Book Keeping

Book Keeping Farrar, Straus and Giroux and Sarah Crichton Books / FSG present Book Keeping, a readers' community. Visit the exclusives section to read original pieces by our authors and to win just published books.

Welcome to Book Keeping, Farrar, Straus and Giroux's and Sarah Crichton Books / FSG's community for readers. You can also find Book Keeping on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. Please visit The Hive for original content by Farrar, Straus and Giroux and Sarah Crichton Books / FSG authors.

"For me, and I suspect for many people, our favorite is the chair we sit in to relax—an easy chair, the name says it all...
10/28/2016
A Favorite Chair | Book Keeping

"For me, and I suspect for many people, our favorite is the chair we sit in to relax—an easy chair, the name says it all."

http://www.fsgbookkeeping.com/a-favorite-chair/?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=blogpost&utm_term=na-fbfavoritechair&utm_content=na-readblog-blogpost&utm_campaign=9780374223212

I’ve recently been touring around giving talks and readings in bookstores, libraries, and colleges. The subject is my latest book, Now I Sit Me Down, a history of the chair. A common question from the audience is “What is your favorite chair?” I think that the implied question is actually “What is y...

"I wanted to write a novel that came out of the gaps and silences of art history."
05/05/2016
A Painterly Playlist | Dominic Smith

"I wanted to write a novel that came out of the gaps and silences of art history."

Looking at these images over the course of a few years, I was reminded how little we know of Dutch Golden Age painting. By some estimates, more than 50,000 Dutch painters were at work across the 17th century but less than 1% of their work...

"Artists know that art is not useless, else they would not make it. Nor would audiences engage with art if they truly th...
04/22/2016
Is Theatre Helpful? | Sarah Ruhl

"Artists know that art is not useless, else they would not make it. Nor would audiences engage with art if they truly thought it was useless."

When writing my play The Oldest Boy, which involves an American child recognized as a Tibetan tulku, I often called people in the Tibetan community for help and insight. I’ll never forget when I first wrote to an eminent Tibetan scholar, asking to have a conversation about reincarnation, and he wrot…

Dominic Smith's The Last Painting of Sara de Vos is out today! Read an excerpt from this sizzler that Washington Post ca...
04/05/2016
The Last Painting of Sara de Vos | Dominic Smith

Dominic Smith's The Last Painting of Sara de Vos is out today! Read an excerpt from this sizzler that Washington Post called "a riveting tale of art theft."

This is what we long for: the profound pleasure of being swept into vivid new worlds, worlds peopled by characters so intriguing and real that we can t shake them, even long after the reading's done. In The Last Painting of Sara de Vos…

As John Wray roamed Kings County in search of inspiration and cappuccinos, we asked him to record his wanderings.
04/01/2016
All in a Day’s Work with John Wray

As John Wray roamed Kings County in search of inspiration and cappuccinos, we asked him to record his wanderings.

Who better to inaugurate our All in a Day's Work series than John Wray, itinerant sunpatch hopper and professional novelist funnyman?

This is all of us.
03/29/2016

This is all of us.

"'You’re right about there bein’ no wind,' Julie says. 'The blossoms are just comin’ down by theirselves. Jest their tim...
03/11/2016
If I Loved You | Jack Viertel

"'You’re right about there bein’ no wind,' Julie says. 'The blossoms are just comin’ down by theirselves. Jest their time to, I reckon.'”

It’s the inevitable upshot of seeing someone we want; it will change two lives forever. And it’s almost always compelling to watch.

"Books often make me cry. The last one to do this was Hanya Yanagihara’s masterpiece A Little Life. It’s such a cliché b...
02/26/2016
Book Keeping with Nayomi Munaweera

"Books often make me cry. The last one to do this was Hanya Yanagihara’s masterpiece A Little Life. It’s such a cliché but I really didn’t want to say goodbye to the characters at the end of that book."

Author Nayomi Munaweera won the Commonwealth Regional Prize for Asia for her first novel, Island of a Thousand Mirrors, so it was with great anticipation that were able to ask her about her followup, What Lies Between Us, out last week from St. Martin’s Press.

Leonard Nimoy wasn't just a pretty half-Vulcan face. He also published seven books of poetry.
02/19/2016
Mr. Spock, Poet | William Shatner

Leonard Nimoy wasn't just a pretty half-Vulcan face. He also published seven books of poetry.

