tag: booksread this next

May 2007


  • About the author MS
  • May 17, 2007

This past Monday at Housing Works Bookstore, Ecco held a party for the release of the novel I LOVE YOU, BETH COOPER by Larry Doyle. A few photos were taken:

Above, Lee Boudreaux, Ecco’s editorial director and editor of the book, makes a few welcoming remarks.

Here, author Larry Doyle wends his way down the spiral staircase, making a fine entrance for a week of readings in New York. See him at 7pm tonight at the B&N Chelsea.

Here are some nice mentions of the ILYBC party:
Publishers Weekly

August 2007

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Book Club Pick

  • About the author MS
  • August 09, 2007

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn The website Monsters & Critics features A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith as their Book Club Pick of the Month for August. Click over for discussion and reviews.

And, in case you’re interested, Bill Morrison, Creative Director of Bongo Entertainment, blogs about The Simpsons Handbook in his MySpace books feature.

Scott Heim - We Disappear

  • About the author MS
  • August 13, 2007

Scott Heim has published two novels, Mysterious Skin and In Awe, as well as a book of poems, Saved from Drowning. In 2005, the film adaptation of Mysterious Skin was released to critical acclaim. Last week he stopped by the office, and we worked him over in a hard-hitting interview. Well, not really, we just threw some questions in a bucket—literally. Harper Perennial will release his novel, We Disappear, in February 2008. Here’s a snippet from the editor’s description: “It’s a novel about lost innocence, family responsibility, and the dangers of obsession. It examines our fascination with mystery and crime, and ultimately shows the resilience of the bond between mother and son.” You can read an excerpt from We Disappear here at Scott’s kick-ass website.

A Belated Happy Birthday to Charles Bukowski

  • About the author CK
  • August 17, 2007

It was yesterday, but belated was his thing anyway.

“LA was the end of a dead culture crawled west to get away from itself. LA knew it was rotten and laughed at it.”

Bukowski has been hailed as the poet laureate of LA – and to his legion of fans, Bukowski was––and remains––a counterculture icon. A hard–drinking wild man of literature, a stubborn outsider to the poetry world, he struck a chord with generations of readers, writing raw, tough poetry about booze, work, and women, that spoke to his fans as “real” and, like the work of the Beats, even dangerous.

If you haven’t ever, you have to. Even if its just a line. Because if his writing moves you it will move you right away. And if it moves you, well, its a great experience. And you’ll have miles of pages to savor. Those who know what I’m talking about, well, we share a similar experience then, don’t we.

Here’s a favorite. Try it.

“about the PEN conference”

take a writer away from his typewriter
and all you have left
the sickness
which started him
in the

From You Get So Alone At Times That It Just Makes Sense . And here’s a few pages from the most recent book of previously unpublished poetry that went on-sale back in March.

Bradbury Anew / Harper Lee Speaks

  • About the author CK
  • August 22, 2007

Good article in today’s Times about the amazing Ray Bradbury: “ Vintage Bradbury, Packaged Anew


The reclusive Pulitzer Prize-winning author was in attendance Monday night for the induction of baseball legend Hank Aaron into the Alabama Academy of Honor. According to the AP (via the Los Angeles Times, “At the end of the ceremony, Academy of Honor chairman Tom Carruthers joked with Lee, saying he knew she had something she wanted to say to the crowd.”

“Well, it’s better to be silent than to be a fool,” Lee replied. The audience laughed and gave her a standing ovation.

Obit of the Week

  • About the author CK
  • August 23, 2007

My friend, Simon, recommends the following…

Joybubbles, 58, Peter Pan of Phone Hackers, Dies

“Joybubbles (the legal name of the former Joe Engressia since 1991), a blind genius with perfect pitch who accidentally found he could make free phone calls by whistling tones and went on to play a pivotal role in the 1970s subculture of ‘phone phreaks,’ died on Aug. 8 in Minneapolis.”

