- February 28, 2011
I’m back from vacation! I know you all missed me (and the blog) terribly. While I was away I read two and a half books:
One Day: There was so much backlash to this one that I had a backup book ready to go when I opened it up on the plane . . . but then I read it straight through in one sitting. It totally fell into a category I normally hate (books or movies where everything would be solved if people just had an honest conversation about their feelings), but for some reason it didn’t bother me like it often does.
Best American Crime Reporting 2010: Always good. I look forward to this series every year and it never disappoints. This year I felt like the quality was particularly good—there was maybe only one story that I wasn’t totally invested in.
Started Early, Took My Dog: I’m halfway through this, the new Kate Atkinson, and so far I think it’s her best yet. With every book her hero Jackson Brodie reveals himself to be more and more like my boyfriend.
As soon as I finish Started Early I’ll be back to digging into some of our upcoming books (like this summer’s Simon Van Booy novel). I somehow managed to avoid temptation and not buy any new books in SF or LA, though I was sorely tempted at my new favorite out-of-town store, LA’s Skylight Books. I have many beloved stories in nyc (Word, McNally, Greenlight, BookCourt) but sometimes have a hard time connecting with other stores. I once visited a store that shall remain nameless and couldn’t wait to get out of there because it was so cramped and messy. I might be a priss but I like my bookstores to be neat and organized and well-lit and near other cool stuff. Skylight fits all those criteria (it’s across the street from the legendary House of Pies, at which I tried in vain to finish a lemon cream slice) and was also playing a CD by a not-super-well-known but beloved-by-me Brooklyn band called Palomar when I went in, endearing itself to me forever. My suitcase was already way too full to stuff another book in there, but I’ll be back, Skylight!
- February 16, 2011
So, here are the results of my extremely unscientific “what should I read on vacation?” poll:
Other People We Married by Emma Straub 2 votes
Finny by Justin Kramon 5 votes
The Wrong Mother by Sophie Hannah 1 vote
One Day by David Nicholls 6 votes
The Thieves of Manhattan by Adam Langer 0 votes
Slaves of New York by Tama Janowitz 1 vote
Best American Crime Reporting 0 votes
The News Where You Are by Catherine O’Flynn 1 vote
If I Stay by Gayle Forman 0 votes
At Home in the World by Joyce Maynard 1 vote
The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer 3 votes
The Orange Eats Creeps by Grace Krilanovich 3 votes
A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor 2 votes
Normal People Don’t Live Like This by Dylan Landis 0 votes
Go Down Together by Jeff Gunn 0 votes
Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon 3 votes
Cheer! by Kate Torgovnick 0 votes
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell 2 votes
American Salvage by Bonnie Jo Campbell 0 votes
So the winner is . . . One Day! Which is funny, because the last time I did this, while many people voted for One Day, nearly as many said it wasn’t worth it. As promised, I’m putting that one in my bag right now, along with at least one of the runners-up: Finny, The Uncoupling, The Orange Eats Creeps, and Await Your Reply. Plus the Kate Atkinson. I will report back!
- February 14, 2011
This Thursday, I am going to California for ten days. I. cannot. wait.
Aside from being exciting for the typical vacation reasons, I have a rule for myself that I am not allowed to read any Harper books on vacation—even if they’re books I would have read if I didn’t work here. In the run-up to vacation I always read more work books than usual, just to make it even more exciting.
But (not shockingly) I have trouble choosing. I absolutely, positively, definitely am going to take the upcoming Kate Atkinson novel Started Early, Took My Dog, which I have had for a while now and have been saving for a special occasion, but otherwise I’m kinda lost. So, as I did last Thanksgiving, I’m putting it to a vote. Below is a list of every paperback/galley (hardcovers make the suitcase too heavy) on my to-be-read shelf. I’ll take the top vote-getter with me!
Other People We Married by Emma Straub (I am likely to take this even if you don’t vote for it)
Finny by Justin Kramon
The Wrong Mother by Sophie Hannah
One Day by David Nicholls
The Thieves of Manhattan by Adam Langer
Slaves of New York by Tama Janowitz
Best American Crime Reporting
The News Where You Are by Catherine O’Flynn
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
At Home in the World by Joyce Maynard
The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer
The Orange Eats Creeps by Grace Krilanovich
A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor
(side note: at this point I thought to myself, wow, I’m really going to make a dent over this vacation! And then I realized I had another pile of books on the floor.)
Normal People Don’t Live Like This by Dylan Landis
Go Down Together by Jeff Gunn
Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon
Cheer! by Kate Torgovnick
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell
American Salvage by Bonnie Jo Campbell
- February 09, 2011
Yesterday, we published Justin Taylor’s debut novel, The Gospel of Anarchy.
This book holds a special place in my heart, since I was (gently) mocked for my gushing goodreads review of it when I read the galley back in September. So while I’ll link to real reviews below, I thought it might be fun to post mine too:
Coming out from us in feb 2011, this is justin taylor’s first novel, after his book of short stories last winter, everything here is the best thing ever. I loved EHITBTE for the way it portrayed the more unlikable members of my generation, and the gospel of anarchy continues that. It’s about a group of anarchist punks in gainesville, florida in 1999 and though some of the anarchy-talky parts were less my thing, the characters are so great and the language is amazing. it feels really trite to call someone “the voice of my generation,” and even weirder to believe it, but I’ve yet to feel that way about anyone but justin taylor.
And now, other people who like it:
“Gospel is a beautifully written, insanely intelligent, and ultimately moving novel …” (Black Book)
“Once again, Taylor blends the competing heat of religious fervor, threatening politics, and nihilistic sex, yielding dangerous results.” (Oxford American)
“These days, all the cool kids write about pharmaceuticals and cognitive science. In his first novel, The Gospel of Anarchy, Justin Taylor makes his attempt to diagnose the mal du siècle by grappling with matters of faith.” (New York Observer)
“Taylor is an undeniable talent with a contemporary voice that this new generation of skeptics has long awaited—a young champion of literature.” (New York Press)
Playlist on Largehearted Boy
Interview with Brooklyn Based
Buy it here!
- February 07, 2011
This has absolutely nothing to do with books, but if this doesn’t make you smile, you’re probably dead inside.
- February 02, 2011
Another author of ours in the news lately is Alaa Al-Aswany. A fixture in the Egyptian opposition movement, he has appeared on NPR, PRI, and in The Guardian recently to discuss the situation in Egypt. His 2006 book, The Yacoubian Building, paints a fictional but very realistic portrait of life in Cairo—the life that led to the current protests. I love when fiction can help me understand what life is like in another part of the world, and I’m guessing many of you do too. Anyone read this one? Or others that function in the same way?
- February 01, 2011
When Tony O’Neill, author of Sick City and Down and Out on Murder Mile, hits New Orleans, hijinks ensue. Check out some photos of his latest reading here.
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