S.G. Browne

Breathers & Fated Foreign Pub Dates

One of the bonus features of having a book published is the chance to see it in print in another language. Or at least in another country, even if they speak English.

During my recent trip to the World Horror Convention in Brighton, England, I had the chance to meet with Donna Condon, an editor with Little, Brown in the UK. Having already sold the rights for Breathers to Germany, Italy, Poland, and France, we hadn’t been able to find a publisher in the UK or Australia, so I was hoping to remedy that.

As it turns out, I had a great conversation with Donna, not only for Breathers but for Fated, which led to the sale of rights for both titles in the United Kingdom. So never underestimate the benefit of attending conventions.

So far, in addition to the UK, the rights for Breathers have been scooped up by Germany, Italy, Poland, and Japan, while Fated is slated for release in Brazil, Germany, and the UK. As soon as I have images of the foreign covers, I’ll be sure to post them on my web site.

And yes, I realize I mentioned France earlier but have left them out of the schedule. While the rights to Breathers were sold to France, that version, which was already translated and ready to go, unfortunately never made it into print due to unforeseen circumstances. Which is disappointing for many reasons, one of which was the title. It was supposed to be released last fall as Comment J’ai Cuisiné Mon Père, Ma Mère… et Retrouvé L’amour (or roughly translated How I Cooked My Father, My Mother… and Fall in Love Again).

I’m hoping another French publisher picks up the rights and keeps the title. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to the upcoming foreign publication schedule for both Breathers and Fated.

August 2010, Germany (Heyne Verlag, Munich)
{Title: Anonyme Untote (Undead Anonymous)}
September 2010, Italy (Valter Casini Editore, Rome)
March 2011, UK (Little, Brown)
(Territories include Ireland, South Africa, India, Australia, and New Zealand)
TBD, Poland (Amber Publishing Ltd, Warsaw)
TBD, Japan (Ohta Publishing Co.)

November 2010, Brazil (Leya Brasil, Sao Paolo)
Spring 2011, Germany (Droemer Knaur)
September 2011, UK (Little Brown)
(Territories include Ireland, South Africa, India, Australia, and New Zealand)

Filed under: Breathers,Fated — S.G. Browne @ 10:31 am

C is for Catcher, Cat’s, and City

There are a lot of “C” titles that didn’t make my list of favorite reads. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. Carrie by Stephen King. Choke by Chuck Palahniuk.

While I enjoyed all of them and more, I’m forcing myself to limit my choices to my top two or three, so it’s inevitable that some worthy reads won’t make the cut. But it’s not much of a list of favorites if I include everything, now is it?

So on to the winners:

First Place
Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
The fact that Mark David Chapman sat down to read this book after shooting John Lennon isn’t enough to keep it off the list, but I can’t think of this book without getting pissed off at Chapman, who apparently thought Lennon was a “phony.” Still, Salinger’s novel about teenage angst, identity, and alienation resonates nearly sixty years after its publication. Probably one of my favorite books of all time.

Tied For First
Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut
The second Vonnegut novel to make an appearance here (and not the last), this is probably my favorite. Not only did he manage to skewer science, technology, and religion, but he created his own religion, the basic premise of which is that all religion, including Bokononism, is formed entirely of lies. Of course, if you believe these lies, you will at least have peace of mind. Nice, nice, very nice.

A Distant Third
City of Thieves, David Benioff
My most recent “C” novel that I’ve read, this one had great characters, a good story, and reminded me that the joy of reading is often the discovery of an author’s ability to craft words in such a way that makes you appreciate the beauty of the written word.

And the first Classic Literature Razzie goes to:
Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky
This was assigned for reading in my high school junior year Western Literature class. The crime was that the book was ever written. The punishment was that I had to read it.

Filed under: Movies and Books — Tags: , , , , — S.G. Browne @ 10:36 am

B is for Beat, Black, and Breakfast

Not Beat as in the Beat Generation. I’ve never read any Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, or Jack Kerouac. I never had a Naked Lunch or went On the Road. I suppose at some point I should, just to see what all the fuss is about, but right now they’re not on my list of books to read.

When I look at my bookshelf and I try to recount some of the books I’ve read, some of the books that didn’t make the list for the letter B include Beowulf, Brave New World, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which I didn’t include because it was a novella and I’m trying to focus on novels. And while I know a lot of people love the film version with Audrey Hepburn, I can’t stand it. It’s popcorn while the novella by Capote is filet mignon.

Okay, enough stalling. On to my selections for the favorite books I’ve read that start with the letter B:

First Place
Beat the Reaper, Josh Bazell
A fun, imaginative read that bounces back and forth between the present day life and the hidden past of Peter Brown, mob hit man turned Manhattan intern. The writing is crisp and sharp and funny and the medical research done by Bazell, who wrote the novel while completing his internship, makes you never want to spend any time in a hospital. Clever and funny in all the right places. One of my favorite reads of 2009.

