Tag Archives: essays

Fall 2013

Here are the books I am working on this fall. To request review copies or to inquire about an interview with the authors, please email me at gabrielle.gantz [@] picadorusa.com.

SEPTEMBER

OutrageTitle: Outrage
Author: Arnaldur Indridason
Format: Paperback
On Sale: August 27, 2013

Haunted by personal demons, Detective Erlendur decides to take a short leave of absence, putting his female assistant, Elínborg, in charge while he is gone. When a disturbing case lands on her desk, Elínborg is quickly thrust into a world of violent crime. A serial rapist is on the loose, and the clock is ticking as the police race to catch him before he strikes again.

ARNALDUR INDRIÐASON won the CWA Gold Dagger Award for Silence of the Grave and is the only author to win the Glass Key Award for Best Nordic Crime Novel two years in a row, for Jar City and Silence of the Grave.

My Heart is an IdiotTitle: My Heart is an Idiot
Author: Davy Rothbart
Format: Paperback
On Sale: September 2, 2013

Davy Rothbart is looking for love in all the wrong places. Constantly. He falls helplessly in love with pretty much every girl he meets—and rarely is the feeling reciprocated. Time after time, he hops in a car and tears across half of America with his heart on his sleeve. He’s continually coming up with outrageous schemes, which he always manages to pull off. Well, almost always. But even when things don’t work out, Rothbart finds meaning and humor in every moment. Whether it’s humiliating a scammer who takes money from aspiring writers or playing harmless (but side-splitting) goofs on his deaf mother, nothing and no one is off limits.

DAVY ROTHBART is a frequent contributor to This American Life and a variety of magazines, the founder of Found Magazine and the editor of its various bestselling anthologies, and the author of The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas. Learn more about his book here

OCTOBER

Mr Penumbra 24-Hour BookstoreTitle: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
Author: Robin Sloan
Format: Paperback
On Sale: September 24, 2013

The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco Web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The customers are few and never seem to buy anything; instead, they “check out” obscure volumes from strange corners of the store. Clay concludes the store must be a front for something larger and engineers a complex analysis of the clientele’s behavior with the help of his variously talented friends. But when they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls.

ROBIN SLOAN grew up in Michigan and now splits his time between San Francisco and the Internet. You can find him online here

Rise to GreatnessTitle: The Rise to Greatness
Author: David Von Drehle
Format: Paperback
On Sale: September 24, 2013

As 1862 dawned, the American republic was at death’s door. The federal government appeared overwhelmed, the U.S. Treasury was broke, and the Union’s top general was gravely ill. The Confederacy—with its booming economy, expert military leadership, and commanding position on the battlefield—had a clear view to victory. To a remarkable extent, the survival of the country depended on the judgment, cunning, and resilience of the unschooled frontier lawyer who had recently been elected president.

Twelve months later, the Civil War had become a cataclysm but the tide had turned. The Union generals who would win the war had at last emerged, and the Confederate Army had suffered the key losses that would lead to its doom. The blueprint of modern America—an expanding colossus of industrial and financial might—had been indelibly inked. And the man who brought the nation through its darkest hour, Abraham Lincoln, had been forged into a singular leader.

In Rise to Greatness, acclaimed author David Von Drehle has created both a deeply human portrait of America’s greatest president and a rich, dramatic narrative about our most fateful year.

DAVID VON DREHLE is the author of three previous books, including the award-winning Triangle, an account of the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire that The New York Times called “social history at its best.” He is an editor-at-large at Time magazine.

Listen to David discuss his book on The Diane Rehm Show

Cursing Mommy's Book of DaysTitle: Cursing Mommy’s Book of Days
Author: Ian Frazier
Format: Paperback
On Sale: October 1, 2013

Based on his widely read columns for The New Yorker, Ian Frazier’s uproarious first novel, The Cursing Mommy’s Book of Days, centers on a profoundly memorable character, sprung from an impressively fertile imagination. Structured as a daybook of sorts, the book follows the Cursing Mommy—beleaguered wife of Larry and mother of two young boys—as she offers tips on how to do various tasks around the home, only to end up on the ground, cursing, surrounded by broken glass. Her voice is somewhere between Phyllis Diller’s and Sylvia Plath’s: a hilariously desperate housewife with a taste for swearing and large glasses of red wine, who speaks to the frustrations of everyday life.

