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May 31, 2007

Amusing New Deals

Fresh from Publisher's Lunch Weekly:

Borat Sagdiyev's BORAT: Touristic Guidings To Minor Nation of U.S. and A./BORAT: Touristic Guidings To Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, two books in one -- half a guide to America for Kazakhs and the other half  a guide to Kazakhstan for Westerners, including illustrations and color photographs, to Suzanne Herz and Peter Gethers at Flying Dolphin, with Gethers editing, for publication in November 2007, by Dan Strone at Trident Media Group (NA).

UK rights to Jon Butler at Boxtree, by Jonny Geller at Curtis Brown UK.

Jay Louis's HOT CHICKS WITH DOUCHEBAGS: Deconstructing the Unholy Wrongness of Hottie/Douchey Coupling and How to Recover from the Douchebag Plague, based on the website, to Jeremie Ruby-Strauss at Simon Spotlight Entertainment, by Michael Harriot at Vigliano Associates (world).

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by Sharon Steel | with no comments
May 29, 2007

Wednesday: Amy Fusselman at the Booksmith

AMY FUSSELMAN was raped by her babysitter’s husband when she was four years old. In 8: A Memoir, she forgoes describing the violation in favor of chronicling the snowballing fallout it had on every aspect of her life. Her debut, The Pharmacist’s Mate (click for an excerpt), was a series of vignettes and musings on the death of her father and her own pregnancy; 8 — which is named after the figure eights she skated as a child — strives for a similarly unfiltered intimacy, as Fusselman recalls her experiences with her rapist (whom she refers to as “my pedophile”), the birth of her son, and her foray into alternative healing methods. But the real revelation here is Fusselman’s tender and often fearless voice. She’ll read and sign at Brookline Booksmith, 279 Harvard St, Brookline | 7 pm | free | 617.566.6660.


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by Sharon Steel | with no comments
May 22, 2007

TUESDAY: Crystal Zevon at Porter Square Books

"Enjoy every sandwich."

So said Warren Zevon when forced to contemplate his own rapidly approaching death during an appearance on Late Night with David Letterman. Would he have it any other way? The cult of Zevon should be pleased that the musician’s posthumous biography, I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead: The Life and Times of Warren Zevon, has proved to be a fearless, honest portrait, with both high praise and unsavory details. Written by his ex-wife, CRYSTAL ZEVON, this oral history includes among its interviewees Bruce Springsteen and Bonnie Raitt. And extensive excerpts from Zevon’s private journals reveal more than you ever thought you’d want to know about his sexual dalliances and industry fears. Crystal pays tribute to her rock-and-roll anti-hero Tuesday night at Porter Square Books, Porter Square Shopping Mall, Cambridge | 7 pm | free | 617.491.2220.

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by Sharon Steel | with no comments
May 17, 2007

826 to open its doors in Roxbury this summer

From the inbox:

Dear friends of 826 Boston:

First, we apologize for being out of touch. We've been very busy this spring putting together all the nuts and bolts of the organization. We cannot wait to open our doors to the Boston community this summer and meet all of you!

Expect a more detailed newsletter soon, as well as the launch of our new and improved 826 Boston website, but for now, a brief update:

We have secured a space in Roxbury and expect to open in the late summer. All of the details on our space will be included on our website. The board just finished the second round of interviews for the executive director search and will announce its decision by the end of the week. Our initial programming at The English High School is going well. We'd like to thank authors Steve Almond, Junot Diaz, Kelly Link and Holly Black for visiting the students. We'd also like to thank our team of tutors who have volunteered  their time in the classroom.

