Houghton Mifflin has a goal for the fall season—getting Jhumpa Lahiri's eagerly awaited debut novel, The Namesake, and her Pulitzer Prize—winning story collection, Interpreter of Maladies, onto the national bestseller charts. They're halfway there, with Namesake hitting our list at #5. (Interpreter was on our list for five weeks in 2000; it was the first time an original trade paperback collection won the fiction Pulitzer.) Interpreter, which was launched with a 17,500 printing, is now at a hefty 650,000 copies after 21 trips to press; pre-pub, The Namesake's 100,000-copy first printing is now up to 150,000. Lahiri received a lot of attention at this year's BEA, where she was a breakfast speaker and the guest of honor at a posh dinner for booksellers and the media. She begins a 12-city tour today and has been getting considerable national publicity in newspapers and magazines. The Namesake will make a cameo appearance on Everybody Loves Raymond late this month, when Ray's wife, Debra, will be seen reading it in bed.
—With reporting by Dick Donahue