IAN FRAZIER is the author of Great Plains, The Fish’s Eye, On the Rez, Family, and Travels in Siberia, as well as Coyote v. Acme, Dating Your Mom, and Lamentations of the Father, all published by FSG. He is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker. You can find his New Yorker columns here

NOVEMBER

History of BritainTitle: A History of Britain in Thirty-Six Postage Stamps
Author: Chris West
Format: Hardcover
On Sale: October 22, 2013

Hailed by The Times of London as “a splendid reminder of the philatelic glories of the past,” this unique book tells the breathtaking history of Britain through thirty-six of its fascinating, beautiful, and sometimes eccentric postage stamps. West shows that stamps have always mirrored the events, attitudes, and styles of their time. Through them, one can glimpse the whole epic tale of an empire unfolding. From the famous Penny Black, printed two years after Queen Victoria’s coronation, to the Victory! Stamp of 1946, anticipating the struggle of postwar reconstruction—A History of Britain in Thirty-six Postage Stamps is hugely entertaining and idiosyncratic romp, told in Chris West’s lively prose.

CHRIS WEST has written widely in a variety of genres. His titles include a bestselling business guide, and a quartet of crime novels. He inherited a love of history from his father and an Edwardian “Lincoln” stamp album from his great uncle as a child. His love for stamps was revived when he found that same dust-covered album in his attic as an adult.

Fun StuffTitle: The Fun Stuff
Author: James Wood
Format: Paperback
On Sale: October 22, 2013

With The Broken Estate, The Irresponsible Self, and How Fiction Works, James Wood established himself as the leading critic of his generation. The Fun Stuff confirms his preeminence, not only as a discerning judge but also as one of fiction’s most ardent appreciators. In these twenty-three sparkling dispatches—which range over such crucial writers as Thomas Hardy, Leo Tolstoy, and Edmund Wilson—Wood offers a panoramic look at the modern novel. He effortlessly connects his encyclopedic understanding of the literary canon with an equally in-depth analysis of the most important authors writing today, including Cormac McCarthy, Lydia Davis, and Aleksandar Hemon. From the brilliant title essay on Keith Moon and the lost joys of drumming to Wood’s incisive piece on the writings of George Orwell, The Fun Stuff is indispensable reading for anyone who cares about contemporary literature.

JAMES WOOD is a staff writer at The New Yorker and a visiting lecturer at Harvard University. He is the author of How Fiction Works, as well as two essay collections, The Broken Estate and The Irresponsible Self, and a novel, The Book Against God. You can find his New Yorker archive here

Detroit City Is the Place to BeTitle: Detroit City is the Place to Be
Author: Mark Binelli
Format: Paperback
On Sale: November 5, 2013

Once America’s capitalist dream town, Detroit is our country’s greatest urban failure, having fallen the longest and the farthest. But the city’s worst crisis yet (and that’s saying something) has managed to do the unthinkable: turn the end of days into a laboratory for the future. Urban planners, land speculators, neopastoral agriculturalists, and utopian environmentalists—all have been drawn to Detroit’s baroquely decaying, nothing-left-to-lose frontier.

With an eye for the darkly absurd and the radically new, Detroit-area native Mark Binelli has chronicled this convergence. Throughout the city’s “museum of neglect”—its swaths of abandoned buildings, its miles of urban prairie—he tracks both the blight and the signs of its repurposing, from the school for pregnant teenagers to a beleaguered UAW local; from metal scrappers and gun-toting vigilantes to organic farming and GM’s risky wager on the Volt electric car.

Sharp and impassioned, Detroit City Is the Place to Be is alive with the sense of possibility that comes when a city hits rock bottom. Beyond the usual portrait of crime, poverty, and ruin, we glimpse a longshot future Detroit that is smaller, less segregated, greener, economically diverse, and better functioning—what could be the boldest reimagining of a post-industrial city in our new century.

MARK BINELLI is the author of the novel Sacco and Vanzetti Must Die! and a contributing editor at Rolling Stone. You can find Mark online here

DECEMBER

NostradamusTitle: Nostradamus
Author: Stéphane Gerson
Format: Paperback
On Sale: November 26, 2013

Who was Nostradamus? In this new biography, historian Stéphane Gerson takes readers back in time to explore the life and afterlife of Michel de Nostredame, the astrologer whose Prophecies have been transformed into today’s Gospel of Doom. Whenever we enter a new era, Nostradamus offers certainty and solace. In 1666, guests at posh English dinner parties discussed his quatrain about the Great Fire of London. In 1942, Irène Némirovsky latched her hopes for survival to Nostradamus’s prediction that the war would soon end. And on September 12, 2001, Brooklyn teenagers proclaimed that “this guy, Nostradamus” had seen 9/11 coming. Through prodigious research in European and American archives, Gerson chronicles the life of this mystifying figure and our lasting fascination with his predictions.

