Jan 13, 2016
War and Peace comes alive; a bookstore with just one book; When Breath Becomes Air, and American Housewife.
The last week of December, I saw a production of Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, which a a musical based on 70 pages of War and Peace. I thought the show did a brilliant job of explaining the characters by way of song, particular in the opener, "Prologue," which points out that indeed, is a "complicated Russian novel/Everyone's got nine different names" And that made me want to read (or try again to read) War and Peace. Then I learned that there is a War and Peace TV mini-series from the BBC that will start in the US on January 18th (it's already airing in the UK). So now I'm regretting giving away that copy of War and Peace in my cleaning frenzy.
Listen to "Prologue" from Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, on Spotify.
Lyrics to "Prologue," from Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, as they appear in Harpers.
One of the hot stories going around publishing is about the Japanese bookstore Morioka Shoten, which stocks only one book per week, featuring art and programming related to the book over the course of the week. Read more: This Japanese Bookstore Stocks Just One Book Per Week, from the CBC.
Michael and I briefly discuss what books we'd want to see as the featured book. We both chose books that will be published in June 2016. Michael chose The Girls by Emma Cline, and I chose Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. You'll be hearing a lot more about these books from us (and others) in the coming months, but we couldn't resist the chance to give you a little preview about books that we're excited about.
We also talk about what our "odd" bookstore would look like if we were to open one. We'd love to hear your ideas -- please share them in the comments.
This week Michael recommends When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, the memoir of a young doctor who at age 36 is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer just as he's finishing his residency and about to become a neurosurgeon. This one's for readers of Atul Gawande's Being Mortal or Oliver Sacks' Gratitude.
And I rave (again) about American Housewife by Helen Ellis , which is a subversive, twisted, funny collection of short stories that I just can't stop telling everybody about. These stories include tales of housewives, feuding neighbors, dangerous bookclubs, and male bra-fitters. You can find Helen Ellis on Twitter at @WhatIDoAllDay.