TIME Books

J.K. Rowling Just Published a New Harry Potter Story

JK Rowling Hosts Fundraising Event For Charity 'Lumos'
Joanne "JK" Rowling attends a charity evening hosted by JK Rowling to raise funds for 'Lumos' a charity helping to reunite children in care with their families in Eastern Europe at Warner Bros Studios on November 9, 2013 in London, England. Danny E. Martindale--Getty Images

On her website Pottermore!

Nearly seven years after publishing the final book in the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling has given fans an update on the beloved wizard in new writing published to her website Pottermore.

In the new story, written as a gossip-column dispatch from Potter character Rita Skeeter in the Daily Prophet, Harry is now a 30-something with a mysterious cut on his cheek, as well as “a couple of threads of silver” in his hair. He is also married to Ron Weasley’s sister, Ginny Potter, who is now a journalist. Ron, of course, is married to Hermione Granger, while Skeeter writes that his “famous ginger hair appears to be thinning slightly.”

Job-wise, it appears that the three friends all worked together in the Ministry of Magic, though Ron left his job to “co-manage the highly successful wizarding joke emporium Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes.” Meanwhile, Hermione — “the femme fatale of the group,” according to Skeeter — is the deputy head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.

The update appears in a series of Quidditch World Cup pieces that Rowling has posted to Pottermore to coincide with the World Cup in Brazil. However, this is the first time Rowling has written about her beloved characters as adults since the final Potter book, which likely explains why the website crashed intermittently Tuesday morning.

 

TIME Books

George R.R. Martin Teases Next Book

"Game Of Thrones" Season 4 New York Premiere
Series creator George R.R. Martin attends the "Game Of Thrones" Season 4 premiere Taylor Hill—FilmMagic/Getty Images

Daenerys and Tyrion will both have major roles

Fans desperate for the next Song of Ice and Fire installment can look forward to a action-packed thriller.

“I think we’re gonna start out with a big smash with the two enormous battles,” George R.R. Martin says of The Winds of Winter, the next installment in his Song of Ice and Fire series upon which the HBO show Game of Thrones is based.

It’s been almost three years since Martin published A Dance With Dragons—the fifth book in what the author says will be a seven-book series—and fans are getting anxious that Martin will never finish series or that Game of Thrones will wrap before he’s done writing. But the author says The Winds of Winter is finally coming, and fans can look forward to even more twists and turns.

“We have more deaths, and we have more betrayals. We have more marriages,” Martin told Entertainment Weekly.

[Warning: Minor spoilers for The Winds of Winter ahead]

Specifically, he went on to say that the Dothraki will be making a reappearance in the series and that “a lot of stuff is happening at The Wall.” He also said Tyrion and Daenerys will “intersect” and will play large roles in the book. “They’re both coming home,” he teased, which should get fans excited if “home” means King’s Landing.

The one detail Martin didn’t reveal is when the book is actually coming out. But a spinoff story by Martin, The World of Ice and Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the World of Game of Thrones, is set to hit bookshelves (and satiate fans) in October.

[EW]

TIME Books

Are You There God? It’s Judy Blume’s New Novel for Adults

Author and producer Judy Blume attends "Tiger Eyes" New York Premiere at AMC Empire on June 7, 2013 in New York City.
Author and producer Judy Blume attends "Tiger Eyes" New York Premiere at AMC Empire on June 7, 2013 in New York City. Robin Marchant—Getty Images

It's never too early to start a 2015 summer reading list

Don’t worry, Margaret, God has been listening to your prayers. Iconic children’s book author Judy Blume will be treating her grown up fans to a new novel slated to be released in the summer of 2015 by Knopf.

The untitled publication will be Blume’s first adult novel since 1998. She will be reuniting with Carole Baron, who edited Summer Sisters.

“Carole and Judy have a long history together, and have been discussing this project for the last four years,” Knopf VP Director of Publicity Nicholas Latimer said. “When our head of house announced this acquisition at our editorial meeting last Thursday, everyone in the room broke out into applause. All as a way of saying, many Judy fans here!”