He decided that he would remain five-years old after his mother pressured him to capitalize on his high IQ.

“His second life as a youngster included becoming a minister in his own Church of Eternal Childhood and collecting tapes of every ‘Mr. Rogers’ episode. When asked why Mr. Rogers mattered, he said: ‘When you’re playing and you’re just you, powerful things happen.’”

New Harper Perennial Podcasts

  • About the author MS
  • August 28, 2007

Episode 15 of the Harper Perennial Podcast is out and about. Click here to listen to interviews with the authors of these new paperback releases:

Under a Flaming Sky is Daniel James Brown’s gripping account of a little-known American story: the Great Hinckley Firestorm of 1894. Daniel’s own great-grandmother and grandfather narrowly escaped this raging forest fire. Having grown up hearing their stories, he was finally compelled to write about them.

Truck: A Love Story is Michael Perry’s warm and funny memoir about a busy year in his life: attempting to get his old International truck running, and trying to grow a garden. Unexpectedly, after 39 years of bachelorhood, he also met the woman who changed everything.

Scott Heim - Part II

  • About the author MS
  • August 29, 2007

Since the first video we posted received such a warm response (it was only two comments, but we’ll take anything!), here’s another video from Scott Heim, author of the forthcoming We Disappear. Herein he discusses his best and worst writing habits, sources of inspiration, women’s softball, and more!

I Love You, Beth Cooper! - Essay Contest Winners

  • About the author MS
  • August 30, 2007

Some time ago we helped announce The Agony and The Ecstasy: Essay Contest, which coincided with the release of I Love You, Beth Cooper! by Larry Doyle, and asked entrants to share “your best of days, your worst of nights, your most mind-blasting, soul-crushing, thrilling, terrorizing, delightful and humiliating memories of high school.” Well, the respondents were generous with their shame. Jonathan Selwood, author of The Pinball Theory of the Apocalypse (pictured on your right), took the Grand Prize for Eat or Die.

Ron at GalleyCat covers the results: Literati Relive Painful Adolescence

September 2007

The Portable Obituary - Giveaway

  • About the author MS
  • September 06, 2007

The Portable Obituary From Michael Largo, the author of Final Exits , comes another irresistible compendium of death, The Portable Obituary. From the back copy: “This authoritative, one-of-a-kind reference presents the unabashed truths about a multitude of celebrity deaths, while examining the various deeds, misdeed, and lifestyle quirks that hastened the demise and determined the departed’s role in history and popular myth. The Portable Obituary has the skinny on what made our late icons—whether through overindulgence or neglect: on the john, in the sack, or in some spectacular accident—what they are today: dead!”

It’s on sale now! And…the first three readers to comment will receive a free copy! Make sure to provide a functioning e-mail address when prompted.

Last Night at Rocky Sullivan’s

  • About the author MS
  • September 11, 2007

By car, by bus, and by train we wended our way to Rocky Sullivan’s in Red Hook, Brooklyn—the land of urban stillness—for our Take A Stranger Home reading. Authors Bryan Charles, Shelley Jackson, and Matt Marinovich read from their respective debut novels. As you’ll see, my video recording device can handle only so many intensities of light, but the audio is clear as a bell.

That’s Bryan Charles, author of Grab On to Me Tightly as if I Knew the Way .

That’s Shelley Jackson, author of Half Life .

That’s Matt Marinovich, author of Strange Skies . My footage belies the fact that the authors did indeed look fantastic up there. Just feast your eyes upon Matt’s chiseled visage as he intones from among the shadows.

The turnout was good. The location an oasis. And the authors made it all worthwhile. If you’re looking for some great reads, look here.

