January 13th, 2014
angelamelamud
Reading is untidy, discursive and perpetually inviting.
Alan Bennett, The Uncommon Reader
August 6th, 2013
angelamelamud
Definition of a classic: a book everyone is assumed to have read and often thinks they have.
May 8th, 2013
picadorbooks

Our new book by Anna Stothard, The Pink Hotel, reminds us that we have another book to add to our stellar Bad Mommies Mother’s Day collection. Issues with your mother got you down? Shopping for a Mother’s Day gift filling you with dread? Think you got it bad? Check out these moms and remember, yours is probably wonderful!

1. The Pink Hotel by Anna Stothard: Our nameless narrator has just walked off with a suitcase of her mother’s belongings. Abandoned by Lily years ago, the narrator has come a long way to learn about her mom, and the stolen suitcase—stuffed with clothes, letters, and photographs—contains not only a history of her mother’s love life, but perhaps also the key to her own identity. As she tracks down her mother’s former husbands, boyfriends, and acquaintances, a risky reenactment of her life begins to unfold. 

2. Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman: When Hassman gives us this line: “My name is Rory Dawn Hendrix, feebleminded daughter of a feebleminded daughter, herself the product of feebleminded stock,” only five pages into the book, it’s a subtle clue that this will not be a tale of a heartwarming mother-daughter relationship. Calling Rory Dawn’s mother absent would be a kind way to put it, as her alcoholism takes control of both her own life and Rory’s.

3. The Patrick Melrose Novels by Edward St. Aubyn: The best thing that you can say about the mother in St. Aubyn’s series is that at least she isn’t as bad as the father. 

4. Every Day is Mother’s Day by Hilary Mantel: We’ll assume you’ve read Wolf Hall and that Bring Up The Bodies is currently on your nightstand but for something completely different from one of your favorite writers, may we suggest Mantel’s first novel, a dark domestic comedy about a half-wit daughter barricaded with her mother in their once-respectable home. Described as “Stephen King meets Muriel Spark,” this book is a great read, though it may be a demonstration of the worst mother/daughter relationship imaginable.

5. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen: This National Book Award Winner is a darkly comic study of a “typical” American family. Matriarch Enid watches her family fall apart: her husband is losing his sanity to Parkinson’s; her eldest son is crushed by clinical depression; her daughter has destroyed her marriage; and her youngest son has lost his seemingly secure job and moved to Eastern Europe. Desperate for a sliver of joy, Enid sets out to bring the family together for Christmas, a seemingly futile endeavor. Hopefully your mom has slightly less dysfunctional family holidays to look forward to.

6. Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs: At a young age, Burroughs was given over by his mother to be raised by her unorthodox therapist, resulting in a less-than-normal childhood. In a home where the friendly neighborhood pedophile lived in a shed behind the house and electroshock therapy was a gripping form of entertainment, this book might be appropriate for Mother’s Day accompanied with a note reading, “Thank you for not doing this to me.”

7. Smut by Alan Bennett: While the mother in Bennett’s second novella, The Shielding of Mrs. Forbes, may not be quite on the level of some of Picador’s other Bad Moms, it cannot be denied that her relationship with son Graham is not ideal. We don’t want to give too much away, but we’ll just say that it’s never a good thing when you and your mother have the same love interest.

June 26th, 2012
awaagner

It’s June, that glorious time when we drag out the beach chairs, towels, sunscreen and thousands of pounds of other miscellanea necessary for a trip to the shore. Luckily for you, June is also Novella Month, so feel free to leave your to-be-read tomes at home for July and take something a little lighter on your weekend getaway.

Flavorwire highlighted Shelf Unbound's “10 Novellas Perfect for Literary Lounging" earlier this month, and we loved the idea so much that for the last few days of June, we’ll be showcasing a few novellas of our own. Today, we’re talking about Alan Bennett.

Author: Alan Bennett has been one of England’s leading dramatists since the success of Beyond the Fringe. The History Boys won six Tony Awards; his most recent play is The Habit of Art.

Title: Smut

Length: This book is a pair of novellas, totaling 152 pages. The first story, The Greening of Mrs. Donaldson, is 91 pages long; the second, The Shielding of Mrs. Forbes, runs 57 pages.

