Madeleines & Mandelbrodt

I received an amusing reader letter speculating about the connection between Proust’s madeleine and mandelbrodt.

 Dear Ms. Zevin:  I am enjoying A.J. Fikry enormously. Your mention of Proust raised this memory, and I thought it would interest you.

I bake mandelbrot, which my old Jewish friends from Siberia and Poland tell me is exactly like what their mothers used to bake.  Also a friend XXXX told me they are what her mama in southern Italy made.  NPR reported that the madeleines in Proust’s story were really dried rusk type of cookies.  Not at all like the madeleines that are sold under that title today.  I checked, and learned that Proust’s mother was born Jewish.  Mandelbrot, of course!  If  you would like to have  my great recipe for those cookies, let me know.

Google will not  confirm this for me, but I like the idea that Proust may have been biting into mandelbrodt. Either way, I have requested that the reader send me her recipe. When one is offered a “great recipe,” it is foolish not to accept. 

Also, the paperback version of A.J. Fikry debuted at number nine on the New York Times Best Seller Paperback Trade Fiction list, right between Murakami and E.L. James.

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Win’s Acronym & a Few Notes on My Book Tour

I’ve been on book tour for The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and indeed, I’m still on book tour! Come see me at an event if you have an evening.

Many amazing things have happened to me on this book tour, and when I have a moment to catch my breath, I plan to write about a few of them. I think of the many babies in baskets I have encountered (and the one cat in a basket), the spectacular islands of Washington, the Fikry-reading Sasquatch in Anacortes, etc., etc. I have bought more books than I will be able to read in my lifetime, been stuffed with pie, lefse, cupcakes, Orca-shaped cookies, and love, seen numerous friends, chatted with booksellers of every taste and constitution (quite a few A.J. Fikrys, as is probably to be expected), met readers ranging in age from toddlers to 80+,  and yes, visited twenty or thirty bookstores, each delightful in her own way. (I do not know that I will ever tire of visiting a new bookstore.) And the tour is not quite half finished!

However, the reason I write you tonight is because of an event I did earlier this week at Books Inc. in Alameda, CA. A reader handed me a letter along with a bar of admirably dark chocolate. The letter concerns the Anya Balanchine books, and it answers a question that many of you have been asking me for months (and that I have promised to answer for months): namely, what DOES Win’s acronym mean in In the Age of Love and Chocolate? She was VERY close — all but three words. My corrections are in black ink. 

Interview with me about A.J. Fikry on NPR’s All Things Considered

Audie Cornish interviewed me about The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry for All Things Considered. She is simply a wonderful interviewer and she (and her producer Justine Kenin) could not have been kinder to me or the book. Also over at NPR, they’re asking people to name the three books that define them. You can tweet or tumblr it, using #my3books. Mine are Charlotte’s WebThen We Came to the End, and Song of Solomon. But really, if you asked me on a different day, you’d probably get a different answer.

http://www.npr.org/2014/03/28/294393870/in-storied-life-characters-come-with-a-reading-list

 

A Series of Rather Nice Things

It has been a busy, fun couple of months. I’ve been writing books for a while (10 years since I sold my first novel!) and I’ll tell you, there have been many months in my career that have been less busy and less fun. This is to say, I appreciate the busy, fun times quite a lot.

I went to ABA Winter Institute in January. When I arrived at the Seattle airport, there were posters for The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry in the Hudson Bookstores!

hudson bookstores fikry

My publisher Algonquin and Litographs, a company whose products I’ve long admired, made these The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry t-shirts to give to the booksellers at Winter Institute. The entire text of the book is printed on these shirts.

litographs tees

In February, I went to Toronto for a few prelaunch events for Fikry. The prelaunch party Penguin Canada threw had clever (and tasty) book-themed food.

canadian party food fikry

For the next week or so, you can listen to an abridged version of A.J. Fikry on the popular BBC 4 program Books at Bedtime. My mom is listening and she says it’s great! Here’s a picture of Frank posing with some of my favorite books for the BBC website.

favorites zevin

Who is Frank? Frank is the rescue pug my guy and I adopted from Pug Nation Los Angeles. He was abandoned near a park. Frank is all about love except for the part of him that is all about breakfast.

Amazingly, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is the #1 Indie Next Pick and the #1 LibraryReads Selection for April 2014. I can’t thank all the booksellers and librarians enough.

And although the book isn’t out until April, quite a few bookstores have put it on their shelves early. The Book Frog of Rolling Hills Estates, California made this display, which features a Tamerlane-reading baby!

book frog display

Finally, I’ll be on book tour beginning April 1st. Although AJ Fikry is a book for adults, my YA readers should feel free to come out, too. And please do come! I am not J.K. Rowling level popular (in case you didn’t know!), which means I usually get to truly meet the people who attend my events. Find the schedule here.

Finally, finally, it’s Spring! This is me with my girl, Edie. She came from a wonderful organization called the Mutt Scouts that is dedicated to rescuing mixed breed dogs from shelters. She is a goddess.

gabi and edie

Snazzy set of UK bookmarks for Fikry. For those who have already read the book: I can’t help noticing how many of the quotes are Lambiase’s!