October 2007

Doris Lessing receives Nobel Prize in Literature

  • About the author MS
  • October 11, 2007

In case you haven’t heard, Doris Lessing is winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature!!! Read the NY Times report. You could even read one of her many great titles that HarperCollins proudly publishes:

Walking in Shade
Under My Skin
Time Bites
The Sweetest Dream
Story of General Dann and Mara’s Daughter, Griot and the Snow Dog
The Real Thing
A Proper Marriage
Mara and Dann
Love Again
In Pursuit of the English
The Grass is Singing
The Grandmothers
Going Home
The Four-Gated City
The Cleft
Ben, In the World

African Laughter

Congratulations Doris Lessing! And, if you have a moment, browse through her latest, The Cleft:

Last Day in Frankfurt

  • About the author CK
  • October 15, 2007

CK will be sending correspondance from the Frankfurt Book Fair this week:

From The Bookseller (UK):

Beautiful US deal

UK independent Beautiful Books has made its first US deal, selling North American rights in a debut novel by a 20-year-old Cambridge University student. Publisher Simon Petherick concluded the “good five-figure sale” with Carrie Kania of Harper Perennial US. Christina Spens’ The Wrecking Ball is about “bright young things” who live for “parties and music and drugs”. Beautiful will release the novel next May, and HP in autumn 2008.

So, yes, you’ve guessed it. I have a thing for books about bright young things who live for parties, music and drugs. As evidenced by the above. Exciting news.

Loved Frankfurt – the food (bratwurst!), the weater (a tinge cold) and the books. Ran around like mad for days, met a million people, made two deals and pitched books. And Doris Lessing won!

Viva The Olive!

Doris Lessing - Reading Group Giveaway

  • About the author MS
  • October 15, 2007

Enter to Win FREE BOOKS for Your Reading Group for a Year! Write to us about your experience reading The Golden Notebook and you’ll be entered for a chance to win free reading group books from Harper Perennial for 365 glorious days! Email readinggroups@harpercollins.com with your submission and the subject line: The Golden Notebook.

January 2008

Sundance Is for Publishers

  • About the author MS
  • January 22, 2008

At this year’s Sundance Film Festival, The Wall Street Journal interviewed President of Harper and William Morrow, Michael Morrison, regarding the partnership between HarperCollins and Sharp Independent. We’re sort of proud. Go, Michael!

April 2008

Son Decides to Publish Last Nabokov Novel

  • About the author MS
  • April 24, 2008

Vladimir Nabokov’s son Dmitri has told Germany’s Der Spiegel that he has finally decided to ignore his father’s instructions to burn his final manuscript, The Original of Laura, and will instead have it published. Dmitri said, “I’m a loyal son and thought long and seriously about it, then my father appeared before me and said, with an ironic grin, ‘You’re stuck in a right old mess – just go ahead and publish!’”

Dmitri has called the manuscript “the most concentrated distillation of [my father’s] creativity.”

As reported by the Guardian blog: “Nabokov’s last work will not be burned.”

I want to be wise witty and pretty 24 hours a day …

  • About the author MS
  • April 25, 2008

The show must go on, as they say … here’s a recent interview with Sebastian with the CBC

Life is just basically smoke through a keyhole, its just chasing after wind…

June 2008

Stephen King flat-out loved it

imagename When a book gets too much hype, I’m automatically suspicious. Could it really be as good as everyone says it is? One of the books everyone seems to be talking about lately is The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, published by our good friends at Ecco. In simplest terms, it’s the story of a boy and his dog(s). But this work, by first-time novelist David Wroblewski, comes complete with echoes of Hamlet and meditations on family, faith, loyalty, and tragedy. Clocking in at 576 pages, it’s weighty but well worth it. As someone obsessed with my own pet, I was moved by Edgar’s relationship with his dog, Almondine, and impressed by how vividly Wroblewski expressed Edgar’s terror and turmoil.

Wroblewski read last night at McNally Robinson here in NYC and will be hitting Washington, the west coast, and the rest of the country in the coming days. Click here to check out his tour schedule and by all means, read this book that totally deserves every bit of hype.

