The Rathbones, released this month, is the debut novel by Janice Clark, "a gothic literary adventure" set amidst the 19th-century New England whaling industry. The reviews of this book are so intriguing, I have to quote one here: "Think Moby Dick directed by David Lynch from a screenplay by Gabriel Garcia Marquez," says the Millions. The trailer is moody and features beautiful illustrations and a captivating excerpt that will leave you hooked. It has all the elements a good opening has -- an intrigue ("If I hadn't heard the singing voice that night, none of the rest might have happened..."), a mystical touch (pet crows), and a voyage with an unanticipated turn (the search for a lost father unfurls instead into the discovery of a mysterious family history). The narrator delivers the prose with a muted, but a powerful voice, and the nuanced writing is paired perfectly with black ink drawings of whales, octopi, and strange sea creatures set starkly against old maps and discolored, handwritten notes. Definitely intriguing:
Have you read David Sedaris' Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls? I haven't, but this trailer made me open a different tab in my web browser to order a copy. Seriously. Sedaris' has a perfect delivery in this short anecdote. On a plane, he decides to share with a fellow passenger his dream book title: Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls. The animation is sparse but liminal, putting you in a space between tactile remembrance of paper cut outs and digital awareness of geometric shapes. The animations consistently reach beyond illustration and land on opinionated humorous visual asides -- in turn a perfect mirror of a Sedaris-like language. Take a look:
Oakland-based Mary Roach is one of my Bay Area favorites. Roach has made her name by writing compellingly and humorously about body science. Her oeuvre (Stiff, a book on death; Bonk, a book on sex; and Spooked, a book on the afterlife) finds its beginnings, weirdly, in a plastic torso with removable organs in her fifth-grade class. Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal is the latest in Roach's inquisitive line of books. "Never has Ms. Roach’s affinity for the comedic and bizarre been put to better use," says the New York Times. The trailer is a glib, thoroughly enjoyable interpretation of the title -- literally, a joy ride featuring a cast of vegetables making their way through an intestinal amusement park. My favorite moment is that of a single corn kernel and a piece of broccoli posing for a souvenir photo that hilariously reads, "We made a memory in The Alimentary."
The Stench of Honolulu is Jack Handey's latest book. Recently, on NPR's Weekend Edition, Handey spoke of the catharsis for the book, "I had been thinking for a long time about just sort of getting the 'Deep Thoughts' character out in the field, see what kind of destruction he would cause. And Hawaii seemed like a good place for him to go 'cause it's so beautiful and pristine. So, at first, I was thinking, you know, the Deep Thoughts character and [his friend] Don would just go on vacation to Hawaii but then [....] I thought that wasn't ominous enough, so I sort of made them go on a treasure hunt. And then I thought I had to make it more ominous, so I just sort of changed the whole nature of Hawaii to make it very stinky and dangerous." Anyone already familiar with Handey's style will find even the first few seconds of this trailer uproariously hilarious:
You can read an excerpt of The Stench of Honolulu online at the New Yorker.
Elizabeth Gilbert is all colloquial exuberance and intelligence in this book trailer for The Signature of All Things, a sprawling novel of 19th century botanical exploration due out in October. This is a trailer that shows Gilbert in contact with the things that inspired her to write The Signature of All Things: a beautiful 1783 edition of Captain Cook's Voyages, "leather bound and made to look like something in a magician's library," Gilbert says, and the empty mansion in Philadelphia, baring chipped walls filmed in golden light, that inspired the fictional estate in The Signature of All Things. Watching Gilbert walk through the space, her hair held up with quirky hair clasps, has meta implications (Gilbert walking through the physical space from which she created a fictional space in which her characters dwell). It also illuminates the author at her most spellbound. Her enthrallment is enthralling. She is maybe the most captivating author ever captured on film.
Are you not captivated? Known for Eat, Pray, Love, Gilbert has never failed to deliver a good book.