826 Boston is holding also holding a benefit at the Cloud Foundation:

826 Boston, Inc. invites you to "Fill in The _____ ", an evening of
literary entertainment led by authors Charles Coe (Picnic on the
Moon), Julia Glass (National Book Award-winning Three Junes, The Whole
World Over) Tom Perrotta (Little Children, Joe College, Election, The
Wishbones, Bad Haircut) and Heidi Pitlor (The Birthdays), with musical
guest Eli "Paperboy" Reed.  Please join us for food, drinks, music and
word play on Wednesday, May 23rd from 6-9 PM at the Cloud Foundation
(647 Boylston Street) in Boston
, and help "fill in the blanks". 
Writers will read from their latest work, and each will present an unfinished
piece for audience members to help complete.

826 Boston is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting
students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills.
The program is the newest addition to 826 National, an organization
that supports similar programs across the country.  The first chapter,
826 Valencia, was founded by best selling author Dave Eggers and
educator Ninive Calegari in San Francisco's Mission District.  There
are now chapters in Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, Ann Arbor, and New
York City.  Like its "sister" programs, 826 Boston is looking forward
to engaging Boston-area writers, artists and other volunteers to
provide one-on-one tutoring, workshops, field trips, in-school
assistance, and to create student-published works.  While the bulk of
826 Boston's activities will begin once the program opens it's space
this Fall in Roxbury, tutors and volunteers have already begun an
exciting in-school program at The English High School in Jamaica
Plain. 826 Boston hopes to fill gaps in students' literacy and arts
education, exposing them to things they may not experience in school.
We work to provide every single volunteer teacher with the level of
support, training, and supplies they need to create exciting
project-based learning experiences that will deeply impact students.

We are proud to have this opportunity to introduce 826 Boston to the
Greater Boston community, and we look forward to seeing you at our
first Boston event!

Please follow this link to purchase tickets to the event:


Read Nina's piece on 826's awesome program here.

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by Sharon Steel | with no comments
May 16, 2007

Paris's Jailbird Reading List

45 days in the slammer just flies by when you've got a good book to keep you busy!

On Paris's list is #1 best-seller The Secret, a semi-creepy spiritual tome that claims to provide readers with the secret to a successful, fulfilled, happy, wonderfulfanfuckingtastic life!

You can do it, P-Hilt! Go for the gold!

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by Sharon Steel | with no comments
May 15, 2007

"People think publishing is a business, but it's a casino."

The NYT's Sunday Business section asked, "What makes a best-seller?" and this three-page musing is their version of an answer. No real revelations, per se. What I found most fascinating was Shira Boss's interwoven explanation of what might have made Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep such a runaway hit:

When Ms. Sittenfeld was writing the novel, she recalled, colleagues said, “The boarding school book has already been written. Why are you doing it again?”

But after it became a best seller, Ms. Sittenfeld said, she heard the opposite: “Of course it did well! It’s a boarding school book!”

The publisher of “Prep” attributes the success, in addition to the story, to a catchy title and book cover and creative marketing and publicity. A team of four publicists made belts that matched the cover for giveaways, and sent splashy gift bags (holding pink and green flip-flops, the belt, notebooks, lip gloss) with the galleys to magazines. The pitch letter included photocopies of the publicists’ own high school yearbook photos.

So it goes like this, then? Free stuff x cute packaging + (decent story + marketable author) = best-seller.

Too bad my galley of Katherine Taylor's Rules for Saying Goodbye didn't come with a cocktail shaker! FS&G, you may have dropped the ball on that one. Jury's still out on whether that will effect the tempermental BookScan numbers...

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by Importer | with no comments
May 15, 2007

WEDNESDAY: Roy Blount at the First Unitarian Church

A regular on NPR’s news and comedy quiz show Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me, writer ROY BLOUNT is the uninformed liberal’s worst nightmare. He was born in the South, has left-leaning beliefs, now lives in the Northeast, and finds it extremely irksome when Yankees assume anyone based below the Mason-Dixon line is a simpleton who voted for Dubya. Blount’s wry satire gives our old love Andy Rooney a bit of friendly sardonic competition in Long Time Leaving: Dispatches from Up South. Topics range from music to race relations to food — but, for your own safety, we recommend against asking Blount what grits are during the Q&A portion of his reading and signing at the First Unitarian Church, 3 Church St, Cambridge | 7:30 pm | $5 | 617.495.2727.

