30 July 2010

Featuring . . . The Financial Lives of the Poets by Jess Walter

This Friday and every Friday for the next several months I'll be featuring a book in the Harper Perennial Imprint. Some were recently published, some will be released later this year, all are worth a closer look.

I was sold on The Financial Lives of the Poets by Jess Walter when it came out in hardcover and was reviewed and loved by many book bloggers. I'm going to share some of those reviews in minute, but first take a look at the publisher's summary:

A few years ago, small-time finance journalist Matthew Prior quit his day job to gamble everything on a quixotic notion: a Web site devoted to financial journalism in the form of blank verse. When his big idea—and his wife's eBay resale business—ends with a whimper (and a garage full of unwanted figurines), they borrow and borrow, whistling past the graveyard of their uncertain dreams. One morning Matt wakes up to find himself jobless, hobbled with debt, spying on his wife's online flirtation, and six days away from losing his home. Is this really how things were supposed to end up for me, he wonders: staying up all night worried, driving to 7-Eleven in the middle of the night to get milk for his boys, and falling in with two local degenerates after they offer him a hit of high-grade marijuana?

Or, he thinks, could this be the solution to all my problems?

Following Matt in his weeklong quest to save his marriage, his sanity, and his dreams, The Financial Lives of the Poets is a hysterical, heartfelt novel about how we can reach the edge of ruin—and how we can begin to make our way back.
What can I say? I love the premise, and I want to know what happens after Matt smokes dope. But the real reason I want to read this novel is because of the many enthusiastic reviews I came across last year when the hardcover was released. Here are three (click on the links for the full review):
  • Carrie from Books and Movies: "Mixing humor and poetry with observations of modern life, Walter has crafted a story that kept me turning the pages."
  • Lisa from Lit and Life: "Even though Walter may have thrown everything but the kitchen sink into this book in terms of problems the Priors are facing, it never seems unbelievable. . . . Walter keeps it from getting too heavy, constantly throwing in characters and situations that made me giggle as I read the book."
  • Melissa at The Betty and Boo Chronicles: "I think one of the hallmarks of a good writer is one who can make you love and hate a character within the same sentence. And Jess Walter—who is a very, very, very good writer—succeeds at this with his main character of Matt."
The Harper Perennial edition of The Financial Lives of Poets will be released on September 7. For more on Jess Walter and his current tour schedule, visit his website.

This book was featured as part of my Spotlight on the Harper Perennial imprint. For information about the imprint, please read Erica Barmash's welcome note posted here on June 18, 2010. I encourage you to add your reviews of Harper Perennial books to the review link-up page; it's a great way to discover Good Books for Cool People. You might also want to visit the The Olive Reader, the Harper Perennial blog.

The Financial Lives of the Poets at Powell's
The Financial Lives of the Poets at Book Depository
These links lead to affiliate programs.

Published by HarperCollins / Harper Perennial, September 7, 2010
ISBN-13: 9780061916052


Sandy Nawrot 7/30/10, 7:45 AM  

I don't think I need much more arm-twisting to put this on my need to read list. It is on there with another hundred or two books, but that is progress, eh?

S. Krishna 7/30/10, 8:51 AM  

I received this book for review when it first pub'd in hardcover and never got around to it! I'll have to make it a point to review it soon.

Molly 7/30/10, 10:26 AM  

I somehow missed all the book chatter on this one last year - but I am convinced that I now need to read it.

Thanks for the introduction!

Anonymous,  7/30/10, 7:47 PM  

Why do you do this to me?? Just when I think I'm being strong and not succumbing to temptation, you go and mention a good book.

Daniela 7/31/10, 12:22 AM  

I know this will be a good book because it reminds me so much of the AMC series Breaking Bad (which i love love love).

Vasilly 7/31/10, 8:41 PM  

This book has been on my TBR list for a long time. Thanks for highlighting it.

Melissa 8/1/10, 11:16 AM  

Thanks for mentioning my review. This was the first book I read in 2010, and it will definitely be among my top reads of the year. Absolutely loved this one.

Jennifer 8/2/10, 9:13 PM  

Sounds like an interesting read. I'm definitely already feeling the suspense just from reading the synopsis provided. I'll be keeping this on my TBR list.

Carrie K. 8/3/10, 4:04 PM  

It really was a wonderful read - you've just reminded me that I wanted to seek out more of his work.

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