- Darin Strauss sings! And then sings some more! (Plus solo numbers from Jonathan Coulton.)
- Glenn Beck said contemporary books for young readers are emasculating, except for the ones his guest Ted Bell writes.
- Remember that time Simon Spotlight Entertainment announced an embargoed memoir with a 350,000-copy print run that turned out to be from Madonna’s brother? Boy, that was something, wasn’t it? Good times.
- A dispute over cover art prompted us to ask: “Who peed in Dan Savage‘s cornflakes?”
- Emily Gould went on vacation and never came back; towards the end of the month, we realized she had a book proposal making the rounds. This led to ridiculous speculation that book publishers might fear Gawker. Free Press picked up the collection of autobiographical essays in early July.
- Warner Bros. announced that Tales from the Black Freighter, the comic-within-a-comic from Watchmen, would be a spinoff DVD released concurrently with the theatrical movie. Given all the legal wrangling over the main attraction, though, who knows when it’ll come out?
- We hung out with Michael Chabon and Jeffrey Ford, talking about how real literature doesn’t make genre distinctions.
- We helped Michael Gross and the Metropolitan Museum of Art bury the hatchet, at least as far as Gross’s cover art problems were concerned. It was all a big misunderstanding!
- John McCain may have gotten the Republican presidential nomination, but Ron Paul sold more books.
- Doubleday promoted Chuck Palahniuk‘s latest novel, Snuff, with fake porn trailers.
- mediabistro.com hired Emily Gould and Andy Heidel to share the GalleyCat workload, and we went to Sloane Crosley‘s book party to celebrate.
- Bob Miller left Hyperion to start his own imprint at HarperCollins; in a totally unrelated move, Hyperion children’s book executives Alessandra Balzer and Donna Bray soon followed.
- Grant Morrison came to New York Comic-Con and blew everyone’s mind.
- Jane Smiley read Jennifer Weiner‘s latest novel and saw pink.
- Lexus paid a bunch of authors to take turns writing chapters of a road trip novel, starring the Lexus IS F.
- Aaron Greenspan, the young man who claims he’s the true inventor of Facebook, decided to self-publish his memoirs, telling us he was doing it from a position of strength.
- Margaret B. Jones, or Peggy Seltzer as her real name turned out to be, became the latest in a string of phony memoirists, but it wasn’t until a glowing review from Michiko Kakutani and a lengthy profile from a NY Times style reporter that the paper’s publishing correspondent, Motoko Rich, uncovered the truth about Love and Consequences. While pundits were quick to blame the book’s editor, Seltzer’s early supporters denied responsibility, reviewers excused themselves for not spotting the fake, and hand-wringing liberals argued that society was to blame for her actions.
- All this attention to Seltzer must have pleased Misha Defonseca no end, since it distracted people from talking about what a big phony she was, and all that stuff in her memoir about hiding from the Nazis in the woods with a wolf pack never really happened.
- British memoirist Sebastian Horsley tried to do an American book tour, but was turned away by homeland security. Everybody still came to his party and drank in his defense, though.
- Stuff White People Like got a book deal, which blew people’s minds.
- Zadie Smith, charged with judging the Willisden Herald International Short Story Prize, instead decided nobody’s fiction was good enough, so the competition was called off.
- President Bush announced plans to freeze funding for school libraries, right around the time he thought it would be a good idea to propose cutting RIF’s budget by $25 million
- We brought happiness seekers Beth Lisick and Gretchen Rubin together for an interview, and we learned a lot from clutter expert Peter Walsh.
- We also got some health tips that bear repeating: stop sitting at your desk all day, and stop holding your breath in front of the computer.
- An Australian newspaper questioned Ishmael Beah‘s veracity, suggesting that the memoirist tinkered with the chronology of his experiences as a child soldier in Sierra Leone in the bestselling A Long Way Gone. Beah denied the allegations; the newspaper pressed its allegations, but Beah stood by his story.
- Tom Wolfe changed publishers, ending a decades-spanning relationship with Farrar Straus Giroux to rejoin his longtime editor, Pat Strachan, at Little, Brown.
- Missy Chase Lapine sued Jessica Seinfeld for stealing her techniques to trick kids into eating vegetables; the federal lawsuit also accused Jerry Seinfeld of repeatedly defaming Lapine on national television.
- Romance novelist Cassie Edwards was caught putting other writer’s words into her novels and passing them off as her own creation. Signet initially dismissed the allegations, but as more evidence emerged, not to mention the outrage among romance readers, the imprint’s leadership admitted they ought to conduct a serious investigation. Three months later, convinced of Edwards’s perfidy, Signet cut her loose.
- Judith Regan settled her lawsuit against HarperCollins.
- Ursula K. Le Guin published an essay in Harper’s arguing that reading was never that popular to begin with, which is pretty much what Steve Jobs was saying right around the same time. Le Guin added that “publishing is not, in fact, a normal business with a nice healthy relationship to capitalism.”
Think you’re a big William Gibson fan? Sure, you’ve read all his books; maybe you even saw Johnny Mnemonic in a movie theater in 1995. (We did!) But are you willing to spend $530 dollars for a nylon bag to carry your laptop computer in? Would it help if we told you it was the same nylon used in military-grade bulletproof vests, and that the bag also had genuine horse leather accenting?
The bag (along with a $340 shoulder bag) are the result of a collaboration between two Japanese designers, bagmakers Head Porter and the Buzz Rickson line of historical reproduction clothing. Gibson has lent his name to a line of Buzz Rickson jackets for a while now, ever since he gave a character a jacket they never made, a black version of a U.S. Navy flying jacket. Buzz Rickson got so many requests for the black jacket that they went ahead and created one; since then, they’ve created Gibson-endorsed versions of at least three other jackets with “all the styling and detailing of a superior-grade military jacket design in a non-military color, and lacking the military insignia markings.”
And, this just in: Buzz Rickson has also made $160 William Gibson athletic shoes. All these items are available in the United States through a single boutique, the punningly-named denim specialist Self Edge.
Yes, it’s a two-minute film in which mystery writer Roger Morris (who, in his not-so-secret identity as R.N. Morris, is crafting sequels to Crime and Punishment) tries to work with a cat hanging on his shoulder. You’re either going to love it or hate it.
If there’s one thing for which the GalleyCat editors are grateful, it’s the overall civility of the people who want us to write about the things they’re doing. Not like the pitch FBLA got yesterday for a local bookstore appearance by the author of How to Woo a Bi’aaatch. As Tina Dupuy notes, it’s a real charmer:
“I noticed a big notice for ASK A MEXICAN book signing. Did he pay for that?”
The publicists (and authors) who write in to GalleyCat are much more pleasant to deal with—thanks, folks!
“People send me lots of books,” writes 43 Folders editor Merlin Mann, “so I have to decide rather quickly whether one should be added to the ambitious pile of stuff I already really want to finish reading.” GalleyCat has the same problem; fortunately, Mann’s got a checklist of questions readers can ask themselves, whether they get books in the mail or have to look at them in a bookstore, to make the yea-or-nay vote “easy and obvious.” Some of the highlights:
⇒”Is the author’s large, whitish face the primary feature of the cover?”
⇒”Can you find the word ‘secret’ anywhere on the cover of the book?”
⇒”Does the book suffer from the overlarge margins, giant type, two-paragraph pages, and ‘inspiring quotations’ that often suggest a rushed, shoddy, or lazy manuscript?”
Perhaps most important of all, “can you imagine a future in which closing this book on the last page will make you angry that you didn’t just go back and re-read A Confederacy of Dunces instead?” But those are just Mann’s criteria—how do you make these decisions?