Between The Covers: 19/06/2011
Your weekly guide to what's really going on inside the world of books
Sunday 19 June 2011
*The surprise bestseller for parents, Adam Mansbach and Ricardo Cortés's gently rhyming, beautifully illustrated, surprisingly comic little book, Go the Fuck to Sleep, has already reached Amazon's Top Five, despite only going on sale on Thursday – just in time for Father's Day.
(Incidentally, "customers who bought this item also bought" Baby, Mix Me a Drink, by Lisa Brown, The Mumsnet Rules, by Natasha Joffe, and Caitlin Moran's totally brilliant feminist memoir How to be a Woman, so we're looking at a very particular demographic here.) Now comes news that Samuel L Jackson has recorded an audio version of the book, and so has Jack Davenport, and that both will appear on Canongate's enhanced ebook version when it is published later in the year. Now, if Samuel L Jackson told you to go to sleep, you would, wouldn't you? Jack Davenport, not so much.
*Once you have persuaded your baby to mix you a drink, have a look at flavorwire.com for Cultural News, Critique, and a new guide on "how to drink like your favourite author". This offers the reader Ernest Hemingway's mojitos, Dorothy Parker's whiskey sours and something utterly disgusting called a boilermaker that surely can't have helped Charles Bukowski, as well as a lingering suspicion that any ordinary mortal who tried to drink 18 straight whiskies in a row would probably not end up writing Under Milk Wood but probably would end up dying, like Dylan Thomas did after he tried it in 1953.
*Do book prizes sell books? Do TV adaptations of books sell books? Do dads sell books? Thanks go to the First Edition's "Accelerators Chart", a weekly dose of fascinating insight from The Bookseller, for showing that yes, they all do. First place on this week's chart of the books with the biggest week-on-week sales boosts is for Téa Obreht's The Tiger's Wife, which sold more copies in the seven days after winning the Orange Prize on 8 June than it managed in the whole of May – a 338 per cent week-on-week rise. Congratulations, too, to One Good Turn and When Will There be Good News, by Kate Atkinson – which are both in the Top 10 thanks to a six-part BBC adaptation of her Jackson Brodie thrillers. Towards the end of the Top 10, though, it's hard to tell which of three books has received the biggest boost from children buying it for Father's Day today. Is it My Daddy and Me, by Tina MacNaughton, My Liverpool Home, by Kenny Dalglish, or East End Stories, by Reggie Kray? It all depends on the father, we suppose.
*The fifth annual Independent Booksellers Week started yesterday, with more bookshops than ever before taking part along with a stunning gallery of authors that includes Stella Duffy, Esther Freud, Stuart Maconie, Maggie O'Farrell, Ian Rankin, Edward de Waal and Ann Widdecombe. On Tuesday, 40 crime writers (is there a collective noun for that?) will attend the Goldsboro Bookshop in Cecil Court, London, for the first ever "Crime in the Court" evening, to mark a notorious murder in the Sixties on that very site. Elsie Batten, a 59-year-old shop assistant who worked there, was murdered by Edwin Bush, who was identified and caught within 10 days using the revolutionary new "Identikit" system. However, the event on Tuesday is sold out, and you'd have to kill for tickets. See independentbooksellersweek.org.uk for details.
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