Damn Yankees: Blount

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by Sharon Steel | with no comments
May 07, 2007

TOMORROW: David Talbot at the Booksmith

Given all the books on Princess Di in the pipeline for next season, it seems fitting that Salon founder DAVID TALBOT has gone against the grain to focus on America’s version of a royal family. Brothers: A Hidden History of the Kennedy Years is an in-depth look at John and Robert that sheds fresh insight on their administration and their ambitions. Interviews with more than 150 persons close to the brothers plus the release of concealed government documents put Talbot in a prime position to uncover new truths. The Kennedy saga lives on Tuesday at the Brookline Booksmith, 279 Harvard St, Boston | 7 pm | free | 617.566.6660.

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by Sharon Steel | with no comments
May 03, 2007

Michael Chabon accused of Anti-Semitism

Radar's Gutter Report just alerted us to a new media brouhaha revolving around MICHAEL CHABON. The NY Post's Kyle Smith calls out Chabon (who is Jewish) for the supposedly anti-Semitic themes in his latest tour-de-force, The Yiddish Policeman's Unit. It's a 411-page mystery/noir homage/love story/historical mind-bender about the Jews of the Sikta District in Alaska -- a fictional safe haven built after Israel collapsed in 1948. The introverted citizens of the Sikta are about to be displaced, and in the midst of their crisis, a homicide detective feels obliged to investigate the murder of his chess-prodigy neighbor. Ben Widdicome of the NY Daily News queried Chabon about the attack at his book party:

"It's a badge of honor, I think, to be condemned by one's own people, when you're a Jew," he told me at the launch of his latest novel, "The Yiddish Policemen's Union."

"My mother, when she saw this item in the Post, she was kvelling. She said, 'Now you know you've arrived as a Jewish-American writer. When you've been condemned by other Jews as an anti-Semite, you know you've made it.'"

That Mom quote was terrible. Perhaps NOT the best way to respond to Page Six's shrieking "CHABON'S UGLY VIEW OF JEWS" headline. Does anyone remember that Elle feature on Chabon and wifey Ayelet Waldman? We can't find the article on the web, though you'd probably remember it if you read it -- the couple explained that the secret to their marriage was that they loved each other more than their children. Maybe Chabon just needs a book publicist who can reel him in better.

Also, Gawker points out the Jewish media outlets who have praised the book.

Chabon appears Friday night at the First Unitarian Church, 3 Church St, Cambridge | 6:30 pm | $5 | 617.495.2727, and tomorrow at Borders Books and Music, 511 Boylston St, Boston | 12:30 pm | free | 617.236.1444.

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by Sharon Steel | with no comments
May 02, 2007

Pete Wentz: Man-Whore, Bassist, Novelist

Yes, well, we were supposed to blog about the Michael Chabon and Howard Zinn readings but we'll get to that later.

Fall Out Boy and Ashlee Simpson man-whore Pete Wentz is shopping around a novel entitled Rainy Day Kids. Gawker's anonymous source reports:

"It's among the most self-indulgent whiny trying to be smart and artsy high school creative writing class crap I've ever read."

From this guy?

You're kidding!

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by Sharon Steel | with 22 comment(s)
May 01, 2007

WEDNESDAY: Nathan Englander at the Booksmith

We’ve had our eye on writer-on-the-verge NATHAN ENGLANDER since devouring his debut short-story collection, For the Relief of Unbearable Urges (click for an excerpt). Englander, a former Orthodox Jew, travels from Jerusalem to read and sign copies of his first novel, The Ministry of Special Cases, in which he weaves humor and desolation into a story of fathers and sons during Argentina’s Dirty War. To suffer is to be blessed at the Brookline Booksmith, 279 Harvard St, Boston | 7 pm | free | 617.566.6660.

Read Dana Kletter's Ministry review here.

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by Sharon Steel | with 1 comment(s)
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