The Black Dahlia, James Ellroy
I picked up Ellroy’s first installment of his L.A. Quartet because I loved the film L.A. Confidential, which is the third of the four novels. I’ll also note here that I stopped caring about the Academy Awards when Titanic took home the 1997 Best Picture Oscar instead of L.A. Confidential. But as for the novel, I enjoyed Ellroy’s narrative and the way he wove in the real life murder of Elizabeth Short in 1947 Los Angeles. As in real life, the crime is never solved, but the story is about the relationship between those involved in the investigation and how it consumes their lives.

Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut
I’m planning to re-read this because it’s been so long since I enjoyed it, but it’s still one of my favorite Vonnegut novels. Although I like Cat’s Cradle and Slaughterhouse Five better, this is classic Vonnegut, dark and satirical, skewering America and creating tragic characters in his own inimitable way.

Oh, and as a follow-up note to the last entry, A is for American (Psycho and Gods), somehow I managed to forget about Animal Farm by George Orwell. It should have been a definite runner-up. My apologies to Orwell for the oversight.

Filed under: Movies and Books — Tags: , , , , , — S.G. Browne @ 4:54 pm

A is for American (Psycho and Gods)

Okay. I’ve started a new blog endeavor, which is to share my favorite books I’ve read from A to Z. To be clear, I’m not saying these are the best books beginning with these letters. Just the best books I’ve read throughout my life. For the sake of argument, I’ve left out short story collections and anthologies and have stuck mostly with fiction, though one or two works of non-fiction might make it in.

I’ll include my favorite novel, then one or two runners-up and, occasionally, one novel I couldn’t stand. These will usually be classic works of literature I was forced to read in school, which I’m still happy to complain about. And I invite you to share your thoughts on my picks and your own favorite novels that begin with each letter.

So, without further delay, we’ll get on with the letter A:

And the winner is:
American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis
A friend bought this for me years ago. I doubt I would have picked it up myself and had no idea what it was about but found it amusing, compelling, inspiring, disturbing, and impossible to stop thinking about. Great satire and social commentary, with an ending that I found ambiguously perfect.

Close but no cigar:
American Gods andAnansi Boys, Neil Gaiman
I’m not sure which one I enjoyed more, so I’ll include them both here. I loved the themes of immortality and the way Gaiman played with concepts of gods in American Gods, but found the storytelling in Anansi Boys to be more playful and engaging. Either one is well worth the time. Read them both.

What about…?
The first novel to come to mind for A was Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll but, um, well, I haven’t read it.

Filed under: Movies and Books — Tags: , , , , — S.G. Browne @ 5:08 pm

Five Days in Paris

After the World Horror Convention, since I was in Europe for the first time in eight years, I decided to take the train over to Paris and spend five days enjoying the City of Lights.

I didn’t have more than a rudimentary use of French. Bon jour, au revoir, merci, sil vous plait, etc. So I checked out some CDs from my library to try to learn a little more conversational French. In theory, I knew what I was doing, and felt confident I could handle basic conversations. But when faced with actually answering questions or trying to remember what I was supposed to say, well, let’s just say I did a top notch job of butchering the language.

Still, even when you can’t speak the language, it’s pretty easy to have a great time in Paris even when it’s cold and wet and the lines for the museums and Notre Dame are two hours deep with tourists on Spring Break.

Rather than waiting in line, you can can discover places that everyone else missed. Like the Jardin des Halles in Chatelet-Les Halles, by the St. Eustache Church. Or Les Viaduc des Arts in the Bastille, an old elevated railway viaduct turned into a garden promenade above exhibition spaces that are home to craftsmen’s workshops and galleries. Or the streets that wind behind the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur in Montmartre and through the Latin Quarter behind the Pantheon.

I did manage to see the Catacombs, the Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise (found Oscar Wilde, but Jim Morrison apparently wanted to be left alone), the Musee Rodin, The Louvre, and wandered past and under the Arch de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower, but avoided the lines that would suck up my afternoon.

All in all, a great way to end my trip to Europe.

Some random thoughts on Paris:

While there are dogs, you don’t see a lot of dangling tongues and excited faces. Most of the dogs wear serious expressions, like they’re all business. But then, so do their owners. None of the humans seemed particularly happy to be out walking their dogs. I only saw one owner who actually interacted with her dog, a Bull Terrier, with affection.

A friend suggested the Canal St. Martin was a good place to take a walk, touting the cute boutiques and numerous patisseries. Personally, the area was a little more crack whore than I expected. The boutiques were selling T-shirts that said My Parents Got High at Canal St. Martin and all I Got Was This Stupid T-shirt and you could buy dime bags from the crystal meth junkie twitching under his umbrella stand, with his serious dog at his feet.

I also ate at Chartier, an inexpensive restaurant at the edge of the Opera district. Chartier is touted as serving inexpensive quality food in a very Parisian experience that is well worth the visit. What the travel guides don’t tell you is that you sit elbow to elbow cafeteria style with everyone else and that if you don’t eat steak, you’re only non-meat option is some kind of unidentifiable fish croquette with a sauce that tastes better when you eat it with your rice pilaf.

Adieu, Paris!

Filed under: Travel — Tags: — S.G. Browne @ 4:46 pm