27 July 2014

Stephen Colbert told me to read this book

  
Such a cool cover.
I know most of you in the book reading world are aware of Amazon's crappy treatment of Hachette's imprints recently. They just happen to publish Stephen Colbert's books, so he decided to make Amazon's dickishness the subject of an on-air rant. He picked California, a first novel by Edan Lepucki as an example of who Amazon was really hurting and he encouraged his viewers to go to Powells.com and pre-order Lepucki's books since Amazon wasn't allowing people to preorder it. Within a week about 6,400 people had pre-ordered the book from Powells so Colbert decided he wanted to make it a NYT bestseller and encouraged us to order from an indie bookstore and listed some on the screen including Ann Patchett's Parnassus books in Memphis and my very own neighborhood Politics and Prose. So I dutifully went into PandP the next day and ordered my copy. Last time I looked the book was number three on the NYT list.

I probably never would have even heard of this book, let alone order it, let alone read it. But I am so glad I did. I loved it. Story of Cal and Frida, a husband and wife living on their own in the middle of nowhere after economic conditions and weather calamities have turned most of the country into a kid of Mad Max scenario. Then they become pregnant and the decide to try and live among others. This has shades of MaddAddam to it but it isn't half as futuristic and has nothing, sentient or otherwise, that doesn't already exist today. I could quibble with a few little details or plot points, but overall the writing is good enough and the story is good enough that those things are easily set aside. Although those who read a lot of speculative fiction might disagree with me (as well as any number of professional reviewers).

A real page turner and definitely worth picking up. Not only did Lepucki get lucky that Colbert chose her book to champion but we got lucky that California is such a good read.

7 comments:

  1. Haven't kept up with the details of the Amazon/Hatchette brou-ha-ha, but what I have read has set me to thinking Amazon and Mr. Bezos may be getting a bit too big for their britches. Like King of the World, huh? I'm not a regular customer of Amazon anyway, and anyone that wants to bring them down a notch is fine by me. The California book definitely sounds worth checking out. Thanks for the tip!

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  2. How fascinating and good on you too!

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  3. The story sounds a real page turner. Thanks for the review. The Amazon Hatchette thing I did not even know about.

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  4. I've been trying to read Hachette books. Thanks for this review. I have The Stone Boy on my shelf, finished S., and others.

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  5. I was not aware of the Amazon/Hatchette thing. But, I love Colbert. Good for him. Glad the book was so good.

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  6. Keep fighting the good fight. I'm been "boycotting" Amazon as much as I can, even before it became cool. My local bookstore does have this book, but it's not exactly on the top of my list yet.

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  7. I picked up this book because Colbert said so, I hear it is a great satire. Now you've confirmed it is worth reading, I will move it up my TBR.

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