Posted tagged ‘Best of 2009’

Self-Aggrandizement Alert: Newton and the Counterfeiter/New York Magazine edition

December 24, 2009

Well, this was a nice way to start the holiday week.  New York Magazine named Newton and the Counterfeiter one of the ten best books of the year — number five in fact.

To allow the Devouring Culture Vulture, AKA Sam Anderson to deliver words that would make me blush to write, this is what he had to say in support of his choice:

Levenson gives us a historical metamorphosis you’d never believe if it weren’t so well-documented: Isaac Newton — the antisocial human calculator who revolutionized Enlightenment science — as badass London supercop. In the 1690s, England faced a financial crisis that almost destroyed the country: Newton aimed his genius at the problem while tracking, Law & Order style, a counterfeiting supervillain. The plot is fast, loaded with rich pockets of history (gravity, alchemy, bubonic plague), and strangely resonant with current affairs. Imagine Stephen Hawking solving the global financial meltdown while also busting Ponzi schemers.

I blush.

As always, should you feel moved to take the next logical step at this point in the post, Newton and the Counterfeiter can be found at all the usual sources:  AmazonPowellsBarnes and NobleIndiebound and  across the pond at, and John Smith & Son.

Image: Adelaide Hanscom and Blanche Cumming, “The Earth Could Not Answer,” 1905, illustration for “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam,” tr. Edward Fitzgerald, 1905.

Horn Tooting: Library Journal/Newton and the Counterfeiter Edition

November 20, 2009

I’ve been waaay remiss in self aggrandizement/book hawking on this blog lately, so it is my pleasure to report that Library Journal put Newton and the Counterfeiter on its Best Books 2009 list.

Money quote from the accompanying article:

“What I looked for in my best books picks was unique voices,” [Library Journal Fiction Editor] Wilda Willy explained, …She also wanted original ideas, a fresh take on a well-worn subject (“yes, we all know about Isaac Newton, the genius scientist, But did you know he was also a genius detective?”), and beautiful writing.

This is, I devoutly hope, the first swallow in a Newton spring of renewed attention, but Library Journal has a special place in my heart — first to review (and star) the book, and now this.  I esteem their editors’ taste and thank them for their kindness.

Oh…and if you had a thought to actually go out and follow the LJ commendation, you can find Newton and the Counterfeiter quite easily: Amazon,PowellsBarnes and Noble,Indiebound and  across the pond at,WaterstonesBlackwellsBorders,John Smith & Son

One last thought:  publishing a book is a strange business, emotionally a bit whacked.  You write the damn thing over some number of years, mostly all by yourself…and then you send it out into the world.  Unless you have the good fortune to hit it really big, showing up on all the chat shows and clipping reviews by the ream, it mostly goes … not quite silently into the void…but quietly.  It’s hard to know, even with a solid sale, whether people got what you wrote, whether they actually value it.

It’s like sowing seeds out the window of a moving car; you almost can’t know whether anything sprouts.  And then, something like this drops in on the wings of a Google alert.  And you know something did.  It’s sweet.

Image:  Vincent van Gogh, “The Sower,” 1889.