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Posts Tagged ‘James Frey’

Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club, Unauthorized

kitty23.pngAs rumors swirled last week that Oprah Winfrey may start a book club on her new cable network, Kitty Kelley (pictured) revealed some behind-the-scenes drama at the book club in her unauthorized biography of Winfrey.

Kelley’s 544-page biography comes out tomorrow. GalleyCat picked out a few choice passages about the book club so you can know what to expect. For instance, the book spends pages analyzing James Frey‘s appearance on Winfrey’s show.

Frey had been a book club pick, but once he was exposed for fabricating portions of his memoir, Winfrey roasted him on national television. According to the biography, Winfrey apologized to the author in the green room after her televised rebuke. Here’s a quote: “The New York Times and The Washington Post wouldn’t let it go. We had to stop it. I’m so sorry, but they were investigating us. And we just couldn’t have that,” Winfrey reportedly told Frey.

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The Wind-Up Charlie Bird Parker Chronicles

BBBB.jpgLast week the design studio Coudal Partners sponsored a booking bands contest urging readers to create mash-ups of band names and book titles.

While the winners were chosen randomly, the sprawling list of submissions contains some fabulous wordplay. Among GalleyCat’s favorites were: the James Frey-inspired “My Friend Leonard Cohen,” the heavy-metal inspired “The Great White Gatsby,” and the art-rock and film novelization mash-up, “Last Yo La Tengo In Paris.”

Here’s one of the winners: “Michelle [wins with] Fleetwood Macbeth. I was happy to see Michelle’s name come up, she was among the most fervent submitters. For her troubles, she gets the Arden Shakespeare edition of Macbeth, and while I personally prefer the Peter-Green-era “Green Manalishi” Fleetwood Mac, I’ll spare Michelle and send her the Enhanced CD of their classic Rumours.” (Via.)

Well, I See By the Clock on the Wall…

Routine is a funny thing, especially on a professional level. It forces you to get up early every morning, perform a specific set of work-related tricks until the day is done, and then it’s time to get up early the next day and repeat the same process. For two years, routine has been my fall-back as I scoured for the best, relevant and occasionally bizarre bits of publishing-related news and commentary to share with GalleyCat readers.

After today, that routine will no longer exist. This is my last day here, after which Ron will take the site over as a solo act for the foreseeable future. Instead I’m creating a new routine, or perhaps an anti-routine: one with more freelance opportunities and larger projects to work on. One where I can spend more time on neglected matters: fiction-writing, my own crime fiction-centric site, or making some use of that forensic science degree after all. One with equal parts possibility and uncertainty. As to why now, the Jewish New Year – which begins tonight – probably has a lot to do with it. New Year, new beginnings, that sort of thing.

In other words: after two years, thousands of posts, scores of parties and readership that’s more than quadrupled since Ron and I took over GalleyCat in October 2005, it’s time to see what’s out there beyond the publishing industry’s idiosyncratic, mercurial and fascinating borders. I’m thrilled and scared, but risk has that effect on a person. And sad, too, because I’m going to miss so much here. When I first started, I had an amateur’s fascination with publishing. Now there’s more, but also so much I’ve still yet to learn. So most of all, thank you for being here as I tried to understand the way things work, from mergers & acquisitions (HM/Harcourt, Wottakar’s and Hachette/Time Warner Books, here’s looking at you) and bankruptcies (AMS/PGW) to more scandal-ridden fare (really, if not for James Frey, J.T. Leroy, Kaavya Viswanathan, and especially OJ and Judith Regan, there would be no GalleyCat in its current format.)

Thanks also to Elizabeth Spiers for the initial chance; Aileen Gallagher, Dorian Benkoil and Dylan Stableford for editorial support in the early innings and Rebecca Fox, Noah Davis and Chris Ariens for the same, late-in-the-game; Laurel Touby for continuing to push for breaking news and original content; my fellow bloggers-in-arms, departed and still current; and Ron, for being Adolph Green to my Betty Comden (even if I’m breaking up the act a lot sooner than they did.)

And while we’re on the team theme, had I been more tech-savvy there would have been a YouTube clip of my favorite childhood comedy duo delivering the goodbye song I reference in the subject header to open this post. But I’m not, so instead I’ll quote from the last lines:

Adieu, mon vieux, a la prochaine, goodbye till when we meet again!

Some sunny day, I suspect.

Katherine Taylor Falls Into Chick Lit Bait Trap

In reading debut novelist Katherine Taylor ‘s interview with the New York Observer’s Spencer Morgan, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the first time James Frey made headlines, long before any charges of fake writing and fabrication were levied his way. No, I’m talking about the interview where he railed against Dave Eggers‘s A HEARTBREAKING WORK OF STAGGERING GENIUS in particularly profane terms, and then it turned out that Frey, like so many men of his generation, is a casual f-bomb dropper without any real malice attached to it. So where do you think that first interview, the one that got Frey in so much trouble, ran? The New York Observer, of course!

So what is up with the salmon tabloid charming opinionated (at best) or incendiary (at worst) from young, impressionable writers? In Taylor ‘s case, perhaps it’s the constant dangling of the chick lit carrot what with her novel – published by FSG this May (and an early theorized candidate for the Starbucks slot occupied by Ishmael Beah) – set amidst glamorous New York surroundings and adorned with the chicklit-standard cocktail glass, cigarettes and pink lettering. “But I love it,” she said. “It works, and I love that [the cover] looks like an old film still and that it’s an old-fashioned cocktail glass and that the woman is wearing dark nail polish, not something bright.” Besides, one has to cut Taylor slack if only for her closing comment: “Indecision [by Benjamin Kunkel] was ridiculously simple, I thought. And had it been a girl who’d written it, it would have had the pinkest cover in the world. It would have been the pinkest of all-time pink covers.” Can’t argue with that…

The Problem of Using Real Names in Fiction

In the wake of James Frey, perhaps this story might have come out months after the book’s publication instead of while the advanced uncorrected proofs were circulating. But it is a post-Frey world, and so a single story in Simon Rich‘s upcoming collection ANT FARM: AND OTHER DESPERATE SITUATION will be changed before the April 3 publication because, oops, Rich used real names and put them in fictional situations, according to the Virginian-Pilot’s Earl Swift & Tris Wykes.

The story is “My Mom’s All-Time, Top Five Greatest Boyfriends,” written from the perspective of an 11-year-old boy whose favorite minor-league hockey team happens to be the Norfolk Admirals. And the five boyfriends? They all happen to be real former players for the hockey team. “What do you say to that?” said Marty Wilford, one of the five and a former Admirals defenseman who’s married and the father of two young children. “Somebody just made up a story with me in it? That’s kind of weird, and I just don’t get it.” But now he won’t have to, because all the names have been changed for the final version of the book. Impetus for the changes “may be coming from our legal department,” said Random House spokeswoman Jennifer Huwer, but she wasn’t completely sure.

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