Happy Birthday, Julia

Now officially a best seller, Dearie, Bob Sptiz’s bio of Julia Child debuts on the Indie Hardcover Nonfiction Bestseller list at #5, during the week that marks the 100th anniversary of the author’s birth.

Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child 
Bob Spitz
Retail Price: $29.95
Hardcover: 576 pages
Publisher: RH/Knopf – (2012-08-07)
ISBN / EAN: 0307272222 / 9780307272225

Random House Audio; BOT Audio (strong review from AudioFile).

Child’s landmark book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, also receives a boost this week, rising to #40 on Amazon sales rankings. Few would have anticipated this continued success fifty years ago, certainly not the publishers, Alfred A. and Blanche Knopf, who prided themselves on publishing “important” books. Cookbooks were not considered important and those they did publish could be out of step with the times. Spitz writes that the recipes in an earlier Knopf French cookbook served a surprisingly large quantity of people. When asked why, the author responded that one had to feed the help.

But Child’s book came along at the perfect time. As Spitz points out, American women were being exhorted to use convenience foods, turning the kitchen into a factory assembly line. Julia appealed to women’s desire to reach for something more.

A first edition of the book that was published so reluctantly is currently offered for sale on AbeBooks.com for $6,500. Mastering the Art of French Cooking , as well as Child’s other titles, have become staples on the Knopf list.

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