Saturday, February 28, 2009

things the rally monkey says

RM: Your dogs have the dumbest names. I'm so embarrassed for them.

YT: That's my mother. My dad and I tried to convince her to name them a whole bunch of different cool and clever names, but my mom won.

RM: Your mom always wins. Your mom is totally unscrupulous and capitalizes on every unfair advantage. She's like the Yankees.

Friday, February 27, 2009

some things I haven't done in more than a month

[further signs of too many editorial burners on]

1) watched or returned any Netflix
2) sat through an episode of something on TV
3) cleaned my office
4) cleaned my house
5) gone grocery shopping
6) done laundry
7) updated my poor book log
8) gone to the gym
9) felt not tired
10) felt excited enough about a new submission to bring it to ed meeting (hard to feel excited when you don't have time to read)
11) returned any emails to all the poor people who've written to me, loyal friends who will soon be lost!
12) cooked something on the stove (or, for that matter, in the microwave)


Do you know what I think would fix all of this? An office puppy. This dog will do.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

nice day

Today, when I was sitting up to my ears in 6 feet of manuscripts, Robert the Publisher walked by my office and introduced me to a guest of his as his "star editor." Yay.

some short snippets

Richard Nash, leader extraordinaire of the very special indie press Soft Skull and a blogging colleague who has dropped by here a couple of times, is as of today leaving Soft Skull (via Galley Cat). Richard, who is famously innovative, is surely moving onto another set of exciting projects... Richard, if you see this note, please give us a hint what!

It's Toni Morrison's 78th birthday. Happy Birthday, Toni. Long have you been a beloved author of mine. And can I say that when I saw you speak in November, I had NO idea you were 78. I think I was off by at least 25 years.

We have a book club meeting on Sunday, March 1st! Join us to discuss Alexander Chee's Edinburgh. I know a bunch of people have read it already--should be a vibrant conversation. Alexander, I know you're a blogger--maybe you'll drop by if you see this?

where did my blog go?!


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

everything's amazing, nobody's happy

Hilarious video, in case you haven't seen it yet. Thank you, Conan.

what is a black book?

Carleen Brice asks a very good question (one that has frustrated me more than once before) over here on her blog. What is a black novel, exactly? What is it that gets a book shelved (umm, separately but equally??) in the African American Literature section?

She makes the point that it all doesn't quite make sense consistently--is it that a book has a black author? Black characters? Something else? (To spoil it all for you, the answer is "none of the above"--there is no consistency). Check out her article; I'd love to open discussion here.

Monday, February 23, 2009

she's sayin' it, not me.

Editorial Anonymous, my anonymous colleague, I quote thee here:

The Joy of Layoffs

Know how editors have too much work and too little time?

Well, if your editor is at a house that laid off some of her colleagues, that house might have canceled some projects.

But more likely, the house just gave the remaining editors even more titles to look after.

So if you're not hearing from your editor even more than usual, it's because she's paralyzed by workload panic and hiding under her desk.


Monday, February 16, 2009

signs of overwork

Ok, I know it's a low point in the business world and I should be grateful to have a job right now. But I have SO much work at the moment that I think I'm actually going crazy.

Some examples.

Today, I called my typesetter to apologize--I hadn't received a manuscript from a copy editor and knew I was running about a week behind schedule. When I called him, he told me I had sent the manuscript last week, that he'd already typeset it, that in fact I had approved the pages and sent them out. Zero. Recollection.

Coming home from work, I flipped open my phone to see a missed call from my mother. I called her back. She answered the phone singing "Mamma Mia" (as she has done since that fateful day Dadrat changed her ringtone) and then said, "What?"

"You called me," I said.

"No, you called me," she said.

"Yeah, but I'm returning your call."

"Oh boy," she said. "You know you returned my call 10 minutes ago?"


"Yes! Remember? I asked you if you were feeling better, you said a little, and I told you to go home and go to sleep!"

