Pig in a Poke

image One of my father’s favorite expressions is “pig in a poke.” You know, to refer to something you get (into) or buy without knowing ahead of time what it really is.

For example, I love the “pig in a poke” approach to dining, in which a restaurant offers a surprise tasting menu based on whatever the chef’s up for that day. Often, the diner gets a dish that isn’t even on the menu. It’s a great way to expand one’s culinary horizons and to avoid falling into the trap of ordering the same sorts of things every time you eat out.

image I noticed last week that publishers too are taking the “pig in a poke” approach–for promoting new titles. For example, Little, Brown & Company has announced Untitled by Anonymous, which will be released in November 2011. The publisher has created buzz by giving only a few clues about the book, while encouraging bookstore buyers to pre-order the book now. From the publisher, we know that the book is:


–320 pages

–$26.99 (retail)

–about a controversial modern figure

It eventually came out that the authors of the book are Catherine Hooper (fiancee of Andrew Madoff, one of Bernard Madoff’s sons) and Laurie Sandell. For that reason, most people assume that Untitled is a biography of Bernard Madoff.

I love ordering the Chef’s Surprise menu, but I’m not sure I’d go for a surprise book. Would you? Let us know if you would—and why–at info@lernerbooks.com We’ll publish your comments (as long as they are not NSFW).

And don’t forget to check in next week for more from TFCB!

[Photos: top, National Portrait Gallery London via Wikimedia Commons; bottom, Wikimedia Commons]