Sunday, February 15, 2009

More on Love...


This week I received Jonathan Baumbach's lastest novel YOU or The Invention of Memory (Akron, Ohio: Rager Media, 2007).

It was a free gift sent as part of The New You Project started by public relations innovator Lauren Cerand, which Cerand engineered to give the novel a second lease on life as its initial release turned out to be rather underwhelming, receiving very little press coverage. Apparently Baumbach is something of a writers' writer, with his "underappreciated" status confirmed by none less than the Gray Lady (The New York Times Book Review).

Cerand took on Baumbach's novel in defiance of the notion that after the initial release there's nothing that can be done on behalf of book that's fallen through the cracks. Instead Cerand created The New You Project which started with 200 books, and an offer to send one free of charge to anyone who requested one. You weren't assigned the onus of any specific action--you could read the book, sell it at your local used bookstore or on Amazon or Powells, or give it away to a friend. Cerand just felt the book was valuable and that it should be "out in the world," she details her ethos in the website's first post: "The Rules of the Game in Paris (and Publishing)." She started a regularly updated blog to document any interesting news associated with the book, new public readings for Baumbach, reviews, the furthest the book had yet traveled, etc. (Thanks to writer Tayari Jones for the heads up on this!)

The success of Cerand's efforts really shows what a difference love, for a book about love and its various complexities, and a willingness to think outside of the box can make. The free book giveaway ended at midnight on Valentine's Day. But the book is available in bookstores, and you can always lobby your public library to buy a copy.

Spread the love!

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