Book Buzz | Daniel Tammer & Different Ways of Knowing, an Illustrated DIY Manual

Every weekday, Publisher’s Marketplace emails the latest publishing deals in print, digital, audio and foreign sales (over 200 deals/week). Here are some of my favs -- not necessarily the biggest names or the buzziest deal… but the ones that piqued my interest for one reason or another.

Last week, deals slowed down significantly because of BEA. But there were some gems in there....

A WORLD OF WORDS by Daniel Tammet
Agent: Andrew Lownie at Andrew Lownie Literary Agency
Editor: Tracy Behar at Little, Brown
Description: An exploration of language and what it can teach us about our minds and lives.

Daniel Tammet is also the author of Thinking in Numbers (a nice complement to A World of Words) and the memoir Born on a Blue Day, a memoir about his life with high-functioning autism and savant syndrome.

My youngest brother Chris is autistic but we didn’t know that until he was three or so. Before then and before he could talk, he could identify letters. Point to one, and he’d name it for you. We thought he was a genius, and in a way, he is. I always cringe when I tell people my brother is autistic and they’ll say something like, “Oh, I’m so sorry.” Don’t be sorry. Chris is happy, loved, and intelligent in a way that’s no less valid just because it’s not measured on our typical IQ scale.  Excited to see how Tammet builds out the canon of “neurodiversity”. We still have a lot to learn.

Agent: Amy WIlliams at The Williams Company  
Editor: Chris Heiser at the Unnamed Press 
Description: The inheritance of madness in an iconoclastic family - the scions of a piano manufacturing fortune - set in mid-twentieth century Brooklyn, Taiwan, and Northern California.

I love a multi-generational saga, and upon research, found that I identified with Esme’s long and winding path to publication.

As she writes in her announcement post:

The book was molting and metamorphosing over and over again. What had once taken place in contemporary Northern California was now beginning in World War II-era New York. Characters disappeared and new ones came in their place. Plotlines wilted on the vine. I wrote vastly different endings, and then went back to write vastly different beginnings. By the time I finished my first draft, which clocked in at 300+ pages, three years had passed, and the Nowaks had become real enough for me to dream about at night.

I hear ya, girl!

Agent: Laurie Abkemeier at DeFiore and Company
Editor: B.J. Berti and Courtney Littler at St. Martin's
Description: Illustrated advice for streamlining and improving your home life, looking and feeling better, and creating fun and artsy DIY projects that can brighten your living space.

Yumi's cute and quirky illustrations are all the more winning because they have heart. Does "improving your home life" have a lot of heart? Not always. So, excited to see what Yumi does here. 


Book Buzz | Andi Dorman's Memoir, on Trainwrecks, Tiki Drinks

from Rogge & Smith's first book,  Do One Thing Every Day that Scares You

from Rogge & Smith's first book, Do One Thing Every Day that Scares You

Every weekday, Publisher’s Marketplace emails the latest publishing deals in print, digital, audio and foreign sales (over 200 deals/week). Here are some of my favs -- not necessarily the biggest names or the buzziest deal… but the ones that piqued my interest for one reason or another.

Editor: Amanda Englander at Potter Style
Description: A year's worth of prompts for practicing mindfulness, gratitude, and intention-setting.

You know, I’m all for doing things that scare you. That’s how I was able to write/sell a book that may have turned out to be nothing, a waste of five years. But the older I get, the more I value the time-out. Rogge and Smith started with a book about doing things that scare you. Their second book will be about centering you. And their last will be about inspiring you. Sounds like the ideal trio of action and reflection.  

TRAINWRECK by Sady Doyle
Agent: Melissa Flashman at Trident Media Group  
Editor: Taylor Sperry at Melville House
Description: A feminist anatomy of the women we hate, mock, fear, and try like hell not to be--from Mary Wollstonecraft and Charlotte Bronte to Billie Holiday and Britney Spears--and an exploration of what it means to be a trainwreck now that any public form of self-expression can be the one that ends you.

Whoa. It’s the last line that really get to me: “any public form of self-expression can be the one that ends you”. I’ve been thinking about this more and more lately. The truth is that I’m a little scared of releasing my book into the world. Sure, it’s fiction, but it’s also an expression of myself, my values, my motivations. My former writing professor Amy Bloom once told us that your personality will shine in your writing no matter what. So better to just accept that rather than try to be someone else. I admit that I rubberneck when I see a trainwreck (though I prefer the French term which translates to “curiosity congestion”). But I also think of the woman herself -- can we blame her for cracking under the spotlight? Self-expression in a public arena will always invite public scrutiny. But in an age of anonymous trolling and snark over sincerity, is it fair that public scrutiny can take on a vicious life of its own?

