The art really is in isolating yourself and letting as few things into your head as possible. To only admit those things into your head that come from a direction where no one else ever looks. That is the difficult thing.
David Giffels’s All the Way Home is the story of a man’s journey in search of the perfect house for his family. This is rather like my search for the perfect water bottle that won’t smell ghastly no matter how long I’ve left the cap screwed on, though in David’s case, the decaying Ohio mansion he moved his family into has evolved through seasons of grueling home improvement — now standing as a gorgeous symbol of determination, dedication, and a warms-your-insides feeling of what it means to build a home and a family. Which is probably more than I’ll ever say about a water bottle — smelly or not.
Check out David’s photo gallery of the before-and-after shots of his home — like a tour through a Dickensian orphanage that ends with all the flourish of your favorite episode of Extreme Home Makeover. Do you have a sudden urge to go home and clean everything now?
Extra coolness factor: David’s previous books include one about Devo.
Joseph Schumpeter, often called one of the most influential economists of the 20th century, author of Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy and the upcoming Can Capitalism Survive, as you’ve never seen him before:
“When you’re seventeen you can drive around at midnight listening to anything and your life will change.”
So says Daniel Handler in his essay in Heavy Rotation: Twenty Writers on the Albums That Changed Their Lives. Definitely true for me, as long as you replace driving around with taking the subway, and you replace the Eurythmics (which is what Daniel Handler was listening to) with something some people might consider a little less cool, like Better Than Ezra and the Indigo Girls.
What album changed your life at 17? (Or whenever.) Let us know in the comments, and I’ll pick one person randomly to win a free copy of Heavy Rotation! And while you’re at it, check out Heavy Rotation in The Onion, the Village Voice, and the New York Times Paper Cuts blog.
Once again, we have two awesome Harper Perennial author events scheduled on the same night. Curses! They are as follows:
1. Lance Reynald, author of Pop Salvation, at Borders Columbus Circle at 7 pm.
Our beloved author Josh Kilmer-Purcell had this to say about Pop Salvation: “Pop Salvation is a genius take on discovering who you are by becoming what you most admire. If I didn’t know better, I’d think Lance Reynald watched me grow up. Marvelously endearing and insightful.”
Ann Powers, music critic for the LA Times, had this to say about Heavy Rotation: “At some point in nearly everyone’s life, pop music becomes not just another pastime but a lifeline, a shock to the system, a new language that illuminates the self. These essays shine wonder on those passages, whether they come in childhood or during the emotional mess of college or later, in full adulthood. Albums may be going the way of the telegraph, but music still makes us cry, think, lust, worry, shout for joy. Thanks to the writers of Heavy Rotation for reminding us of that central fact.”
The choice is yours! And if somehow, neither of these events sounds awesome to you, you might also check out the launch party for Jancee Dunn’s new book, Why Is My Mother Getting a Tattoo?, at Word Books in Brooklyn. It’s not a Harper Perennial book, but we did publish Jancee’s But Enough About Me (a favorite of mine), and we do love both Word Books and Jancee’s editor, Jill Schwartzmann.
So basically, you have no excuse not to go out tonight if you’re in nyc. Unless you’re me and you have to go home and continue icing your back. Anyway, we’ll have more on Pop Salvation and Heavy Rotation later in the week, and maybe even a few contests, so keep checking back.
Harper Perennial is sponsoring a series of events in which aspiring writers compete in an American Idol-style short story competition. It’s called The L Magazine’s Literary Upstart: The Search for Pocket Fiction. Tonight’s the last night before the finals (which are on July 9), and it will feature a super special short story expert guest judge by the name of Cal Morgan. So come on down to the Slipper Room tonight at 7 if you’re in nyc. I would be there, (American Idol-style? short stories? yes!) but I seem to have become an old lady overnight this weekend and threw my back out, so I’ll be at the chiropractor. Please go and have some fun for me.
