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An Alphabetical Life: Living It Up in the World of Books

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An Alphabetical Life: Living It Up in the World of Books Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Little did Wendy Werris imagine that when she began a temp job at a Hollywood bookstore in 1970 at age nineteen, she had embarked on a thirty-five year career that would stretch into a journey of self-discovery and literary enlightenment. In An Alphabetical Life, Werris reflects upon how she came to embrace the book culture as her singular way of being in the world. Her career began when the book business was conducted amid an atmosphere of civility and wry humor, and her memoir captures the essence of this time and the people she met along the way. The challenges she faced, in what was then a male-dominated industry, are also discussed — particularly in 1976 when she was one of only two women repping books in the entire country.

In describing the hilarious, eccentric characters that were her colleagues, lovers, and partners in crime, the essence of retail bookselling comes alive. Among the figures she profiles are Henry Robbins, editor of The World According to Garp; Alan Kahn, then of Pickwick Bookshop in Los Angeles, now President of Barnes and Noble Publishing; and many great and memorable retail bookbuyers and authors.

Review:

"'We never know what may happen when we pick up a book,' writes Werris is her tragicomic memoir of life in the book trade, '...turning the page might actually change the course of our existence.' As an unemployed college student, Werris began selling books in 1970 at the Pickwick Bookstore in Los Angeles and never stopped. Her evolutionary career began in bookstores, moved to publishers (like Rolling Stone's imprint, Straight Arrow), continued on to repping and culminated in escorting famous authors on tour. Daughter of Snag Werris, a longtime comedy writer for the likes of Milton Berle and Jackie Gleason, Werris has humor in her genes and a raconteur's flair for a good story, and her book bubbles with insider tales of authors and celebrities (like her one-night stand with Richard Brautigan and a magical dinner with Eric Idle and George Harrison). Sadness peppers Werris's story, however: failed relationships, the death of a beloved friend from kidney failure, a complicated relationship with her parents and a brutal rape whose perpetrator was never captured, despite Werris's own valiant efforts. The book details a richly textured world of small presses and now vanishing independent bookstores, and is a bittersweet tribute to the indefatigability of bibliophiles like Werris herself." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"We never know what may happen when we pick up a book,' writes Werris is her tragicomic memoir of life in the book trade, '... turning the page might actually change the course of our existence.' As an unemployed college student, Werris began selling books in 1970 at the Pickwick Bookstore in Los Angeles and never stopped. Her evolutionary career began in bookstores, moved to publishers (like Rolling Stone's imprint, Straight Arrow), continued on to repping and culminated in escorting famous authors on tour. Daughter of Snag Werris, a longtime comedy writer for the likes of Milton Berle and Jackie Gleason, Werris has humor in her genes and a raconteur's flair for a good story, and her book bubbles with insider tales of authors and celebrities (like her one-night stand with Richard Brautigan and a magical dinner with Eric Idle and George Harrison). Sadness peppers Werris's story, however: failed relationships, the death of a beloved friend from kidney failure, a complicated relationship with her parents and a brutal rape whose perpetrator was never captured, despite Werris's own valiant efforts. The book details a richly textured world of small presses and now vanishing independent bookstores, and is a bittersweet tribute to the indefatigability of bibliophiles like Werris herself." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Some extraordinary moments of great energy, emotion and even terror." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Werris earns respect and sympathy as she shares her unusual and enlightening perspective on the publishing industry by portraying mentors and colleagues, relating brushes with celebrities, disclosing personal suffering, and sharing her tireless love for books." Booklist

Synopsis:

Werris reflects upon how she came to embrace the book culture as her singular way of being in the world. Her career began when the book business was conducted amid an atmosphere of civility and wry humor, and her memoir captures the essence of this time and the people she met along the way.

About the Author

Wendy Werris was born in Brooklyn in 1950, but has lived primarily in Los Angeles since childhood. In 1970 she began working in the book business after being hired at the legendary Pickwick Bookshop in Hollywood. Following a stint at Rolling Stone / Straight Arrow Books in San Francisco, she began working as a publishers sales representative—and has been selling books ever since. She has also a professional photographer, and for the last few years has worked as a freelance author escort in and around Los Angeles.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780786718177
Publisher:
Carroll & Graf Publishers
Subject:
Authors and publishers
Author:
Werris, Wendy
Subject:
Booksellers and bookselling
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Editors, Journalists, Publishers
Subject:
BIO026000
Subject:
BIO025000
Subject:
Authors and publishers -- United States.
Subject:
Booksellers and bookselling -- United States.
Subject:
Biography - General
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20061131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5 in 9.5 oz

Related Subjects

Biography » General
Reference » Books on Books
Reference » Publishing
Reference » Writing » Writing as a Business
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » General

An Alphabetical Life: Living It Up in the World of Books
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 336 pages Carroll & Graf Publishers - English 9780786718177 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "'We never know what may happen when we pick up a book,' writes Werris is her tragicomic memoir of life in the book trade, '...turning the page might actually change the course of our existence.' As an unemployed college student, Werris began selling books in 1970 at the Pickwick Bookstore in Los Angeles and never stopped. Her evolutionary career began in bookstores, moved to publishers (like Rolling Stone's imprint, Straight Arrow), continued on to repping and culminated in escorting famous authors on tour. Daughter of Snag Werris, a longtime comedy writer for the likes of Milton Berle and Jackie Gleason, Werris has humor in her genes and a raconteur's flair for a good story, and her book bubbles with insider tales of authors and celebrities (like her one-night stand with Richard Brautigan and a magical dinner with Eric Idle and George Harrison). Sadness peppers Werris's story, however: failed relationships, the death of a beloved friend from kidney failure, a complicated relationship with her parents and a brutal rape whose perpetrator was never captured, despite Werris's own valiant efforts. The book details a richly textured world of small presses and now vanishing independent bookstores, and is a bittersweet tribute to the indefatigability of bibliophiles like Werris herself." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "We never know what may happen when we pick up a book,' writes Werris is her tragicomic memoir of life in the book trade, '... turning the page might actually change the course of our existence.' As an unemployed college student, Werris began selling books in 1970 at the Pickwick Bookstore in Los Angeles and never stopped. Her evolutionary career began in bookstores, moved to publishers (like Rolling Stone's imprint, Straight Arrow), continued on to repping and culminated in escorting famous authors on tour. Daughter of Snag Werris, a longtime comedy writer for the likes of Milton Berle and Jackie Gleason, Werris has humor in her genes and a raconteur's flair for a good story, and her book bubbles with insider tales of authors and celebrities (like her one-night stand with Richard Brautigan and a magical dinner with Eric Idle and George Harrison). Sadness peppers Werris's story, however: failed relationships, the death of a beloved friend from kidney failure, a complicated relationship with her parents and a brutal rape whose perpetrator was never captured, despite Werris's own valiant efforts. The book details a richly textured world of small presses and now vanishing independent bookstores, and is a bittersweet tribute to the indefatigability of bibliophiles like Werris herself." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Some extraordinary moments of great energy, emotion and even terror."
"Review" by , "Werris earns respect and sympathy as she shares her unusual and enlightening perspective on the publishing industry by portraying mentors and colleagues, relating brushes with celebrities, disclosing personal suffering, and sharing her tireless love for books."
"Synopsis" by , Werris reflects upon how she came to embrace the book culture as her singular way of being in the world. Her career began when the book business was conducted amid an atmosphere of civility and wry humor, and her memoir captures the essence of this time and the people she met along the way.

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