When Mike Hoogland wisely used his post to solicit feedback on our blog posts, readers responded with some good ideas, including Anthony Pacheco’s excellent suggestion to post cover reveals and new releases. I’m pleased to oblige. Nothing is more exciting, in fact, than having the opportunity to trumpet news of our clients’ work. And this last week has given me two terrific titles to tout.
Country western singer turned sustainable food expert Liz Carlisle has just published Lentil Underground: Renegade Farmers and the Future of Food in America. A good while back I posted her pitch letter as an example of a successful nonfiction pitch, and now months later, amid celebrations, workshops alongside bestselling author Michael Pollan and wonderful food created by chef Claudia Krevat, her book is making its debut. Her book trailer is above.
Another work of narrative nonfiction is also just out, this by veteran reporter and journalism professor Joseph Coleman. UNFINISHED WORK: The Struggle to Build an Aging American Workforce is a smart, story-driven analysis of a quiet revolution that is even now underway—people are living longer and the social and economic implications are vast. For better and worse, retirement is changing, and the stories of the men and women who are working into their seventies and eighties make for an eye-opening and provocative read. Happily, agenting is a career that has no mandatory age of retirement, so my hope is to represent authors for the next forty or so years, when I can commute to the city by jet-pack.
Although lentils and eighty-year old Japanese artisans might appear to have little in common, these two disparate books do provide a kind of snapshot of the projects I represent: narrative non-fiction that blends brainy, big-ideas with the human stories of men and women who are the heart of any good book. I look for writing that can deliver both fine-grain, immersive prose about people and places and then back up to furnish context and analysis. Finally, these books are excellent examples of unlikely or overlooked topics that have a great deal to tell us about the world in which we live.