Publisher's Lunch comes to my inbox every day, telling me all about the book business and the people in it. I used to love its job listings, then I loved its who's-working-for-whom-and-where section, and now I get revved up by the weekly deal summary. It lists what publisher has bought what book by what author and for roughly how much, and what I have learned is that 99% of books sound super stupid when boiled down to a two sentence description.
Still, I find a lot of books that I may very well buy for people some day. Keep in mind that these guys seem fantastic compared to their brethren, which tend to be described in ways like "CUM LAUDE, set on a small college campus, following a cast of characters who meet at freshman year orientation and cause big drama for one sheltered town in Maine, as shifting alliances, unrequited crushes, and a tragic murder add up to a year that will change their lives forever". Yes!
"Dexter Palmer's THE DREAM OF PERPETUAL MOTION, set amidst a steampunk metropolis and the rise of the mechanical future, the tale of a decades-long love affair thwarted by an evil genius obsessed with inventing the perpetual motion machine."
"Two-time Pulitzer winner and WSJ economics editor and columnist David Wessel's THE BIG PANIC: Greenspan, Bernanke and the Race to Save the American Economy, analyzing the extraordinary events of the past year, including the near-collapse of the financial system, as backdrop for breaking through the opacity of the Federal Reserve and drawing the lessons of the crisis."
"Former veteran W magazine reporter and recent W European Editor Jessica Kerwin's THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE EXQUISITE, a highly idiosyncratic compendium of narrative paeans to life's wondrous pleasures, from the histories of saffron and milk baths and confetti to the origins of the bob and italic."
And for everyone I ever hate:
"Grey's Anatomy and Party of Five writer Mimi Schmir's untitled novel, pitched as Bridget Jones meets Nora Ephron, following the misadventures of a woman in the wake of a divorce from her philandering husband as she tries to come to terms with being a newly-single, 40-something, peri-menopausal mother of two rambunctious boys (Roo and Mr. Handsome), and dating (beginning with Hot Birthday Party Dad) as well as juggling a start-up business."