August 2010

it’s an honor just to be nominated!

  • About the author EB
  • August 31, 2010

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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!

quick books, or books you’ve read in one sitting

  • About the author EB
  • 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.

upcoming goodreads giveaways!

  • About the author EB
  • August 26, 2010

Just wanted to let everyone know about some good giveaways we’ve got going right now!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Vanishing and Other Stories (Paperback) by Deborah Willis

Vanishing and Other Stories

by Deborah Willis

Giveaway ends September 10, 2010.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Rickshaw Boy (Paperback) by Lao She

Rickshaw Boy

by Lao She

Giveaway ends September 17, 2010.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy (Paperback) by Sofia Tolstoy

The Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy

by Sofia Tolstoy

Giveaway ends September 14, 2010.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

an important email I received this morning from our B&N sales rep

  • About the author EB
  • August 23, 2010

It contained a link to this video:

Don’t you wish she was your B&N sales rep?

all hail simon van booy! (and win books)

  • About the author EB
  • August 23, 2010

It’s no secret that here at Harper Perennial we heart Simon Van Booy.

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He brings us cakes and cookies, he writes beautiful short stories, and now (or, well, tomorrow when they go on sale) he’s brought us three great collections of philosophy: Why We Need Love, Why We Fight, and Why Our Decisions Don’t Matter.

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In these books, Simon collects and contextualizes writings from Sophocles, Tacitus, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, William Shakespeare, Emily Brontë, Abraham Lincoln, Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo, Walt Whitman, Friedrich Nietzsche, Oscar Wilde, James Tissot, James Joyce, General George Patton, and others on each of these perennial questions. Sidik at Corner Boy Jazz called them “the perfect companion for that cocktail party brush-up“, and The Economist’s blog said they were “three smartly designed paperbacks address their themes directly and read, as a result, like books made up of the good parts of other books. They’re the paper equivalent of online aggregators: pre-selected and ready to be absorbed as efficiently as possible.”

And I’m giving away a set of them! To win, just comment below and give me your answer to one of the title questions (briefly, please!) in the next week.

cookbooks 101

  • About the author EB
  • August 19, 2010

Here at Harper Perennial, we publish many different kinds of books—fiction, non-fiction, memoir, books about sex, books about drugs, and (especially if you count our friends at It Books) books about rock and roll. But one thing we don’t publish—and one thing I sorely need—is cookbooks.

You see, I am not a good cook. I’m not a bad cook exactly; I’m more like a lazy cook. I’m usually cooking dinner after a full day here in the Harper Perennial trenches and often a trip to the gym, and at those times, often an egg sandwich even seems like too much work. But I do want to be a better cook, and I want cooking to be more fun. So tell me: what cookbooks do you recommend for an almost-beginner? I don’t like Indian food, but otherwise there’s probably something in almost any cookbook that I’d try.

win a copy of God’s Lunatics!

  • About the author EB
  • August 18, 2010

Today we have a special giveaway courtesy of Harper Paperbacks marketing maven Stephanie, aka @book_chatter on twitter!

Enter for a chance to win a copy God’s Lunatics by Michael Largo, the bestselling author of Final Exits. It’s an A to Z encyclopedic look at the strange, shocking, weird, and wonderful side of history’s religions, cults, and spiritual movements that will make you a religious trivia ringer at your local pub night. Highlights include:

-Amen, the most misunderstood word
-Bloody Mary (not just a tasty brunch drink)
-Divine Hair, religious hair fashions through history
-Jivaro, Shamans of the Shrunken Heads
-Isaac Newton, occult physicist
-O-Ming, sexy bliss
-Ruth and Naomi, the first same-sex union
-Unicorns

Unicorns! And check out the recent LA Times review, which deems God’s Lunatics “smartly written” with “example after example of often stunning religious lunacy…”

Comment below for a chance to win one of 5 copies! Weird cult stories encouraged but not required.

freakonomics: the movie trailer

  • About the author EB
  • August 16, 2010

I’m pretty excited about this movie trailer for Freakonomics:

Movie available fairly soon on iTunes!

pets in publishing

  • About the author EB
  • August 12, 2010

The other night, Michelle of My Books, My Life sent me a photo of her cat eating a burrito. Aside from being excited to see a cat eating a burrito*, I was also excited to learn that his name is Gatsby, and that Michelle and her husband also have a cat named Daisy!

This got me thinking about other pets named after literary characters. The internet is loaded with pictures of Jake Gyllenhaal’s dog Atticus:

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but are there any other famous pets named after literary characters? Do YOU have a pet named after a literary character, or an author? (My boyfriend would love to name a dog Ellroy, after James Ellroy.) Tell me in the comments! Bonus points for linking to pictures.