The editorial staff isn’t alone. Blume wrote childhood classics including Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Blubber, Deenie, and Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret.

We must, we must, we must get our hands on an advanced reader copy ASAP.

TIME movies

John Green’s Looking for Alaska Will Be a Movie

Film Society Of Lincoln Center's Of 2013 Luncheon
Actress Sarah Polley attends The Film Society of Lincoln Centers Film Comment Best Films of 2013 Luncheon presented by Jaeger-Lecoultre at The Lambs Club on January 7, 2014 in New York City. Neilson Barnard--2014 Getty Images

John Green's first novel will get "The Fault In Our Stars" treatment, with Canadian actress and director Sarah Polley adapting it for the big screen

For those aching to see more of John Green’s work on the big screen post-The Fault In Our Stars, we have good news: Paramount has signed actress and filmmaker Sarah Polley to adapt Green’s first novel Looking for Alaska into a movie.

The book, which was published in 2005, centers on Miles, a young boy starting at a boarding school where he meets the beautiful and troubled Alaska Young, who captivates him along with most of the other boys at school. Unsurprisingly, considering this is a John Green story, there’s also a good deal of tragedy in Alaska.

The news that Looking for Alaska — which had been optioned for the big screen shortly after it was published, but had since stalled — is finally going to happen is likely as exciting for fans as it is for Green himself. The author tweeted the news early Thursday morning:

He has good reason to be excited. Polley, who has won accolades as an actress, director and screenwriter, is a great choice to adapt Looking for Alaska. Her directorial debut was the much-praised 2006 film, Away From Her, which she actually adapted from the famous Alice Munro short story “The Bear Came Over the Mountain.” In addition to Away From Her, Polley has also directed 2011’s Take This Waltz and 2012’s Stories We Tell, a documentary about her own family history.

Looking For Alaska will mark the third Green book to move to the big screen, as Paper Towns, his 2008 novel, is also set to be adapted by the same producers and screenwriters who worked on The Fault in Our Stars. All in all, it’s a great time to be a John Green fan.

TIME Books

‘Booking’ Your Summer Travel

You may not be getting away this summer, but these books can take you places

In Flight

BOAC Stewardesses
Getty Images

Jet Set: The People, the Planes, the Glamour, and the Romance in Aviation’s Glory Years

William Stadiem

Remember when commercial flight was sexy? No, you don’t. But Stadiem does, and he’s got the cocktails, “skycoons” and sexy stews to prove it.

The Arctic

Arctic
Getty Images

In the Kingdom of Ice

Hampton Sides

The true story of the U.S.S. Jeanette, which set out for the North Pole in 1879. The voyage descended into disaster, but the crew fought on with a heroic determination that recalls Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken (8/5).

Majorca, Spain

Majorca, Spain
Getty Images

The Vacationers

Emma Straub

The Post family is in heaven—or at any rate Majorca—-but they’ve brought hell with them in the form of secrets and lies and insecurities of all kinds. Straub observes it all with wisdom, good humor and no mercy.

The Middle East

Middle East
Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi Getty Images

The Kills

Richard House

A colossal (1,024 pages) four-part novel of Pynchonesque ambition that starts with graft among military contractors in Iraq and follows the tendrils of corruption outward across the globe (8/5).

Provence, France

Provence, France
Getty Images

A Wedding in Provence

Ellen Sussman

Specifically in Cassis, where Olivia and Brody will tie the knot amid the splendors of the Côte d’Azur and all the tensions and drama that weddings inspire (7/15).

U.S. Virgin Islands

U.S. Virgin Islands
Getty Images

Land of Love and Drowning

Tiphanie Yanique

A sprawling, century-spanning story of love, family and magic that follows the changing fortunes of a ruined family and those of their troubled home, the U.S. Virgin Islands (7/10).

New Guinea

New Guinea
Getty Images

Euphoria

Lily King

A love triangle with three scientists in the jungles of New Guinea, King’s novel is loosely based on the life of Margaret Mead and rendered in suitably lush, steamy prose.

