Tuesday, July 29, 2014
We’re busy taste testing recipes from Honey & Co by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich, coming in Spring 2015. These are Feta & Honey Cream Cheesecakes on Filo pastry. In other words, little bites of heaven.
If you can’t wait for the cookbook, you can always head to their restaurant, Honey & Co.

We’re busy taste testing recipes from Honey & Co by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich, coming in Spring 2015. These are Feta & Honey Cream Cheesecakes on Filo pastry. In other words, little bites of heaven.

If you can’t wait for the cookbook, you can always head to their restaurant, Honey & Co.


Horsham District Council has paid thanks to a volunteer who devotes a great deal of time and energy to walking many miles clearing litter from near where he lives as well as surrounding areas.
David Sedaris litter picks in areas including Parham, Coldwaltham, Storrington and beyond
In recognition for all his fantastic work and dedication and as a token of Horsham District Council’s appreciation, the council has named one of their waste vehicles after him.
The vehicle, bedecked with its bespoke ‘Pig Pen Sedaris’ sign was officially unveiled by the Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex Mrs Susan Pyper at an outdoor ceremony on July 23.

A true honor!

Horsham District Council has paid thanks to a volunteer who devotes a great deal of time and energy to walking many miles clearing litter from near where he lives as well as surrounding areas.

David Sedaris litter picks in areas including Parham, Coldwaltham, Storrington and beyond

In recognition for all his fantastic work and dedication and as a token of Horsham District Council’s appreciation, the council has named one of their waste vehicles after him.

The vehicle, bedecked with its bespoke ‘Pig Pen Sedaris’ sign was officially unveiled by the Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex Mrs Susan Pyper at an outdoor ceremony on July 23.

A true honor!

Sunday, July 27, 2014
Congratulations to the Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2014! If you want to have a Hall of Fame celebration of your own, we suggest getting a few copies of THE HALL, setting them up behind a podium, and encouraging them to give tearful speeches.

Congratulations to the Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2014! If you want to have a Hall of Fame celebration of your own, we suggest getting a few copies of THE HALL, setting them up behind a podium, and encouraging them to give tearful speeches.

Friday, July 25, 2014
We’ve taken over blogger Swapna Krishna’s Tiny Library in Washington DC.
Her lucky neighbors can grab galleys of Sweetness #9, Frog Music, Mr. Tall, The Fever, Dirty Work and Never Mind Miss Fox.

 

We’ve taken over blogger Swapna Krishna’s Tiny Library in Washington DC.

Her lucky neighbors can grab galleys of Sweetness #9, Frog Music, Mr. Tall, The Fever, Dirty Work and Never Mind Miss Fox.

 

Thursday, July 24, 2014
Tom Hanks has great taste! He’s been reading Factory Man by Beth Macy and loving it. And who ever thought ten stars were enough?

Tom Hanks has great taste! He’s been reading Factory Man by Beth Macy and loving it. And who ever thought ten stars were enough?

lastnightsreading:

Edan Lepucki at WORD Bookstore, 7/22/14

lastnightsreading:

Edan Lepucki at WORD Bookstore, 7/22/14

Beth Macy called this being “paid in Henry County currency” That’s right-she was given TWO kinds of moonshine at her latest reading for Factory Man! 

Beth Macy called this being “paid in Henry County currency” That’s right-she was given TWO kinds of moonshine at her latest reading for Factory Man

Ask a Debut Novelist - Question 6

In which thompsonted, author of The Land of Steady Habits, answers your questions about writing, publishing, and making good work. Have a question? Ask away.

Anonymous asked: As an aspiring novelist, I often have ideas that I think would make great books and then I write 30 pages and find that there’s nothing more to tell. Is this something you’ve ever struggled with? Have you abandoned ideas that haven’t gelled? How far into the first draft of your book did you know that it was going to be a novel?

