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Archives: May 2008

Gotham Gets Adria Bio

Bill Shinker at Gotham has bought North American rights to a definitive biograpy of Catalan super-chef Ferran Adria, to be written by Colman Andrews – whose book Catalan Cuisine (originally published in 1988 by Atheneum and currently available in paperback from Harvard Common Press), introduced the cooking of Spain’s now-trendy Catalonia region to America.

Adria’s El Bulli restaurant, on an isolated stretch of seacoast just below the French border, opens only six months a year and turns down literally hundreds of thousands of request for reservations annually, and Adriá is widely considered to be the most influential chef in the world today. A co-founder and former editor-in-chief of Saveur and now restaurant columnist for Gourmet, Andrews will shadow the chef over the next two years and examine his revolutionary style of cooking in historical and cultural context. The deal for the book, tentatively entitled Reinventing Food, was brokered by Michael Psaltis of the Culinary Cooperative/Regal agency.

The terms of the deal have not been announced.

I was brought up to believe that one shouldn’t discuss one’s finances or one’s medical condition in public,” says Andrews, “but I can tell you that the advance was bigger than the one I got for ‘Catalan Cuisine’-which was $12,500-and that I feel pretty good.

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BookExpo America Is Underway…


…and I’ve already had one full day of attending panels, including the two discussions in which I was an active participant—both of which went really well, and I was really glad to see both rooms filled to capacity (as per the photo above, with author/relationship expert Donna Sozio in the front row). I learned a lot about marketing and “author-preneurship” from my co-panelists, and still more from the people I listened in on yesterday morning, and I’ll fill you in on as much of it as I can… next week. For now, I’m hurling myself back into the fray, as the trade show proper begins this morning.

In the meantime, here’s a photo of memoirist Ernest Borgnine, one of several Kensington authors spied partying at Ciudad last night!


The Man Behind the New Bond Girl Gallery

spywholovedme-coverart.jpgDid you see Monday’s post about the new James Bond covers? (No worries if you didn’t; I know most of you had the day off.) As I was writing that item, I dashed off a few questions to the artist, Michael Gillette, who was kind enough to tell me how he came to create “Bond girl” portraits for deluxe hardcover editions of Ian Fleming‘s original novels.

“I was approached by Jon Grey, a designer whom i knew socially from my time in London,” Gillette recalls. “The concept was devised by Penguin and Jon; they initially asked me to paint a girl for Casino Royale and see if i was keen to try the type too. I realized that this was a great opportunity to produce ‘the total look’ as it were. I decided that within the limitations, that they should all be different colours to inject some instant variety.”

He pitched three different covers to the Fleming estate before gaining approval, and after that, he says, he painted the series over a three-month period (while working on other projects as well). “It was a very hectic period,” he says, “and it seemed that I was always in catch up mode, finishing one and starting the next immediately. Ideally i’d have taken 4-5 days on each: a day to plan, a day painting the girl, one for the type and then another to hone it all.” And as he neared the end, he felt that the look had developed so much from his initial concept that he wound up repainting Casino Royale to bring it closer visually to the others.

Gillette says he wasn’t actually a big fan of the books growing up, although his father did own a set of the paperbacks published in the UK by Pan. “I think I probably enjoyed them more as artifacts,” he admits, but now, if pressed for a favorite, he might go with From Russia With Love. As I noted Monday, these covers aren’t scheduled to be used on any American editions of the Bond novels, but New Yorkers and Angelenos will have a chance to see some of them when the “Bond Bound” art exhibition comes to the States later this year.

A Puppet Show That’s Not for Children

Warning: This book trailer contains NSFW situations as enacted by shadow puppets.

I think I might have written something a while back about how I thought straight-up music videos might be an effective book trailer technique, and this 90-second film for Kathe Koja‘s Under the Poppy might just offer evidence in support of my theory… if, that is, you’re sufficiently motivated to visit the novel’s website after viewing. (Or, for that matter, to just go straight to the book and find out more about the story the film tells!)

As Koja explains on her blog, the film is a collaboration between her, director Diane Cheklich, and puppet master Al Bogdan. It’s certainly one of the most striking visual aesthetics of any promotional video I’ve seen for a book in a while…

Scene @ Teachers & Writers Office Party


To the best of my recollection, I’ve never been namechecked at a reading before (at least, not one I wasn’t already hosting), but one of the first things Elizabeth Hand did went she got up to read from Generation Loss at the Teachers & Writers offices Tuesday night was to ask if I was in the audience, and then request that I make sure to get a picture of her in her Electric Prunes T-shirt, so that friends would have evidence that she fulfilled her promise to wear it to the event.

