Author and LA pastor Erwin Raphael McManus spoke to a packed house at his Barnes & Noble book-signing event Wednesday night at The Grove in Los Angeles. His new book, THE LAST ARROW: Save Nothing for the Next Life, published by WaterBrook on September 5, is a bold manifesto for a life of passion, adventure, and hope. As McManus explains through his words and his own life story, everyone is living out their last days—and no one needs to settle for less than all life has to offer. The event kicked off a two-day conference for his church, Mosaic, and was a huge success. The store sold out of the book!
McManus is an artist, entrepreneur, and cultural thought leader known for his integration of creativity and spirituality. He is the founder of Mosaic, a community of faith in Los Angeles. Known for its innovation, creativity, and artistry, Mosaic has been named one of the most influential and innovative churches in America. He is the author of several other books, including Soul Cravings,Chasing Daylight, An Unstoppable Force, and The Barbarian Way. His books have sold more than a million copies worldwide.
Our new Igloo Book Buzz selection is Alice Waters’ COMING TO MY SENSES: The Making of a Counterculture Cook, which Clarkson Potter published this week. Alice retraces the events that led her to open the doors of Chez Panisse, arguably America’s most influential restaurant, in Berkeley, California in the early 1970s. She chronicles the tumultuous times that emboldened her to find her own voice as a cook when the prevailing food culture was embracing convenience and uniformity.
Alice Waters’ editor, Pam Krauss, said, “Even before I had the opportunity to work with Alice on her cookbooks, I was a huge admirer of her efforts as a food activist and her determination to reshape the conversation around food in this country. So I was excited both as an editor and as a fan when Alice finally agreed to tell her own story, and sketch the circuitous route that brought her to Chez Panisse. Given the parallels between the political climate now and when she first opened the restaurant in 1972, this insider’s account of the counterculture feels incredibly relevant.”
Moving from a repressive suburban upbringing to Berkeley in 1964 at the height of the Free Speech Movement and campus unrest, Alice was drawn into a bohemian circle of charismatic figures whose views on design, politics, film, and food would ultimately inform the unique culture on which Chez Panisse was founded. Fueled in equal parts by naiveté and a relentless pursuit of beauty and pure flavor, she turned her passion project into an iconic institution that redefined American cuisine for generations of chefs and food lovers.
Dotted with stories, recipes, photographs, and letters, COMING TO MY SENSES is at once deeply personal and modestly understated, a quietly revealing look at one woman’s evolution from a rebellious yet impressionable follower to a respected activist who effects social and political change on a global level through the common bond of food.
THE LESSER BOHEMIANS by Eimear McBride has won the James Tait Black Prize, Great Britain’s oldest literary award. The winners of the prizes were unveiled at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on Monday, August 14, when the honor for biography was also announced.
Published by Hogarth, Ms. McBride’s second novel is a captivating story of passion and innocence, joy and discovery set against the vibrant atmosphere of 1990s London over the course of a single year. More than 400 titles were submitted for the 2017 James Tait Blackprizes, with a shortlist chosen by University of Edinburgh academics and postgraduate students. Fiction judge Dr. Alex Lawrie described THE LESSER BOHEMIANS as being “full of wit, energy and nerve, an extraordinary rendering of a young woman’s consciousness as she eagerly embarks on a new life in London.”
Congratulations to Ms. McBride, her editor, publisher and everyone at Hogarth as well as the Crown Publishing Group.
The James Tait Black Awards were founded in 1919 by Janet Coats, the widow of publisher James Tait Black, to commemorate her husband’s love of good books.
Ms. McBride’s debut novel A GIRL IS A HALF-FORMED THING won the 2013 Goldsmiths Prize and the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2014.