IT'S NOT OKAY by Andi Dorman
Agent: Kirsten Neuhaus at Foundry Literary + Media
Editor: Abby Zidle at Gallery
Description: By the tenth and most recent Bachelorette, a tongue-in-cheek girl's guide to break ups, revealing never-before-told stories of her dramatic dismissal of Juan Pablo "It's OK" Galavis, her romance as the Bachelorette with Josh Murray, and what really happened after the cameras stopped rolling.

Speaking of women who put themselves out there… Andi! Yes, I’m a feminist. And, yes, I watch the Bachelor/ette. Andi was by far the smartest bachelorette -- both professionally (she’s a litigator) and emotionally (immediately shutting down Juan Pablo for his shocking narcissism among many other reasons). This actually isn’t the first book by a Bachelor/ette, but it’ll be the first I read. (Also kind of curious about Chris Harrison’s new novel, The Perfect Letter.)

TIKI COCKTAILS by Lynn Calvo & James Fraioli
Agent: Andrea Hurst at Andrea Hurst Literary Management
Editor: James Jayo at Sterling
Description: Tiki-style mixology secrets from Lynn's Hula Hut in Montauk, NY

And, finally, since it's officially summer... I'm so ready to put away the brown and red drinks and bring out the pink and green. Kinda scared by this drink though.

Book Buzz | Pan Sauces, Famous Salads, and a Pizza-Loving Lobster

Every weekday, Publisher’s Marketplace emails the latest publishing deals in print, digital, audio and foreign sales (over 200 deals/week). Here are some of my favs -- not necessarily the biggest names or the buzziest deal… but the ones that piqued my interest for one reason or another.

Chopped Chicken Salad at Freds / via  In Search of the Next Meal

Chopped Chicken Salad at Freds / via In Search of the Next Meal

Agent: Jennifer Cohen
Editor: Gretchen Young for Grand Central Life & Style, with Karen Murgolo editing
Description: The first cookbook from this powerhouse restaurant, offering classic recipes and cooking secrets, paired with anecdotes learned along the way.

I love love love department store restaurants. From the chopped salad at Freds to a vegetable plate at Dover Street Market to a bento box at Takashimaya (sadly closed) to an omelette at Ikram -- department store restaurants always have straight-forward, healthy(ish) lunches. And -- let’s get real -- sometimes you can’t afford the dress at Barneys, but getting one of their famous salads can satisfy the craving.

Agent: Alison Fargis of Stonesong
Editor: Maria Guarnaschelli of Norton
Description: Featuring 100 contemporary and classic pan sauce recipes from the author of Mastering Sauces: The Home Cook's Guide to New Techniques for Fresh Flavors and editor and lead recipe tester of Modernist Cuisine at Home.

So Volland’s first book was a general sauce book. And her new book is about pan sauces. What is a pan sauce? It’s basically like gravy, thickened with butter (or not) instead of flour. Both start by deglazing the pan post meat-cooking with or without aromatics. I’m intrigued by this single subject and can definitely see how something so simple can lend itself to many variations (protein, deglazing liquid, aromatics, thickening agent, etc).

Editor: Charlie Ilgunas at Little Bee Books
Description: A lobster discovers and falls in love with pizza, and tries to recreate it with his sea turtle friend, with unexpected results.

The other day I walked past an old movie poster for SpongeBob: A Sponge out of Water. Spongebob was, for some reason, really buff. This made me laugh. And if the idea of a pizza-loving lobster doesn’t make you laugh, then I don’t know about you.

CICI RENO KNOWS IT ALL by Kristina Springer
Agent: Andrea Somberg at Harvey Klinger
Editor: Brett Duquette at Sterling Children's
Description: The first book in The Yoga Girls series, in which a pre-teen yoga enthusiast helps her best friend get a crush's attention by impersonating her on Twitter, but before long the favor turns into a social media love triangle.

Ah, is this sort of stuff the new Babysitter's Club? I'm digging how literature is integrating social media into its narratives (I'm thinking of Read Bottom Upa love story told in emails and texts, and Unfriendeda horror movie via a terrorizing social media account). A couple years ago, these probably would have been written off as novelty pieces, but now social media is so ingrained in our day-to-day, of course art can arise from its nuances. I'm kind of waiting for a novel to be told in real-time through social media -- almost like you're a character and you're engaging with the story. 

Does anyone know if this exists already?