July 2008

Cookin’ with Coolio

Amid the normal reports of books signed this morning in Publishers Lunch was a tantalizing mention of Cookin’ with Coolio. Yes, that’s right, Coolio, of “Fantastic Voyage” and “Gangsta’s Paradise” fame, is coming out with a cookbook. It seemed totally bizarre to me, but little did I know that Coolio has his own Internet cooking show on MyDamnChannel, and it’s pretty hilarious. The recipes are also easy enough that even a terrible cook like me could probably get them right. Good for you, Coolio.

Jhumpa Lahiri wins short story prize; everyone else sucks

Jhumpa Lahiri has won the Frank O’Connor award, the world’s richest award for a short story collection, for Unaccustomed Earth. In an unusual move, the judges declined to name a shortlist and just went straight from the longlist to naming her the winner. According to the Guardian, the award’s director, Pat Cotter, said that “no other title was a serious contender.” If I were on that longlist (which includes Anne Enright, Roddy Doyle, Jim Shepard, and Donald Ray Pollock, author of Knockemstiff, which has been on my own to-be-read list for a while), I might feel a little insulted.

Then again, the point of the award is to call attention to short story collections, and this move has certainly done that. I’m a huge fan of short stories, and I don’t think they get nearly enough attention. One of my favorites is Harper Perennial’s own Twenty Grand, which you can check out below.

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Random House to publish posthumous Styron collection

According to the New York Observer, Random House will soon publish a posthumous short story collection from William Styron, featuring some never-before-published work. His agent says the stories are mostly about soldiers returning home from war, a truly relevant topic also tackled recently in the movie Stop-Loss and in an especially searing episode of Intervention, my favorite show.

There’s also a great essay about William Styron by his daughter Alexandra in the new book Brooklyn Was Mine, an anthology of essays about (duh) Brooklyn.

All your cool t-shirts, all in one place

Just heard about a great site called Rumplo. It’s a t-shirt aggregator, gathering all the most awesome t-shirts for sale on the internet in one place. After you view a shirt, you can click through to buy it on its hosted site (threadless, etsy, etc.). The literary shirt at left is available here, but might I also suggest Mack Hated Mondays or Knives?

Boy Tour TONIGHT in Greenpoint

If you’re heading out to Greenpoint tonight to see/hear Willy Vlautin and Ross Raisin (authors of Northline and Out Backwards, respectively) at Word Books, you might get hungry afterwards. Here are some establishments that I, as a resident of Greenpoint, have personally tested, all within a five-minute walk of Word:

68: Quiet, classy, not too expensive. I recommend the spicy penne with tomato cream sauce. (Greenpoint Ave between Franklin and West)

Pio Pio Riko: There’s no website that I can find, but they don’t need one. The best rotisserie chicken, rice, and beans you’ll ever have, and it’s dirt cheap. (Manhattan Ave at the corner of Huron st)

Corner Frenzy: Also with no official website. Yes, Corner Frenzy is otherwise known as the M&W Laundromat. But they have 24 flavors of soft serve ice cream, as well as slushies, hot dogs, and various other items. On a hot night there’s nothing like Corner Frenzy. (across the street from Pio Pio Riko at Manhattan and Huron)

Literary Tattoos

CK called our attention to Contrariwise, a website that features “tattoos from books, poetry, music, and other sources.” It’s mostly weird fonts and Kurt Vonnegut, Sylvia Plath, and The Little Prince, but there are a few gems in there. I just hope all of these people are clear on the meanings behind the passages they’ve chosen, or they might end up like a co-worker who, upon a visit to China, learned that her Chinese character tattoo meant something very different than what she thought. Luckily my own tattoo is a symbol, and I’m pretty clear on its meaning, although someone once asked me if it was an octopus (it’s not).

