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.
In celebration of the LOST finale, we have a guest post from our awesomely creative art director, Robin Bilardello. I haven’t seen any of this season, so I can’t comment, but you can rest assured that Robin is a very devoted fan.
The world is preparing for the end this weekend. The end of ABC’s LOST, the
greatest show of all time.
Throughout all six seasons Lost has introduced us to a new television
watching experience. Between DVR, rewatches on ABC.com & iTunes, webisodes,
on-line discussion boards, Lostpedia, phone numbers to call or text to
retrieve an easter egg, interactive Oceanic.com, and tons of other treats to
become part of the scavenger hunt to find out WHY. We have them, but our
buddies from Oceanic flight 815 do not. Most of them don’t have a change of
underwear because they are trapped on an island far, far away from cell
towers and fiber optics. Dharma doesn’t know Google. And either does smokie.
(even though at one point back there I swore he represented The Internet)
Our dearest candidates do have books however, and so do The Others and
everyone else on The Island.
The Numbers, Kate, Jack, polar bears, Dharma, and smokie aside, this show is
deeply layered in literary reference, enough that I would bet librarians
aware of the show are in all of their glory. Books appear everywhere from
show titles and songs to storylines and hiding spots for keys, books are
boss and there’s not a kindle in site. We are talking paperbacks baby. Paper
and glue, no batteries needed. If performance and production are the two
parts hydrogen then books are the oxygen in the water droplet that is Lost.
The peeps over at Lostpedia have got their stuff together. They have a page
listing all 70+ titles in the show, where the books are seen or referenced AND post snapshots of the book covers to add to the amazingness:
They also have a discussion board forum called Lost Book Club where the
posts are labeled by title, which is great if you only want to explore the
similarities between Billy Pilgrim and Desmond Hume:
Last week the LA Times posted an article about how books are heavily
integrated in the themes and scenes of Lost and how the producers are book
Google lists a variety of Mom & Pop Lostie book clubs, but this guy’s really
good, he breaks it down by season:
One thing everyone agrees on, Sawyer is friggin HOT. That being said,
anything he does is badass and everything he reads is cool. He is the most
avid reader on the show and went as far as having ‘doc’ whip him up a pair
of glasses so he could keep up with his daily reading. All of the Losties do
a great job of keeping up on their to-read lists and showing off their books
to us sitting on the edge of our couched with DVR remote in hand for instant
rewind (or fast forward during the time wasting commercials). Maybe the show
will end with great redemption for all, maybe it won’t, but if anything I
think the show sent some reluctants into bookstores, libraries or to amazon
in search of clues hidden within books. Thanks Lost for making books trendy
but unlike Billy Pilgrim books are not unstuck in time, they are timeless.
I am thrilled to introduce the following guest post from our esteemed editor Michael Signorelli on the subject of Charlie Smith and his new book Three Delays, which goes on sale today. This violently romantic book is one of my favorites of the season, with one of my favorite covers ever (though I still miss a rejected one that had a guy who looked like a young Al Pacino on it), and one of my favorite quotes: ““If you left me, I would fade out like a dying Indian tribe. I’d disappear like the ivory-billed woodpecker. They’d see me, near the end, standing down on Calle Cinquo wearing one of your nightgowns, explaining things to the traffic.”
Take heed! Today is the on-sale date for Three Delays by the great Charlie Smith. Some of you may be fans of his poetry (Word Comix, Heroin, Women of America, etc) or remember his novels from the 1980s and early 1990s (Shine Hawk, Cheap Ticket to Heaven, Chimney Rock, etc) or may not know him at all, whatever the case, the fact remains, this is Charlie Smith’s first novel in a good, long while—almost fourteen years, in fact. Why the wait? Good things take time is all. Rick Moody in the current Believer calls Charlie “one of the very best prose writers in contemporary letters” and says that “Three Delays is so stunningly composed, so wildly, implausibly written, that it makes the entire shelf of novels from the last generation superfluous.” I couldn’t have said it better or with more righteous effusion.
Rick wasn’t the only reviewer moved to passionate hymns of praise. Donna Seaman wrote in her starred Booklist review that “This isn’t Smith’s first tale of toxic nihilistic obsession, but it is his most ravishing, painfully funny, and wildly mythic….This is infernal romance—hallucinatory, wanton, nourish, terrifying, and magnificently tragic.”
Their spirit is in keeping with that of Billy Brent, the novel’s male lead, who was a famous child preacher of the Floridian swamps. The pulpit’s fire never seems to have left him as he pursues his childhood love, Alice Stephens. Together they are star-crossed like all great lovers. Their need for each other drives them from Istanbul to Miami, Venice to Mexico. Only after years of encounters and escapes do they lose themselves deep in a desert wilderness for what may be their final adventure of the heart.