The much anticipated first look at director Steven Spielberg’s upcoming READY PLAYER ONE film, based on Ernest Cline’s bestselling Crown/Broadway novel of the same name, debuted as a teaser in theaters nationwide this past weekend. The movie, scheduled to be released by Warner Bros. Pictures on March 30, 2018, was written by Mr. Cline, Eric Eason, and
Crown announced today that it will publish a book of investigative journalism by Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer, co-authors of POLITICO Playbook, that will take readers inside congressional battles in the lead up to the 2018 midterm elections. As yet untitled, the book will chronicle the first two years of Donald
Trump’s presidency from the vantage point of Capitol Hill insiders, providing a living, behind-the-scenes history of one of the most extraordinary times in contemporary American politics. This news was covered this morning by Vanity Fair and POLITICO., among many other media outlets.
The book will be published as a hardcover, an e-book, and a Penguin Random House audiobook in Spring 2019. Crown Senior Editor Kevin Doughten acquired world, audio, and first and second serial rights from the Creative Artists Agency.
Intheir book, Sherman and Palmer will bring to dramatic life the inner workings of the 115th Congress, the first in the Trump era, as Democrats seek to overcome deep fissures within their own party and take the House in 2018 while Republicans try to govern with complete control of a Washington that’s drastically changing in real time. Drawing upon inside access to key players as well as their own deep knowledge of Capitol Hill, Sherman and Palmer will trace the strategy and the struggle, and the deal making, all in service of telling an unforgettable story of power and politics where the stakes are nothing less than the future direction of the country.
Anna Palmer is a senior Washington correspondent for POLITICO and co-author of POLITICO Playbook. Palmer covers the world of Congress and politics, and has successfully chronicled the business of Washington insiders for years. Prior to writing POLITICO Playbook, Palmer was the co-author of the daily newsletter, POLITICO Influence. Palmer previously covered House leadership and lobbying as a staff writer for Roll Call and the intersection of money and politics in the legal and lobbying industry for the Legal Times.Jake Sherman is a senior writer for POLITICO and co-author of POLITICO Playbook. Since 2009, Jake has chronicled all of the major legislative battles on Capitol Hill, and has also traveled the country to cover the battle for control of Congress.
Sarah Jessica Parker, Editorial Director of SJP for Hogarth, a new line of books within the Crown Publishing Group’sHogarth imprint, pre-empted World English, electronic, and audio rights to the debut novel by Fatima Mirza in a joint acquisition with Becky Hardie, Deputy Publishing Director of Chatto & Windus and Hogarth UK. Ms. Parker and Ms. Hardie
acquired the novel from Jin Auh of The Wylie Agency, LLC. Tentatively titled A PLACE FOR US, it will be published in 2019. Ms. Parker will be supported on this project by Lindsay Sagnette, Editorial Director of Fiction for Crown and Hogarth, who will edit. News of this acquisition was revealed in The New York Times this morning. To read the NYT article, click here.
Said Ms. Parker, “To be taken hostage by Fatima Mirza’s heartrending and timely story is a gutting pleasure. It allows her reader to better understand what it means to reconcile one’s love of family and culture with a desire to find one’s own path, and one’s own faith. Ms. Mirza painstakingly details the life of an Indian Muslim family in America and their children’s search to feel whole, fulfilled, and content. She captures your mind and heart with an urgency that defies you to stop reading. I guarantee you will be different when you close the book.”
Ms. Mirza’s debut unfolds within the lives of an Indian Muslim family in California, on the eve of the eldest daughter’s wedding. As Hadia’s marriage—one of love, not tradition—gathers the family back together, her parents Rafiq and Layla must come to terms with the choices that their two daughters, and their estranged son Amar, have made. Written with compassion and cultural insight, A PLACE FOR US a poignant portrait of a family caught between two cultures, and a resonant story of faith, tradition, identity, and belonging in contemporary America, from a gifted young storyteller.
Said Ms. Mirza, “I began writing this novel when I was a freshman in college, and it was my love for the characters—Layla, Rafiq, Hadia, and Amar, members of a single family—that committed me to the project. I was interested in exploring what it means when to be loyal to oneself is to betray the home you have come from, the bond between siblings as well as their betrayals, and the decisions that each character makes that determines not only their own destiny, but also the lives of their loved ones. After working on the novel for eight years, I could not be happier with the home it has found. Speaking with Sarah Jessica Parker and Lindsay Sagnette and seeing the care and enthusiasm they bring to their books has been deeply comforting. I’m confident in their vision for the novel and grateful that it will be brought into the world by SJP for Hogarth.”
