- September 27, 2010
It feels weird to say “happy banned books week,” but happy banned books week! I guess it IS something to celebrate, that we’re still reading all these wonderful books that other people have tried to wrench from our hands. For anyone who doesn’t know, banned books week is “the only national celebration of the freedom to read.” If you click on that link, you can see the 10 most banned books of 2009, including our very own To Kill a Mockingbird, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this summer.
Though it didn’t make the top 10 list, my very own favorite banned book, Judy Blume’s Forever, gave me my own experience with censorship and book banning on a very small scale. I was always an active reader as a kid, and my mom, who isn’t a big book reader (she’s more into newspapers and magazines), would mostly just turn me loose in the bookstore with a limit to the number of books we could buy. I’m sure if I had turned up with something really age-inappropriate, she would have said something, but for the most part I was left on my own. By the time I picked out Forever, I had read most of Judy Blume’s other books, so my mom didn’t bat an eye. I read it in a day, dog-eared the pages with salacious stuff on them, and passed it on to all my friends in the fourth grade. It made the rounds without incident until it hit one friend who shall remain nameless.
A few years before, this girl’s mother had ambushed my mom in her car as she came to pick me up one day and tried to get her to sign a petition banning the book “Heather Has Two Mommies.” And now she had decided to throw her weight behind banning Forever—not from our school, but from our little group of friends. But despite her efforts (calling my mom, etc), all she managed to do was get my mom to tell me not to lend any more books to her daughter. And I didn’t—at least not for her to take home . . .
Have you ever had a personal experience with book banning? What’s your favorite banned book?
- September 23, 2010
We originally published this list back in June, but there have been some changes, so now it’s new and improved!
Want to review a book published by HarperCollins? Talk to these people!
And view all our upcoming titles at HarperCollinsCatalogs.com.
Erica Barmash, erica.barmash AT harpercollins DOT com,
@harperperennial on twitter
@ericabrooke on twitter (for more musings about books, cats, tv, and Chipotle)
Mary Sasso, mary.sasso AT harpercollins DOT com,
@maryrsasso on twitter
Until the end of 2010, contact Mary Sasso (see above)
2011 and beyond, contact Shawn Nicholls (see below)
Jeremy Cesarec, jeremy.cesarec AT harpercollins DOT com
@itbooks on twitter
Ben Tomek, benjamin.tomek AT harpercollins DOT com
@eccobooks on twitter
William Morrow, Eos, and Avon mass market:
Shawn Nicholls, shawn.nicholls AT harpercollins DOT com
Mark Ferguson, mark.ferguson AT harpercollins DOT com, @harperbooks on twitter
Arianna Heintz, arianna.heintz AT harpercollins DOT com
Balzer and Bray:
Laura Kaplan, laura.kaplan AT harpercollins DOT com
Melissa Bruno, melissa.bruno AT harpercollins DOT com
- September 22, 2010
Despite writing an essay on riot grrrl in college (and listening to some of the bands, of course), I knew very little about this punk rock, feminist movement—which I realized once I read Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution by Sara Marcus, on sale September 28. Basically, I knew the music—from bands like Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, Heavens to Betsy, and Huggy Bear—but not much about what went on around it. If you’re anything like me, I highly encourage you to check out Girls to the Front. Just click below to read the beginning and you’ll be hooked!
- September 21, 2010
We’re proud to announce that Karan Mahajan’s Family Planning has just been shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize! As you can see from the below picture, Karan (bottom left) stands out quite a bit from the other nominees by virtue of the fact that he’s not a young lady with short hair:
I read Family Planning a while ago, but I do remember that it was a fun and funny look at life in New Delhi, as seen through the eyes of a government minister and one of his thirteen children. I feel like often when I read literature that takes place in other countries it’s of the serious, “this is an important look at our culture” variety, and so it was awesome to read something that does examine a culture through fiction but that does it with a lot of humor.
And, since I just ended one contest, why not start another? Everyone who tells me their favorite novel about another culture in the comments has a chance to win!
- September 21, 2010
The winners of our tote bag giveaway are:
We have the winners for our tote bag giveaway! They are:
Kathy, who is looking forward to The Amateurs by John Niven.
Melissa, who loved Everything Is Going to Be Great by Rachel Shukert
Jennifer, who is loving Lake Overturn by Vestal McIntyre and looking forward to The Financial Lives ot the Poets by Jess Walter
Swapna, who enjoyed Postcards from a Dead Girl by Kirk Faber!
