The fourth and, so far, best episode of the online book discussion show Title Page is now online. Rather than the four separate talking heads of previous shows, this one has more real discussion going between the writers (I suspect they made these writers read each other’s work beforehand). To further involve viewers, host Dan Menaker is available in the discussion area today. His response about the challenges of moderating panels will bring a smile to anyone who’s tried it.

Featured in this show are three novelists and a poet. As in the previous episodes, the authors already are, or will be, getting attention.

The one exception to that rule is Episode Four guest, poet Edward Hirsch, only because poetry just doesn’t get coverage in the consumer media. Hirsch is the standout of the show, helping to foster discussion and speaking accessibly about his craft.

Special Orders

Edward Hirsch

  • Hardcover: $25.00
  • Publisher: Knopf (March 11, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0307266818
  • ISBN-13: 978-030726681


The Ten-Year Nap

Meg Wolitzer

  • Hardcover: $24.95
  • Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover (March 27, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1594489785
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594489785

Meg Wolitzer’s latest novel has been reviewed fairly widely already. The LA Times sums up the story as

focusing on the so-called opt-out generation — the much-discussed phenomenon of educated professionals (often daughters of feminists who fought for the right to work outside the home) who quit their jobs after having children. Is this the perk of women with wealthy husbands or a self-inflicted raw deal?

In a generally positive review, the Washington Post finds it witty even though it “occasionally reads like an overly earnest polemic.” The LA Times basically agrees, but with a much less positive spin,

Her writing abounds with lovely images that capture her characters’ lives — the “spackling of peanut butter onto bread” or coaxing “the last of the sunblock from the snouts of bottles.” But The Ten-Year Nap often sags like an old mattress with the weight of its characters’ earnest discussions about ambition, aging and societal expectations…but there’s enough between the covers to remind us that her writing is worth staying awake for.

Entertainment Weekly gave it an “A-“,

Wolitzer’s middle-aged moms are flawed: selfish, neurotic, and occasionally petty. But they — and their conflicts — feel vividly, satisfyingly real.


Harry, Revised

Mark Sarvas

  • Hardcover: $24.99
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (April 15, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1596914629
  • ISBN-13: 978-159691462

Harry, Revised has not been reviewed, but was covered in New York magazine’s current roundup of 5 first novelists.


Olive Kitteridge

Elizabeth Strout

  • Hardcover: $25.00
  • Publisher: Random House (March 25, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 140006208X
  • ISBN-13: 978-140006208

Olive Kitteridge has been receiving a string of very positive reviews, including an “A” review in Entertainment Weekly. Friday’s New York Times review says,

The pleasure in reading “Olive Kitteridge” comes from an intense identification with complicated, not always admirable, characters.

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