Friday, November 9, 2012

Things I Love, Things I Hate, Things in Between, Volume 2

Thing I Love Immature Humor.  Let's say that you're pals with Gianna, and let's say that the head of the CIA resigns due to an extramarital affair.  Even better, Book Land is involved because the woman of the night happens to be the good general's biographer.  And then you get an email from Gianna that asks if the lady's book about General Petraeus is really called All In.  And you know that Gianna is snorting as she reads the story in the Huffington Post.  It's a lovely way to end a busy work week.

Thing I Hate Contested election results.  Forget Florida.  How is it that Gianna is winning our Liz vs.Gianna poll on Facebook?  Well guess what?  Book Land is not a democracy, and the correct answer is always Liz.  Or at least the correct answer is always Liz as long as Gianna wants me to continue to correct her punctuation.

Thing I Hate Jellyfish.  I think I'm supposed to find them beautiful, but other than the amazing drawings by Ernst Haeckel from Art Forms in Nature, they just look like floating wounds to me.


Yes Jhumpa, you are allowed
to write books for me.

Thing I Love Fresh manuscripts.  Every Thursday, the Random House sales force receives an email listing all of the manuscripts posted in the last week.  Often these emails are the first hints the sales team sees of the books we will be selling months to a year from now.  And sure, we're surrounded by books and assigned reading all the time, but I never get tired of the possibility of new, great books that I'll have the opportunity to read and then share.  Here's the entire email I sent to a colleague last week:

Subject: manuscript                                        

Two words: Jhumpa Lahiri.

It looks like there's a new Jhumpa Lahiri book for the fall of 2013.  That makes me happy.

Thing in Between. Cookbooks.  It's no secret that I don't like to cook.  Those people out there who read cookbooks for pleasure?  What the hell's wrong with you?  Do you need some reading recommendations?  Because we're here to help.  That said, I'm not averse to the joy of someone else cooking for me, which is why I'm giving copies of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook to several friends.  One of my friends has been treating me to recipes from the SK blog for years, and my colleague Stacey has been making treats for her family and fellow telephone sales reps.  I'm pretty sure that she's going to send me cookies, and if you send me cash, I'll see if she'll cook for you too.  (No refunds.  No guarantees, and if you're Stacey reading this, no profit sharing.)

Thing I Love Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan.  The newest Ian McEwan novel goes on sale this Tuesday, and it's one of my favorites of the year.  Here is the Booker Prize winner and author of Atonement playing with the classic spy genre.  During the tedious part of the Cold War, 1973, a young woman is recruited by MI6 to join Operation Sweet Tooth.  Her mission: find susceptible writers and convince them to write pro-capitalist literature, thus combating Soviet pop culture propaganda.  Serena, our protagonist, finds an aspiring writer and convinces him that he's won a literary prize that will allow him to quit teaching and write full time.  She acts as his contact with the fictitious foundation, and eventually they fall in love.  Of course, their whole relationship is based on lies.  This is what McEwan does best--twisting characters through impossible scenarios and betrayals.  Good stuff.

Thing in Between Movie adaptations.  It's a bit cliche at this point to say that the book is better than the movie, even if there are instances when it's not true.  (The movie of Terms of Endearment was better than the book.)  This fall there's a movie version of my favorite book, Cloud Atlas.  I haven't decided if or when I'll see the movie, but regardless of the movie's quality, the publicity surrounding it has moved the brilliant novel onto the bestseller lists.  Here's a novel that takes some work--it's no young adult book masquerading as adult fiction, and structurally it's a challenge--and here it is selling all over the country.  That's something to celebrate.

1 comment:

  1. Love this post. Keep that wit comin'. Oh yeah, and the book recommendations, too, of course.