"I did not know those first few years we worked together that Leonard wrote poetry. Rather, I didn’t know that Leonard was a poet."

"Sometimes I wonder how Harriet the Spy is doing these days. She’d be about sixty-three now. Maybe she lives in the same...
02/12/2016
I Love My People | Book Keeping with Mo Daviau

"Sometimes I wonder how Harriet the Spy is doing these days. She’d be about sixty-three now. Maybe she lives in the same neighborhood in New York as eighty-two-year-old Holden Caulfield."

From her new forever home in Portland, Oregon, author Mo Daviau reflects on what makes a writing community, the importance of first books, and her favorite bookstore in the world (which curiously is not Powell's!).

"It is the character that reaches out until he falls that gets me every time. The tug and anguish of rooting for a flawe...
01/22/2016
The Closest Thing To Magic | Book Keeping with Christobel Kent

"It is the character that reaches out until he falls that gets me every time. The tug and anguish of rooting for a flawed human being, knowing they’ll mess up and die. Brilliant."

The job of being a mother (and make no mistake, it is hard labour, even if no-one pays you to do it) is pretty compatible with writing, as long as you let your standards of cleanliness and decency slide.

Your book forecast for this weekend.via Central Rappahannock Regional Library
01/22/2016

Your book forecast for this weekend.

via Central Rappahannock Regional Library

Our witty friend and best-selling essayist Sloane Crosley—who recently released her first novel, The Clasp—knows a thing...
01/15/2016
How To Make Your Book Club Last | Sloane Crosley

Our witty friend and best-selling essayist Sloane Crosley—who recently released her first novel, The Clasp—knows a thing (or six) about reading for fun. Here, her tips for making sure your well-intentioned plan to hang with friends, eat some cheese, and, yes, read a few books doesn’t become the thing you feign illness to avoid.

Tip 1: Keep the group small (specifically, six). Six seems to be a magic number.

"As the work on my novel progressed I came to respect Bradbury all the more for his economy of words and his ability to ...
01/14/2016
The Sweet Spot | James Renner

"As the work on my novel progressed I came to respect Bradbury all the more for his economy of words and his ability to make his writing so porous and deep. The first draft of The Great Forgetting was 950 pages and it aimed to say the same things Bradbury said in Fahrenheit’s sparse 250 pages."

What s the craziest thing you've ever believed? Because James Renner s blasphemous, riveting, insane, and glorious (Andy Howell, astrophysicist) conspiracy thriller The Great Forgetting might just have something to top it.

What's on your Christmas list this year?
12/17/2015

What's on your Christmas list this year?

Don't believe everything you think!
11/30/2015

Don't believe everything you think!

"It was impossible to write this book while my parents were alive."
11/16/2015
Going via Memory | Matthew Spender on writing memoir

"It was impossible to write this book while my parents were alive."

In the midst of a heady world of poetry and liberal politics, gay love affairs, and tense silences, Matthew Spender grew up the child of two brilliant artists.

"Both the habit and the delusion are necessary developments if you’re going to try to write novels."
11/11/2015
The Habit and the Delusion | Karen Olsson

"Both the habit and the delusion are necessary developments if you’re going to try to write novels."

I’d usually rather read a book that wanders down artful back roads than a book in which a tight plot is relentlessly executed, and that’s how I write too.

"Indeed, one friend of theirs has written to tell me I have betrayed them by writing this book at all, even though they ...
11/04/2015
Going via Memory: in conversation with Matthew Spender

"Indeed, one friend of theirs has written to tell me I have betrayed them by writing this book at all, even though they are both dead."

In A House in St. Johns Wood, Matthew drew on unpublished letters and diaries, family keepsakes, and his remembrances to give his own account of a family in in the midst of its own cold war.

"I had found that in every event, all the themes of a novel were transpiring. It made life seem important. That’s when I...
10/09/2015
Book Keeping with Heather O’Neill

"I had found that in every event, all the themes of a novel were transpiring. It made life seem important. That’s when I began to love writing. Isn’t that what happiness is—the feeling that one’s life is important?"

From the construction of invisible cities to the farthest reaches of her memory, Heather O'Neill shares some of the reasons she got into the writing business in the first place.