Book Buzz || Surreal fiction, Iranian food memoir, Christoph Niemann's poetry collection

Every weekday, Publisher’s Marketplace emails the latest publishing deals in print, digital, audio and foreign sales (over 200 deals/week). Here are some of my favs -- not necessarily the biggest names or the buzziest deal… but the ones that piqued my interest for one reason or another.

Agent: Clare Alexander at Aitken Alexander
Editor: Amy Einhorn and Caroline Bleeke at Flatiron Books
Description: Pitched in the vein of Karen Russell, about sixteen girls in a walled Garden, raised by a disgraced stage star on a diet of show tunes and twisted creation myths, and what happens when one girl starts asking questions about the world beyond the Wall of Safekeeping.

This sounds so goofy and strange and I'm a fan of women who write in this loopy style (Karen Russell, Katherine Dunn). The book is already available in the UK if you wanna grab an early look. (And, while we’re on this topic, just found out about Unstuck, a literary journal showcasing stories with “elements of the fantastic, the futuristic, the surreal, and the strange”.)

INSANE SILENCE by Sarah Barthel
Agent: Steven Chudney from The Chudney Agency
Editor: Martin Biro at Kensington
Description: A young bride-to-be who spies her fiancée murder a servant girl, and pretends to be insane and mute in order to escape the marriage and find safety in a sanitarium; while there, she gains the trust of a fellow patient -- Mary Todd Lincoln.

Whoa, what? Interesting how Lincoln has spawned his own genre of successful fan fiction. Here’s a crash course on MTD’s mental unwinding -- even before her husband’s assassination.   

DECANTING A MURDER by Nadine Nettmann
Agent: Danielle Burby at Hannigan Salky Getzler
Editor: Terri Bischoff at Midnight Ink
Description: The first in a new cozy series about a sommelier-in-training who discovers a dead body at a vineyard; when she finds out that her best friend is the prime suspect, she sets out to use her amateur sleuthing skills and knowledge of wine to clear her best friend's name; chapters are paired with wine recommendations to set the mood.

A wine cozy! With wine pairings! That’s the thing about food-related cozies -- you don’t want to get up and make a pie while you’re reading a mystery. But pouring a glass of wine? That’s totally doable.

from  @abstractsunday , Christoph Niemann's Instagram

from @abstractsunday, Christoph Niemann's Instagram

ONE MINUTE TILL BEDTIME by Kenn Nesbitt with illustrations by Christoph Niemann
Agent: Jill Corcoran of Jill Corcoran Literary Agency for Nesbitt, and Liz Darhansoff at Darhansoff & Verrill for Niemann
Editor: Susan Rich for Little, Brown Children's
Description: An anthology of 150 original 60-second poems from a large collection of talent, including Dennis Lee, Lemony Snicket, Sharon Creech, Douglas Florian, J. Patrick Lewis, Jack Prelutsky, Jane Yolen, Judith Viorst, Lee Bennet Hopkins, Marilyn Singer, Nancy Willard, Naomi Shihab Nye, Pat Mora, Nikki Grimes, Sonya Sones, X.J. Kennedy, Mary Ann Hoberman and many others.

Man, short poems, by diverse authors, illustrated by an extremely versatile artist. A kid’s book, sure, but whatever. Never too old for good poems and art.

FINISHING SCHOOL: The Happy Ending to that Writing Project You Can't Seem to Get Done by Cary Tennis and Danelle Morton
Agent: Linda Loewenthal at David Black Literary Agency
Editor: Joanna Ng at Tarcher
Description: A guide to completing that manuscript or project you just can't seem to finish, addressing the psychological underpinnings of writer's block and how to combat them, and including guidance on how to develop a support system to create accountability. 

Right. Learning how to write a nice sentence is totally different from writing a novel. For me, writing a novel is as much about stamina, discipline, and organization as it is about lyricism and storytelling. Vision only goes so far and I’m a big fan of books and how-tos that help you treat writing like a job rather than a mystical process. (For more, I wrote a little bit about my get-er-done systems on Medium here.)      

THE TEMPORARY BRIDE by Jennifer Klinec
Agent: Eve White
Editor: Deb Futter at Twelve
Description: A young woman who abandons her corporate London job to start a cooking school in her kitchen and travels in search of ancient recipes; her quest leads her to Iran to learn the secrets of the Persian kitchen…but also leads her to forbidden love in one of the most complex and fascinating nations with harsh laws and customs.

Another book that's available in English-speaking countries not the US, where it's widely lauded. Forbidden love + food + a peek into a normally closed-door culture. Sold. 