China

Xinjiang province, China
Getty Images

The Emperor Far Away

David Eimer

China is a vast place, with millions of people from dozens of ethnic minorities living far from Beijing, in regions where Westerners rarely go. Eimer visited the fringes and tells us what he saw there (7/15).

Japan

Japan
Getty Images

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

Haruki Murakami

At 36, a Japanese train engineer seeks out his four best friends from high school to discover why they all unceremoniously dropped him (8/12).

Sweden

Rural Sweden Getty Images

The Farm

Tom Rob Smith

Daniel’s parents are peacefully retired in rural Sweden. Or are they? Suddenly Dad says Mom is psychotic and has her committed. Mom denies it and says Dad is lying. It’s up to Daniel to dig up the truth.

TIME Books

Read Me! Authors Tell You Why to Read Their Summer Books

Who better to recommend a summer read than the author in question? We asked 6 writers to blurb their own books for the beach

Jennifer Weiner

All Fall Down is William S. Burroughs’ Junkie meets Judy Blume’s Wifey … and the collision is a riveting joy ride in a car with no brakes. All Fall Down is Weiner, raw and in your face. You won’t be able to look away.”

Jordan Ellenberg

“School’s out for summer, and you probably thought you weren’t going to think about math until September—-or, if you’re over 21, for the rest of your life. But Jordan Ellenberg’s How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking will surprise you by how much fun one can have with math all year round.”

Lisa See

China Dolls presents a whole new way of looking at the American dream of stardom through the experiences of three women who don’t have the privilege of being treated as ‘real’ Americans. Singing! Dancing! Heartache! Triumph! The best book ever! A must-read!”

Tom Rachman

“That round-the-world ticket you’ve dreamed of? Find it in the pages of The Rise & Fall of Great Powers, a globe-trotting novel (see Asia, Europe and beyond!) that’s better than a pat-down from the TSA, with more legroom than the middle seat in coach. Switch all smartphones to flight mode—your summer adventure departs at page 1!”

Deborah Harkness

“Nothing screams ‘beach reading’ like a book about vampires. With witches, daemons, ancient vendettas, a macabre missing book and the longest-lived dysfunctional family in fiction, The Book of Life will make your own summer–travel and vacation nightmares seem trivial in comparison.” (7/15)

Mark Whitaker

Cosby isn’t just for sweater weather! Enjoy the last days of summer with the first major biography of this comedy giant, complete with behind-the-scenes stories of his wayward youth; his classic comedy albums; I Spy, Fat Albert and The Cosby Show; and the three women who shaped his life—his mother, his wife and his sixth-grade teacher!” (9/16)

TIME Books

A Little (Heavy) Light Reading

What’s in a name? How to beachify your serious summer reads.

Illustration by Ben Wiseman for TIME

Hard Choices
Hillary Clinton
At No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list, Clinton’s account of her years as Secretary of State is indisputably popular, but its title is a little severe for the season. We suggest a more Elizabeth Gilbert approach to capture the tale of a woman at a crossroads in life who finds new purpose traveling the world.

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Illustration by Ben Wiseman for TIME

My Struggle: Boyhood
Karl Knausgaard
Knausgaard, known as the Norwegian Proust, is the current darling of the literary set, but who wants to read about struggle during vacation? We borrow from another Scandinavian sensation to give his opus a title befitting a barbecue.

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Illustration by Ben Wiseman for TIME

Capital in the Twenty-First Century
Thomas Piketty
This French economist’s study of income inequality in capitalist nations became the unexpected hit of the spring. Catch up with it this summer, by all means, but first give it a Tom Clancy -makeover—-in the hope that Jack Ryan will show up to rescue us from the rising social discontent Piketty predicts.

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Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution
Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz
The Roberts court is transforming the country we live in with its profound, sweeping rulings. A title like Barely Legalwould capture the complex dynamics and conceptual tensions in the court’s decisions, while also moving some extra units.

Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan
Rick Perlstein
Vietnam, Watergate, the oil embargo—-nobody wants to think about that stuff on a beach blanket. Surely retitling this book That ’70s Show would put people in mind of the bright spots of the Me Decade. There must have been some.

Last Stories and Other Stories
William T. Vollmann
Vollmann’s 700-page collection, the National Book Award winner’s first fiction in nine years, is an exploration of the super-natural. Why not just call it Goosebumps? It seems accurate enough and somehow much less daunting. —Lev Grossman

TIME Books

How a Book Becomes the Book of the Summer

Illustration by Ben Wiseman for TIME

And the most likely contenders this season

Most summers have a book of the summer, though not all do. We had Gone Girl in 2012, but I’m not convinced 2013 had a book of the summer. It’s hard to say why it happens and why it doesn’t. Some novels, when read in hot weather, just seem to melt and run together with their surroundings, to the point where afterward one can never quite think of that summer without thinking of that story, and vice versa.

We rarely see them coming, though after the fact it seems obvious. Of course the summer of 1991 would go for American Psycho, with its savage immolation of 1980s mores. Likewise it seems inevitable now that in 2002, the summer Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped, we should have flocked en masse to the icy brilliance of The Lovely Bones. But at the time, no one knew. If books of the summer have something in common, it’s that they tend to break rules: people pick them up because they can’t quite believe somebody actually wrote that and got away with it. Lolita (1958) rendered skeezy pedophilia as high art. John Updike’s Couples (1968) did the same with suburban adultery. Love Story: the girl dies. The Lovely Bones: the girl dies in the first paragraph. The Name of the Rose: OMG, I can’t believe how much medieval scholarship is in this book.

It’s impossible to predict it in advance, though that’s what we’re about to try to do, because the book of the summer is a surprise by definition. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out in July 2007 and sold through the roof, but it wasn’t the book of the summer because everybody saw it coming. What really makes a book of the summer is when we surprise ourselves. It’s not just about being fascinated by a book. It’s about being fascinated by the fact that we’re fascinated.

The odds:

2-1
The One Plus One
Jojo Moyes
Pros: Single mom plus nerdy millionaire equals unlikely romance. And there’s a road trip!
Cons: Very few killer sharks.

2-1
All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr
Pros: Blind daughter of a locksmith meets reluctant Nazi engineering whiz! What more do you want?
Cons: Complex, lyrical historical fiction may not have the necessary mass appeal.

3-1
The Fever
Megan Abbott
Pros: Small-town girls hit by mystery syndrome. Tense, erotically fraught, has Gillian Flynn blurb.
Cons: Much adolescent angst. Are the stakes high enough?

4-1
We Were Liars
E. Lockhart
Pros: Rich people on an island; sharp, funny-sad writing; a head-snapping fourth­quarter reveal.
Cons: It’s a YA novel, so some adults might pass.

4-1
Landline
Rainbow Rowell
Pros: Keen psychological insight, irrepressible humor and a supernatural twist: a woman can call her husband in the past.
Cons: Relative lack of violence, perverse sex.

5-1
One Kick
Chelsea Cain
Pros: Child kidnapping victim grows up to become ass-kicking vigilante looking for other missing children. Boom.
Cons: A thriller but maybe not a rule breaker.

6-1
The Quick
Lauren Owen
Pros: Set in lovely, lush Victorian London. Plus: vampires, vampires, vampires.
Cons: Owen’s pacing is slow and artful—maybe too slow for some.

8-1
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
David Shafer
Pros: Genius techno-­thriller à la Neal ­Stephenson, powered by social-media info-conspiracy à la Dave Eggers.
Cons: Low-key romance may not play to all quadrants.

TIME

7 Fabulous Summer Recipes from Writers We Love

Illustration by Ben Wiseman for TIME

Eat, drink, and enjoy a good book

1. “Ground to Glass” Cocktail from Greg Seider

Owner of Summit Bar and author of Alchemy in a Glass

The Ground to Glass was born on a rooftop where my brother and I grew a cornucopia of vegetables (much to the chagrin of our landlord) and used them to tweak the classic Margarita. Our Bloody Mary-Margarita hybrid features red pepper and cucumber, highlighted by the earthy vegetable notes of tequila. For an added dimension of BBQ-influenced umami, I topped it with hickory-smoked salt, thus crowning our pilgrimage from ground to glass.