All the sad young FSU men

imagename There’s just six hours left to bid on a remixed version of Keith Gessen’s All the Sad Young Literary Men over on ebay. This special version comes courtesy of Gawker, where writer Hamilton Nolan complained that Gessen talked about Harvard way too much in his book. After a bit of back and forth, Gessen agreed to personally cross out every instance of “Harvard” (as well as any references to Harvard-related things that would no longer make sense, such as dorm names or names of local bars) in Nolan’s copy of the book and replace it with a college of his choosing. Nolan chose Florida State University, and Gessen happily complied. The bidding’s up to more than $700 and the proceeds go to the New York Coalition for the Homeless.

I wonder if we could do this with some of our Harper Perennial books. Think of the possibilities: The Yiddish Policemen’s Union could become The Pig Latin Policemen’s Union. A mash-up of Arrested Development and The Summer of Naked Swim Parties called The Summer of Never-Nude Swim Parties, where every instance of full-on nudity is replaced with jean shorts. A version of We Disappear where, instead of being addicted to meth, the main character is constantly jonesing for broccoli. Any other ideas?

A writer to watch out for

Argh! One of the downsides of publishing is that we’re always working far, far ahead. Right now I’m working on the copy for our summer 2009 catalog (yes, that would be a full year from now) and getting super excited about an upcoming author. Reading just the first page of one of her short stories completely took my breath away; the writing was so beautiful, so wise, so honest. Googling her turned up this piece about her wedding in the New York Times that also moved me. Remember this name: Lydia Peelle. She’s won an O.Henry, two Pushcart Prizes, and been featured in Best New American Voices (twice), and come summer 2009 she’s going to be big.

His accent deserves its own award

imagename Ross Raisin (he’s the guy on the right in this photo; the other guy is Willy Vlautin, and the two of them are signing books at last week’s event at Word in this photo) was just longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize for Young Writers, which carries with it a $115,000 award. Way to go Ross! Go here to listen to him talk about his debut novel, Out Backward.

Sex, drugs and a six string

imagename Before our main man Neil Strauss became a star in his own right, he helped some guys known as Mötley Crüe put pen to paper and write their no-hold-barred memoir, The Dirt. The result was a shocking account of back stage hijinks that would make Madonna’s bikini waxer blush. Now a few years later, the boys of Mötley Crüe have released a new album, Saints of Los Angeles, that’s inspired by their hair-raising memoir. We couldn’t let this moment pass uncelebrated, so we’re giving away a Crüe Fest Mick Mars Fender guitar, some books, and some CDs on our website. Read the book, listen to the new tracks, enter the sweepstakes, but don’t come crying to us that your life seems like a tremendous bore after seeing what real rock stars get into when they’re looking for trouble.


Judging a book by its cover

Knowing all that goes into the final design of a book cover (pleasing the author and agent, not to mention everyone here at Harper Perennial, can be an exhausting job for our amazing cover designers), this has become one of my favorite sites. It’s run by a graphic design firm, and every couple of days a new book cover is featured. Commenters (most of whom seem to be designers themselves) can then weigh in. I don’t claim to have any great design sensibility, so it’s always interesting to see where my opinions intersect with those of trained professionals. A cover can sell or sink a book, and this site has some insight into why.

They’ve covered some great Harper Perennial covers, of course: The Seven Days of Peter Crumb, The Gulag Archipelago, and The Dead Beat (a book about the somewhat wild world of obituary writing that I read recently and loved; any fan of Stiff or Spook would too), as well as many more.

Literary Shame!

LOVED this article in the Telegraph about great unread books. At the Ways with Words Festival, which the newspaper sponsors, they asked writers what classic books they are ashamed to not have read. There’s a video of several very proper-sounding British authors confessing their deepest shames; one guy even wrote an entire thesis on Wuthering Heights without ever having read it!

If you ask my boyfriend, my greatest flaw is never having read Art Spiegelman’s Maus, but I’m not sure what I’d say. Maybe Lolita? Commenters on the article are chiming in with their answers; the most shameful wins a prize. I’m just shocked (shocked!) at how many people have admitted they’ve never read any Shakespeare. Greatness aside, how did they manage to make it out of high school without it being forced upon them?

