Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Monday, June 17, 2013
Image: “Reading makes immigrants of us all. It takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere.” — Jean Rhys
Today is our intern Laurel’s first day in the office, so of course we’re giving her the keys to the blog right at the start! She’ll be keeping you updated on Harper Perennial book news and tumblr shenanigans for the next couple of months, and you’ll know when it’s her in the tags. Please say hello, and play nice, mmkay?
Saturday, June 15, 2013
The Yiddish Policemen’s Union is today’s Kindle Daily Deal, which means you can get Michael Chabon’s wonderful ebook for $1.99.
Michael Chabon! $1.99! I don’t know why you’re still here reading this and not downloading this absolute steal!
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Apparently I should have gone higher than “more than 25” because this isn’t giving me the best resolution. Also…YOU GUYS READ A LOT OF DAMN BOOKS!
Nerdfighter bbs are making me so proud.
In 1975, Norman Maclean’s book, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories, was rejected by publishers Alfred A. Knopf after initially being green-lit — thankfully it was eventually released by University of Chicago Press, to much acclaim. Six years after the rejection, in 1981, an editor at Knopf named Charles Elliott wrote to Maclean and expressed an early interest in his next book.
The following letter was written by Maclean, to Elliott, soon after. Maclean later called it, “one of the best things I ever wrote […] I really told those bastards off. What a pleasure! What a pleasure! Right into my hands! Probably the only dream I ever had in life that came completely true.”
(Source: Francis Burr, via Al Pinetree; Image: Norman Maclean in 1970 by Leslie Strauss Travis, via.)
Dear Mr. Elliott:
I have discovered that I have been writing you under false pretenses, although stealing from myself more than from you. I have stolen from myself the opportunity of seeing the dream of every rejected author come true.
The dream of every rejected author must be to see, like sugar plums dancing in his head, please-can’t-we-see-your-next-manuscript letters standing in piles on his desk, all coming from publishing companies that rejected his previous manuscript, especially from the more pompous of the fatted cows grazing contentedly in the publishing field. I am sure that, under the influence of those dreams, some of the finest fuck-you prose in the English language has been composed but, alas, never published. And to think that the rare moment in history came to me when I could in actuality have written the prose masterpiece for all rejected authors – and I didn’t even see that history had swung wide its doors to me.
You must have known that Alfred A. Knopf turned down my first collection of stories after playing games with it, or at least the game of cat’s-paw, now rolling it over and saying they were going to publish it and then rolling it on its back when the president of the company announced it wouldn’t sell. So I can’t understand how you could ask if I’d submit my second manuscript to Alfred A. Knopf, unless you don’t know my race of people. And I can’t understand how it didn’t register on me – ‘Alfred A. Knopf’ is clear enough on your stationery.
But, although I let the big moment elude me, it has given rise to little pleasures. For instance, whenever I receive a statement of the sales of ‘A River Runs Through It’ from the University of Chicago Press, I see that someone has written across the bottom of it, ‘Hurrah for Alfred A. Knopf.’ However, having let the great moment slip by unrecognized and unadorned, I can now only weakly say this: if the situation ever arose when Alfred A. Knopf was the only publishing house remaining in the world and I was the sole remaining author, that would mark the end of the world of books.
A bookseller at Stauffacher in Switzerland has handmade an amazing display for Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behaviour
Wow! Thanks, Switzerland.
(Bonus points for Matt Ruff’s The Mirage on the table as well!)
These are morning matters, pictures you dream as the final wave heaves you up on the sand to the bright light and drying air. You remember pressure, and a curved sleep you rested against, soft, like a scallop in its shell. But the air hardens your skin; you stand; you leave the lighted shore to explore some dim headland, and soon you’re lost in the leafy interior, intent remembering nothing.
I started rereading Pilgrim at Tinker Creek today and I had forgotten how this description of waking up floors me every time.
We’re reissuing this in September, in a deluxe Harper Perennial Modern Classic edition, because duh.
Monday, June 10, 2013
darienlibrary said: Stop stealing our job, Melville House.
I wish. If I were a librarian I’d never shut up about it. I’d be telling people on street corners everywhere.
Picture me: thumbs in belt loops, chest puffed, hollering, “I HELP PEOPLE KNOW THINGS. I SHAPE CHILDREN FROM SMALL SOCIOPATHS INTO GENEROUS MARVELOUS HUMAN BEINGS. I TOUCH ALL THE BOOKS. WOULD YOU LIKE TO BORROW THIS TINY GOLF PENCIL.”
And then I’d laser finger everyone for good measure and saunter off up the street to thunderous applause.
This brought a tear to my eye.
I would like to be BFFs with Erin and Dustin, please.
Last week, Samantha Power was named the 28th United States Ambassador to the United Nations. Known for her human rights advocacy, Power is constantly asking the haunting question: Why do American leaders who vow “never again” repeatedly fail to stop genocide?
Drawing upon exclusive interviews with Washington’s top policy makers, access to newly declassified documents, and her own reporting from the modern killing fields, Power provides the answer in “A Problem from Hell,” a groundbreaking work that tells the stories of the courageous Americans who risked their careers and lives in an effort to get the United States to act. The winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 2003, Power’s interrogation of the last century of American history is a call-to-action that our nation must heed.