While I was getting that photo during the after-party, Matthew Sharpe—who’d read a scene from Jamestown—was chatting with fans. The pairing was felicitous: Not only had Sharpe and Hand both just had their novels come out in Harcourt paperbacks, they were both examples of great writers championed by independent presses (Soft Skull for Sharpe, Small Beer for Hand). Other writers in the audience included Kit Reed, John Reed (no relation), Amanda Stern, Fran Gordon, and Peter Straub.

Scene @ Jeremy Scahill’s Blackwater Party


GalleyCat correspondent Amanda ReCupido swung by the Mercer Hotel Tuesday night for the paperback launch of Jeremy Scahill‘s New York Times bestseller Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. “John Cusack‘s name floated amongst the evening’s headliners,” ReCupido reports. “His new project, War, Inc., opened late last week and aligns with the book’s goals, and Cusack himself is a large supporter of the book. Unfortunately, he was MIA and no amount of Peter Gabriel could lure him onto the scene.”

Blackwater received tremendous praise when it was first published over a year ago,” she continues, “and referenced regularly in the Timesfor its coverage of the post-9/11 political and military scene. This new version of the book has about one-third more material than the original, according to Joe Duax (top left, with Scahill) from The Nation Institute, and gathers Scahill’s findings from interviews in over 40 towns.

“Scahill claims that his work is an ongoing process, and in the height of the election frenzy, emphasized that ‘with the new White House, I want to say that I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican, but a journalist first.’ Was Scahill surprised at all by the success of his book? ‘Commercially? Yes,’ he admitted. ‘In either sense, I’m glad that people are reading and are passionate about the issue.’”

Scahill will be reading at Town Hall next Tuesday, June 3, starting off a nationwide book tour.

Frommer’s Goes Mobile, Helps BEA Attendees

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Frommer’s just announced a new relationship with mobile strategist and developer, eMbience Inc. In the coming months, Frommer’s will introduce off-the-beaten path travel content to the mobile community using eMbience’s Brand Builder platform. At the launch of Book Expo of America, Frommer’s will unveil a free, promotional mobile web application for the over 4,000 registered attendees instead of their annual printed promotional gift.

“A key component of our mission to consistently deliver new and unique content is finding progressive distribution channels that complement our customers’ lifestyles,” said Craig Schickler, Director of E-Business Development at Wiley which publishes the Frommer’s travel books. Nimish Shrivastava, President & CEO of eMbience says “The mobile landscape continues to evolve so rapidly, forward-thinking companies like Wiley need to be able to create, port and serve mobile products and promotions quickly.”

Well, since I’m holding down the fort here in NYC with Emily, I’ll have to ask Ron how the app works and if it’s helpful.

Summer Book Roundups

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I was going to call it a “beach read roundup” but I don’t know how many of us can afford to go away on vacation this summer, but we can always find a book to escape into.

NPR features Susan Stamberg’s annual bookseller-picks including Rona Brinlee from The Bookmark’s choice: City of Thieves, by David Benioff.

USA Today has the most comprehensive list of summer reads here.

New York Post made Chasing Harry Winston by Lauren Weisberger their top pick on their list.

Real Simple magazine went to the authors for their summer picks, asking Augusten Burroughs, Jackie Collins and Danielle Steel among others. James Patterson chose No Country for Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy as his “one day read.”

Wall Street Journal’s list features David Sederis’ When You Are Engulfed in Flames.

The Daily News geared their list for the guys and suggests Mike Edison’s I Have Fun Everywhere I Go: (insert world’s longest subtitle here).

Scene @ Ed Park’s Personal Days Party


Last month, when Ed Park was kind enough to take part in the launch of my reading series, his novel, Personal Days, was still a few weeks away from publication. The official launch party came last week at the New York Society Library, where Park and Random House editor Julia Cheiffetz were joined by several of Park’s fans in the media, including Time book critic Lev Grossman and Glynnis MacNicol of’s FishbowlNY, as well as some of Park’s former colleagues from the Village Voice… and co-founding Believer editor Heidi Julavits.

(And check out Ed’s New-York Ghost pin!)

(photo: Adrian Kinloch)

Bentley Binds Bond Book

Today is Ian Fleming’s 100th birthday and pub date for Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks writing as Fleming. In celebration of this landmark, Doubleday has created a limited edition of the book produced in conjunction with Bentley which will retail for $1500. The book is bound in Bentley leather and contains a pewter replica of the Bentley Bond drives.

According to Alison Rich at Doubleday, “only 300 copies were produced, 100 for the US market and 200 in the UK. The 200 British editions sold out in under 2 hours just after midnight this morning.” The US limited edition is available for purchase exclusively at

Luxury cars involved with publishing… now where have I read about that?

Bibliophiles, prepare to drool after the jump.

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