STÉPHANE GERSON is a cultural historian of modern France and the editor of a new edition of Nostradamus’s Prophecies for Penguin Classics. He teaches French history at New York University

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Some of My Lives: A Scrapbook Memoir by Rosamond Bernier

Some of My Lives: A Scrapbook Memoir
Rosamond Bernier
On sale: November 27, 2012 (December)
Essays / Memoir / Art

For a review copy (US and Canada only) or to schedule an interview with Rosamond Bernier, please email gabrielle.gantz [at] picadorusa.com

PRAISE FOR SOME OF MY LIVES
Some of My Lives: A Scrapbook Memoir, animated by Bernier’s inimitable voice and charm, includes encounters with countless luminaries from the worlds of art and style.…Her razor-sharp insights, playful humor, and deep humility throw the colorful personalities surrounding her into high relief.”Vogue

“[Bernier’s] charm, wit, and style are apparent….She doesn’t just give names; she provides the details that reveal someone’s personality….She turned being social into a kind of art.”The New York Times Book Review

“Bernier proves an able guide across a wide range of forms, from painting and sculpture to architecture and fashion. Her interview with Coco Chanel is brilliant….She has provided a very stylish memoir indeed.”
The Plain Dealer

“These are scrumptious essays, not only because they chronicle extraordinary adventures of artistic and historical significance but also because they are so wise, archly offhand, and alight with a passion for living and learning.”—Booklist (starred review)

“An inimitable life captured with spirited, winning immediacy.”—Kirkus

ABOUT SOME OF MY LIVES
Rosamond Bernier has known many (one is tempted to say all) of the greatest artists and composers of the twentieth century. In SOME OF MY LIVES (Picador / On Sale: November 27, 2012), she has made a kind of literary scrapbook from an extraordinary array of writings, ranging from scholarly articles for American publications to her many contributions to the art journal L’OEIL, which she cofounded in 1955.

Through the stories of her encounters with Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Leonard Bernstein, Max Ernst, Aaron Copeland, Malcolm Lowry, and Karl Lagerfeld, we come to understand the sheer richness of Bernier’s experiences and memories. Pithy, hilarious, and wise, SOME OF MY LIVES is a multifaceted self-portrait of a life informed and surrounded by the arts.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rosamond Bernier
was born in Philadelphia and was educated in France, England, and America. In 1955, she cofounded the influential art magazine L’OEIL, which featured the works of the masters of the School of Paris. A renowned lecturer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rosamond Bernier was named for life to the International Best-Dressed List.

MORE INFORMATION
Cover image for download
Read an excerpt

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Alibis: Essays on Elsewhere by André Aciman

Alibis: Essays on Elsewhere
André Aciman
On Sale: November 27, 2012 (December)
Picador
Essays / Travel / Culture

For a review copy (US and Canada only) or to schedule an interview with André Aciman, please email gabrielle.gantz [at] picadorusa.com

PRAISE FOR ALIBIS
“A beautiful new book of essays…Aciman’s deep fidelity to the world of the senses, and to the translation of those sensations into prose, makes Alibis a delight.”—Teju Cole, The New York Times Book Review

“The journey is always beguiling and its conclusion often poignant….Aciman is a brilliant chronicler of ‘the disconnect, the hiatus, the tiny synapse’ between who we are and who—or where—we wish we might have been.”The Wall Street Journal

“André Aciman is, quite simply, one of the finest essayists of the last hundred years—you’d have to go back much farther…to find the combination of elegance, restraint, and longing that Aciman so generously bestows upon his readers.”Los Angeles Review of Books

ABOUT ALIBIS
André Aciman first rose to prominence with Out of Egypt—a finely wrought memoir of his childhood in Alexandria—and in the fifteen years since, his reputation has only grown. He has been lauded as an editor, essayist, and critic, and as a scholar of French literature and the director of the Writers Institute at the City University of New York. More recently, Aciman has also earned widespread praise as a novelist. When his debut novel, Call Me by Your Name was published in 2007, New York magazine declared him “the most exciting new fiction writer of the 21st century,” raving that “few novels since Proust’s In Search of Lost Time are this adept at capturing the nuances of human emotion.” And writing last year in The New York Review of Books, Michael Dirda called Aciman’s second novel, Eight White Nights, “a bravura re-creation of all the feints and counterfeints, yearnings and frustrations, of modern courtship.”