Charlie’s “rebel-angel prose” carries the day here and leads the reader from one sumptuous, practically phantasmagoric setting to the next. But let me stop right there. The book deserves to be read and Charlie celebrated. It’s an honor for HarperPerennial to publish his work.
Five randomly selected readers who respond in the comments will receive a free copy. Everyone else who doesn’t make the cut should follow one of the links below to purchase a copy. I know the blog doesn’t normally make direct pleas for purchase, but I rarely write here so figured I’d make it plain. Thanks for listening!
We’re very proud of our author Kevin Sampsell, whose book trailer was chosen as a finalist in the low budget/indie category of the 2010 Moby Awards! In case you missed Kevin’s trailer the first time around (when I promoted the hell out of it), here it is again:
Now go out and read the book that inspired this (potentially) award-winning trailer!
It’s time to get started on our next pick: The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles. A story about three American travelers adrift in the cities and deserts of North Africa after World War II, The Sheltering Sky explores the limits of humanity when it touches the unfathomable emptiness and impassive cruelty of the desert.
As usual, I’ve got 5 copies to give away. Comment for a chance to win! (And be sure to leave your email address so I can contact you.)
And in case you were wondering, here’s our updated English 101 schedule:
Jan- Tree Grows in Bklyn
Feb – Brave New World
March – Poisonwood Bible
April – Daughter of Fortune
May – Sheltering Sky
June – To Kill a Mockingbird
July – So Big
August – One Hundred Years of Solitude
September – The Golden Notebook
October – Native Son
November – Unbearable Lightness of Being
December – Their Eyes Were Watching God
For those of you who loved our guest post from Andrew Shaffer, author of the forthcoming Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love and inadvertent Mr. Romance competitor, here’s a video of the dance portion of the competition. It’s a little blurry, but still quite enjoyable:
So! Something new and exciting we are launching! The Olive Reader will be participating shortly! See below!
Harper Perennial presents LETTERSWITHCHARACTER
An Interactive Literary Environment
On the occasion of the publication of Ben Greenman’s What He’s Poised to Do (Harper Perennial, On Sale: June 15, 2010) we invite you to celebrate the art of correspondence and WRITE A LETTER TO A FAMOUSFICTIONALCHARACTER.
Before there was any fiction at all, there were letters. For centuries, letters were the only way for people in different locations to communicate with each other. But letters have also become a rich and complex element of the best literary fiction. The acclaimed author and New Yorker editor Ben Greenman explores how letters function in life, as well as how they function in fiction in his new collection of inter-linked stories What He’s Poised to Do.
“Ben Greenman’s masterwork of stories inspired by letters offers fresh insight into the mysteries of intimacy.”
—Simon Van Booy.
On the occasion of the book’s publication, and in celebration of the art of the letter as a form of fiction, Harper Perennial invites you to participate in its Letters With Character campaign, and to write a letter to a fictional character. The letters can be funny, sad, demanding, fanciful, declarative, or trivial. They can be about a novel, a short story, or a children’s book, works both literary or popular. There is only one requirement: They must be written by a real person and must also address an unreal one.
The best, most interesting, strangest, and most moving letters will be collected on LettersWithCharacter.blogspot.com. Visit the site to see a selection of those that have already been written: a romantic appeal to Captain Ahab, a moving consideration of middle age addressed to a Garcia Marquez heroine, a hilarious challenge to Agatha Christie’s famed detective Hercule Poirot.
Please submit your own letters to LettersWithCharacter@gmail.com! And if you work in the media and want to feature Ben or the site, you can contact the awesome Gregory Henry at gregory dot henry at harpercollins dot com.
I am VERY excited today to introduce this guest post from Andrew Shaffer, author of Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love (coming from Harper Perennial in winter 2011). This is Andrew:
And this is where he ended up, among these very muscle-bound men:
Intrigued? Read on for more details of Andrew’s unexpected entry into the world of male beauty pageants:
As the proud owner of a Y chromosome, I expected to be in the minority amongst the mostly female crowd at the 2010 RT Booklovers’ Convention, one of the largest romance novel conventions in the country. I was attending as a non-fiction author who was aspiring to write a romance novel (my debut book, the non-fiction Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love, will be released by Harper Perennial next year). Little did I know that my Y chromosome marked me as a candidate for a four-day male modeling competition.
The Mr. Romance contest, put on by RT Book Reviews magazine and Dorchester Publishing, is a fan favorite at the annual RT Booklovers’ Convention. Every year, up to twelve hunks compete for the chance to be on the cover of a Dorchester romance novel. This year, several contestants dropped out the week of the show. The organizers needed extra studs, and needed them fast; I happened to be the first guy who walked past the convention registration booth that one of the RT volunteers, Jennifer, recognized.