*I think my new thing might be pictures of dogs eating spaghetti, lady and the tramp style.

neal pollack, everyone’s favorite foul-mouthed yoga guru, publishes STRETCH

  • About the author EB
  • August 10, 2010

Happy on-sale day to Neal Pollack, whose Stretch: The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude is available today. In honor of this momentous occasion, please enjoy the following videos:

My personal problem with yoga classes is that I don’t like being called a goddess or taking anything too seriously, so Neal’s approach is right up my alley.

books you didn’t finish

  • About the author EB
  • August 10, 2010

Inspired by our author Andrew Shaffer’s post on his blog this morning asking whether reviewers are obligated to finish books and the ensuing discussion in his comments and on twitter, I thought I’d ask another question:

What book couldn’t you finish?

For me, it’s Huck Finn—though that didn’t stop me from getting an A on the essay I wrote about it in English class in high school (sorry Mr. Grossman! That’s the only time I did that, I swear.) Dialect is my kryptonite anyway, and I just could not read one more page.

What’s yours?

jason mulgrew hits the midwest

  • About the author EB
  • August 10, 2010

If you’re in or near Chicago or Milwaukee, you should go see Jason Mulgrew, author of Everything Is Wrong with Me, one of my favorite authors to work with, and (I think) the only one to ever buy me a drink! He’ll make an ass out of himself for laughs, I promise. Here are the details:

Chicago
Wednesday, August 11 at 6pm
Cortland’s Garage
1645 West Cortland Street
Chicago, IL 60622

Milwaukee
Thursday, August 12 at 6pm
The Irish Pub
124 N. Water Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Go!

book bloggers and cats eating burritos

  • About the author EB
  • August 07, 2010

A week or so ago, I did an outreach email to bloggers offering books for review. As I usually do, I managed to find some excuse to mention cats and Chipotle. I mentioned that I had wanted to close my email with a photo of a cat eating a burrito, but couldn’t find any.

Little did I know the windfall I would receive! Apparently, if you want something done, ask a book blogger. So I decided to share some of these awesome photos. Thank you very very much to everyone who sent them! This is but a small sample.

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and, my favorite:

help winky!

  • About the author EB
  • August 06, 2010

hey book people! Can we find a home for Winky, a lovely cat belonging to book club girl’s cousin? See below for photos and Winky’s story. Comment if you might be interested in adopting her or know someone who would! After all, if someone else doesn’t take her, I might be tempted to.

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I met Winky in October 2001. In the aftermath of 9/11 living halfway around the world in Greece, I was feeling so forlorn and detached. My friends and family had been through such a traumatizing experience, and all I could do was muster some words of encouragement, and lend ear via e-mail. The weeks that followed filled me with grief and despair. How could I, being one person who would like to see the world be a better place possibly make a difference? This is what I pondered every evening as I walked the 15 minutes down my street to work as an English-speaking nanny to my favourite 6 year old girl in the world.

Walking the streets of Thessaloniki was an everyday experience as during the day I had private lessons all over the city. Stray dogs and cats are a common sight. There are no such places as shelters, or dog catchers, or any kind of law pertaining to the care of animals. The common thought in Greece was that they “liked their freedom” and even if they were given a home, the dog or cat would dream of roaming the streets always. Of course I scoffed at what I considered a naivety mixed with neglect, cruelty, indifference. Although there were so many wonderful things about the country in which I now lived, I was happy to have come from a place where although I didn’t approve of the euthanasia performed on animals, there seemed to be a sense of respect and an attempt of care for each one.

As I walked to my evening nanny job, just weeks after 9/11, there they were- a bunch of kittens finding their feet for the first time, having ventured out from their nesting place for a romp and play on the sidewalk. As I admired these cute fur balls running and jumping, not any of them letting me get close enough to pet it, I saw that one had its back toward me, and perhaps I could sneak a little stroke of his or her fur. As I bent down the kitten turned and looked at me. I sucked in my breath and withdrew in horror to see that this kitten had one eye popped out of its head. Shocked and saddened, I quickly carried on walking, fearing that this poor beast didn’t have long to live on the street like that. Wondering – had this cat been purposely maimed by horrible children, or perhaps been in a cat brawl? Nevertheless, it was one small, tiny other terrible thing in this terrible world. At that moment, I made a promise to myself that if I saw the cat again, I would do something to help it. It would be nice to make the world even just the tiniest bit better. After having walked away, knowing I’d be late if I lingered longer, I promptly forgot about the cat and my promise.

About a week later, now leaving my evening job to go home, I exited the apartment building not knowing if I should take the bus around the corner, or walk. It was late, about 10:30pm, and although I was in a safe neighbourhood, I was tired. This was the only time in my 4 years at this job that I started walking toward the bus, then backtracked, telling myself that I shouldn’t be lazy. Almost home, late, tired, there she was- my kitten with her one eye. The promise I had made to myself came reeling back to me. Now I was on my way home, this time I had no excuse. I had to help her. And she was different- not only was she on the sidewalk with her siblings, but she was boldly chasing after people’s feet meowing for help. This wise creature knew it too- she would not last long in her condition without someone to help her.