Darcy, who is looking forward to reading The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver.
Thanks to everyone who entered, and look for another giveaway once we get the rest of our shipment in!
- September 20, 2010
At our booth at the Brooklyn Book Festival, I saw some people doing something that I should definitely do but somehow never manage to: reading the first couple of pages of a book before buying it to see if they liked the writing. Makes a lot of sense, right? Try it with these two recently released books that I love, and see if they can’t entice you:
Browse inside The Financial Lives of the Poets
Browse inside Vanishing
- September 17, 2010
It’s been a very busy week here at Harper Perennial, with events, authors in town, book blogger appreciation week, the goodbye party for our beloved Stephanie, and more. I think we could all use a few minutes with this guy:
His name is Duff and he lives with Alberto, our publicity director. And I’m hoping that someday he comes to visit the office!
- September 15, 2010
Today’s book blogger appreciation week topic is unexpected treasures—books that you’ve been turned on to by other bloggers. Since it would be fairly impossible for anyone else to turn me on to a Harper Perennial book, I love that this gives me a chance to talk about other books I’ve loved, namely:
Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel
This recommendation was really a team effort from pretty much every person I follow on twitter. I began to feel like I was really, really missing something by not reading this book, so one day at McNally Jackson when Carrie asked me if there had been anything I’d been meaning to read, it was a no-brainer. This story of a girl who spent her childhood flitting around from state to state and therefore has a bit of trouble dealing with adulthood is completely mesmerizing.
A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Full disclosure: I haven’t read this one yet. But after raves from many, including Rebecca at the Book Lady’s Blog, put it permanently on my radar. It’s sitting on my shelf now, borrowed from Carrie.
The Orange Eats Creeps by Grace Krilanovich
This one has been on my to-be-read list for literally less than an hour, thanks to Blake Butler’s video recommendation. I plan to pick it up the next time I’m at a bookstore, which could be as soon as tonight if they happen to have it at Powerhouse (where I’ll be for Neal Pollack) but will more likely be this weekend.
So now, to turn the tables and also feed my ego, are there any books that I’ve recommended to you that you’ve loved? Tell me!
- September 14, 2010
This weekend, Harper Perennial participated in two awesome events: Lit Crawl NYC and the Brooklyn Book Festival.
First up was our literary trivia night at KGB as part of the Lit Crawl. I didn’t take any photos, but I can tell you that Jason Mulgrew read about his small penis, Rachel Shukert read about the most disgusting fondue you could possibly imagine (hint: it involves . . . fluids), and Neal Pollack read about farts. Yes, that’s Harper Perennial for you—keepin’ it classy. The winners of our trivia were Team Wolfmother, who left without claiming their prize, thinking there was none! But that has been rectified and their prizes are on their way.
Then came Sunday and our booth at the Brooklyn Book Festival. We huddled together for warmth during the wind and rain and sold a ton of books! Shiny gold stars go to everyone who helped and sold their hearts out:
our marketing director Amy
harper paperbacks marketing coordinator Mary
harper paperbacks marketing associate Stephanie
assistant sales manager Jess
online marketing manager Michael
it books marketing associate Jeremy
library marketing associate Kayleigh (whose own recap you can see at the link)
managing editor Dori
And, of course, our fearless leaders Carrie and Cal. (Fun fact: the only time all day I sat down was when Cal and I ate pizza.)
I also met lots of my favorite bloggers/twitterers for the first time and saw some familiar faces too! All in all, it was a great day for anyone who loves books . . . as you can see in the below photos!
Steph, Jess, and Mary
Browsing at the booth
Me and Amy
The plaid brigade: Jeremy, Michael, Joseph
Already looking forward to next year!
- September 14, 2010
One of my favorite parts of Book Blogger Appreciation Week last year was the interview swap, so I was happy to do it again this year! My partner was Kristen at We Be Reading, and you can see her interview with me here, and you can see my questions for her below. For me, getting to know other book bloggers is one of the best parts of blogging, and I’m glad I got to know Kristen a bit better! If you like what you read, you can check out her blog or follow her on twitter.
1. I’m always in awe of moms who find time to blog and read lots of books. How do you manage it? Did your reading habits change when you became a mom?
For the first couple of years, I honestly didn’t manage it. I didn’t read much besides magazines for at least the first two years of Z’s life. Then he started to be more self-sufficient and spend more time playing and reading on his own and I was gradually able to pick up my books again and eventually start blogging. I’m still in awe of moms with more than one kid who read and blog. They’re amazing!