We had both attended bestselling novelist Bobbi Smith’s two-day pre-convention writing workshop. When Jennifer floated the idea of entering the Mr. Romance contest past me, I politely declined. “I don’t have any abs,” I said, patting the twenty extra pounds of insulation around my midsection. “And I left my guns at home,” I added, mockingly flexing one of my arms. It doesn’t matter, she said — women aren’t as interested in musclebound guys as you think.
Before I could run off, Jennifer introduced me to one of the contest coordinators. “Did you bring any shirtless photos of yourself?” the coordinator asked. What author doesn’t carry around a box of topless glossy photos of themselves? I had inadvertently left mine at home, I said, so a photographer was quickly found to remedy the situation. Thus began my four-day journey from philosopher to Fabio.
The other contestants – a few models, a professional wrestler, and a “male entertainer” – welcomed me into their makeshift fraternity. To paraphrase Derek Zoolander, there’s more to modeling than being really, really, ridiculously good-looking. Every day, from 8am until midnight, we were required to attend dance rehearsals, photo shoots, and meet-and-greets. Our whirlwind week concluded with the two-hour onstage Mr. Romance “mangeant,” where we literally ripped our shirts off in front of hundreds of screaming fans.
So, did I win the competition? Of course not. Some musclebound guy did (admittedly one of the nicest musclebound guys I’ve ever met). But I have a full year now before the 2011 Mr. Romance competition to get in shape and find my abs. Perhaps I’ll finally find out what it means to “blast those quads” and “feel the burn.” And, if I have the time between all of the gym sessions, maybe I can start writing that romance novel.
Welcome to the fourth edition of English 101: The Harper Perennial Modern Classics Book Club. Today I’d like to talk about Isabel Allende’s Daughter of Fortune.
I first picked up this book on Saturday afternoon. My boyfriend was at the other end of his apartment, watching Mad Men, and I was in his kitchen. I knew absolutely nothing about this book. Nothing. When Kayleigh added it to our list, I was excited because I’d read Allende before, many many years ago, and liked her work, but that was as far as my awareness went. Upon reading the flap copy, I shouted down the apartment, “oh no! This takes place in 1849!”
Yes, I admit it, I do not generally like historical fiction (though what I like even less than historical fiction is fiction written in 1849, but that’s for another post.) But I grumbled and settled in with the book, and I am so, SO glad I did. Daughter of Fortune is an amazing book, beautifully written. I am still thinking about Eliza and Tao’chien days after I finished.
The story of a young woman’s life, from her abandonment as a child on the doorstep of a wealthy woman and her brother to her love for a rumored revolutionary amid the California gold rush, Daughter of Fortune completely transcended my wariness of historical fiction.
If you read Daughter of Fortune, what did you think of it? And what genre would you be hesitant to pick up?
The L Magazine is predicting that this “unusually pensive costumed feline brooding over a birthday cake, makes snide, cutting comments during special occasions that undermine the festive mood” will be the next big thing (and has a cutout of him so you can make your own!.)
If anyone feels like making a book-related one, I promise there’ll be something in it for you . . . (free books!)
If Twitter is any indication, it seems like people’s BEA schedules are filling up pretty fast. Of course, we want you to leave time to come to our author signings and visit us in our booth (3340-3341). One of our big focuses this year is the anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird, and we’ll even have a special booth (3359) where you can come and record video testimonials about the book. (If I record one, should I mention that I hated it when I first read it, and only came to love it when I re-read years later? Maybe not.)
So here’s our schedule! Come visit us!
(note: some of these are Harper Perennial authors, while some are from our sister paperback imprints of Harper Paperbacks and Avon. All are awesome. All signings also last 30 min.)
Panel featuring Book Club Girl—more info TK!
Lindsey Kelk signing I Heart New York at Table 29 Tony O’Neill signing Sick City at Table 30 (please note that Tony currently has a crazy moustache and always has a crazy accent)
free alcohol alert! 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM To Kill a Mockingbird 50th Anniversary Celebration: Champagne Toast with house authors in booth #3359*
3:30 PM Justin Taylor signing Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever at Table 7 (Justin will also be presenting at the 7×20×21 event on Tuesday) Simon Van Booy signing Love Begins in Winter at Table 10 (Simon will be dressed fabulously)
Just a quick reminder that our business jargon contest will end this Friday at noon, so get your entries in ASAP! Feel free to comment here or on the original entry. Rules are below for your convenience. Put your thinking caps on! (and yes, I have heard that phrase at the office.)
So, in celebration of both the ridiculousness of corporate America and Kapitoil (and Teddy’s participation in the McSweeney’s reading in LA tonight and his reading in SF on thursday), we’re running a contest! Please comment with the most arcane, absurd, and utterly useless business jargon you’ve ever heard in your office. Make sure to tell us what it means (I can’t decipher some of this stuff on my own). The ones that Teddy and Harper Perennial think are the most bizarre will win their authors signed copies of Kapitoil as well as some other Harper Perennial books to be determined later, as well as a post on this blog extolling their glory. Go to it!