"I’m so grateful for my readers, I’m not in a position to put up velvet ropes. Mostly the answer is any reader who conne...
10/06/2015
Book Keeping with Sloane Crosley

"I’m so grateful for my readers, I’m not in a position to put up velvet ropes. Mostly the answer is any reader who connects with the tone of my writing and therefore trusts me."

Sloane Crosley's signature wit is sharp as ever in The Clasp, her debut novel. From carrot forests to Maupassantian necklaces, Sloane shares the genesis of her reading and writing.

"My ideal reader is anybody who also feels that reading fiction has saved her life, who believes . . . that reading fict...
09/24/2015
Book Keeping with Ceridwen Dovey

"My ideal reader is anybody who also feels that reading fiction has saved her life, who believes . . . that reading fiction is an important pathway to empathy for others."

When we signed up Only the Animals, which the Guardian has since called “dazzling,” the whole office was abuzz. It was a treat to ask Ceridwen about her life in books, from nailing down dialogue to her favorite Sydney bookshop.

"There’s an oft-quoted verse for church fundraising: 'Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.' As corny a...
09/18/2015
Book Keeping with H. S. Cross

"There’s an oft-quoted verse for church fundraising: 'Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.' As corny as this sounds, it’s proven true for me with material things, and I’m beginning to understand that it’s also true of mental treasure."

Wilberforce, H. S. Cross s stunning debut novel, is out this week. In celebration we were only too glad to pick her brain. See her dig into the literary archaeology of the school story, and even produce the very first yarn she ever finished solo.

"The story itself is straightforward, but the truths are not."
08/28/2015
Book Keeping with James Sie | Book Keeping

"The story itself is straightforward, but the truths are not."

We loved hearing from professional voiceover actor James Sie about the experience of recording the audio book of his debut novel, Still Life Las Vegas, and are just as excited today to be able to share these stories from his life in reading!

"It was becoming clear that [Didion] didn’t have just readers; she had fans—not the way writers have fans, but the way m...
08/26/2015
Joan Didion and Women | Tracy Daugherty

"It was becoming clear that [Didion] didn’t have just readers; she had fans—not the way writers have fans, but the way musicians and actors have fans."

The Last Love Song by Tracy Daugherty is an exciting new entry on the life and letters of Joan Didion, a writer celebrated as one of the foremost voices of her generation.

"The way I see it, if the reader believes the story, then the story is true, regardless of whether it really happened to...
08/18/2015
Book Keeping with Jennine Capó Crucet

"The way I see it, if the reader believes the story, then the story is true, regardless of whether it really happened to me."

Jennine Capó Crucet shares her most recent recommendations, the difference between fact and fiction, and the childhood dream-theft of a tomato that (arguably) set her on the path to writing.

"I recall the walk across the tarmac in St. John’s. The wind was strong enough to cause small whitecaps to appear on the...
08/13/2015
Grounded in Memory | Jane Urquhart

"I recall the walk across the tarmac in St. John’s. The wind was strong enough to cause small whitecaps to appear on the puddles I walked past, and so wild and unfocused that it undid my shoelaces before I reached the plane."

As airport layovers go, not many end up producing brilliant novels. Yet novelist and poet Jane Urquhart can recall the exact four hours in lonely Gander Airport 25 years ago that seeded the material for The Night Stages.

“After months of examining every comma and dangling preposition during the copyediting process, I now had to let it all ...
08/05/2015
Voices In My Head | James Sie

“After months of examining every comma and dangling preposition during the copyediting process, I now had to let it all go, to read the novel not as my creation, but as a story, something separate from me.”

"There are voices you listen to, but they’re all in your own head." James Sie, veteran voiceover actor, discusses the surreal but joyous experience of recording the audiobook for his debut novel, Still Life Las Vegas.

“I love old maps and the stories behind them; it was an old map that inspired Landfalls, a story I recently shared at my...
08/04/2015
Book Keeping with Naomi J. Williams

“I love old maps and the stories behind them; it was an old map that inspired Landfalls, a story I recently shared at my blog. Books about maps are much easier to come by than actual maps, of course.”

In todays Book Keeping, we set sail with novelist Naomi J. Williams, who turns out to be as voracious a reader as she is a talented writer. Naomi's debut, Landfalls, is a beautifully written and absorbing tale of the high seas...

