Thursday, August 23, 2007

Where have all the book people gone?

I’m a self-professed book worm. I always have been and always will be. My love affair with books began as early as pre-school. I have vivid memories of my father reading to me from the pages of Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends and The Missing Piece, Ludwig Bemelmans’s Madeline and Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are. When I was 6, I named my first dog Teeny Tiny (which seemed fitting as she was a miniature dachshund) after one of my literary obsessions, The Teeny-Tiny Woman by Paul Galdone.

I guess it’s no surprise that my passion for books led to a career in publishing, more specifically, in literary PR. But what does surprise me, is that I stand virtually alone in the U.S. as an avid book reader (particularly one in her mid-20s). I recently read an article that I found disconcerting. According to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Tuesday, one in four Americans read no books last year!

Since January, I’ve read nine books, not including the ones I’ve promoted since then (which would make the grand total of books read this year 23.) In an effort to save books from collecting dust on the night-stands everywhere and to motivate others to feed their brains – imagination not excluded – I took a survey of my fellow P&P staffers to find this year’s top picks from their reading-for-pleasure lists (clients not eligible). Here are some of our recommendations:

Amber Childres
1. East of Eden by John Steinbeck (Penguin)
2. Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (Vintage)
3. Water for Elephants: A Novel by Sara Gruen (Algonquin)

Amy Currie
1. The Road by Cormac McCarthy (Vintage)
2. The Fool’s Tale: A Novel by Nicole Galland (Harper)
3. The Crystal Cave (The Arthurian Saga, Book I) by Mary Stewart (Eos)

Elizabeth Peppers
1. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead)
2. Deception Point by Dan Brown (Pocket)
3. Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton (Scribner)

Tolly Moseley
1. The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi (Viking)
2. Geek Love by Katherine Dunn (Vintage)
3. Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl (Penguin)

Rusty Shelton
1. 11 Days in December: Christmas at the Bulge, 1944, by Stanley Weintraub (Free Press)
2. The Corporate Coach by James B. Miller (HarperBusiness)
3. Castaway Kid by R.B. Mitchell (Tyndale)

Stephanie Mayabb
1. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (Penguin)
2. The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert (Penguin)
3. Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh (Pantheon)

Katie Andrews
1. How to Hepburn: Lessons on Living from Kate the Great by Karen Karbo (Bloomsbury)
2. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Vintage)
3. Wittgenstein's Mistress by David Markson (Dalkey Archive)

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