Summary: The novellas expose the disparity between the prim public and slightly shocking private lives of middle-aged British matrons.

First lines: From The Greening of Mrs. Donaldson: “’I gather you’re my wife,’ said the man in the waiting room. ‘I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure. Might one know your name?’”

From The Shielding of Mrs. Forbes: “Like many a handsome man, Graham Forbes had chosen to marry someone not nearly as good looking as himself and even slightly older. ‘Chucked himself away, if you ask me,’ his mother said. Which of course, he didn’t.”

A Twitter-length review: ”Kinky hijinks rattle teacups among the British bourgeoisie in the latest from Bennett.” —Kirkus

______________________

Title: The Uncommon Reader

Length: 120 pages

Summary: This quirky novella follows the development of the Queen of England’s love of reading. When this new passion changes her world view, how will the palace staff and the country at large be affected?

First lines: ”At Windsor it was the evening of the state banquet and as the president of France took his place beside Her Majesty, the royal family formed up behind and the procession slowly moved off and through into the Waterloo Chamber.”

A Twitter-length review: ”…a delicious and very funny what-if…a delightful little book that unfolds into a witty meditation on the subversive pleasures of reading…” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

May 11th, 2012
picadorbooks

Issues with your mother got you down? Shopping for a Mother’s Day gift filling you with dread? Think you got it bad? Check out these moms and remember, yours is probably wonderful!

1. Every Day is Mother’s Day by Hilary Mantel: We’ll assume you’ve read Wolf Hall and that Bring Up The Bodies is currently on your nightstand but for something completely different from one of your favorite writers, may we suggest Mantel’s first novel, a dark domestic comedy about a half-wit daughter barricaded with her mother in their once-respectable home. Described as “Stephen King meets Muriel Spark,” this book is a great read, though it may be a demonstration of the worst mother/daughter relationship imaginable.

2. Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman: When Hassman gives us this line: “My name is Rory Dawn Hendrix, feebleminded daughter of a feebleminded daughter, herself the product of feebleminded stock,” only five pages into the book, it’s a subtle clue that this will not be a tale of a heartwarming mother-daughter relationship. Calling Rory Dawn’s mother absent would be a kind way to put it, as her alcoholism takes control of both her own life and Rory’s.

3. The Patrick Melrose Novels by Edward St. Aubyn: The best thing that you can say about the mother in St. Aubyn’s series is that at least she isn’t as bad as the father. 

4. Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs: At a young age, Burroughs was given over by his mother to be raised by her unorthodox therapist, resulting in a less-than-normal childhood. In a home where the friendly neighborhood pedophile lived in a shed behind the house and electroshock therapy was a gripping form of entertainment, this book might be appropriate for Mother’s Day accompanied with a note reading, “Thank you for not doing this to me.”

5. Smut, by Alan Bennett: While the mother in Bennett’s second novella, The Shielding of Mrs. Forbes, may not be quite on the level of some of Picador’s other Bad Moms, it cannot be denied that her relationship with son Graham is not ideal. We don’t want to give too much away, but we’ll just say that it’s never a good thing when you and your mother have the same love interest.

6. The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen: This National Book Award Winner is a darkly comic study of a “typical” American family. Matriarch Enid watches her family fall apart: her husband is losing his sanity to Parkinson’s; her eldest son is crushed by clinical depression; her daughter has destroyed her marriage; and her youngest son has lost his seemingly secure job and moved to Eastern Europe. Desperate for a sliver of joy, Enid sets out to bring the family together for Christmas, a seemingly futile endeavor. Hopefully your mom has slightly less dysfunctional family holidays to look forward to.

May 2nd, 2012
hsyee

Cover Design: Behind the Scenes

Smut: Stories by Alan Bennett

For more details, head to my design blog to see sketches by illustrator Christopher Silas Neal and an earlier photographic approach.

April 30th, 2012
picadorbooks

I love that the French edition of Alan Bennett’s Smut is titled “So shocking!” (in English)… Still, my favorite representation of Smut is via booksmatter

smut fashion

For a “so shocking!” excerpt of the book behind the fashion, click here.

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