- VP Shares POV PDQ: Here's some news to chill the blood of God-fearing mortals everywhere:
As widely expected, Vice President Dick Cheney has signed a deal with an imprint of Simon & Schuster to write a memoir about his life in politics and his service in four presidential administrations.
Hey, New York Times, shouldn't that be former Vice President? Or maybe ousted Vice President, for good measure?
Before you start rubbing your hands together expecting a juicy tell-all or an extended apology for eight miserable years of warmongering, consider this not-at-all-surprising tidbit:
A spokesman for Simon & Schuster said Mr. Cheney would write a book for Threshold Editions, where Mary Matalin, his close friend and adviser, is editor in chief.
Please, please, please get Jon Stewart to read the audiobook! His impersonation of Cheney (sort of crossed with Batman's villain, the Penguin) is truly awesome. If Stewart isn't available, Mike Meyers doing Dr. Evil will be a fine substitution.
- Wilder Still: The New York Observer finds it interesting that Dave Eggers was able to wrest his upcoming book The Wild Things, a sort-of-novelization of the film adaptation of Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, from HarperCollins, despite not owning the rights to the source material.
Talking about the project, Mr. Eggers seemed a little squeamish about having it published by a corporate house like HarperCollins, rather than through McSweeney's, the way each of his books have been since 2002's You Shall Know Our Velocity. Trouble was that he had to, because Harper owned the rights to his source material. "We weren't allowed to do it," Mr. Eggers told The Montreal Gazette in December 2007. "It'll be Ecco, a sort of literary imprint," he further rationalized, "and the editor there" — Daniel Halpern, the publisher and editor in chief of the imprint — "is really good."
[...] [A]s first pointed out by lit blogger Sarah Weinman, it was revealed that Mr. Eggers' book would not be published by Ecco after all. Somehow, mysteriously, the famously particular novelist had managed to overcome the whole rights problem, and had gotten the book into the McSweeney's catalog.
Of course, none of the parties involved would comment. Perhaps some rather large, rather hairy representatives of Mr. Eggers convinced HarperCollins to see things their way...
- JFK All the Way: Today's Very Short List recommends Jed Mercurio's "mesmerizing" novel American Adulterer, about the life and times (and sexual dalliances) of President Kennedy.
Mercurio adopts a clinical tone — referring to the president throughout as "the subject" — painstakingly detailing Kennedy's chronic back pain and stomach ailments alongside his almost pathological philandering. But the book never descends into the sordid; in fact, what emerges is a poignant and empathetic portrait of a hero with a particular tragic flaw.
- Whoops 2.0: Plagiarism alert!
This time it's the editor-in-chief of Wired magazine, Chris Anderson, who snatched chunks of text for his upcoming book Free: The Future of a Radical Price straight from something no one has ever heard of, called Wikipedia.
The passages were discovered by a reviewer for The Virginia Quarterly Review, who was reading an advance galley of the book....[Anderson] said that he originally had put the Wikipedia material in quotations, but that he and his publisher had not been able to agree on a format for citations. When he took the passages out of quotations, he failed to attribute Wikipedia or rewrite the material in his own words. "That's my screw-up," he said.
Yeah, that's not really plagiarism, just an editorial screw-up. Or was it??? (Yeah, it was. It's just not terribly juicy that way. Or is it??)
- Magic Time: Read the first chapter of Christopher Pillory's classic children's fantasy novel The World in the Walls for FREE!
What, you don't recognize the name Christopher Pillory? You don't recall spending idyllic summer days in childhood reading his Fillory series, including the follow-ups The Girl Who Told Time, The Flying Forest, and The Secret Sea?
That would be because they don't exist.
Or didn't, until Time magazine book critic Lev Grossman created them for his new novel The Magicians, in which a high school senior discovers that his favorite fantasy world isn't so fictional, after all.
Kirkus calls it "fantasy for grown-ups...and very satisfying indeed," while Library Journal raves, "This is a book for grown-up fans of children's fantasy and would also appeal to those who loved Donna Tartt's Secret History. Highly recommended."
This is one intriguing viral campaign that's definitely worth a look.
It seems Publishers Weekly agrees, calling it "riveting" and noting in its starred review, "Mercurio's take on the subject is fresh, bold and provocative." The book hits stores on July 7th.
Book News Round-up:
- Who wants to play the Dan Brown viral marketing campaign game in anticipation of his new novel, The Lost Symbol, coming in September?
I thought so.
- Hear that deafening chorus of high-pitched squeals of girlish glee? That's the sound of a legion of fans getting their first glimpse of the tie-in cover for Stephenie Meyer's New Moon, soon to be a major motion picture.
It could only look more generic if the broody boy-toy had shoulder-length locks and was named "Fabio."
- From The Oregonian:
Our man about town, the dude in the know, says this, "Powell's books was abuzz that the [sic] David Byrne had popped in to do some shopping. According to a friend of mine, he was looking for books by Dante."
Ooooh, just try to imagine how many Powell's employees are cursing themselves for missing that. Tragic, really.
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Brockman is the head writer for the daily Book News posts on the Powells.com blog. In his free time he's hard at work on his fictional memoir, which changes titles daily.
The views and commentary posted by Brockman are entirely his own, and are not representative of the whole of Powell's Books, its employees, or any sane human being.
Books mentioned in this post