2 ounces Corralejo Blanco tequila

(notable substitutions: Olmeca Altos, Herradura, and Cabeza Blanco)

1 ounce fresh lime juice, and lime wedge

¾ ounce agave mix

1 cucumber slice

¾ ounce red pepper puree

2 dashes orange bitters

Hickory-smoked salt

Rub the top rim of the glass with the lime wedge, then roll in smoked salt. muddle the cucumber in a shaker tin. Add all the remaining ingredients and shake with ice. Double strain and pour over fresh ice into a double old fashioned.

 

2. Grilled Cucumber with Pumpkin Seed Yogurt and Grapes

From Michael Gibney, Author of Sous Chef

Nothing says summer like cooking over an open flame. Whether it’s a campfire or a backyard barbeque, a smoky cookout is the perfect way to celebrate the season. Lacquered ribs and pork chops are always a hit, burgers and sausages too. But what about those accouterments? Cole slaw, mac-n-cheese—they always seem like a high-calorie after thought. Here’s a great way to liven up that all-too-familiar cucumber salad, which can act as a refreshing side for your steak, or a healthy snack on its own.

6 pc Persian cucumber

12 oz. Greek yogurt

2 T Pumpkin Seed oil

2 oz. Toasted Pumpkin Seeds (chopped)

1 bu. Champagne grapes

1 T Canola oil

To taste:

Fine sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Ground cumin

Champagne vinegar

Preheat the grill on high. In a large mixing bowl, toss the whole cucumbers in canola oil, season lightly with salt, pepper, cumin, and a few drops of champagne vinegar, and place them on the grill, parallel to the bars. Let them sit until they begin to develop a light char. If the grill is hot enough, this should only take a minute or two. Rotate every thirty seconds or so, until all sides are equally colored. Meantime, mix the pumpkin seed oil and the yogurt in a bowl with a rubber spatula until they are thoroughly incorporated, season with salt and pepper, and adjust the acidity as necessary with champagne vinegar. Rinse the grapes under cold running water and separate into small clusters.

To plate, paint a large swoosh of yogurt across the bottom of a bowl or plate. Cut the cooked cucumber into one-inch coins and arrange around the yogurt. Place grape clusters here and there around the cucumber. Finish with a dusting of chopped pumpkin seeds.

Depending on what’s available at your local market a few adjustments can be made: champagne grapes can be swapped for red seedless grapes split in half, sesame seeds and sesame oil can take the place of the pumpkin ingredients, and apple cider vinegar can be substituted for champagne vinegar.

 

3. Avocado Crostini with Tomatoes, Capers, Olives, Almonds and Arugula

From Ben Ford, Author of Taming the Feast

 

16 ½-in.-thick diagonal slices from a baguette

olive oil for brushing the crostini and avocados

1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for the crostini and avocados

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 whole garlic clove, peeled, to rub on the crostini, plus 2 garlic cloves, minced

1 large heirloom tomato, seeded and diced

¼ cup niçoise olives, pitted

¼ cup capers, rinsed and drained

3 tbsp. avocado oil or olive oil

3 medium Hass avocados, halved and pitted

¼ cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

1 cup wild arugula, loosely packed

Fire up a charcoal grill or set a gas grill to high heat with the lid closed to help it get nice and hot. Alternatively, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Brush both sides of each bread slice with olive oil and season both sides with salt and some of the pepper. Put the bread slices on the grill or in the oven until they’re nicely toasted but not hard, 12 to 15 min. If you’re grilling the bread, you will need to turn the slices once during cooking; this isn’t necessary if you’re toasting them in the oven.

Rub one side of each toasted bread slice with the garlic clove. If you’re toasting the crostini ahead of time, store them in an -airtight container -until it’s time to -assemble them.

