If you’re looking for the next best book to read this month, consider Beatitude, the official selection of The Next Best Book Club (TNBBC)—the largest book club on Goodreads, with 14.3K members—slated for discussion in February. TNBBC founder Lori Hettler gave Beatitude a 4-star-strongly-recommended review, writing, “Beatitude, simply put, is an exceptionally well written debut that explores love in all its varied forms, dissecting what it is to love.”
TNBBC is giving away 20 print and digital copies of Beatitude, now through January 8, with winners announced on January 9. To be eligible, all you have to do is Read more
Among those I admire most are artists who manage the increasingly difficult balancing act of staying true to themselves while making a living from what they do. One such artist is legendary animator Bill Plympton. Even if you don’t know his name, you know his work: an instantly identifiable blend of Read more
Jay: Channing Tatum
Harry: Zachary Quinto
Zahra: Freida Pinto
Matteo: Gael Garcia Bernal
Who should star in Beatitude on the the big screen? I asked a group of readers with very heartfelt views—the seven members of the Staten Island book club I visited on Friday evening. Their suggestions were intriguing: Zachary Quinto as Harry, Channing Tatum as Jay, Freida Pinto as Zahra and Gael Garcia Bernal as Matteo. I look forward to the announcement in Variety.
Movie casting was just one of a multitude of topics covered in our three-and-a-half-hour marathon conversation during which I learned a lot about Beatitude that I never knew.
I learned that Zahra is likely black (“brown, at least”). I learned that the best quality of Matteo, narrator Harry’s damaged and volatile crush, can be Read more
New York’s largest independent bookstore, The Strand, is also on every list of the city’s best. I’ve always felt that way and even more so since my novel Beatitude was published two years ago because The Strand has consistently included Beatitude among its famous 18 miles of books ever since. I’ve signed three different batches of books for the store and piles of copies have been featured on one of the first floor gift idea tables several times. On a recent visit, I spotted two copies on a shelf in the fiction section. Now they’re signed, too!
The Strand is located at 828 Broadway, New York, NY, 10003.
San Francisco Night by Jonathan Collins
The downside of missing your stop on a New Jersey Transit train? A surly conductor who responds to the innocent question, “How many stops to Paterson?” by yelling, “This train is going to Trenton!” As if the person who asked the question should know that Paterson is not on the way to Trenton. But neither the questioner, me, nor my travel companion, the lovely Stephanie Nikolopoulos, are intimately familiar with the geography of New Jersey, and thus our 45-minute trip to Paterson turns into a one-hour-45-minute trip, with a course correction that involves a lengthy layover at Newark International before a nerve-wracking sprint up and down the out-of-order escalators of Secaucus. Read more
The latest review of Beatitude comes from Empty Mirror, a wonderful arts and literary magazine devoted to literature, film, music and art, with a special interest in the Beat Generation. Empty Mirror’s owner and editor, Denise Enck, wrote the review herself:
“Closs’s knowledge of and love for the Beats and New York shines through; the atmosphere alone is enough for a Beat aficionado to appreciate this book. But it’s the personal struggles that [narrator] Harry Charity experiences which are at the heart of Beatitude and which give it its poignancy. It’s about unrequited love, relationships, and how we go about finding satisfaction and direction in life. Those are abstract concepts, but Closs’s writing and engaging characters bring them to life in ways which will stay with you long after you finish the last page.”
You can read the full review here, along with many other thoughtful reviews and articles on book collecting, writing and publishing.
Beatitude has just received another 5-star review—by Monika Vig on the World of Diversity Fiction site—and I have to say that to receive a review, let alone a 5-star review, more than a year after Beatitude’s publication, is truly inspiring and gratifying. Here’s an excerpt:
“I loved, loved, loved it! Beatitude has some sad moments that brought me to tears but it also had some very touching moments that made me smile. It’s definitely bittersweet, at the same time it’s a heartwarming story of what real friendship and love can be. Larry Closs has written a wonderful story that is multi-layered but he effortlessly interweaves those layers into something that is special… I found myself never wanting this story to end.”
You can read the full review here.
Looking back at the year that followed the publication of Beatitude, I was struck by how much my first novel had changed my life in ways I’d never imagined. Every author dreams of hitting the bestseller lists, seeing their characters on the big screen and winning all sorts of awards. And, in a way, all of those things happened. Beatitude has been No. 1 on the Rebel Satori Press fiction bestseller list since its debut. The book trailer I produced, featuring both Allen Ginsberg and Johnny Depp, who figure in Beatitude, is on both YouTube and Vimeo. And Beatitude won a major award in the Independent Publisher Book Awards.
But as I reflected on the impact that Beatitude has had, and continues to have, on my life, I realized that there was so much more to the story and, most importantly, how much I had to be thankful for. After writing notes to myself on my iPhone for several weeks, mostly in between sets at the gym, I finally decided to put it all together in an article, which the awesome Lori Hettler offered to publish on her awesome literary site, The Next Best Book Blog. Lori was one of the first and biggest supporters of Beatitude, not only publishing a wonderful review but organizing a week-long blog tour. She is the kind of friend that every author wishes for and so influential in the book world that she was the subject of a recent New York Times article.
You can read the article, Gratitude for Beatitude: A First-Time Author’s First Year, here.
Katie Jennings, founder of the fantastic I Love Book Trailers site, loves cats so it’s no wonder she loves the cover of Beatitude (by Anthony Freda) and the book trailer. “Make sure to keep watching till the end,” she says. See for yourself here.
Thanks to my Instagram feed (@larrycloss), I’ve been invited to participate in 1197, the annual conference devoted to mobile and iPhone photography.
Named for the date when the first photo was snapped with a cell phone—June 11, 1997—the conference features a week of juried exhibits, workshops, photo walks, panels and prizes and takes place this year at the Soho Gallery for Digital Art, 138 Sullivan Street, New York, February 17-23.
On a panel titled “Whistle While You Snap: Instagrammers Getting Paid” (Friday, February 22, 2 p.m.), I’ll join Brian DeFeo of The Mobile Media Lab, Tim Young of Tim Young Studio, and Adrian Salamunovic of CanvasPop in conversation with iPhoneographer, Instagrammer and travel blogger extraordinaire Kirsten Alana.
For my part, I am thrilled to be grilled by Kirsten on how my 15K following on Instagram helped to sell a few copies of my award-winning debut novel, Beatitude.
Photos to follow, of course! In the meantime, be sure to follow Kirsten on Instagram, @kirstenalana, and the awesome Johnny Manhattan, @artboy11211, who generously provided the photo of Kirsten and me at The W Hotel from his fantastic IG feed.
I was on Dictionary.com recently and this was on the homepage. Coincidence?
Have you ever fallen for a fictional character? Author Anthony R. Cardno has, and in an article titled “My Literary Crushes,” he reveals that Beatitude’s narrator, Harry Charity, is one of his latest fixations:
Harry is completely, totally, in every way, shape and form, average. And yet I still finished the book having the hugest crush on him and wishing I could do something to Read more