This is an interesting question, so thank you for asking it, whoever you are. I suppose it’s easiest for me to answer the last part first, which is to say that I didn’t know I was writing a novel until I was many iterations into it. The truth is that I had purposely kept myself in the dark about that fact, mostly because I had somehow at a young age gotten it in my mind that novels, especially first novels, had to be Grand Statements About Society, or at the very least a stage on which to announce my talent. I had written my way into a few of these projects and I doubt it’s surprising to hear that they were grandiose and terrible. But still this was my deep, private, unspoken vision for myself, that I wouldn’t just “write a novel” but would come thundering onto the cultural landscape like Godzilla, with a book—whatever it was about didn’t really matter—that allowed me to transcend my polite, everyday, innocuous self and tower above the public in a way that caused them to marvel. Novel writing for me was synonymous with a young man’s desire to be seen, the place I had poured all of my need for recognition.
Whereas a short story, a simple, light-hearted twenty pages, didn’t carry any of that baggage. It was, most importantly, private. How it would be perceived was less important for me than the pleasure of articulation, of finding words for the many tiny movements of my internal life, which at that time was plagued with self-consciousness and aching with ambition, so that in the course of my day I felt every minute slight or gesture of approval as either a crushing failure or soaring triumph, an exhausting experience that I tried to carry without letting any of it on. Anyway, that short story then became a forum for expressing this over-reactive internal life, for using narrative to somehow communicate all that was for me in my day-to-day life incommunicable. In those pages, unlike in just about every other place in my social world, every gesture and phrase didn’t have to be directed toward the end goal of being loved, and thus the more complex (which I know is often just code for “unpleasant”) feelings could find expression.


I realize that’s a little wishy-washy and also might sound like I’m advocating for something that sounds suspiciously like the emotional barf of confessional writing, but all of it is to say that before this particular project (and if I’m honest, during most of my time in graduate school) there was no such thing to my mind as writing for myself. When I sat down to work it was all directed toward the imaginary perceptions of others. But in this project, which I kept hidden and refused to put up for critique in workshop, I had been able to silence that impulse long enough to begin to understand what was beautiful about the forces of narrative, and the compression and clarity required by storytelling: that it unearthed in me the articulation of that which I had felt acutely but hadn’t understood.
The problem was that the project didn’t work as a short story. Like in any way. No matter how many drafts I wrote. So it grew into something I called a novella (which meant it was long and formless and I didn’t know what it was), then into something I called a novelito (which was a new literary form I told myself I was inventing). Finally, after Googling “minimum word count novel,” I gave myself reluctant permission to call it what it was.
And that was how I wrote the first draft.
As you can probably tell, the process of writing, and probably creating anything in general, is for me inextricable from the processes of psychology and self-esteem, which is to say in my case having the confidence not only to speak but to say something that isn’t uttered solely for the approval of others, or as an attempt to shape how they might perceive me.

So when it comes to your predicament of starting novels, getting thirty pages in and feeling like you’ve said everything you have to say, my gut tells me (having been there oh-so-many times myself) that perhaps rather than running out of material, you actually haven’t spent enough time to truly find it. Perhaps, like me, the project in your mind is already being reviewed in the New York Review before you’ve written the first sentence. Perhaps you haven’t yet trusted the idea enough to push through the uncertainty, to go beyond what you already know of it and allow it to transform into whatever it wants to be. Perhaps you haven’t yet allowed yourself to cede control. My experience is that novels find their expression, that if you stick with them long enough and follow the writing that feels the most vital, they end up being about what is most vital to you.

My primary challenge is always in shucking from myself the instinct to please (or to shock, or impress, or enamor). Because there is a gargantuan difference between the public and private selves and when facing a blank page they can so easily become entangled. And while of course the end goal is to write something worth making public, it seems to me the only way I’ve ever done so is through a long and convoluted process of duping myself into not being conscious of that. Creating for me is as much about silencing the urge to perform as it is about silencing doubt. In fact those are probably the same thing. It takes a while to see it, but there is always tremendous richness and depth and meaning in your own subjectivity. That is the substance of your voice. The trick is to find a way to sit with it, to not decide its fate. Because you really can’t. In the end you have no say over how your work is perceived. All you can do is take the time to listen to that private part of you, the dank, languageless part, and pour your energy into being as precise as possible in its articulation. I am continually elated to discover how fascinating anything is when you take the time to look closely enough. 
*
Previously on Ask a Debut Novelist:
On Writing and Revision: “Throw away the scale. There is no scale, there is only your story.” 
On the Book Business: “Selling a book won’t change your life—except it kind of will.”
On Compliments: “And maybe every piece of writing is an act of trust.”
On Self-Publishing, or Not: “Yearning for acceptance is a kind of acknowledgment of the reader, a sign of respect for other people and maybe even humility before them.”
On Writing and Money: “I have seen just about as many paths as there are people.” 
Have a question for Ted? Drop it in our Ask Box.

Ask a Debut Novelist - Question 6

In which thompsonted, author of The Land of Steady Habits, answers your questions about writing, publishing, and making good work. Have a question? Ask away.