Gently stir together the tomato, olives, capers, avocado or olive oil and ½ tsp. of the salt in a bowl.

Brush the insides of the avocado halves with olive oil, and season with salt and some more of the pepper. Grill the avocados cut side down for 3 to 4 min., until they have nice grill marks and are warmed through. Scoop the avocado out of the skin into a bowl. Add the minced garlic, the remaining ½ tsp. salt and the remaining pepper, and mash well. Taste and add more salt or pepper if you want.

To assemble the crostini, top each piece of toast with a heaping tbsp. of avocado. Spoon about a tsp. of the tomato mixture over the avocado and top that with a sprinkling of the almonds and a few pieces of arugula. Makes 16 crostini.

 

4. Fresh Peach Breakfast Cobbler from Ruth Reichl

Author of Delicious!

 

4 large ripe peaches

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 – 1/2 c. sugar

1 tbsp. cornstarch

1 c. flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 stick butter

1/3 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel the peaches by putting them into boiling water for 10 seconds, then running them under cool water. The skins should slip right off. Slice the peaches into a glass or ceramic pie plate. Squeeze lemon juice over the fruit and toss with the sugar and cornstarch.

Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl. Cut in the sugar using a pastry blender or two knives, until the butter is the size of peas. Gently stir in the buttermilk.

Cover the peaches, loosely, with the wet dough. If it doesn’t cover all the fruit, don’t worry; it will spread in the oven. Bake for half an hour, until the top is craggy and golden. Serve warm with a pitcher of cold cream.

 

5. Instant Strawberry Ice Cream

(Also from Ruth Reichl!)

This is a miracle of a recipe: it has only three ingredients, requires no fancy equipment and makes the most delicious ice cream you will ever eat. Serves four to six people—depending how greedy they are

A pint (about a pound) of fresh strawberries from the farmers’ market

¼ cup sugar plus more for sprinkling

1 cup heavy cream

Wash and stem your berries, and cut them into 1- to 2-in. chunks (leave them whole if they’re very small). Sprinkle the berries liberally with sugar and put them in the freezer until they are frozen solid. (You can do this ahead of time, then put the berries into plastic bags and have them on hand whenever you want them.)

Just before serving, mix the cream with the sugar. Put the frozen berries into the blender, and slowly add the cream, stopping to stir from time to time. Blend until it has come together into a cool, gorgeously pink ice cream.

Serve immediately; this is best when it is freshly made, although it will keep in the freezer for a few weeks.

 

6. V11 Juice

From Dan Barber, Chef of Blue Hill and Author of The Third Plate

 

A Blue Hill play on classic vegetable juice, served in shot glasses. Serves a party.

 

6 lb. tomatoes, mixed
varieties

2 cucumbers, peeled and seeded

2 parsnips, peeled

2 carrots, peeled

2 stalks celery

4 shallots

1 jalapeño, seeded

1 fennel bulb, cleaned and chopped

¼ cup sherry vinegar

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp. sugar

½ bunch tarragon, stems removed

1 bunch parsley, stems
removed

1 bunch basil, stems removed

 

Roughly chop the tomatoes, cucumbers, parsnips, carrots, celery, shallots, jalapeño and fennel in a food processor.

Transfer vegetables to a large bowl and mix in the sherry vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and sugar. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for 12 hours.

Combine the marinated vegetables, basil, tarragon and parsley in a blender, and puree until very smooth. Strain the vegetable puree through a fine mesh sieve. Add salt and pepper if desired.

Chill and serve.

 

7. Gin & Tonic Sorbet From Natasha Case and Freya Estreller

Owners of the Coolhaus Truck and Authors of Coolhaus Ice Cream Book

Makes about: 1 quart

Active time: 15 to 20 minutes

 

1. The first step in making sorbet is simple syrup.

2 1/4 cups granulated sugar

In a 4-quart saucepan, combine sugar and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.

Remove from heat and chill, about 30 minutes. (Syrup keeps, refrigerated in an airtight container, for up to 3 months.)

