Julia Child is hotter than ever -- but where's Julie Powell?

cleavingThanks to this summer's "Julie and Julia," butter is back -- and bookstores are reaping the benefits.

The New York Times reports that "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" -- Julia Child's iconic bible of decadent, duck-fat dishes -- has sold 22,000 copies in the last week tracked by Nielsen. The $40, 752-page cookbook, which was published 48 years ago, will debut at the top spot on the Times' bestseller list on Aug. 30.

So what of the tome by the film's co-starring character, Julie Powell? It was her book, spun from her blog entries about mastering "Mastering," that inspired the movie. The Times story reports that the book's publisher, Little, Brown and Company, reprinted the book 13 times this year with a movie tie-in cover -- and they've been popping up in airports and bookshop front windows all summer.
What many of the movie's fans might not know, though, is that Powell has another story ready to go -- in the form of "Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat and Obsession," a memoir about her quest to learn the art of butchery. The release was originally supposed to coincide with "Julie and Julia" hitting theaters. But as the New York Observer pointed out in July, the publisher delayed the release and called back galleys sent out for review just a few weeks before the book should have been hitting shelves.

Little, Brown told the Observer that they held off on "Cleaving" to allow the reprint of "Julie and Julia" space to succeed in the movie's wake. But others suspected a different motive for hesitation. "Cleaving" also chronicles an affair Powell had with a friend. It's possible that the people behind the movie and book worried that audiences might have disliked Amy Adams' character if the infidelity came to light (especially since Powell's husband, played by Chris Messina in the film, is so angelic in the movie).

In the end, they didn't have to risk it -- the new book is safely out of readers' reach until December -- but you can read an excerpt in which Powell discusses her troubled marriage here. Warning: it's a little depressing. You may want to keep Julia's book nearby for easy access to recipes perfect for emotional eating.
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