dayy-nuh said: How does one secure an internship or position with Harper Perennial/Are you guys hiring right now? I follow your twitter and love all the tweets and it seems like a fabulous imprint to work for. Thanks! - ~*Fangirl Book Lover*~
Aww, thanks. I think’s a pretty swell place.
We have an intern at the moment, so we’re set for Fall. You can check our Careers site for open positions (hot tip: my old job with the Harper group is currently listed), or their Facebook page announces intern opportunities.
drewsof said: crazy Olive Edition superfan question: so I've seen the covers for some unreleased Olives (Purcell/Banks/Marquez) on the interwebs and I was just wondering what happened to those (are there rare galley copies hidden in the Harper vault) / what goes into choosing which ones become real Olives?
These Olive Editions were never made. We don’t do galleys for Olives since they’re just a different trim size and cover; no new content is added that a bookseller would need to read, and we could make mock-ups if someone needs to get a sense of the size. So, there aren’t any rare copies hanging around.
In the nine months between a book’s launch and on sale, anything can happen. With these, we had the covers designed for the catalog and probably for the retailers, before we removed them from our schedule. The internet being a little sticky, it looks like some of the covers are hanging around. You could probably also find them in Milan’s hard drive.
Choosing which books become Olives depends on the season (for our 50th anniversary, we chose four contemporary titles and four classics highlighting our current list and our history), demand/sales, the book’s other editions, and simply what makes sense. We canceled One Hundred Years of Solitude shortly after Marquez passed.
Book of the Week: Strange Stones by Peter Hessler
Every week, our editors handpick one great book from the Oyster library.
Strange Stones is something of a greatest hits record of Peter Hessler’s work, spanning the past decade of his reportage. Hessler, who moved to the Sichuan Province as a member of the Peace Corps in 1996, has established himself as one of the finest travel writers with his three terrific memoirs, including the Kiriyama Prize-winning River Town. But while his books capture China in a specific moment in time, this essay collection is a better portrait of the country’s development over the past ten years.
Hessler has a gift for writing clearly and empathetically, but perhaps his greatest strength is making sense of paradox. For example, the irony of China’s communist government embracing an almost Libertarian-minded view of capitalism is not lost on Hessler. He notes that the country is full of contradictions, and some are even manifested physically: “Beijing is impressed by the sense of division: wall after wall, gray brick upon gray brick. But actually a hutong neighborhood is most distinguished by connections and movement.”
These pieces, which largely come from The New Yorker where Hessler is a staff writer, cover everything from China’s monuments (the Great Wall, the Three Gorges Dam, and 7’6” basketball player Yao Ming) to more sweeping reporting of the country’s rapid economic development. One particularly affecting piece called “The Boomtown Girl” chronicles one of Hessler’s former students as she navigates life as a factory girl, tragically underscoring the fact that China’s suicide rate among women is five times higher than in any other country. Not everything is so serious though, like when Hessler goes to a restaurant that serves rat. (In the first line of the book, a waitress asks if Hessler wants “a big rat or a small rat?” and I immediately started screaming at my iPad.)
Not everything takes place in China either. Some of the essays find Hessler investigating the Japanese yakuza in Tokyo, exploring uranium deposits in rural Colorado, and making sense of a lobbying campaign to increase Peace Corps funding in Nepal. It can be a little jarring to jump from place to place (and to be honest, Hessler’s best work takes place in China), but as a whole collection, Strange Stones is consistent even when it isn’t cohesive. The book serves as both a satisfying read and a testament to the work of one of the most impressive writers of our time.
The title of the book comes from the Chinese word qi shi, which Hessler says translates to “strange stones.” He also writes that “the adjective could also be translated as ‘marvelous’ or ‘rare’”—two other accurate descriptors of Strange Stones. — Kevin Nguyen
New to Peter Hessler? Start with Strange Stones before diving into his China trilogy (River Town, Oracle Bones, Country Driving), all on Oyster.