Ms. Mirza is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Teaching-Writing Fellow. She has taught creative writing and fiction courses at the University of Iowa and at the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio. Awarded the Michener-Copernicus Fellowship in 2016 and The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research/Creative Achievement from the University of California, Riverside, she has also received residencies from The Marble House Project and The MacDowell Colony.
In other Sarah Jessica Parker news: The American Library Association (ALA) officially launched Book Club Central with the unveiling of its website and Honorary Chair Sarah Jessica Parker’s inaugural book selection, No One Is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts. Ms. Parker made the announcement during the ALA’s Annual Conference & Exhibition in Chicago at McCormick Place, June 22-27, 2017. Book Club Central, a brand-new initiative of the ALA, was designed in consultation with expert librarians to provide the public with the very best in reading.
David Kopp, Vice President, Executive Editor, Convergent Books, edited Andrew Root’s book, THE GRACE OF DOGS, and was instantly drawn into this engaging story – a heart-warming, enlightening read for anyone who has ever owned, loved and lost a dog, and who wanted to further explore the full scope of the human-dog relationship, including “how our dogs shape us, and how they serve as ‘teachers,’ of sorts.”
Mr. Kopp worked closely with Dr. Root, shepherding this project from proposal to finished book. Here David offers thoughtful responses to questions about the editor/author process and what separates this book from the pack.
What distinguishes THE GRACE OF DOGS from the scores of dog books that are on the market now?
We wanted to take this tail wagger of a book home the moment we saw the proposal. Here was a dog lover, dad and seminary prof who wanted to explore the deep and even unique connections many of us feel with our dogs. We particularly loved that Andy oriented his scholarly narrative in his own deeply felt experience. For example, he opens his story with a scene that many can relate to—a room at the vet’s office, where he and his family are gathered to say tearful goodbyes to a beloved family member—Kirby, their faithful Black Lab. Just before they head home, eight-year-old Owen spontaneously enacts a surprising ritual. He kneels, lays a doggie treat on Kirby’s now lifeless body, and then, dipping his finger in a paper cup of water, reverently makes the sign of the cross on Kirby’s forehead. “That’s the moment,” Root writes, “that I couldn’t shake.”
Great news for readers that he couldn’t! From there the author sets about to explore questions like: What in the world just happened here? A child intuiting a shared spiritual connection with a dog? If a dog is nothing more than a furry object, why did my son’s sacramental act feel so appropriate? And why did the loss of Kirby hurt so bad?
There have been a lot of books exploring our relationship with dogs on the level of science or everyday experience, but Andy’s book was the first we’d seen that tapped into the spiritual component of that relationship in such a satisfying way. He explores the meaning of spirit and soul as well as the mutually beneficial evolutionary development of dog and humans. And he tackles the kitchen table questions that kids ask, most notably: Do dogs go to heaven? (Spoiler alert: yes.) But deeper than that, he shows how our dogs shape us, and how they serve as “teachers” of sorts for the best faith has to offer—reminding us that we are worthy of receiving unconditional love and capable of extending it to others.
How would you describe the editor/author process and experience of working with Andrew?
Andy is a theologian by training, but he draws on so many threads in this book: neuroscience, history, the writings of serious religious thinkers like John Calvin and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and of course, the story of Andy’s family and their black lab. All to say he brought of a lot of soul to his writing. Our main task with Andy was finding a way to unspool his argument in a way that would feel like a reading adventure to the average reader—not, in other words, like a scholar building a case for his premise. And of course we wanted to wrap all his thoughtful research into a heartwarming read that captures the magic we sense when we spend time with our dogs. Fortunately, Andy brought consummate skills as story teller, thinker, entertainer, dad and dog lover to the task.