First Coolio, now Screech


In further news from the “I can’t believe that person’s writing a book” department, Dustin Diamond, a.k.a. Samuel “Screech” Powers, has just signed up to write a behind the scenes tell-all about his years on Saved by the Bell. According to New York‘s website, the book will detail “sexual escapades among cast members, drug use, and hardcore partying.”

I want my SBTB gossip, and if you saw Diamond on Celebrity Fit Club, you know he is not the sweet nerd most of us grew up with and is probably ready to reveal more than any of us wanted to know about Kelly and Zack’s offscreen peccadilloes. To paraphrase Jessie Spano in that immortal episode about the caffeine pills, “I’m so excited, I’m so excited, I’m so . . . so . . . scared!”

08.08.08 is coming

With the announcement yesterday that Raj Bhavsar, my favorite male gymnast, has been promoted from alternate to full member of the men’s Olympic gymnastics team, I thought it would be a good time to post about some books that might help Olympics nuts like me get excited:

Chalked Up: the story of Jennifer Sey, a U.S national gymnastics champion in the 80s, and how the crazy world of gymnastics almost destroyed her. I read this book a few months ago but was reminded of it as I watched the women’s Olympic trials recently. I don’t know that at 16 or 18 or 20 I would have had the dedication that most of these girls have to practice and to work through injury (for better or for worse, as Jennifer’s book shows).

Oracle Bones: In a starred review, Publishers Weekly said that “Everyone in the Western world should read this book.” As we get closer to the Olympics and protests increase, I feel more and more like I don’t know enough about China. Oracle Bones, along with Peter Hessler’s other book, River Town goes beyond what you read in newspapers to explore and observe a China that westerners don’t often get to see.

Berlin Games: And speaking of politics and the Olympics, the 1936 games were more than just sporting events (though, is the Olympics ever just about sports?).

I know where I’ll be in 9 days, 21 hours, and 24 minutes (approximately). Read those books and then check out when your favorite sport will be airing.

Booker Longlist Announced; Place Your Bets

It’s that time of year again — the time when thirteen writers of the UK, Ireland and the Commonwealth raise their hopes to new heights in vying for the coveted Man Booker Prize for fiction. Bookie Darling Salman Rushdie, with three of these babies already under his belt, is among the contenders, and apparently, word in the back room has it that he’s a prime contender for the prize. Interestingly, the BBC ran a handy chart of the odds each book has of winning, which I hope had something to do with strapping each novel to a horse at the Belmont Stakes earlier this summer. Below, the longlist, which includes five first novels, two prior winners, and a load of books that share common ties in their largess of scope and the fact that they’re all funny in one way or another. Write on, writers, but remember: THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE.

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
Girl in a Blue Dress by Gaynor Arnold
The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
From A to X by John Berger
The Lost Dog by Michelle de Kretser
Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda Grant
A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif
The Northern Clemency by Philip Hensher
Netherland by Joseph O’Neill
The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz

Literary un-shame

It seems like the biggest news this week is the publication of Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyer’s conclusion to the Twilight saga. I haven’t read any of the books, and don’t know anyone who has (with the exception of my department head’s 14-year-old daughter), but it got me thinking about books or series with this huge level of hype, where people often openly scorn you if you haven’t read them. My own personal example of this would be Harry Potter. When the last book was released, several of my co-workers just couldn’t accept that not only had I not read any of the books, but I had no desire to. Zero. And I was not ashamed.

Of course, Harry Potter and Twilight are hugely hyped books, but the hype can get out of control for any book if everyone around you is into it. I can imagine how someone who had no interest in Dandy in the Underworld would have felt when everyone at Harper Perennial (me included) went nuts for it. Then again, how could you not find this guy to be completely and utterly charming and intriguing? (bonus, that’s CK’s voice in the video).

