Monday, September 24, 2012

Two Lives from Scratch: Confections and Confusion for the Kindle

My Life from Scratch: A Sweet Journey of Starting Over, One Cake at a timeMy Life From Scratch by Gesine Bullock-Prado
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Confession: I read this book by accident.

Some time ago, I saw Life From Scratch on Amazon and added it to my to-read list.  I will not lie.  I was initially seduced by the pretty stuff in spoons on the cover:
Whose life is it, anyway?

A few weeks ago, I searched some titles from my to-read list in the Brooklyn Public Library's electronic books catalog, and put a few on reserve. Obviously, what came up when I typed in "life from scratch" was My Life from Scratch, and I didn't notice the minor title difference when I downloaded it to my Kindle.

Interestingly, after I realized my mistake, I discovered that this book was published in hardcover in 2009 as Confections of a Closet Master Baker: One Woman's Sweet Journey from Unhappy Hollywood Executive to Contented Country Baker. They changed the title to My Life from Scratch for the 2010 paperback release (which happened about a month before the release of Life from Scratch).   Can anyone in the publishing world speak to whether completely changing a title between releases is more common that I realize? Would they have known that a very similarly titled book was due to come out a month later?  Edit: According to a friend in the publishing industry, this is really unusual and represents the publisher basically cutting its losses (the losses being hardcover sales).  Which makes sense -- they're putting out a different title and hoping that it will generate more sales than whatever name recognition/reputation the hardcover had already garnered.  Also, it looks like the title has changed more than once; a 2011 release was called Starting Over One Cake at a Time: One Woman's Journey from Movie Executive to Macaroons.  When sales are slow, adding fireworks to the cover is the only way to go.  Even if fireworks have nothing to do with baking.
          Confections of a Closet Master Baker: One Woman's Sweet Journey from Unhappy Hollywood Executive to Contented Country Baker            Starting Over, One Cake at a Time. Gesine Bullock-Prado
For what it's worth, I think "Confections" as a play on "Confessions" in the original title is clever, but "Closet Master Baker" is a weird phrase that probably should have been avoided in the first place. If I were the publisher, I would have gone with Confections of a Master Baker and left it at that. Unless we think "Master Baker" is something like "Master Debater" and likely to elicit snickers from 12-year-old boys? Relatedly, who else did a spit-take when Jill Biden said, “I’ve heard the urgency in [Joe Biden's] voice when he comes ... and talks about the people he’s met”?

Back to the post.  I did learn a few things from reading this book: (1) the original macaroon was coconut-free; (2) the author's name, Gesine, is pronounced Geh-see-neh, with a hard "g" (she really hates when it's mispronounced); and (3) Sandra Bullock is her sister.
Sister, sister!  

I figured out the last point shortly after reading about the clothes that "Sandy" gets free "for being a movie star."  Another clue was:
On the right wall next to the large wine cooler sits an imposing sixteenth-century Spanish church pew that my sister had shipped up from an antiques shop in Savannah, Georgia, for my birthday.
Funny, that's almost exactly what I got from my sisters for my birthday! But aside from the my-sister-is-a-rich-movie-star tidbits, My Life from Scratch is just a quick and easy read about a woman who gave up the Hollywood rat race to open a bakery in Vermont. If this book were a pastry, it'd be a meringue: airy and sweet, but slightly dull and not terribly filling.  Still, if you need a snack, this might hit the spot.


Anonymous said...

Points for the careful alliteration of your title.

Charlie said...

Oh no. I have gotten sucked into reading your book reviews. My productivity! I can feel it grinding to a halt!