Book Keeping's cover photo
08/03/2015

Book Keeping's cover photo

"Reading Beloved all those years ago, I was conscious for the first time of what an enormous act of the imagination a wo...
07/31/2015
Book Keeping with Jane Urquhart

"Reading Beloved all those years ago, I was conscious for the first time of what an enormous act of the imagination a work of fiction can be, and how emotionally risky that act sometimes is, both for the writer and the reader."

Jane's newest novel is The Night Stages, an elegiac work of unusual depth. She was kind enough to spend some time indoors from the beautiful Canadian summer to answer a few questions about her life and love of reading.

Whether these books are meant for the beach, the book club, or the bathtub, these writers will knock your socks off. Thi...
07/22/2015
Summer Reads Extravaganza | Book Keeping

Whether these books are meant for the beach, the book club, or the bathtub, these writers will knock your socks off. This summer we're giving away four sets of five novels from the cream of our crop.

Our winners will spend the summer in the capable hands of Katherine Taylor, Robyn Cadwallader, Lisa Gornick, Laura van den Berg, and Sophie McManus.

"Novels are like soup: if the first spoonful tastes horrible, the rest of the bowl isn’t going to taste miraculously bet...
07/22/2015
Book Keeping with Benjamin Johncock

"Novels are like soup: if the first spoonful tastes horrible, the rest of the bowl isn’t going to taste miraculously better."

—Benjamin Johncock

Benjamin Johncock, author of The Last Pilot, tells us about the love of reading he s taken with him every step of the way to the publication of his first novel.

"Consider this: the 20th century started with horses and ended with spacecraft. I sometimes think that novelists are try...
07/21/2015
Dreaming Up Skies | Benjamin Johncock

"Consider this: the 20th century started with horses and ended with spacecraft. I sometimes think that novelists are trying to make sense of the 21st century before they’ve made sense of the one preceding it."

The allure of space is timeless; it as ingrained in humanity's dreams as flight. Benjamin Johncock wrote to us about how his childhood fascination had morphed into something new and beautiful.

"Lately, my prayers have become a form of artistic expression: Carefully chosen words, praise reports like songs, and so...
06/24/2015
Words Made Flesh: Literature And The Language Of Prayer

"Lately, my prayers have become a form of artistic expression: Carefully chosen words, praise reports like songs, and sometimes pissed-off pronouncements entwined with polite requests that I please not screw something up," says critic Juan Vidal. "This season of life has required thoughtful consideration of even my private devotional time — and that makes me think of the conviction of Flannery O'Connor."

No American writer has been able to pin down the intersection of faith, prayer and art like Flannery O'Connor. Critic Juan Vidal reflects on her Prayer Journal, and the faith that words can live.

"The changes that took place in my mother seemed to me bigger than a person—more like weather or a sea shift."
06/18/2015
Instructions to Participant | Lisa Gornick

"The changes that took place in my mother seemed to me bigger than a person—more like weather or a sea shift."

Louisa Meets Bear is something special, a piercing look into whether we can—or can't—choose how and whom we love. Read the beginning of the first story below!

"If you are fascinated by huge success, tragic genius, and skulduggery by famous people, then you are probably my ideal ...
06/12/2015
Book Keeping with Stephen Jarvis

"If you are fascinated by huge success, tragic genius, and skulduggery by famous people, then you are probably my ideal reader."

As the U.S. release date for the vast, richly imagined, Dickensian novel Death and Mr. Pickwick nears, Stephen Jarvis was generous enough to answer our questions about his debut.

"I remember both reading and eating Pat the Bunny. The eating was better."
06/08/2015
Book Keeping with Sophie McManus

"I remember both reading and eating Pat the Bunny. The eating was better."

Sophie McManus, author of The Unfortunates, generously answered our questions about her life in books—from eating to reading them.

"I was at the Church of St Margaret, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, UK, on the search for anchorholds and the memories of anchore...
05/21/2015
Feeling Within Stone | Robyn Cadwallader

"I was at the Church of St Margaret, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, UK, on the search for anchorholds and the memories of anchoresses, the women who had chosen to be permanently sealed from the world."

Robyn Cadwallader, author of The Anchoress, shares her story of the trip to an English chapel that planted the seed of her novel.

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