 

2. Then, make the base:

Makes about: 2 1/2 cups; 2 cups simple syrup

Active time: 10 minutes

 

2 cups Simple Syrup

Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Pinch kosher salt

Combine simple syrup, 1 cup water, lemon juice, and salt in a bowl. Stir well. (Base keeps, refrigerated in an airtight container, for up to 3 months.)

 

3. Make the ice cream:

1 ½ cups tonic water

¼ cup fresh lime juice (grate zest first)

1 ½ teaspoons juniper berry extract

½ cup gin (we like Hendrick’s)

Zest of 1 lime, grated on a microplane

 

Combine sorbet base, tonic water, lime juice, and juniper extract in a bowl.

Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Add gin during last 2 minutes of churning. Add zest and churn for a few more seconds.

Scrape into an airtight storage container. Freeze for a minimum of 2 hours before serving.

MONEY stocks

Barnes & Noble’s Nook Spinoff Reverses the Usual Plot

Amazon Nook
Dominick Reuter—Reuters

Barnes & Noble plans to split off its Nook tablet unit so investors will focus on its much-healthier book-selling business. Go figure.

In most media companies, it is the “old” part of the business — usually, things printed on dead trees — that’s a drag on the much faster-growing and promising tech-driven side. So the typical playbook calls for management to sell, jettison, or spin off its old media unit so investors can focus on the newer and shinier parts of the company.

That’s what happened at the old News Corp. (now Twenty-First Century Fox) , Time Warner (former parent of Time Inc., which owns Money) , and it’s happening again at Tribune.

Yet at the struggling bookseller Barnes & Noble , it’s just the opposite.

The company — which on Wednesday reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss of 72 cents a share (Wall Street was bracing for around a 63 cents a share drop) — found a way to assuage worried investors by announcing that it plans to split off its troubled Nook e-reader division into a separate company.

The stock immediately shot up on news that Barnes & Noble investors would no longer be saddled with the Nook’s disappointing sales:

BKS Price Chart

BKS Price data by YCharts

Barnes & Noble CEO Michael Huseby noted that management has taken several steps to strengthen the company. Among them: Improving the company’s core retail operations and growing its promising college book business. As such, he said, “we believe we are now in a better position to begin in earnest those steps necessary to accomplish a separation of Nook Media and Barnes & Noble Retail. We have determined that these businesses will have the best chance of optimizing shareholder value if they are capitalized and operated separately.”

In other words, investors will better appreciate the decent growth in the company’s traditional print-driven businesses — retail revenues grew around 1% in the quarter, while college sales jumped more than 18% — if the Nook wasn’t tethered to the company.

In the quarter that ended April 30, Nook sales fell more than 22%. In fact, revenues for the company’s tablet business for the fiscal year have sunk to around $505 million, versus $933 million in fiscal year 2012.

When Barnes & Noble launched its first Nook e-readers around five years ago, the device was supposed to be an answer to rival Amazon.com’s Kindle devices. Yet as e-readers morphed into full-fledged tablets, which required investments not only in hardware but also in building out a software- and payment-based ecosystem, the book-selling chain started feeling the pinch.

The company recently began breaking out its Nook sales, possibly to find a suitor for the division. Yet the grim details only added to the misery that Barnes & Noble investors were feeling.

How much time does this buy both halves of Barnes & Noble?

The traditional retail business has found some success with an aggressive push into the college book space. Yet Dan Caplinger at the Motley Fool correctly notes that there is a concern that eventually, the digital revolution will hit that business too, so the company may be right back having to figure out a digital business model.

And as for the Nook, sales were depressed in part because the product line did not get a refresh in 2013. This year, Barnes & Noble has teamed up with Samsung, which is launching a 7-inch Galaxy Tab 4 Nook later this summer.

The fact that Samsung will be shouldering the burden of hardware development does take a load off of Barnes & Noble — more specifically, the soon-to-be-independent Nook business.

However, with demand for Nooks so soft compared with other tablets, it’s unclear how a smaller, independent Nook company will be able to keep up with the Amazons and Apples of the world when it comes to software development, marketing, or that cool factor.

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