In keeping with our editorial vision at Convergent, we all wanted to deliver a non-religious but spiritually-informed conversation to readers in the general market. So, for example, we didn’t think readers would care about proving spirituality for spirituality’s sake, or for that matter, using chapter and verse to “prove” a particular point of view. We knew they would be reading THE GRACE OF DOGS with their own pet in mind—their own wonderings about why their dog-human relationship feels (or felt) so unique, and can go so deep. We figured readers simply want more insight into perhaps that persistent feeling that their relationship with their dog is or was something more than the material, something mysterious, and something that makes life more worth living. You don’t really need to use the word “spiritual” to accomplish that.
Dr. Root was moved to begin writing down his thoughts after his family gathered in the vet’s office to grieve losing their beloved Labrador, Kirby. Dr. Root’s eight-year-old son, Owen, led the family in a Christian ritual at their dog’s burial service, inspiring the author to draw on biology, history, theology, cognitive ethology (the study of animal minds), and paleontology to trace how in our mutual evolution, humans and dogs have so often helped each other to become more fully ourselves.
In the first of a two-part article about this special book, Dr. Root gives thoughtful responses to the following questions:
How would you describe the creation of THE GRACE OF DOGS and how the book evolved while you were writing it?
I always had a sense that people have deep connections to their dogs, but Kirby was the first dog that I owned that I watched my kids really fall in love with. Watching him get put down, I was really shocked with the grief of the experience. How, in the midst of that grief, there were these overtones of the spiritual. So the book was really born from that – that dark experience of losing, not something, not some kind of object that you cared about or you liked, but something that you actually loved. And that experience led to the book’s driving question: How deep is this connection, how significant is it?
This is the hardest I’ve ever worked on a book. My first draft was sort of a very academic book using lofty diction. I think as an academic you in some ways write past the reader to this silent community of other people that somehow will validate your work, and it was a real kind of exorcism for me to just write for an everyday reader. Dave (Kopp) and Derek (Reed) at Convergent worked really hard to make it a good read. Every time I got an e-mail from them I swore under my breath knowing there would be more work to do, but I’m incredibly thankful for all their feedback.
What are the key revelations about the dogs we love do you hope readers take to heart while reading your book?
I hope readers see—even more than they do now—how unique dogs actually are. Dogs have had incredible relationships with human beings for tens of thousands of years, maybe even as far back as our own evolutionary origins, in which dogs played a part in helping us be human. I think they still play that part today.
Maybe my greatest hope would be that, as people read, they keep looking at the dog curled up at their feet and are struck by the sense that there’s something mystical about these ordinary beasts—these creatures that can tell when we’re mad, can tell when we’re sad, and want to be with us. The relationships we have with our dogs is a gift—maybe even a gift from God—because it’s filled with grace, it’s freely given. A dog doesn’t look at your bank account or the number on a scale or how many degrees you have. It doesn’t even really care what other people think about you. Your dog simply desires to give you love and companionship, and that’s something we profoundly need.
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights presented its 37th Annual Book Award to Matthew Desmond’s EVICTED, the Pulitzer Prize-winning title published by the Crown Publishing Group. Book Awards Chair Michael Beschloss said, “EVICTED takes an unsparing look at issues that Robert Kennedy cared deeply
about – poverty and the inability of many poor people to have the security of home that most Americans enjoy. Matthew Desmond brings to painful life the challenges which many poor families face, and reveals those who profit from their struggles.”
The Book Awards were presented, along with the 49th Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards, by Mrs. Robert Kennedy and Kerry Kennedy with Chair Margaret Engel on Tuesday, May 23, at the Newseum in Washington, DC.
The Robert F. Kennedy Book Awards honor authors whose writing focuses on social justice issues of concern to Robert Kennedy. Over 70 works were nominated for honors in 2017.
Led by human rights activist and lawyer Kerry Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights has advocated for a more just and peaceful world since 1968.