Book Buzz || My main character Tia is named after...Tia Mowry, Eat in My Kitchen, Arzak

Every weekday, Publisher’s Marketplace emails the latest deals in print, digital, audio and foreign sales (over 200 deals/week). Here are some of my favs -- not necessarily the biggest names or the buzziest deal… but the ones that piqued my interest for one reason or another.

EAT IN MY KITCHEN by Meike Peters
Editor: Holly La Due at Prestel
Description: Featuring 100 seasonal recipes, like mountain buns with coriander and aniseed, Maltese pasta with lemon zest and ricotta, and rhubarb crumble cake, and showcases Meike's unique style of cooking that combines delicious comfort food with a Mediterranean palate of flavors.

Reason enough to be excited for this book. Meike’s blog post about the PM announcement was adorable and infectious in its enthusiasm.

An exciting email from New York changed my life! Holly La Due from Prestel/ Verlagsgruppe Random House asked me if I’d be interested in writing a cookbook filled with my recipes, stories and photographs. I had to read this email twice before I ran to my boyfriend who was still in bed, it was 7 in the morning, I put the laptop on his chest and made him read the email to me again. I screamed and laughed out loud hysterically!

No doubt this will be a stunning cookbook with unexpected, must-try recipes.

WHOLE NEW YOU by Tia Mowry
Agent: Katherine Latshaw at Folio Literary Management
Editor: Nina Shield at Ballantine
Description: Featuring the anti-inflammatory whole foods diet that helped her recover from endometriosis and chronic migraines along with tasty, accessible recipes, easy pantry switches, and mini-cleanses from foods that could be irritating your body.

Children of the 90s... aren’t you glad that Tia is still doing her thing (fun fact: my main character Tia Monroe was in fact inspired by Tia Mowry… why? I don’t know. I just connected with the name). Also, it's been great to see endometriosis making it into the mainstream with the help of some celebrity stories. Another food-related example: Padma Lakshmi co-founded the Endometriosis Foundation of America (and gave a talk about her medical journey at Cherry Bombe Jubilee). 

Agent: Jonah Straus at Straus Literary
Editor: Anne Dolamore at Grub Street
Description: Grandfather of New Basque cuisine and chef-owner of Restaurant Arzak in San Sebastián, which in 1989 was the first in Spain to be awarded three Michelin stars and is currently ranked number 8 in the world by 50 Best … an essential work on his traditions, techniques and philosophy.

DYK that the Basque region is home to the highest concentration of Michelin stars? Also add a culture of tapas and tapear, “going from bar to bar for drinks and tapas”, and you have something of a high-”low” food mecca. Thus far, I’ve only been able to experience Arzak through blogs (these from The Chic Brulee and Shelly in Real Life are great). This'll be a coffee table stunner, for sure. 

Book Buzz || Korean Beauty, Pop Word Ethnography, 2 of my Fav Food Blogs

Every weekday, Publisher’s Marketplace emails the latest publishing deals in print, digital, audio and foreign sales (over 200 deals/week). Here are some of my favs -- not necessarily the biggest names or the buzziest deal… but the ones that piqued my interest for one reason or another.

Agent: Andrew Blauner at Blauner Books Literary Agency
Editor: Tracy Carns at Overlook
Description: A specialist in treatment-resistant depression confronts her personal demons including a life-defining tragedy involving her talented graffiti-artist brother when her past is made present by the struggles of one of her patients.

Amy Koppelman is one of those breeds I admire: a novelist and screenwriter (others off the top of my head: Gillian Flynn, Graham Moore). Here’s an article about her screenwriting process. Also, I’m drawn to Koppelman’s writing style, which Publishers Weekly described as “understated and crackling; each sentence is laden with a foreboding sense of menace”.

THE BLUE BATH by Mary Waters-Sayer
Agent: Susan Golumb at Writers House
Editor: Elizabeth Beier at St. Martin’s
Description: Twenty years after a romantic love affair with a young painter during a student year in Paris, a woman, now married to a wildly successful but beleaguered entrepreneur, goes to a gallery opening to discover that her Paris lover has spent the last two decades continuing to paint her.

JUICY. This reminds me a bit of Courtney Maum’s I’M HAVING SO MUCH FUN HERE WITHOUT YOU in that it’s about a stressed marriage set in the Parisian art world. Also makes me think of my own romantic love affairs… if someone was using you as a muse two decades after the fact, would you be more freaked out or flattered?

THE THRIFTY TIME TRAVELER’S GUIDE by Jonathan Stokes (middle-grade)
Agent: Brianne Johnson at Writers House
Editor: Leila Sales at Viking Children’s
Description: A future time travel agency puts together affordable vacation packages to history's biggest events such as Ancient Egypt, the Roman Empire, the Middle Ages, and WWII.