Anonymous asked: As an aspiring novelist, I often have ideas that I think would make great books and then I write 30 pages and find that there’s nothing more to tell. Is this something you’ve ever struggled with? Have you abandoned ideas that haven’t gelled? How far into the first draft of your book did you know that it was going to be a novel?

This is an interesting question, so thank you for asking it, whoever you are. I suppose it’s easiest for me to answer the last part first, which is to say that I didn’t know I was writing a novel until I was many iterations into it. The truth is that I had purposely kept myself in the dark about that fact, mostly because I had somehow at a young age gotten it in my mind that novels, especially first novels, had to be Grand Statements About Society, or at the very least a stage on which to announce my talent. I had written my way into a few of these projects and I doubt it’s surprising to hear that they were grandiose and terrible. But still this was my deep, private, unspoken vision for myself, that I wouldn’t just “write a novel” but would come thundering onto the cultural landscape like Godzilla, with a book—whatever it was about didn’t really matter—that allowed me to transcend my polite, everyday, innocuous self and tower above the public in a way that caused them to marvel. Novel writing for me was synonymous with a young man’s desire to be seen, the place I had poured all of my need for recognition.

Whereas a short story, a simple, light-hearted twenty pages, didn’t carry any of that baggage. It was, most importantly, private. How it would be perceived was less important for me than the pleasure of articulation, of finding words for the many tiny movements of my internal life, which at that time was plagued with self-consciousness and aching with ambition, so that in the course of my day I felt every minute slight or gesture of approval as either a crushing failure or soaring triumph, an exhausting experience that I tried to carry without letting any of it on. Anyway, that short story then became a forum for expressing this over-reactive internal life, for using narrative to somehow communicate all that was for me in my day-to-day life incommunicable. In those pages, unlike in just about every other place in my social world, every gesture and phrase didn’t have to be directed toward the end goal of being loved, and thus the more complex (which I know is often just code for “unpleasant”) feelings could find expression.

I realize that’s a little wishy-washy and also might sound like I’m advocating for something that sounds suspiciously like the emotional barf of confessional writing, but all of it is to say that before this particular project (and if I’m honest, during most of my time in graduate school) there was no such thing to my mind as writing for myself. When I sat down to work it was all directed toward the imaginary perceptions of others. But in this project, which I kept hidden and refused to put up for critique in workshop, I had been able to silence that impulse long enough to begin to understand what was beautiful about the forces of narrative, and the compression and clarity required by storytelling: that it unearthed in me the articulation of that which I had felt acutely but hadn’t understood.

The problem was that the project didn’t work as a short story. Like in any way. No matter how many drafts I wrote. So it grew into something I called a novella (which meant it was long and formless and I didn’t know what it was), then into something I called a novelito (which was a new literary form I told myself I was inventing). Finally, after Googling “minimum word count novel,” I gave myself reluctant permission to call it what it was.

And that was how I wrote the first draft.

As you can probably tell, the process of writing, and probably creating anything in general, is for me inextricable from the processes of psychology and self-esteem, which is to say in my case having the confidence not only to speak but to say something that isn’t uttered solely for the approval of others, or as an attempt to shape how they might perceive me.

So when it comes to your predicament of starting novels, getting thirty pages in and feeling like you’ve said everything you have to say, my gut tells me (having been there oh-so-many times myself) that perhaps rather than running out of material, you actually haven’t spent enough time to truly find it. Perhaps, like me, the project in your mind is already being reviewed in the New York Review before you’ve written the first sentence. Perhaps you haven’t yet trusted the idea enough to push through the uncertainty, to go beyond what you already know of it and allow it to transform into whatever it wants to be. Perhaps you haven’t yet allowed yourself to cede control. My experience is that novels find their expression, that if you stick with them long enough and follow the writing that feels the most vital, they end up being about what is most vital to you.

My primary challenge is always in shucking from myself the instinct to please (or to shock, or impress, or enamor). Because there is a gargantuan difference between the public and private selves and when facing a blank page they can so easily become entangled. And while of course the end goal is to write something worth making public, it seems to me the only way I’ve ever done so is through a long and convoluted process of duping myself into not being conscious of that. Creating for me is as much about silencing the urge to perform as it is about silencing doubt. In fact those are probably the same thing. It takes a while to see it, but there is always tremendous richness and depth and meaning in your own subjectivity. That is the substance of your voice. The trick is to find a way to sit with it, to not decide its fate. Because you really can’t. In the end you have no say over how your work is perceived. All you can do is take the time to listen to that private part of you, the dank, languageless part, and pour your energy into being as precise as possible in its articulation. I am continually elated to discover how fascinating anything is when you take the time to look closely enough. 

