks sent us scurrying back in time for an Internet refresher course on the history of spin and PR. Edward Berneys, the "father of public relations," was responsible for originating the idea that a company product or a celebrity's image could be revitalized if you tapped into the emotions of the public.
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
Too bad Chris Crocker and his not-fake crying and serious glitter eyeshadow didn't bother You Tubing a video about leaving poor James Frey alone a year ago. Oh well - just watch this and replace "Britney" with "James." So yeah, we thought we were over it but we're not. This week the Observer weighs in on Frey-gate and we can't turn away.
The Wall Street Journal has a great piece on how Penguin built on the word-of-mouth success of Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love, and turned the well-received hardcover into a paperback blockbuster.
Our favorite bit:
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.
Jack Romanos, president of Simon and Schuster is retiring, and Carolyn Reidy is in. Looks like Romanos will have quite a bit of spare time on his hands. Might we suggest whiling away the hours with Literary Rejections On Display? We've been hooked for the last couple of weeks: reading about someone else's failures is about as comforting as a good cup of boiling tea in an overly air-conditioned office (the Phoenix HQ has been freezing us out all week).
I rewatched the second half of Season 2 of The Hills on Sunday (thanks, Comcast On Demand!) in preparation for the Season 3 premiere on Aug 13. It was a delightful, delicious re-immersion experience, let me tell you. Until I noticed something troubling. Often, I saw my dear LoLo curled up on the couch, upset about something Heidi or Douche-bag Extraordinary Spencer Pratt had done.
Publisher Nan A. Talese publicly blasted Oprah over the James Frey controversy this Saturday, at the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Writers Conference of the Southwest:
"I'm afraid I'm unapologetic of the whole thing," she said. "And the only person who should be apologetic is Oprah Winfrey," who she says exhibited "fiercely bad manners — you don't stone someone in public, which is just what she did."
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.