March 2009

on sale today: awesomeness

  • About the author EB
  • March 31, 2009

I just wrote a really great post about how Kevin Wilson’s Tunneling to the Center of the Earth goes on sale today, and how it’s one of my favorite books this year. I also mentioned how Kevin’s writing has been compared to that of Aimee Bender, George Saunders, Kelly Link, and Kevin Brockmeier, and how his stories feature such things as a Scrabble tile factory, spontaneous combustion, stand-in grandparents, Mortal Kombat and gayness, and cradle-robbing cheerleaders. But the most important thing I mentioned was this:

On April 9th in Nashville, Kevin will be reading at Davis-Kidd just a few short hours after Miley Cyrus makes an appearance there.

Anyway, that post got lost. So now you have this one.

my new favorite cover design site

  • About the author EB
  • March 30, 2009

Like many other book cover sites, FaceOut Books features innovative and interesting covers. But for me there are two things that set it apart. First, a dedication to positivity (“This venue has been created to appreciate the practice of book cover design. This is not a blog to rip apart what we dislike—everyone has a different aesthetic. This is a blog about the challenges and outcomes of a project We are here to teach and be taught by one another.”) Second, they often show the back cover—and, as someone who writes back cover copy and therefore reads a lot of back cover copy, I think that a nicely designed back cover is sometimes just as key as a front cover.

the further adventures of our candian colleague jessica

  • About the author EB
  • March 27, 2009

If you’re at all familiar with the Dangerous Book for Boys/Daring Book for Girls phenomenon, you might enjoy this video from our Canadian colleague Jessica:

Also, please note that neither I nor harper perennial marketing director AB, who sent me this video, have ever met Jessica. We just love her videos!

my little pony like you’ve never seen her before

  • About the author EB
  • March 26, 2009

The ponies below are the work of artist Mari Kasurinen, a Finnish artist.

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Inside All of Us is a Wild Thing

  • About the author CS
  • March 25, 2009

LOVE the trailer for Spike Jonze’s film adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s beloved classic Where The Wild Things Are, scheduled to release in October 2009. The actor playing Max looks just like the boy in the book! And hats off to the preview peeps for using Arcade Fire for the background music. And to Dave Eggers for co-writing the screenplay with Spike. I would probably sell my furniture to get invited to that cocktail party.

a walking tour of indie bookstores

  • About the author EB
  • March 25, 2009

The Millions has a great walking tour of independent nyc bookstores. Though the article notes that some of the stores on the original walking tour in 2007 have closed, new stores have also popped up. My own neighborhood store, Word, wasn’t on the original tour, and now it’s a pretty vibrant part of the area.

My only problem with the list? No Spoonbill & Sugartown! I was just there last night, and for all you fans of bookstores with cats, they’ve got a new one. (I was afraid to ask if this meant something terrible had happened to the beautiful tuxedo cat they used to have.)

**Thanks to Marc in our sales dept for letting us know about the walking tour.

who doesn’t love a little musical lego silence of the lambs?

  • About the author EB
  • March 24, 2009

Amazing:

if you like andre jordan, you’ll love marc johns

  • About the author EB
  • March 23, 2009

If you like the drawings of Andre Jordan, which can be purchased in book form in Heave Knows I’m Miserable Now, you will probably also like the drawings of Marc Johns:

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**Heard about this guy from the twitter of Austin Kleon, author of Newspaper Blackout Poems, coming out in winter 2010.

tell us your biggest lie

  • About the author EB
  • March 20, 2009

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You might remember Chad Kultgen’s first book, The Average American Male. It was offensive and awesome. Now he’s back with The Lie, and he’s launched Your Biggest Lie, a site where you can share your most terrible, horrifying lies. Some of the ones up there already are quite insane, including ones that feature threesomes, drug use, and a fake fetus being left on someone’s doorstep. Think you can top that?

Poetry in the Wild

  • About the author CS
  • March 20, 2009

Check out the Free Verse project’s Flickr page to keep up with the ongoing photo project of capturing poetry in the everyday world (above, from top, is John Ashbery, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Shakespeare.) Submit your own by April 15th for a chance to win the Poem in Your Pocket anthology and a piece of commemorative jewelry. Wondering what to do with your weekend anymore? Thought not.

good things, small packages

  • About the author JC
  • March 18, 2009

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While we usually focus your attention on our endless list of incredible Harper Perennial books, sometimes we must use our soap box to herald other endeavors. This is one of those times. Patrick Somerville, an old college friend of the Olive Reader, has written a slight but powerful first novel that’s caught the attention of none other than the New York Times. We know you’re busy reading blogs and uploading flickr photos and such, so you’ll be happy to know this slim volume comes in at just over 200 pages. Since we’re biased, we’ll leave you with the words of a couple of notable reviewers:

First, Dean Bakopoulosis for the NYT:
The Cradle has enough drama to fill 700 pages. But Somerville focuses solely on life’s catalysts — those unpredictable catastrophes, coincidences and revelations that suddenly bring our pasts into focus, destabilize our presents and make our futures appear random and chaotic.

As a writer, I’m still wondering how Somerville created this exquisitely complex story on such a small canvas. As a reader, I’m glad he did.”

And secondly, Janet Maslin’s earlier review in the same rag:
“And all of this sleight of hand is executed with the light, graceful touch that makes Mr. Somerville, also the author of a short-story collection (“Trouble”), someone to watch.”

silhouette masterpiece theatre

  • About the author EB
  • March 18, 2009

Love these:

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Check out the rest here, buy prints here, and check out other evidence of artist Will Staehle’s greatness here.

RIP james purdy

  • About the author EB
  • March 17, 2009

From the NYT: “James Purdy, whose dark, often savagely comic fiction evoked a psychic American landscape of deluded innocence, sexual obsession, violence and isolation, died Friday in Englewood, N.J. He was 94 and lived in Brooklyn Heights.”

Dark, savagely comic, deluded innocence, sexual obsession, violence—all of those things sound good to me. I have to admit I hadn’t heard of Purdy before CK emailed me this article yesterday, but I’d definitely like to check him out now.

a fairy tale for adults who drink and smoke and curse

  • About the author EB
  • March 13, 2009

This one’s near the top of my to-be-read pile: The Ballad of West Tenth Street. Check out the below video from author Marjorie Kernan to find out why she gave up painting to be a writer.

march madness

  • About the author EB
  • March 12, 2009

It’s that time of year again. But if you’re not into NCAA basketball, there’s still something for you to enjoy: The Morning News Tournament of Books, the one and only March Madness battle royale of literary excellence. So far, Tom Piazza’s City of Refuge, which we will publish in paperback in the fall, defied the odds to beat Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth. Can City of Refuge go all the way?

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