*

Previously on Ask a Debut Novelist:

  1. On Writing and Revision: “Throw away the scale. There is no scale, there is only your story.”
  2. On the Book Business: “Selling a book won’t change your life—except it kind of will.”
  3. On Compliments: “And maybe every piece of writing is an act of trust.”
  4. On Self-Publishing, or Not: “Yearning for acceptance is a kind of acknowledgment of the reader, a sign of respect for other people and maybe even humility before them.”
  5. On Writing and Money: “I have seen just about as many paths as there are people.”

Have a question for Ted? Drop it in our Ask Box.

"You guys are like Biggie Smalls and Tupac."
East Coast met West Coast last night at McNally Jackson’s Literary BFF event with Emma Straub and Edan Lepucki. They met at Oberlin College and are now both proud mothers and authors! 

"You guys are like Biggie Smalls and Tupac."

East Coast met West Coast last night at McNally Jackson’s Literary BFF event with Emma Straub and Edan Lepucki. They met at Oberlin College and are now both proud mothers and authors! 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
theseluckystars:

BBQ, the Ryman, Radnor Lake, the Parthenon… What else should Edan Lepucki, author of CALIFORNIA, do on her very first trip to Nashville? 
italicsmine / littlebrown

Parnassus is crowd sourcing suggestions for Edan Lepucki’s first trip to Nashville on July 29. Any suggestions, internet?

theseluckystars:

BBQ, the Ryman, Radnor Lake, the Parthenon… What else should Edan Lepucki, author of CALIFORNIA, do on her very first trip to Nashville? 

italicsmine / littlebrown

Parnassus is crowd sourcing suggestions for Edan Lepucki’s first trip to Nashville on July 29. Any suggestions, internet?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Enjoy your summer with our free reading samplers! You can download a fiction AND a nonfiction sampler today and get samples of all of these LB titles, plus books from our friends at grandcentralpub and Twelve! We ❤️ free books! Download here.

Enjoy your summer with our free reading samplers! You can download a fiction AND a nonfiction sampler today and get samples of all of these LB titles, plus books from our friends at grandcentralpub and Twelve! We ❤️ free books! Download here.

Edan Lepucki stopped by The Colbert Report last night to celebrate California’s debut at #3 on the New York Times bestseller list and to thank Colbert Nation for their support. She ran into Nancy Pelosi along the way and signed some books for the audience.

Congrats @italicsmine

When Paul Bogard traveled the globe to research his book The End of Night, he brought his dog Luna along for the ride. Today his book comes out in paperback, and to mark the occasion, he remembers his dog:

Luna was with me every step of the way as I worked on The End of Night. One of our favorite walks was the golf course near the Minneapolis house where I grew up and where my parents still live. We’d wait until after dark, then slip through a tear in the chain-link fence for an hour or so, Luna racing across the fairways and greens as I sauntered along lost in thought. She’d come roaring past me every once in a while, checking in, then veer off back into the dark. 

When I brought her home at eight weeks I had all the time in the world, and so we spent it together. As a result, during her fifteen years she was almost never on a leash, and lived her days roaming along as her heart desired. She had an amazing life; I sometimes think that if I do nothing else well in life I will always know I gave my beautiful dog the best life I could, the best life a dog could ever want. It always makes me happy when I meet other people who are doing the same for their dogs. And what she gave me shaped my life. I miss her every day.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Signing stock with CALIFORNIA author italicsmine in Brooklyn.

Thursday, July 17, 2014
Beth Macy visited our office this morning so we could congratulate her on the publication of Factory Girl. She was carrying a tote bag with this hard working woman on it. Here’s the story behind it:

To celebrate the terrific book by the Virginian, Parkway Brewing Company created the Factory Girl Session IPA. They’re calling it “deliciously complex…perfect for summer days by the water with a good book!” 

Beth Macy visited our office this morning so we could congratulate her on the publication of Factory Girl. She was carrying a tote bag with this hard working woman on it. Here’s the story behind it:

To celebrate the terrific book by the Virginian, Parkway Brewing Company created the Factory Girl Session IPA. They’re calling it “deliciously complex…perfect for summer days by the water with a good book!”