If you missed the party for Simon Van Booy’s Love Begins in Winter at Partners & Spade a few weeks ago, don’t worry. We just got some snapshots in of the amazing dioramas that Simon curated for the event.
Now I just need to know one thing: How can I get my hands on that cat notebook from the last photo?
In this video, Paul Ingram of Prairie Lights Books shares his summer reading picks, including our own Love Begins in Winter by Simon Van Booy.
Thanks Paul! This video reminded me to add Jincy Willett’s book to my summer reading list, since I’m a big fan of Winner of the National Book Award. Any other booksellers out there have video recommendations? We’d love to post them.
According to Oversharers.com, an oversharer is “anyone who publicly shares embarrassingly intimate–or gross and disgusting–details of their lives, right out there where anyone can read them. On Facebook. On Twitter. On a blog. Or just about any other place on the web.”
My own personal favorite oversharer story involves a friend of a friend telling an entire party about her hymenectomy. But the ones on Oversharers.com are pretty great, too.
Tomorrow night presents a dilemma: we have two very awesome harper perennial events happening in nyc.
1. Simon Van Booy, author of Love Begins in Winter in conversation with Harper Perennial publisher Carrie Kania at McNally Jackson, 7:00-8:00 pm
From the website: “McNally Jackson favorite Simon Van Booy’s latest collection of short stories offers glimpses into lives both gifted and damaged, from socially isolated virtuoso musicians to diplomats haunted by childhood memories. Publisher’s Weekly said, “Each of this stories has moments of sheer loveliness.” Van Booy talks with Harper Perennial publisher Carrie Kania, who oversees authors such as Michael Chabon, Barbara Kingsolver, Ann Patchett, and Josh Kilmer-Purcell.”
2. Charlie Haas reads from The Enthusiast at Barnes & Noble Greenwich Village (6th ave at 8th st), 7:30 pm
More about The Enthusiast, in the form of two very nice and accurate quotes: “(An) eccentric, slyly romantic debut novel. At heart, Henry is an oddball innocent, a romantic in search of meaning that eludes him early on. (T)he book captures something at once fragile and vital —the excitement of the ordinary, the exhilaration of the everyday. It does so in gratifying ways that sneak up on both Henry and the reader.”
— San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
“The Enthusiast—while often very funny—is sneakily ambitious, spanning at least 20 years while pretending it’s up to nothing. It begins as mild entertainment and ends up, surprisingly, as a real novel with big goals. (It) isn’t just a picaresque ride through the weirder side of the magazine industry, but a super-extended coming-of-age story. And a good one, too.”
— The Onion AV Club
So what to do? Theoretically, one could see the first 15 minutes of Simon and Carrie and then run like hell up to B&N. And Simon does have quite the enchanting voice. But did I mention that Charlie wrote the screenplay for Gremlins 2? I’ve read and enjoyed both books, so it’s a tough choice. But since we have two awesome events, you have no excuse not to go to at least one.
Eugene Mirman joins such notable literary commencement speakers as David Foster Wallace and Ann Patchett with this speech to the Lexington Hall School class of 2009:
My favorite part: “The main difference for you, between life yesterday and life tomorrow, is you can go to the bathroom whenever you want. It’s a pretty big responsibility, but you’ve earned it. A few more things: you can vote, start a family, go to war, even buy a beer. Just kidding, you’re only mature enough to shoot our enemies in the face.”
Check out this completely awesome video for Dennis Cooper’s Ugly Man, made by me and Mark Ferguson from our e-book and audio marketing department (mostly Mark—we came up with ideas together, but he’s the one who slaved over Photoshop while I watched Real World Road Rules Challenge and said encouraging things.)
Last week, we co-hosted a party at The Boiler Room with Homoneurotic.com for Dennis Cooper and his new story collection, Ugly Man. Now Homoneurotic has the party pics (some good ones are below, go to their site for more.)
But I think my favorite part of their post is the lone comment left so far. Linking to a bible website, it says “what a bunch of fucking pickle worshippers.” Yup, that’s what we are.