One thing that’s changed since I became a mom is that I’m reading more youth and young adult fiction, partly to revisit old favorites before it’s time for Z to read them and partly to keep in touch with what is out there so I can have an idea of what he’s liable to bring home. Another thing that’s changed is that I’ve become less rigid about where I’m willing to stop in a book. I used to be a strict end-of-chapter gal but now I will stop in the middle of a paragraph if I need to and I find myself doing that more now even when I don’t need to.
2. I know you’re a fan of international fiction—if you could only pick one country (besides the US) to read books from, which would it be?
The easy and obvious choice would be the U.K. but that seems a bit like cheating. If it is, then I’ll go with Spain. My favorite authors in translation are from Spain (Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Arturo Pérez-Reverte) and there are many more that I haven’t explored yet like Isabel Allende. I’m also one-quarter Spanish so it’s in my blood.
3. What’s your favorite bookstore in Seattle?
Well, I tend to find a good bookstore and stick with it so I’ll admit I’ve only scratched the surface of Seattle’s wonderful bookstore community. But I have an intense love for Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, just north of the city. They shelve new and used together (and you usually can’t tell the difference because their used books are in GREAT shape), have a wide range of author events and other community tie-ins and just the other day put a signed book on hold for me through Twitter! I also spend a lot of time at my local Half Price Books and their clearance racks because I can’t resist cheap books.
4. As a marketing manager for an imprint, I’m always curious about this—do you pay attention to who published a book when you’re deciding to read it?
Before I had a blog, I wasn’t as attentive to publisher names as I am now. But I’m starting to be more aware of it, especially with imprint and indie labels. Once you start paying attention, you get a real sense of what sort of book to expect when you see a specific publisher. There are a couple of publishers that are currently re-releasing fantastic out-of-print titles so I tend to watch them. Then there are others that I trust for new literary fiction and works in translation. For the classics, I also tend to stick with a single publisher.
5. What books from your childhood and young adulthood will you give your son as he grows up?
I don’t have a list (which is somewhat surprising for me) but there are some that I am seeding his little library with and hoping that he picks up at some point. We’re drawing toward the end of the picture book years with him so I’ve probably lost my chance to bring in any other favorites ones there. Looking forward, I’ve already put some Roald Dahl on his shelves and The Phantom Tollbooth. I have a nice Lemony Snicket collection that I hope he likes. He’s welcome to read my Oz books (the collection in my blog header) if he promises to be careful because they’re getting old. My dad passed on some Hardy Boys books from his childhood to Z so I hope he picks those up as well. (Judy Blume, Choose Your Own Adventure … this could go on forever so I’ll stop now!)
6. Do you read more than one book at once, or are you a one-at-a-time reader? Why?
When I was listening to your That’s How I Blog! interview the other night, you gave exactly the same response that I would have. I really only ever read one book at a time. What I might call reading more than one book is really setting one down, reading another in its entirety and then picking the first one back up. I can’t shift mental gears well enough to go back and forth between characters and plots.
7. What’s the last book you read that surprised you?
The Tricking of Freya by Christina Sunley. I wanted to read it because I love Iceland and am learning about its history and mythology but I didn’t expect to become so invested in the characters. It’s definitely one of my top reads of the year.
8. What genres do you stay away from, and is there anything that could convince you to try them out?
I actually read across a wide variety of genres (or at least dabble) so I don’t count much out except for modern romance and the lower end of chick lit. I tend to avoid misery fiction and don’t think I could be convinced to read more in that genre. Anything with terminal illness, abducted or murdered children, major relationship issues and the like are just not what I like to spend my time immersed in. I sometimes say that I don’t want to read about anything bad that could actually happen to me.
9. If you could pick a classic book to update for our current times, what would it be?
This is a really tough question because for the most part I feel that the classics are sacred. I’ve been a bit irritated by the glut of Jane Austen spin-offs of late. However, I think that some of the Victorian sensational novels (East Lynne, for one) could very easily be updated and would be well received literary thrillers.
10. How do you organize your bookshelves? Have you ever thought about doing it differently?
I think about doing it differently every day because I have almost no organization in the shelves right now! Half of our books are on our three tall bookcases and the other half are in a massive island of teetering stacks in another room. Those ones are sort of organized (paperbacks, hardcovers and authors are grouped) but I need to buy more shelves. I just added a small three-shelf bookcase in my room for my TBR books (175 of them!) because they were all on the floor and a similar one in Z’s room because his area on our shelves was overflowing. I really need to solve this soon because it’s a constant source of angst for me. I may just head to IKEA right now!
