1. See the slender volume in this New York Times ad?
We may have to sic the Katie Couric police on Farrar Straus Giroux, because the book in this ad is at least 200 pages thinner than the actual book, which I took a quick snapshot of here:
A scandal? Hardly. The most likely explanation is a lazy temp in the FSG art department who pasted the cover and spine on a stock photo and took an early lunch. But, shouldn’t an advertised image look like the object it is representing? And could there possibly be a marketing strategy behind the not-so-subtle transformation?
The Echo Maker is a hefty 451-page book about brain injury, spoilation of nature and sibling bonds. It’s a great book, but it doesn’t have “blockbuster” written all over it, and the National Book Award nomination probably won’t help. But it does have a bird on the cover, and maybe somebody in sales was reminiscing about a slender little 128-pager called Jonathan Livingston Seagull that once sold four gazillion copies. This has been your conspiracy theory of the day; thank you for tuning in.
2. I haven’t read much by William Styron, who has passed away, though I was impressed with the film version of Sophie’s Choice and I’ve always wanted to read Darkness Visible. Some good William Styron links can be found at The Elegant Variation.
3. The Elegant Variation also offers a fascinating personal glance at the literature of the Hungarian revolution exactly fifty years ago.
4. Edges, a novel by Leora Skolkin-Smith about a teenage girl growing up on the borders between Jewish and Arab communities in Israel and Palestine, will be the basis of an audio performance by acclaimed actress Tovah Feldshuh. She should be a good match for this intriguing material.