Last week, PW‘s report on slain journalist Steven Vincent — “Posthumous Book Unlikely for Journalist Murdered in Iraq” — had me commenting, “As if murder doesn’t take enough from us.” So excuse my solipsism if I wonder that PW‘s title for its article on Peter Jennings — “Jennings Death a Book Loss” — wasn’t meant to scandalize me.
The Book Standard reports on Penguin’s new “Hot Shots” “sampling program” — a series of six titles, each “a very manageable 92 to 128 pages,” set to debut in stores Sep. 27.
Ken Kaye, VP and director of distribution sales at Penguin, gets paraphrased as saying something like, “It’s less of a commitment because the shopper pays less, and then reads what is essentially a short story, versus a full-length novel.” In other words: readers have never bought short stories, but maybe they’ll start if they’re tricked into thinking stories are just mini-novels. Either that or “limited-edition collector’s editions”:
“Some of these books are being pre-sold on the Amazon website,” Kaye says. “They are calling them limited-edition collector’s editions. I don’t know how they got that, but I am liking it.”
Last but not least, Penguin’s also mining the portable aspects of “Hot Shots”: ” The inspiration for the new offering? Apple’s ubiquitous iPod.” (The inspiration for this post? Let’s just say thermonuclear fusion technology. What, you got some problem with that?)
I’m not sure I could imagine any combination I’d dislike more than Jonathan Safran Foer and opera, but there you have it. Foer’s libretto, Seven Attempted Escapes from Silence, is getting its debut next month at Berlin’s Staatsoper Unter den Linden.
(Incidentally, I just noticed that Houghton Mifflin, appropriately enough, labels its pictures of Foer “foer$jonathan$safran.gif.”)
Nominees for the Quills have been announced and, according to PW, include Nick Hornby’s A Long Way Home. We assume Hornby could only be disappointed by the committee’s decision to overlook his non-imaginary novel, A Long Way Down.
Other nominees in the general fiction category include Gilead by Marilynne Robinson; The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd; The Plot Against America by Philip Roth; and Zorro by Isabel Allende. Biography/memoir nominees include Chronicles: Volume One by Bob Dylan; The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls; His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph Ellis; Thinking: True Stories by Augusten Burroughs; and Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare by Stephen Greenblatt.
- “Ex-New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey‘s embarrassing downfall has driven the disgraced politico into the arms of publisher Judith Regan.” [Radar]
- Little, Brown acquires Arianna Huffington’s next book, “a straight-to-the-point manifesto for women on how to be bold [and] how to make yourself bulletproof.” Tracy Behar will edit. [Press Release]
As if murder doesn’t take enough from us, PW titles its piece on Steven Vincent, “Posthumous Book Unlikely for Journalist Murdered in Iraq.”
But Spence editor-in-chief Mitchell Muncy said in an interview yesterday that Vincent was still in the research stages when he was killed and likely wouldn’t have committed enough to paper. “I’m not optimistic we’ll have a book out of this,” Muncy said. The only hope is that the author may have had some notes–and that they were well stashed away.
Further down, Muncy also contributes this piece of muddled logic:
The first reporter to die in a targeted killing in Iraq, Vincent generally didn’t travel with a bodyguard. … “His background was as an art critic, so very few media organizations were going to pay for a bodyguard,” Muncy says.
Um, is that because art critics are renowned for their impressive musculature, or because so few media organizations care what happens to their art critics?
From the NY Times profile of “fashion murder mystery” writer Kate White:
The problem with revenge, of course, is that it is hard to throw your pie and have it, too. Will anyone care, for instance, when the author of “The Devil Wears Prada,” the tell-all roman Ã clef patterned on Anna Wintour of Vogue, publishes a fully fictional novel, “Everyone Worth Knowing,” this fall?
Not so Kate White, who has been clever enough to have it both ways. As the editor of Cosmopolitan, which now has more than 50 editions (Cosmo Serbia, Cosmo Estonia and Cosmo Kenya are the latest), Ms. White might be described as a leader of the free world.
That’s a mighty big might.
(Picture, left: Kate White wears her dog, Skyler, as slippers.)
Today at The Black Table, editor Emily G runs down the many ways silly wittle writers (in the examples below, Mr. Almond & Mr. Klosterman) fuck up their acknowledgments pages:
Rule #1: Don’t Thank A Dead Person.
This one is fairly straightforward. Unless you personally knew, say, Spalding Gray (Chuck) or, more improbably, Abraham Lincoln (Steve), it is not appropriate to thank him. I don’t care if he inspired every single word on every single page. Thank him in your prayers, in the pages of your diary, in a post on your little-read blog. He does not care about being thanked in your acknowledgments, because he is dead, and to everyone else, it just looks like you are name-dropping a person who you can safely assume will not deny knowing you, and that’s just tacky.
Rule #2: Don’t Thank A Deity.
Jon Karp has landed at Warner, PW (sub req’d) reports:
By this morning, Warner sent the official word: the former Random young gun would be handling his own imprint, as many speculated he would, and it would be at Warner.
Warner Twelve will do no more (but not at least) one book per month (which means that the line some years could be Warner Nine or Ten). Karp is tapped as publisher and editor-in-chief, though it’s an editor-in-chief without too many Indians [ed's note - why don't I get this?] : The marketing and sales all comes from Warner, and no full-fledged editorial hires are immediately on the horizon. Instead, Karp will personally acquire and edit each book. Karp reports to Warner Books publisher Jamie Raab; he’ll launch the list in spring ’07.
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