Tag Archives: book reviews

the most fantabulous review in the history of ever

I haven’t been posting lately because I am eyeball-deep in my Romanian collective unconscious document (I should have a complete draft in a few days which will be something like 18,000 words, or about 65 pages).  It’s a whole lot of dreamlike WTF, and after I am done I will have an underlying structure on top of which I will start overlaying the main plot of In the Red.  But–I had to briefly emerge from my blogging moratorium to share with you guys the most fantabulous review in the history of ever, courtesy of Simon Schama at The Financial Times.  I so, so hope that this review is blurbed on the softcover edition of my book.  Actually, here–please vote on which blurb should be prominently featured on the next edition of 13 rue Thérèse:

 

Dear Mr. Schama, I shake your hand.

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My own little scene of Dadaist theater

Developments:

(1) A short & sweet review of 13 rue Thérèse is up at the San Francisco Chronicle. “captivating”  “sizzling sexual tension”  Aw yeah.

(2) Here is the permalink to my entire story “Vicious Good” at Five Chapters.  Hmmm.  I can’t really put it under “Press/Reviews,” so, let me introduce as of today…  Drumroll…  The “Stories” tab!

(3) Hey, guess what you can get at Costco along with a bin of kitty litter, five pounds of ground beef, and 36 rolls of toilet paper?  Meeeeeeeeee:

I’m also going to be at BJ’s, which is like East Coast Costco.  They did a Q&A with me for their featured book of the month thingy which will probably pop up on the web sometime soon.  Also, my publisher just had to do another print run because of a big order from Target.  Capitalism: it thrills me and scares me all at once.

On the drive home from Costco, Pink Floyd’s “Money” came on the radio.  I laughed and turned it up.

(4) This morning I was sitting at an outdoor table with my tea (seriously it’s like 70 degrees during the day–aaaaah February in California), when I watched this guy come around the café with a smoldering cigarette in one hand and a large, germinating potato in the other.  He walked up to a trash can and a potted plant that were next to each other, snuffed out the cigarette and put it in the trash, then lovingly laid the potato into the potted plant. Then left without a look back.  I think what I enjoyed most was how totally natural he was about it.  My own little scene of Dadaist theater.

Publication Day: The Beast is OUT.

Here I am between David Sedaris and Anita Shreve in the wilds of my local Barnes and Noble:

While I was dorking out taking this picture, a nice couple stopped by and asked me if I was the author and I said yes and they read the back of the book and then they bought it and then I signed it.  WHOA.  (Signing felt like a minor act of vandalism but I guess I’ll get used to it…)

Much stuff has been happening.  I got to write guest posts for BookPage and 1st Books: Stories of How Writers Get Started.  I’ve been getting lots of blog reviews–I think more than I can keep track of.  My favorite cranky review said that I am a bad, smutty writer like that awful DH Lawrence.  That is the most wonderful way I’ve been insulted, ever!  The crudity of my language is apparently reminiscent of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, which was published in 1928–and 13 rue Thérèse is set in 1928, so I feel like I win at life.  I managed to capture that 1928 flavor.  Sweet.

Of course, the reviews that moved me the most were the good ones where it looked like I connected with the readers.  How awesome!  It is why I got into this whole publishing racket in the first place.  So, to all the people out there who enjoyed my book and got something true out of it, I give you a great big virtual hug.

Meanwhile, to keep myself from exploding with the anxiety of all these developments (it’s all very elating but my body is in an undeniable state of alarm, my brain constantly morse coding out this is…  not…  normal… commence…  freaking out…), I have been writing this random Gothic diptych about dead dogs.  I know.  Brains are weird.  I just finished a draft of Part One today.  Tomorrow I will begin Part Two.  Oh–and speaking of short stories, I will have one coming out with Five Chapters next week, which will rock my socks.  It’s a great website: they publish a new story every week, serially from Monday through Friday, so you can go back every day for new content.

Okay.  I am going to go try to not explode.  It’s going to be increasingly hard because I got word that my book is going to be in the New York Times Book Review on February 13 and I am absolutely shitting bricks.  Please please please be gentle with me, unknown NYTBR reviewer…

(I must develop some kind of emotional coping mechanism for this attention I’m getting.  That, or a drug habit.  Whoa, you guys, I just explained all of Hollywood to myself.)

A resolution, a review and… warped gravity!

I am publicly making a new year’s resolution: In 2011 I will write a full draft of In the Red.  It may suck, but it’s happening.  Hopefully at this time next year I will not be writing a sad blog post about how extravagantly short I fell of that goal.

13-rue-Thérèse-wise, I just got a review on Booklist, a mostly good one.  Since it is behind a pay wall, I can’t link to it, so I will quote the best bit here:

This ambitious first novel…At turns truly exciting and overflowing with imagination,…is full of intriguing characters…  Puzzle-lovers will be curious to check out the book’s online counterpart, in which they can view 3-D versions of the book’s images.

Yay!  I think that is the last of the pre-pub reviews in industry papers.  I am glad they mentioned the website because it is shaping up to be ferociously awesome.  It will come online January 7.