(And PS, I’m intrigued enough that I probably will read Twilight. Another, non Harper Perennial related part of my job involves a lot of vampire books, and I’m curious. But I’m still no-Harry-Potter-4-life.)

August 2008

Selling shares in yourself

Author Tao Lin is offering shares of his second novel to the public. $2000 will get you 10% of the U.S. royalties and whatever good karma comes with helping an author focus on his work. As of this writing there’s only one share left, so you should get on that if you have a couple grand lying around. I work in publishing, so I don’t, but if I did this would definitely be the kind of thing I would spend my millions on, along with homes for every abandoned kitty in the world.

Not everyone has such a kindly view of Lin’s endeavor though. The NYT Freakonomics blog comments are priceless.

And Lin’s not the first to do this. Didn’t Po Bronson offer one of his books as an IPO?

dirty movies (sorta)

Red-band trailers are the movie previews for “restricted audiences only” aka the ones with the good stuff. They don’t get shown in theaters, but they’re becoming a pretty useful internet marketing tool. TrailerSpy collects ‘em all in one place. They’ve got one for this weekend’s big release, Pineapple Express, but, shockingly, nothing for the other movie I’m excited to see this weekend, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2.

there’s no such thing as bad publicity

Last summer, I loved the ads for Gossip Girl. A shot of Serena and Nate in the throes of passion, with just four letters of text: OMFG. This summer, they’re even better. The ads still feature scandalous poses, but now the text is negative reviews the show has received. “Every parent’s nightmare.” “A nasty piece of work.” “Mind-blowingly inappropriate.” Genius. Nothing gets teenagers more into something than the idea that adults want to keep them away from it, a lesson I learned in fifth grade when other parents complained to my mom about me passing around dog-eared copies of The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer and Judy Blume’s Forever. (My mom just shrugged, and to this day I have both these books on my shelf. You know, if anyone would like to borrow them for the dirty parts).

It makes me wonder: could we do a similar campaign with one of our books? We don’t typically advertise our books on bus shelters (Harper Perennial is not made of money), but the idea could work in other formats. It’d be much harder, I think. If one of our books gets a bad review, it tends to be because the reviewer thought the writing was bad, not because it could harm young minds. There just isn’t as much vitriol. The only exception I can think of is James Frey’s Bright Shiny Morning, out now in hardcover from Harper and going into paperback next year. Reading through Frey’s negative reviews, there’s not much in the way of Gossip Girl-style salacious taglines (except this one from USA Today that would draw me to any book that had it on the cover: “Constant bad behavior: booze, abuse, crime, murder.”). But the book certainly caused some strong feelings, both positive and negative, and I do think that’s something that can attract readers.

Never mind the pollacks, here come the yogis

There’ll be a bit of a wait before it comes out, but we here at Harper Perennial are very excited to have just signed up Neal Pollack’s latest book—about yoga! I love yoga, but I find I never go to classes because there’s just too much emphasis on breathing and envisioning and all that hippy-dippy stuff sometimes. Hopefully Neal’s book will provide some much-needed humor about the subject.

And Neal is not just writing a book about yoga. No, he’s also participating in a 24-hour yogathon! It’s for charity, of course, and you can donate if you wish by following that link. As he said in his email:

“I’ll be doing 24 hours of consecutive yoga from 2 AM on August 31 until 2 AM on September 1st. In case you were concerned, The organizers inform me there will be meal breaks, and that I will also be allowed to use the bathroom whenever I want. The latter will be important, because I don’t want the other yogis to see me vomit when I hit the wall. You’ll also be invited to the memorial service that will inevitably follow, as I’ve never done more than two hours of consecutive yoga in my life.”

