Tuesday, November 15, 2011

And With Rep Night #4, We are Ready to Sell Anything to Anybody--Suggestions from Random House kids, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and HarperCollins Adult.

By rep night number four, the crowd is getting tired. No matter how you do it, one Sunday after another, spaced out, four nights of presentations are a lot. Of course we had six of them, but I could probably count on one hand the number of booksellers who would attend all six events in a season.

The ultimate event was back at Mequon's Next Chapter, where I believe we had Leonardo's pizza (did I mention that I am a big fan of their meatball subs, due to the oven toasing of the bread?) and some Panera salads.

Tim's big push at Random House was for the 50th edition of The Phantom Tollbooth. Who knew that Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer lived in the same apartment building. Just think, the other half of your classic is festering away in apartment 3B. For this event, there's a commemorative hardcover, an annotated edition, and Juster's new picture book called Neville.

I think I noted in a previous rep night roundup that the YA mystery/thriller genre always needs new entries. David Levithan's new novel, Every You, Every Me, is another nice option. With paintings by Jonathan Farmer, it's a story that keeps you guessing, and the art is part of the puzzle. Levitan is probably best known as the co-author of Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

Need some time travel with your adventure? Matthew Cody's The Dead Gentleman might be your ticket. Shuttling between the New York of 100 years ago and that of today, two kids, one from each period, team up to defeat titular Dead Gentleman, an arch villain about to conquer earth. Tim says it's like a modern Jules Verne with a spot of Harry Potter.

And finally, a nice holiday book from David Rubel and Jim LaMarche. The Carpenter's Gift is a picture book abou the very first Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and the impact it had across generations.

From Cathy, we've already been pondering Caroline Preston's The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt, a novel told, yes, in scrapbook form. It's a really cool, full-color package, and Preston, who also wrote Jackie by Josie (which I read) and several other novels, uses the imagery to tell a spirited and amusing tale. And I had also heard from Elinor Lipman that this was one of her fall fiction picks--she has a jacket quote on the book. I could see that several Boswellians were intrigued; here's hoping we have a rec by the end of the month.

A customer came into Boswell to chat with me about Food52, the website from Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs where participants vote on great recipes for classic dishes. he was very enthusiastic about the site and the new cookbook, The Food52 Cookbook to be exact, that collects the first year of recipes.

Another big cookbook is Paula Wolfert's lush The Food of Morocco. Wolfert is known for explorations of middle east cuisine, with Couscous being one of her classics. Along with Mouad, a contemporary take on the same cuisine in an equally beautiful package, north Africa is shaping up to be the culinary destination of the season.

Also from a website is Joseph Gordon-Levitt's new anthology, The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories. Filled with very tiny but apparently quite emotionall powering stories, this site is quite popular and apparently it is not all due in part to Gordon-Levitt's (or so I heard from the row behind me) dreaminess. And I guess he is turning the stories into films now. Tiny ones. Nice package. Could even be tinier, but it would be so hard to sell thimble-sized books, let alone the theft problems. Remember the tiny Langenscheit dictionaries?

And finally Ellen of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt brought both adult and kid books to the table. On the adult side, we've already talked about Umberto Eco's The Prague Cemetery, and We the Animals, by Justin Torres.  Jason's been talking up The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick.

The Essential Pepin is a very nice package that updates recipes from Jacques Pepin's six-decade career. And yes, there is a new 26-episode series.

The Chronicles of Harris Burdick is a new collection of short stories based on the illustations in Chris Van Allsburg's classic, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.

Things start to blur together at this point. Which rep had which book about classical mythology.  Who had which book about unlikely animal friendships?  And while Joseph Gordon-Levitt has tiny stories, there's also 420 Characters, a collection of short stories that were originally Facebook posts.

Can we really be done? Now all we have to do is sell them all.

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