Sunday, February 12, 2006

The New Bestsellers

There are some interesting developments in the San Francisco Chronicle’s bestseller list this week.

The most apparent is the meteoric rise of Ayelet Waldman’s new novel Love and Other Impossible Pursuits to position #2, a week after its release. It’s clear the Bay Area loves Ayelet. She’s invited to speak everywhere and semi-specializes in luncheons with dozens of women in the audience. Her controversial essay on loving her husband, Michael Chabon, more than her children, outraged sexy mothers everywhere, but it appears to have catapulted her from regional to national stature.

But how is she developing as a writer? Her Mommy Track mysteries are like little bon-bons, sweet, but not filling. Daughter’s Keeper, her last novel, was more ambitious, but not entirely successful. Many people I know liked it; I felt its pace was hurried and its tone too commercial.

Love and Other Impossible Pursuits , which dwells on "maternal ambivalence," the theme Ayelet explored in her essay, got a good review Sunday in the New York Times. The article took up a half-page, which is a compliment and a testament to how much more famous Ayelet has become; Daughter’s Keeper only got a short blurb in the Times. While the reviewer did use those dreaded words “chick-lit” in connection with the book, she also liked the book a lot. Others have disliked the book with the same fervency.

Ayelet will be all around the Bay Area this week. She’ll be at Cody’s Books on Telegraph on Wednesday evening and Rakestraw Books in Danville on Thursday, as well as other venues in the weeks to come.

IN ANOTHER INTERESTING DEVELOPMENT …. Liz Perle’s book, Money, A Memoir, is at #7 on the Chronicle’s non-fiction list. Clearly, her book about how women struggle with money has touched a nerve. Liz’s press has been great as well: Time and People Magazine did features on her and she appeared on some of the morning shows. Perle will be at A Great Good Place for Books in Oakland on March 9.

I AM OFF AGAIN for a few days to write, write, write.

February 15th marks the one year anniversary of Ghost Word. It’s been great fun to throw my ideas on-line, showcase books and authors I like, and “meet” so many other bloggers. But it feels appropriate to spend the anniversary working on my book, which is an even greater labor of love.

I leave you with a link to ReadingWritingLiving, the blog of Bay Area author Susan Ito. In the past few weeks, Ito has been writing about leaving her children to go on writing retreats and the tension between responsibility to one’s self as a writer and responsibility to family. I have found it very interesting.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Hey Frances! And thanks for the link! I have to say, I think Ayelet's book looks very intriguing. I am definitely going to check it out.

And best of luck with the writing, writing, writing.