Meanwhile I just got back from a tiny holiday in Santa Cruz, where I got to visit with an old friend, witness sea lions doing alternately endearing and disgusting things, and experienced radically altered gravity.  That last one was at the Mystery Spot.  My husband and I were prepared to be underwhelmed (being inveterate skeptics) but it was really, really weird, and thus I recommend it.  If you’re into the idea of feeling like you need a barf bag while standing still on solid ground, it will rock your world.  The warped pendulum was especially cool.

The property was purchased in 1939 by a dude who wanted to build a summer home, and the guy who sold him the lot insisted that he also buy a big piece of land up the side of the hill even though it was unbuildable.  The man who absolutely had to shed the property lacked capitalist vision.  The purchaser, however, did not.  And thus, an amusing tourist trap was born–because who wouldn’t pay five bucks to watch a billiard ball roll the wrong way up an incline?

 

Addendum, after being told, “duh, don’t you know mystery spots are just optical illusions:” It doesn’t interest me whether they are “real” or not.  All I’m saying is that I got a sense of the uncanny there that was well worth the admission price.  I am not angry with the director of House of Wax for not having actually thrown a stake through Paris Hilton’s head.  (Wait, come to think of it, maybe I kind of am…)

Publishers Weekly cool book stuff!

Today a Q & A with me came out in Publishers Weekly! Yay!  They also gave me a lovely review that I can’t figure out how to get a permalink to, but it is easy to get to from the interview: you just have to click the title of my book in the article.  So, I am excited.  I am also excited about 13ruetherese.com.  I’ve already put in it my sidebar though it still only features a “coming soon” banner.  But when it comes, it is going to be COOL.  The website people are doing a beautiful job.

So, I met a friend for lunch.  She randomly proposed we go to San José to surprise a dude she hadn’t seen since high school who owns a beauty salon there.  I said sure.  We mapped the place with my iphone but when we got there, there was a ballet school where the beauty shop should have been.  We asked the people there where the beauty shop might be.  We were told that we were on North First Street, that maybe the address was on South First Street.  We meandered to South First Street, where we found a beauty shop with a different name that had no entrance.  When we finally figured out how to get in (via the luxury hotel next door), we were told that the other beauty shop did not exist.  We called the phone number we had listed for the mystery beauty shop.  It rang and rang and no one answered.  We turned a corner and there was a carnival.  We rode a Ferris wheel that used to belong to Michael Jackson.

The above was not a weird, meandering dream, but my actual day.  We also got hit on a lot by carnies.

In which I turn a bad review into an endorsement through the magic of ellipses

Man, this past week or so has sucked on a level which is starting to reach comical proportions.  First my novel collapsed.  Then my bicycle got stolen.  Then I got food poisoning on Wednesday night which caused me to spend most of Thanksgiving weekend puking.  Then this morning I woke up to a shitty review from Kirkus.  Actually, it wasn’t so much a review as a reductive and dismissive plot summary.  Are they supposed to do that?  Pepper their careless assessment with spoilers?  It doesn’t seem very sportsmanlike.

Anyway, I spent the afternoon in bed feeling sorry for myself.  Then I thought about how magical punctuation is.  More specifically, the power of the ellipsis.  Check it out:

“Metafiction … culminate[s in]… […]remarkable… literary…romance … [T]he book is a… goldmine.”

Kirkus Reviews

I was all bummed that I couldn’t use the word “gifted” because it didn’t come in the right order until I saw that the word “remarkable” (even better!) was positioned correctly, as long as you removed that pesky “un.”

Pretty sweet, no?  Worthy jacket copy, I would say.

Whoa, the colors…

Developments!

(1) This blog now has its own pimptastic domain name!  Welcome to elenamaulishapiro.com.  Aw yeah.  If you click on the link, it will take you…  where you are.  I know.  Life is like that.

(2) I just got my very first review ever for 13 rue Thérèse, on Library Journal.  It is here (you’ll have to scroll a bit to find me).  I had a tiny heart attack when I got to the word VERDICT in red all-caps like that, as if they were going to take me out back and execute me.  But, the verdict is positive, so, huzzah!  And with a comparison to the awesome Nick Bantock!  Huzzah x2!  And I can finally say I’ve had press.  Oooooooh I’m going to put it on my Press page right now.

Sweet.

(3) I printed out what I have of my next book so far, about 20,000 words.  (Somewhere around 80 pages)  It felt good to see it on paper, because when you’re just typing away on a Microsoft document, it doesn’t feel like you’re actually making any progress.  Also I got terribly stuck and needed to read it through, to see if I could see any semblance of structure emerging from my pile of fragments.  I realized today that a lot of the stuff I’ve been writing lately actually belongs way in the beginning, so that’s nice.  After I’ve finished marking it up, there will be much shuffling.

(4) You can make colorsAll over your text! Wheeeeeeeee! Doing this repeatedly would not at all get annoying!

(Sorry, I just discovered this making VERDICT all scary and red to mimic the typesetting on the Library Journal site…  I will attempt to contain myself in the future.  But I can make no promises.)