Entries from January 2012


It’s finally here: Defending Jacob is published today. You know what to do…

(If you’re in the UK, you’ll have to wait just a few weeks more. Orion has pushed back the publication date a bit. Stay tuned.)

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Do schools kill creativity?

Sir Ken Robinson: “Do schools kill creativity?” Still the best TED talk ever.

Categories: Odds & Ends    Tags: · · ·

Review of the day

From this morning’s Boston Globe book section.

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Making Gatsby

Gatsby manuscript

Fitzgerald’s handwritten manuscript of The Great Gatsby (via)

Climbing the charts

Barnes & Noble web site screen grab

The Barnes & Noble web site is certainly looking lovely today. Defending Jacob is currently at #48 on the B&N bestseller list and rising fast — it was around #350 at lunchtime. Not bad for a book that hasn’t even been published yet! I want to cherish little moments like this because, hey, you never know. Maybe this is as good as it gets.

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Tweet of the Day

Good work tends to happen only at the end of day: when the fear of accomplishing nothing finally exceeds fear of doing it badly.

Alain de Botton

Iconic images colorized


Iconic images restored and colorized. (via NPR)

Categories: Art · Photography    Tags: · ·

A Big Week

With just a couple of weeks left until Defending Jacob is published, last week brought two bombshells.

First, Barnes & Noble announced that Defending Jacob will be February’s pick for the Barnes & Noble Recommends program. This is a game-changer. For four or five weeks from its publication date, the book will have a prime placement at the front of every B&N store, accompanied by endorsements from booksellers. It will be heavily promoted online, as well. Already, Defending Jacob is prominently featured in the B&N Bookseller’s Guide to Good Reading and the list of Best Books of the Month. And — my favorite part — the dust jacket of all B&N stock will feature the lovely gold badge you see above. I am incredibly honored. The list of past selections for B&N Recommends is a roll call of books that were “that book.” Maybe, just maybe, Defending Jacob will be “that book” for a while, too.

Also last week, the American Booksellers Association announced that Defending Jacob made the Indie Next list for February. Another huge honor and one that is sure to bring the book to many, many people’s attention. I am always exhorting people to support their local indie bookstore if they’re lucky enough to have one. What a wonderful thing to have the indies supporting me!

It crosses every writer’s mind at some point: what would it be like to be picked for the Indie Next list? Or B&N Recommends? Happily, I’m about to find out.

Other news:

  • Bookreporter.com has a nice new feature on Defending Jacob. The “author spotlight” includes a book-giveaway contest and an original essay by me, in which I hold forth shamelessly on “the unwritten rules of the legal thriller.” (Hint: I did not know there were rules until they asked me to write about them.)
  • Barnes & Noble has added a new feature to the Defending Jacob page at BN.com: an interview I did recently with writer-editor Tess Taylor. Have I become such a gasbag that I can fill multiple web sites with my carrying-on? It’s starting to look that way.
  • The Author Tour page has been updated with some newly scheduled radio appearances and an additional Boston-area reading, on March 1 at 7:00 PM at my own local bookstore, the lovely Newtonville Books, just a mile or so from the murder scene in Defending Jacob.

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Advertising Jacob

Random House has produced this 15-second ad for Defending Jacob. Fun.

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Missing the West End

West End demolition

Architecture critic Robert Campbell has a nice essay in today’s Boston Globe asking “What makes the memory of this neighborhood so durable? Why do the people, half a century later, still feel that they are members of it?” Of course, the demolition of the West End figures prominently in my novel The Strangler. (Photos: Boston Globe.)

West End demolition

(Images: Boston’s old West End under demolition, ca. 1958-60.)

Categories: Boston    Tags: · · · ·

Copley Square, 1910

Copley Square 1910

Copley Square from the roof of the Boston Public Library, ca. 1910 (Boston Public Library, via Park & Tremont)

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Video of the day

Wilco, Nick Lowe & Mavis Staples rehearse “The Weight

Categories: Music    Tags: · · ·