This sounds just so delightful. Also, another novelist/screenwriter.

Agent: Alexandra Machinist at ICM
Editor: Laura Tisdel at Little, Brown
Description: A funny and informative investigation into the complex relationship between women and their spouses, weaving together research that correlates parenthood and marital disharmony and the author's personal experience as a floundering new mom and suddenly dissatisfied wife whose marriage becomes the testing ground for couples therapies.

Girl crush alert. Let’s review Jancee Dunn’s career: MTV VJ, GQ sex columnist, Rolling Stone writer with 20 cover stories, O, The Oprah Magazine ethics columnist, GMA correspondent, memoirist, novelist, award-winning humor writer, and co-writer of Cyndi Lauper’s memoir. I’m not married and I don’t have kids, but this books sounds so relevant and I'm just in awe of Jancee.

Agent: Jonah Straus at Straus Literary
Editor: Dervia Kelly at Rodale
Description: A book of stories and recipes that will draw on her Chinese and Jewish heritage ...her new chosen life on a farm in...Grand Forks, North Dakota, with her husband, a fifth-generation Norwegian-American sugar beet farmer, including the cross-cultural dishes that have helped her adapt to her new environment, such as scallion sesame challah, Chinese hotdish, quinoa carbonara, sweet potato lefse, marzipan mandel bread, and rosemary funfetti cakes

I’m somewhat new to Molly blog, but I’m hooked. And those dishes! So unusual and evocative. Can’t wait for this book to come out (generally as a food lover and also as a Chinese person who's always game for a culinary culture clash).

Agents: David Kuhn and Nicole Tourtelot at Kuhn Projects
Editor: Shannon Welch at Scribner
Description: An ingredient-driven guide to great food for impatient people

Another exciting cookbook from another great blog. What I love about Impatient Foodie is that the recipes are simplified (but not dumbed down) and it shows how cooking is actually quite flexible. Forgot butter and cream? Use coconut oil. Didn’t roll the egg omelette right? Whatever, you’re just snacking-as-you’re-cooking anyway. There's a spirit of experimentation and modesty that I find appealing (and relatable).  

Kerry Thompson

Kerry Thompson

Agent: Natasha Alexis of Chalberg & Sussman
Editor: Alexandra Hess of Skyhorse
Description: The ultimate guide to Korean skincare and makeup featuring photography, tutorials, and insight into the trendsetting culture of Korean beauty.

The older I get, the more I can appreciate a subtler look and beauty that comes from self-care (hydration, massage, exfoliation, high-quality creams) rather than makeup-as-paint.

WORD DROPS by Paul Jones
Agent: Andrew Lownie at Andrew Lownie Literary Agency
Editor: John Byram at University of Mexico Press
Description: A sprinkling of literary curiosities, a chain of 1,000 words...creating a fact-by-fact journey through the dictionary and the languages of the world from aardvark (which means 'earth-pig' in Afrikaans) to zenzizenzizenzic (a number raised to its eighth power).

Trivia plus words plus pop ethnography. Can’t get enough of these types of books.

THE MANUSCRIPT: Why Some Books Sell a Million Copies by Jodie Archer and Matthew Jockers
Agent: Don Fehr at Trident Media Group
Editor: Daniela Rapp at St. Martin’s
Description:  Drawing on big data and computer analytics (including BookLamp data) to explain the world of major blockbuster publishing, pitched as MONEYBALL for book publishing, showing that major bestsellers are not black swans, but rather that they can be explained and predicted with 97 percent certainty (following Archer's doctoral thesis "Reading the Bestseller: An Analysis of 20,000 Novels")  

Hm. Hmmmmmm. I went to read this dissertation on ProQuest, but it’s not available because of impending book publication. Smart.

Anyway, my gut feeling is that you can’t quantify or optimize art. Anything that was cooked up by data scientists would be cold and mechanical, even if catchy (I’m thinking of pop songs that are engineered to be audio junk food: the right mix of sugar, fat and salt).

But then again, writing is a functional art. Unlike painting or sculpture, it must have inherent integrity. Typography must be legible. Architecture must be livable. Cooking must be edible. Writing -- good pieces that take you somewhere and aren’t self-involved mood or vanity pieces -- is governed by real rules. And maybe… there are subtle rules that all the bestselling books follow. And maybe… if you follow those rules you’ll be more commercially successful (whether it’s better art is probably impossible to say). 

What do you think of "MONEYBALL for book publishing"?