Thisbe Nissen has heard all of the jokes. Friends persist in calling her new book "How to Cook Your Ex-Boyfriend." That's okay: Thisbe and her co-author Erin Ergenbright are having a great old time crisscrossing the country in a fabulous authors' tour for "The Ex-Boyfriend Cookbook: They Came, They Cooked, They Left...But We Ended up with Some Great Recipes (HarperCollins). Just two single 30-year-old women on the loose.
The authors, who know each other from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, use "artifacts" of their romantic relationships to decorate the cookbook in colorful collages. Says Thisbe, "Erin and I both are total pack rats, and keep everything." Readers are rewarded with recipes for "Murray Dinkel's Egg Salad" and "Aaron's Post-Peace Corps Tom Yum Goong," as well as the story of the relationships. Thisbe admits that the book is "creative nonfiction": some of the boyfriends are composites, and others have had their identities blurred. But there are guys who are ready for another edition, says Thisbe, whose novel "The Good People of New York" just came out in paperback. She recently got an email from a male friend: "I only wish that I had seduced you at some point. Then my Pear Mint Gorganzola Salad would be known to the world!"
SEPTEMBER 11 REVISITED:
PW reports that an avalanche of 9/11-related books are being published to coincide with the one-year anniversary. "Whether publishers are motivated by plucky optimism or cannibal instincts, they are pushing an astonishing number of September 11-related books into the market," says PW. Ingram, the leading book distributor, estimates that there are 150 titles, "clearly a high-water mark for book tie-in to a single news event," says PW. There are also numerous children's titles, says PW, including "Understanding September 11" (Viking) by TIME reporter Mitch Frank.
In "Why I am a Catholic" (Houghton Mifflin; July 16), Garry Wills explains why he has chosen to remain a Catholic, despite his many doubts about Church doctrine. Kirkus is reverent, giving the book a starred review. "The prolific historian offers a timely confession of faith and an apology in the true sense of the term. Wills is not just any Catholic: he studied for the priesthood, has worked in Jesuit and papal archives, and has written many books on moral matters and the intersection of politics and religion. For having dared question the Church's positions on matters of doctrine great and small, he has been nearly stripped of his membership as one of the faithful. 'I am not a special case,' he writes, 'but in many ways a typical one.' In light of all this, asked why he chooses to remain a Catholic, Wills answers with quiet dignity, 'because of the creed'...Deserves and will almost certainly find a wide readership while garnering for Wills both praise as a principled oppositionist and condemnation as a heretic."
ONTOGENY RECAPITULATES PHYLOGENY AND ALL THAT JAZZ:
Kirkus dusts of its copy of "The Origin of the Species," giving "Charles Darwin: The Power of Place" by Janet Browne (Knopf; September 17) a starred review. "Continuing where 'Charles Darwin: Voyaging' (1995) left off, the British science historian completes her brilliant two-volume biography...For all his apparent desire to be left alone to lead the life of a country gentleman, Darwin was a shrewd self-promoter, vigorously publicizing his work even in the depths of a long illness that Browne suggests may have been brought on in part by his tireless labors...A richly detailed, vivid, and definitive portrait with not a word wasted: the best life of Charles Darwin in the modern literature."
PW reports that sales of graphic novels are "rocketing skyward in general trade bookstores." ICV2.com, a cultural trade news site, recently reported that advance orders on graphic novels in comics stores were up 23% in the second quarter of 2002, compared with the second quarter of 2001.
I CAN'T SAY IT BUT IT RHYMES WITH RICH:
On September 20, Dunne/St. Martin's will publish a biography of W's ma: "Barbara Bush: Matriarch of a Dynasty" by Pamela Kilian, Scripps Howard News Service editor. Says Kirkus, "Full of praise for its subject, even with many qualifications: solely for fans of the Bush dynasty."
In October, Simon & Schuster will publish "Chronicles: Volume 1" by Bob Dylan. The publisher calls the autobiography "the most awaited book of 2002." Based on the buzz we heard at BEA, there might be some truth to that. Don't look for Bob at Barnes & Noble, though.
THE WONDERING JEW:
In October, the Free Press will publish "What Shall I Do With This People: Jews and the Fractious Politics of Judaism" by Milton Viorst. Says the publisher, "Not since the destruction of the Second Temple, argues Milton Viorst, have Jews displayed such intolerance toward one another or battled so fiercely over ideology."
THE FAMILY JEWELS:
It's not an accident that Liz Taylor's perfume is named White Diamonds. Piece by piece, Elizabeth Taylor has amassed one of the world's most famous jewelry collections. There is the flawless 33.18 carat Krupp diamond given to her by Richard Burton when she was 36, and the pear-shaped white pearl that was briefly lost when her dog thought it was a bone. In October, Simon & Schuster will publish "My Love Affair with Jewelry" by Liz herself, with all of the jewelry specially photographed for the book.
In January, Simon & Schuster will publish, "The Nation at War: Inside the Bush White House" by Bob Woodward. Says the publisher, "Based on hundreds of interviews with officials in the White House and throughout the Administration, Woodward's account will provide the first in-depth behind-the-scenes story of the new, untested President and his advisors as they respond to the worst acts of terror on American soil in history, fight an entirely unprecedented war, and battle a faltering economy."
In January, Simon & Schuster will publish, "Going to the People" by Joseph and Hadassah Lieberman. According to their publisher, "there has never been such a frank account of the American way of running for national office."