- September 13, 2010
Happy Book Blogger Appreciation Week! For those of you who don’t know, Book Blogger Appreciation Week is when we celebrate those people we all love: book bloggers! There are suggested writing topics, giveaways, and awards, and it’s an awesome chance to find new blogs to read (my google reader is trembling in anticipation.)
To celebrate, Book Club Girl is giving away an excellent twitter nameplate necklace just like mine. So of course I’ve got to give something away too! Something that’s been in the works for months here at Harper Perennial HQ. Something like . . . our new tote bags!!!
The front of each bag is the same, but we’ve got five different quotes that appear on the back from Justin Taylor, Katrina Kittle, Barbara Kingsolver, Ben Greenman, and Simon Van Booy. And we’re giving them away! Five lucky winners will each get a bag. Just leave a comment and tell me a Harper Perennial book that you’ve either read and enjoyed or are looking forward to reading. (It’s fun when you plug our books instead of me doing it!)
And . . . go!
- September 09, 2010
This Sunday is another event we’ve all been waiting for—the Brooklyn Book Festival! We’ve already partnered with Brooklyn-Based to tell you all about our awesome authors’ panels and to offer a special, super-cheap deal, so I thought I’d use this post to:
1. tell you to come by our booth and say hi to me! I’ll be there all day selling my heart out, along with various other harper perennial marketing people and editors.
2. tell you that in addition to the previously mentioned super-cheap deal you can find on Brooklyn-Based, we’ll also be offering all our books at just $10 each even for those without the coupon, AND debuting our brand-new, very exciting HARPER PERENNIAL TOTE BAGS, free with your purchase of $20 or more.
3. suggest some of my favorite places in the area for lunch, including: Chipotle (185 montague street, needs no explanation), Cafe Luluc (214 smith street, vaguely french), Bar Tabac (128 smith street, more than vaguely french), Blue Marble (196 court street or 420 atlantic ave, ice cream, maybe not for lunch but definitely not-to-be-missed), and Clover Club (210 smith street, the best baked eggs you’ll ever have). There is also a Mexican place I prefer to Chipotle in the general vicinity that I will tell you about if you ask.
- September 07, 2010
Harper Perennial has quite a bit going on this weekend. So much, in fact, that I’m breaking it up into two posts! This one is going to be about our totally awesome Lit Crawl NYC event:
Lit Chicks vs. Book Boys: Literary Trivia with Harper Perennial
KGB, 85 East 4th Street
Sat, September 11th, 6:00-6:45 pm
Join Harper Perennial for a night of girls vs boys trivia, awesome prizes, excellent readings, and alcoholic beverages. Rachel Shukert represents the girls, Jason Mulgrew the boys, and Neal Pollack hosts.
Last year, my team made it to the finals, where we were “helped” by our author Tony O’Neill, who told us some very incorrect things about the ancient mariner. This year, you could be the one trying to explain to one of our mildly intoxicated authors why you know more about literature than they do. Do other events give you that kind of access? I think not.
So that’s your Saturday night right there. Come back later this week to learn how you should spend your Sunday (hint: at the brooklyn book festival! But I’ll tell you why.)
- August 31, 2010
I’m so proud that the olive reader is nominated for best publishing industry blog for book blogger appreciation week! Go check out ALL the nominated blogs for lots of great reading, and vote for us if you’re a registered blogger!
- August 30, 2010
Nearly every review, tweet, or facebook post I’ve read about Marcy Dermansky’s BAD MARIE mentions the sheer unputdownable-ness of it. “I read it in two hours!” “I just thought I’d read a few pages and I couldn’t stop!” I felt the same way when I read it, and it got me thinking. “Unputdownable” is a word that gets tossed around a lot, but even the most suspenseful books have to be put down if they’re over a certain length, or if, at some point, the suspense is overpowered by disturbing or confusing plot points.
So I ask you: what books have you read in one sitting? I finished a book in two sittings this weekend (Drinking Closer to Home, by Summer of Naked Swim Parties author Jessica Anya Blau, which I will be writing about much much more because I absolutely totally loved it), but I can’t remember the last time I did a one-sitting-read. Perhaps with Jennifer McMahon? Her books (Promise Not to Tell, Island of Lost Girls, Dismantled) are definitely one-sitting reads.