Sugar & Spice: Colbert Fights Amazon with Sweetness #9

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sweetness number nine

Imagine something awesome getting even more awesome. Like an adorable puppy that drags home a bag full of $100 bills, a new Vespa that comes complete with a barista who serves you cappuccinos from the sidecar, or a really hot guy who brings you a pre-release copy of the new Jeff Vandermeer book (okay that one might just be me). That’s how I feel about The Colbert Report. I’ve loved the show for years, but when Stephen Colbert started pointed out the abuses of Amazon — well, that took it over the top for me, and now I love the show that much more.

In his quest to get back at Amazon just a little bit for their disregard of authors and freedom of information through their petty battle with the publisher Hachette, Colbert is promoting some of his fellow Hachette authors on his show with the goal of getting them so many preorders that they hit the New York Times bestseller list. His first author, Edan Lepucki, saw her book California hit number three on the bestseller list, so Colbert invited her on the show to promote an upcoming book of her choice.

Lepucki picked Sweetness #9, a book that I enjoyed too — in fact, I reviewed it this month over at BookPage. Here’s an excerpt from my review:

It’s easy to think Sweetness #9 is an anti-food industry book, but it really isn’t. Artificial sweetener is used as a metaphor, and the real heart of the story is the past decades’ cultural shifts. It’s all here, from aerobics to blue ketchup, from school shootings to suburbia, from over-medication to diet fads. Chemical flavoring stands for our obsession with immediacy, our single-serving, isolationist culture and our inability to stomach anything nourishing, either culinary or emotional.

Sweetness #9 comes out August 19, but you can already preorder the ebook from the link below, and read my Sweetness #9 BookPage review in its entirety here. The book is quirky and insightful, and that makes it perfect for fans of Tom Perrotta or Ron Currie, Jr. … and of Stephen Colbert, come to think of it.

Carrie Rollwagen is co-owner and book buyer at Church Street Coffee & Books, an independent coffee shop and bookstore in Birmingham, Alabama.

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