With all of the gluten-free, vegan, virgin and paleo cookbooks on the market, it has become impossible for people with busy schedules to navigate the best way to feed themselves and their families. Luckily, I think we’re beginning to see a return to accessible, straightforward cookbooks that take what we’ve learned about food from authors and activists like Michael Pollan and translate that knowledge into practical cookbooks and lifestyle guides.
I represent a lot of cookbooks, and I’m a fan of any way of eating that makes a person feel better, but I think for a lot of Americans, especially, these ultrarestrictive diets can seem overwhelming, and thus a good place to start on a healthier track is seeking out “real,” unprocessed food that nourishes and heals.
To that end, I represent an amazing woman named Lisa Leake who blogs at 100 Days of Real Food. She has a book of the same name coming out this summer from William Morrow that teaches people how to read between the lines on ingredient labels and in wild marketing claims to figure out what’s really “natural” and healthy.
Working on her book has opened my eyes to the false claims of the food industry and really changed the way I grocery shop and eat. I think we’ll see more of these kinds of back-to-basics, simple-eating cookbooks and lifestyle books this year.
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
I love writers who don’t take themselves too seriously. Funny people just seem to get to the heart of the matter and articulate universal truths in ways that make them really resonate. Likability on the page is very important.
What don’t you ever want to see again?
I hate to say never about anything, because that way I’m bound to miss the exception that proves the rule, but I see a lot of memoirs—too many. I love them when they’re exceptional, and I’ll take them on with gusto, but I estimate that 90 percent of the ones I see are either retreading old ground (sometimes in ways that feel derivative) or they’re just not well-written enough to be of interest.
What is unique about your corner of the industry?
I love being an agent because I can take on whatever moves me. I don’t have to limit myself to a particular type of book, and I can get moving after seeing just an article or a blog post and knowing in my gut that it should be a book. Taking an author from one medium to another is very rewarding, and at the Einstein Thompson Literary Agency, we enjoy shaping a project to make it the best it can possibly be before we sell it. It’s exciting, intellectually stimulating and occasionally heartbreaking, but we love working closely with our authors to make their books superlative.
Meg Thompson is co-director of the Einstein Thompson Literary Agency in New York City. Her clients include New York Times best-sellers Ken Denmead, Kelle Hampton and Daniel Stashower; Scientific American reporter Katherine Harmon Courage, New York Times and New Yorker essayist Tim Kreider, style blogger Marisa Lynch, New York Times Style section lifestyle reporter Julia Chaplin, journalist Mason Currey, mapmaker and author Becky Cooper, adventure reporter Chris Dixon, caterer to the stars Mary Giuliani, food bloggers Lisa Leake and Carrie Vitt, and many more. She lives in New York with her fiancé, Alex, and her rescue cat, Sweet Pea.