With summer slowly drawing to a close, the Picador team is cramming in as much last minute reading as possible. Check out our slew of picks for this week:
It’s been planes, trains and automobiles for our publisher Stephen this week:
Have been out of the office on and off and will continue to have to be for the weeks ahead, with much down time for reading…
Last week I was on a one hour plane flight and I sped through the hugely enjoyable and incredibly funny The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett - in which the Queen of England discovers just how much she enjoys the pleasures of books. Sharp, clever and with so much wisdom and heart, I was laughing so hard that I literally had tears streaming down my face. Once we landed, both of my neighboring seat mates wanted to know what I was reading as they wanted to go out and buy it for themselves. The catharsis of a great laugh is priceless.
On the way back home, a four hour bus ride stretched into eight hours of northeast coast weekend traffic and became the perfect bubble of time to sink into - and make headway with - David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. Wondrous. Just finished it this morning - an incredible feat of imagination, scope and creation.
Next up: Anna Stothard’s Orange Prize longlisted novel The Pink Hotel, that we’ll be publishing stateside next summer at Picador.
Elianna has been closely following the Pussy Riot trial, which came to a close today:
The three members of Russia’s Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in prison for so-called “hooliganism.” Their closing statements in n+1 during what has been a rather Kafkaesque trial are well worth reading.
[From Maria Alyokhina’s closing statement]:
“Because all you can deprive me of is “so-called” freedom. This is the only kind that exists in Russia. But nobody can take away my inner freedom. It lives in the word, it will go on living thanks to openness [glasnost], when this will be read and heard by thousands of people. This freedom goes on living with every person who is not indifferent, who hears us in this country. With everyone who found shards of the trial in themselves, like in previous times they found them in Franz Kafka and Guy Debord. I believe that I have honesty and openness, I thirst for the truth; and these things will make all of us just a little bit more free. We will see this yet.”
Elizabeth has just finished Pins & Needles by Karen Brown.
Also submissions. Also stuff about hooliganism, which I did not realize was an actual criminal term. Should I have realized it was an actual criminal term? Tumblr-verse, your thoughts are welcome.
Justin is reading Sidewalk Critic: Lewis Mumford’s Writings on New York:
In the 30s, Mumford chronicled the boom in New York architecture for the New Yorker in his column, “The Sky Line,” collected here. His criticism is as fresh and prescient as ever. Here, a quote on the unintended consequences of the then unbuilt Radio City site plan: “If Radio City, as now forecast, is the best that could be done, there is not the faintest reason for anyone to attempt to assemble a big site. Chaos does not have to be planned.” Atlantic Yards, anyone?
Galleys for Yoko Ogawa’s Revenge just arrived in the office. Alaina, always a sucker for a really good, really creepy story, picked one up immediately. The book won’t go on sale until February 2013, but you can check out The Hotel Iris to tide you over until then.
Gabrielle is getting ready for her fall books. Right now she’s reading André Aciman’s Alibis: Essays on Elsewhere and particularly likes the passages on writing:
I write to give my life a form, a narrative, a chronology; and, for good measure, I seal loose ends with cadenced prose and add glitter where I know things were quite lusterless. I write to reach out to the real world, though I know that I write to stay away from a world that is still too real and never as provisional or ambivalent as I’d like it to be. In the end it’s no longer, and perhaps never was, the world that I like, but writing about it. I write to find out who I am; I write to give myself the slip.
Finally, Darin is reading Herta Müller’s The Hunger Angel, as we begin our preparations to publish it in paperback next spring.