I didn't remember. Zero. Recollection.

"You're losing it," she told me. "Go home and take a nap."

I gotta admit, that was scary.

This morning, I was talking to a very good friend/agent I work with who happens to be based on the West Coast. "Are you coming to BEA this year?" I asked. (Perhaps unsurprisingly at this point) she said, "You just asked me that about five seconds ago."

Last story (for now), and perhaps the worst. I was talking with the Rally Monkey about cars (as one does), and he mentioned the Ford Pinto. Something started to bug me--a recent conversation. Then I remembered vividly--riding in the back of a car and seeing a really old, beat-up Ford Pinto that looked like it was maybe a 1972 model. I remembered laughing about it with the friends I was driving with. But I couldn't remember who the friends were. For the life of me. So then I tried to think about where I was last weekend that I might have seen a Ford Pinto. I didn't think it was New York. But I couldn't--for the life of me--remember where I was last weekend. I didn't have the vaguest idea. I had to ask the Monkey, who thought I was joking.

"You have too much on your mind right now," he said. "Too many deadlines and too much stress. Don't worry, things will get better as your obligations clear up. And worrying will only make it worse."

That all sounds well and good. But how old is old enough for early onset Alzhemier's? Seriously.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day, my dears

Ain't it the truth. Especially after all the pancakes I ate last night.


Via cakewrecks, via Ellen.

Friday, February 13, 2009

fun links to enjoy WITHOUT a Valentine!

Customize your own erotic novel! (Thanks, Angelle.)

Make an unbearably cute Japanese obento box! No interest in sharing one of these with ANYone. (Thanks, Marie.)

A monkey (in the wild) has been adopted by some pigs. The video! (Thanks, Rumpus.)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Kids <3 Authos

Moms, dads, aunts, uncles, teachers, cousins, babysitter, etc--there's a HUGE indie bookstore initiative happening on Saturday, Valentine's Day.

Children's authors and illustrators (especially in New England, but also in diverse other places--check out the site!) are coming down to their local independents so that they can meet their fanbase--kids--directly. There are more than 40 bookstores involved, and more than 170 authors. Check 'em out.

For those of you who live in areas not represented, bring the news to your local authors and indies; hopefully the event will grow even bigger next year.

Thanks, AC Gaughen, for looping me in!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

just finished reading

The Septembers of Shiraz, by Dalia Sofer. My review here. Anyone else read it? Any thoughts?

Monday, February 09, 2009

this is how I know I'm sick

I have ZERO appetite.

Cough, sneeze, sniffle, sob.

Edinburgh, by Alexander Chee

Angelle apparently read Edinburgh in one sitting, since she posted her review about one day after I sent her the book.

But that reminds me! Edinburgh is still the March 1 book club book, and I know a couple of people have read it now (Lisa, I saw it on your list!). So hope everyone who's dipped in will drop by and share their thoughts. March 1, 2009, dawn EST onward.

Anyone want to suggest any books for April? I'm currently reading Septembers of Shiraz, and next up is The Professor and the Madman, which I think someone suggested as a book club book a couple of months ago. Your thoughts, please!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

just finished reading

Special Topics in Calamity Physics, by Marisha Pessl. My review here. Anyone else read it? Any thoughts?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

you go, Jennifer Weiner!

Look at Jennifer Weiner's idea for reforming book review culture. She berates newspaper owners who have suggested bailouts (news services should be a watchdog, not a lapdog, she points out) and proposes a revisiting of the kinds of books being reviewed and the way titles are chosen.

You take 'em, sister.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

watermelon art!

Check it out! It's the 2008 watermelon carving championship finalists! Click the link for even more crazy examples.

Thanks to my friend Ellen for the links.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Book Club Meeting: A PALE VIEW OF HILLS, by Kazuo Ishiguro

Welcome to the February Book Club!

I've already said way too much about this book. Anyone else want to open the floor?