In ALIBIS (Picador Paperback / On sale: November 27, 2012), André Aciman has written a luminous series of linked essays about time, place, identity, and art that show him at his very finest. From beautiful and moving pieces about the memories evoked by the scent of lavender; to meditations on cities such as Barcelona, Rome, Paris, and New York; to life secrets unearthed from an ordinary street corner, ALIBIS reminds us that Aciman is a master of the personal essay.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
André Aciman is the author of Eight White Nights, Call Me by Your Name, Out of Egypt, and False Papers, and is the editor of The Proust Project. He teaches comparative literature at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

MORE INFORMATION
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André Aciman on writing (New York Times Opinionator)

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Reading For My Life: Writings, 1958-2008 by John Leonard

Reading For My Life: Writings, 1958-200
John Leonard; Edited by Sue Leonard with an Introduction by E.L. Doctorow
Viking
On Sale: March 19, 2012
Essays / Literary Criticism 

Praise for John Leonard
“For any partisan of intellectual journalism, Leonard is a small treasure.”—The Village Voice

“One of the two or three best literary critics in America. To virtually any book, Leonard can apply intellect and language without sacrificing either.”—Time

“Leonard has the requisite erudition and enthusiasm to sustain…astonishing riffs, putting the rest of the bookworm band not just in the shade but in total eclipse.”—The Boston Globe

ABOUT THE BOOK
A monumental collection of Leonard’s most significant writings, READING FOR MY LIFE spans five decades, from Leonard’s earliest reviews and columns for the Harvard Crimson to some of his final essays for The New York Review of Books.  Leonard reviewed the most celebrated writers of modern fiction with unflagging inspiration and striking originality, in addition to heralding novelists from outside the mainstream. He was the first major critic to praise the work of Gabriel García Márquez, and championed the work of Toni Morrison so passionately that she invited him to travel with her to Stockholm to accept her Nobel Prize. Kurt Vonnegut likened the experience of reading him to watching him “light the night sky of my ignorance and intellectual lassitude with sizzles and bangs, and gorgeous blooms of fire.” He was a voracious critical omnivore, whose works also address television, film, politics, and the media.

ABOUT JOHN LEONARD
John Leonard (1939-2008) was a reviewer or contributing editor for practically every national print outlet, including The Nation, The New York Review of Books, Harper’s, Vanity Fair, Salon, New York, and the daily book reviewer for The New York Times. He also appeared regularly on NPR’s Fresh Air and CBS’s Sunday Morning. Leonard wrote four novels and served for four years as the executive editor of The New York Times Book Review. In 2006 he was awarded the National Book Critics Circle’s prestigious Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award.

More Information
Press release for download
Cover image for download
Author photo for download 

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Planning Ahead: Winter 2012

Here’s a list of books I’m working on for our Winter 2012 season. I have a limited number of galleys but feel free to request. As review copies become available each title will have its own page. Please follow Books on Tap on Facebook for updates. Please email me at Gabrielle.Gantz [at] us.penguingroup.com to be included on a book’s mailing list. More information about these titles will be posted as it becomes available.

January
Title: A Safeway in Arizona: What the Gabrielle Giffords Shooting Tells Us About the Grand Canyon State and Life in America 
Author: Tom Zoellner
Imprint: Viking (Hardcover)
On Sale: December 29, 2011
Category: Current Events / Politics
Penguin Group page
Author’s Website

Title: Island of Wings: A Novel
Author:
Karin Altenberg
Imprint: Penguin (Paperback Original)
On Sale: December 27, 2011
Category: Fiction
Penguin Group page

February
Title: The Second Shift: Working Families and the Revolution at Home
Author: Arlie Hochschild
Imprint: Penguin (Paperback Reissue with Updated Material)
On Sale: January 31, 2012
Category: Social Sciences / Women’s Studies
Penguin Group page 

Title: Ibn Fadlan and the Land of Darkness: Arab Travellers in the Far North
Author: 
Ibn Fadlan; Translated with Introduction by Paul Lunde & Caroline Stone
Imprint:
 Penguin Classics
On Sale:
January 31, 2012
Category:
Travel / History / Essays / Middle East
Penguin Group page

March
Title: Reading For My Life: Writings, 1958-2008
Author:
 John Leonard
Imprint:
Viking (Hardcover)
On Sale:
 March 15, 2012
Category: Literary Criticism / Essays

Title: Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan, and Afghanistan
Author:
 Ahmed Rashid
Imprint:
Viking (Hardcover)
On Sale:
 March 15, 2012
Category: Foreign Relations / Current Affairs / Politics / Southeast Asia
Author’s Penguin Group page 

April
Title: The Maid and the Queen: The Secret History of Joan of Arc
Author:
 Nancy Goldstone
Imprint:
Viking (Hardcover)
On Sale:
 March 29, 2012
Category: History / Biography
Author’s Website

Title: The Nobleman and Other Romance
Author: Isabelle de Charriere
Imprint: Penguin Classics (Paperback)
On Sale: March 27, 2012
Category: Classics / Short Stories

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Filed under Biography, Classics, Current Events / Politics, Fiction, History, Literary, Paperback Original, Season Roundup, Translated, Women's Studies