Go Neal!

make your own music

Another cool marketing idea that could be applied to books: The band Deerhoof has posted the sheet music on their website for Fresh Born, the first single off their new album. They’ve invited fans to record their own versions of the song and upload them to the site. There’s about 30 covers up there so far, with more to come I’m sure. And unlike the Gossip Girl ads, doing something like this is well within the reach of any author, who could, for example, have fans post their own endings to a story. I love the idea of engaging fans in the creative process.

(I heard about this from Johanna at cellar door.)

PostSecret meets Not Quite What I Was Planning

PostSecret’s Frank Warren has a short interview up with Larry Smith and Rachel Fershleiser, editors of Not Quite What I Was Planning, the six-word memoir book that came out in February. They talk a bit about future plans, including Six-Word Memoirs on Love & Heartbreak, coming this February, and about some of the great memoirs that didn’t make it into the book. People are posting their own memoirs in the comments (nearly 3000 so far!) So far my favorites are “I know I’m fat, ok Grandma?” and “My parents deserve a better life.”

the new nature writing

Check out the latest issue of Granta, “The New Nature Writing,” for a short story by Lydia Peelle, an upcoming Harper Perennial author I wrote about here.

new on OliveTV

Dennis Cooper talks about writing theater vs. books

Simon Van Booy wants to be a garden gnome (it’s sweeter than it sounds), among other things

“be fast, be open-minded, be creative”

That’s the slogan of the Lomographic Society, a group dedicated to the art of the snapshot. They’ve partnered with Urban Outfitters on Urban Nomad, an international photography competition where anyone can vote and where the grand prize winner will win the opportunity to have their lomographic shot made into wallapaper and sold at UO. I recommend browsing through the gallery—some of the photos are awe-inspiring, some are beautiful, some are shitty, but together they create a “snapshot portrait of our planet,” which is lomography’s goal. Some of my favorites (post yours in the comments!):





dearly departed

Laurence Urdang, language expert who edited dictionaries, dies at 81
“Mr. Urdang — he had a middle name, his daughter Nicole said, ‘but he would not rest peacefully if it appeared in print’ . . . [his] view of language was that of an enjoyer, someone who delighted in its flexibility and invention, rather than that of a guardian always on alert against violations of precedent.”

from an email entitled “trying to do some work and look what happens”


if only Sad Trombone wasn’t down right now . . .

edit: It’s back up! Click above.

I wish I didn’t know what feuchtgebiete meant

I’ve had this neat article from the Guardian about how you can tell a lot about a country from its bestseller list bookmarked for a while to share. At the end, the author references Feuchtgebiete a bestselling German novel, and says “I’m not sure you’ll want to know what Feuchtgebiete means, or indeed what it reveals about Germany.” Then there’s a wikipedia link.

Feuchtgebiete, not only a bestselling novel in Germany but the world’s bestselling novel in March 2008 (not sure if that’s a verifiable fact), has one of the more interesting plotlines I’ve ever heard of. Click on the link, I’m not sure I can do it justice.

bright lights, big city indeed

Sex! Scandal! Jay McInerney! A book store I think is Housing Works! The 92nd Street Y!

Season two of Gossip Girl is going to be so literary.

Scruffy’s six-word memoir

Scruffy loves cute and tiny galleys.


I’ll stop posting about cats when they stop doing crazy shit

“Wings can form through poor grooming, a genetic defect or a hereditary skin condition.”
(from an article in the Daily Mail called Ready for takeoff, Tiddles?


a comedy of terrors

The producers of a new Bollywood film called Hari Puttar: A Comedy of Terrors are being sued by Warner Bros, which claims that it’s a little too close to Harry Potter for their liking. The Bollywood producers, however, claim it’s a total coincidence, because their movie is actually about “an Indian boy left home alone, who fights off burglars when his parents go away on vacation,” a plot that is of course far closer to Home Alone.

Bollywood movies that copy American movies are not uncommon (I’ve had Holiday, the Bollywood remake of Dirty Dancing, on my Netflix queue for a while now), but, based on the poster art below, it seems like the sanctity of Harry Potter is safe.


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