I found a box and after several attempts to put her in, and a stray dog chasing me home trying to playfully knock the box from my arms (he did once and Winky went running and both had to chased down) I finally got her home. She was dirty, ragged, and the one eye, well, although I love animals, I was afraid to touch her. I tipped the box on its side in my bathroom, provided a towel to sleep on in her little tent of a box, and gave her some food and water. She seemed to know that I was afraid to touch her and stayed clear away although she could have easily rubbed up against me. She seemed to sense and respect my awkwardness toward her. It was late, and I went to bed.
During the night I needed to use the bathroom. I turned on the bright overhead light, and she rose stretched and blinked and looked as if to say “what’s going on?”. As I sat there, across the room from her I spoke sweetly and softly something like this- “sweet, little kitten. I am so sorry for all your troubles, I will do what I can to help you, you poor thing” as she watched me, SHE STARTED PURRING!! It was the first and only time in my life I knew a cat to purr at soft sweet words merely spoken to her, no touching involved! I think it was at that moment I fell in love. What a gorgeous disposition!

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I was able to bring her to a veterinary school and for a bit of a reduced fee, she had an operation to remove her damaged eye. The students handled her readily, and observing this, I realized although she was dirty, I could touch her and not worry. There was an audible gasp from the students as well as they turned her on her back and saw her beautiful markings and super soft fur on her belly. I was like a new mom, so proud of my beautiful kitty!

Financially I was struggling, and after her stint of antibiotics post-operation, she then needed de-worming, and de-fleaing. Yuck, but what a lovely cat with one eye I had when it was all over! And somehow financially I managed to scrape by. I never could regret any of it, considering the warmth, love, affection and companionship she provided me. She and I became steadfast pals, and she served to educate some of my friends who cringed at the sight of a cat inside someone’s house.

Later, a friend knowing I’d be the only volunteer, brought me an abandoned kitten who I dropper fed and was miraculously able to save. These two travelled back to the US with me. Coming back, I was to stay with my parents for an indefinite amount of time. My parents already had two cats of their own and my family was not happy with an additional two. I soon sought a home for the kitten I had saved more recently, and I was happy and satisfied to have found a sweet family with a young girl to adopt her. Winky, on the other hand, was so close to my heart, I begged my parents to let her stay, I begged them again when instead of finding a job and my own place, I returned to Europe, England this time to do a post graduate, 2 year program. After my program my intention was to return to the US, however, I met my husband, fell in love and got married and settled here in England.
Bar none, sadly, England has the strictest laws in the world concerning animals being brought into the country. Some of the hoops seem to be impossible to jump. I am so thankful for my parents who cared for her since 2004, and being able to visit with Winky all these years has been a blessing. However, my dad cares for my mom who has Alzheimer’s, and although Dad’s heart is big, he has found it increasingly difficult to care for Winky as well, and give her the attention and love she needs and deserves. May Winky be adopted by the most loving family and may she be happy and healthy into her sunset years!! She is friendly, sweet, caring, knowing, and still as playful as the kitten she was when I met her. May she enrich the lives of those whose path she crosses. She will surely be missed.

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get windspired!

  • About the author EB
  • August 05, 2010

This was a good week for Harper Perennial on the New York Times bestseller list. Lit, Freakonomics, and lots of other great titles are hanging on, but we also had one debut: the paperback edition of William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer’s The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is William’s story of his childhood in Malawi, a country where magic ruled and modern science was a mystery. Determined to ease the lives of his fellow villagers, even though he was just a teenager, William set out to build a windmill that could bring electricity and running water to their homes. Everyone thought he was crazy, but he persevered.

I read The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind right around the same time I read The Poisonwood Bible. Though one is a true account of Africa in the present day, and the other is a fictional account of Africa in the 60s, there were so many similarities. In fact, you could say that both books are about people trying to improve the daily lives of Africans. The difference, of course, is that because William is African, he understands the struggle in a way the missionary family of Poisonwood never could.

Now at Dartmouth, William really is an inspiring young man. You might even say he’s “windspired.” (god, I love puns.) That term comes from the title of a new photography competition at California State University, Chico. Titled “Become Windspired,” the museum’s 26th annual National American Visions Juried Photograph Exhibition is looking for photographs that “harness the creative spirit in you, while telling the potent stories of wind in our world.” The entry form and more details about the competition can be found here. An anthropologist, a photographer/artist, and a community member will judge your image(s) during the exhibition, which will take place from September 29th – October 15th. Then the $500 Valene Smith Award for Excellence in Visual Anthropology, as well as three honorable mentions, will be announced.

They’d love to have your entries! To get even more “windspired,” watch William on the Daily Show:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon – Thurs 11p / 10c
William Kamkwamba
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party
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