Friday, January 29, 2010

Time Magazine Heralds COUNTRY DRIVING by Peter Hessler

In an article about "Big China Books:  Enough of the Big Picture," Jeffrey Rosserstrom calls COUNTRY DRIVING (HarperCollins, February 2010) Peter's best book yet, writing:  "I haven't been to the places Hessler describes in Country Driving or met the people whose stories he tells with his characteristic blend of empathy, insight and self-deprecating humor. Yet I never doubt for a second that he's writing about the richly hued and socially variegated country that I know, as opposed to one of the imaginary lands conjured up in Big China Books."  [COUNTRY DRIVING] "captures beautifully the rhythms of life in a nation that is being turned inside out so quickly that it is not just lone American writers, but also Chinese from varied walks of life, who often find themselves struggling to traverse uncharted territory, armed only with their wits and with maps that become obsolete as soon as they are printed.

Monday, January 25, 2010

"Could it be *the* book of the Iraq war?" asks Da Capo's Publisher about Matt Gallagher's KABOOM

In a letter to publishing colleagues in the Advance Reading Copy of Matt Gallagher's first book, KABOOM:  Embracing the Suck in a Savage Little War, John Radziewicz thinks readers will be hooked, writing "George Orwell's HOMAGE TO CATALONIA.  Joseph Heller's CATCH-22.  Kurt Vonnegut's SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE.  Pretty heady company to be in, but that's where I'd place Matt Gallagher's KABOOM--a memoir that dazzlingly captures the voice of a generation in the collective experience of their war."

KABOOM will be published by Da Capo as a lead title in April 2010, with a national marketing campaign including national print advertising, author appearances in New York and Washington, DC, online marketing, and special retail coop.

Check out the original blog by Lt. G here.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

You Can Help Us In Haiti - Bed-Stuy Volunteer Ambulance Corps

Please read our neighbor Dièry Prudent's appeal for donations to help him and other volunteers help Haiti:

Today I joined the Bedford-Stuyvesant Volunteer Ambulance Corps and volunteered to go to Haiti to participate in BSVAC's Haiti Rescue Operation. I was sworn in as Haiti Liaison Officer, responsible for assisting with communications, fundraising, logistics and translation for patients receiving care from English-speaking medical personnel.

My brother Gardel, who’s a volunteer EMT with BSVAC, deployed to Haiti yesterday with 100 EMTs and a dozen doctors. I intend to follow his example this week.

I'm appealing to you for the financial means to enable BSVAC to send 151 more volunteers who are currently awaiting transport to Haiti.

BSVAC, the nation's first multi-ethnic volunteer ambulance corps, has been saving and changing lives since 1989. BSVAC is a community-based volunteer ambulance corps in Brooklyn, NY, that operates on a shoestring budget -- with no paid staff -- yet it has has just managed to sent over 100 EMTs and a dozen doctors to Haiti on a private plane.

BSVAC has over 150 volunteer EMTs ready to go to Haiti next week, to relieve the first contingent and continue to save lives. We need your help now. We need your donations -- no amount is too small -- to buy water, food, medical supplies, equipment, protective gear, fuel and to charter the next plane.

  • Your gift of $5 will buy a set of small bandages and disposable rubber gloves. Your gift of $100 will provide uniforms/protective gear for a volunteer EMT. 
  • Your gift of $400 will outfit an EMT with basic trauma equipment. 
  • Your gift of $1,000 will help buy fuel to transport the volunteers. 
  • Your gift of $40,000 will charter a flight. 
Time is of the essence. You can help save lives right now by making your tax-deductible donation to BSVAC. Simply visit the BSVAC website at and click on Donate to make an instant donation to BSVAC through the secure Network for Good system.

With deepest gratitude,


Bed-Stuy Volunteer Ambulance Corps

Shanghai's Asks Peter Hessler Why He Writes continues their series of talks with authors of books about China about their writing and reading habits. The site interviewed Peter's partner Leslie Chang (not an agency client), author of FACTORY GIRLS: From Village to City in a Changing China (Spiegel & Grau), in November 2009.  You can read that here.

Nick Davies, the editor of the Canongate (UK) edition of COUNTRY DRIVING, emailed the following additional blurbs for that edition of the book this morning:

‘A masterly, learned, entertaining, kind and endlessly fascinating panorama of life in 21st-century China.’ 
--Jan Morris

‘Modern China has seldom been better explained than by Peter Hessler in this imaginative and illuminating book, one that gives us a steering wheel-up view of the country’s giddying economic and social transformation.’
--Tim Butcher, author of Blood River