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Book News for Tuesday, March 4, 2008

  • She's Turned This Bookstore Into a House of Lies! Of course you've heard by now, certainly, that highly touted first-time author Margaret B. Jones was outed as a big, fat, silly, stupid liar.

    The New York Times reports that Love and Consequences, Jones's "deeply affecting and provocative memoir of trouble and triumph in Los Angeles's most dangerous streets," is a pack of lies and Jones is the alpha liar of the pack.

    In Love and Consequences, a critically acclaimed memoir published last week, Margaret B. Jones wrote about her life as a half-white, half-Native American girl growing up in South-Central Los Angeles as a foster child among gang-bangers, running drugs for the Bloods.

    Margaret B. Jones is a pseudonym for Margaret Seltzer, who is all white and grew up in the well-to-do Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles, in the San Fernando Valley, with her biological family. She graduated from the Campbell Hall School, a private Episcopal day school in the North Hollywood neighborhood. She has never lived with a foster family, nor did she run drugs for any gang members. Nor did she graduate from the University of Oregon, as she had claimed.

    Riverhead Books, the unit of Penguin Group USA that published Love and Consequences, is recalling all copies of the book and has canceled Ms. Seltzer's book tour, which was scheduled to start on Monday in Eugene, Ore., where she currently lives.

    I can't decide which is the best part: that Seltzer's older sister outed her as a hoax, or that Seltzer claims she had a mandate to lie:

    "I was in a position where at one point people said you should speak for us because nobody else is going to let us in to talk. Maybe it's an ego thing — I don't know. I just felt that there was good that I could do and there was no other way that someone would listen to it."

    Or maybe it's a crazy thing. That's possible, huh? Like, maybe a little God-like voice came to her and said, "Lie for all the poor people, Margaret — you must save all the minorities with this one book full of lies! ONLY YOU CAN DO IT!!!"

    Sorry, dear readers — you can't buy the book from our website, as we've pulled all the copies from our stock. BUT! Through the magic of the blog, you can WIN an advanced copy of the hoaxoir to read aloud and laugh at with your friends!

    Just leave a comment below with the most blatant untruth about your own life that you can concoct. I won't promise a publisher will see it and sign you to a seven-figure contract without checking a single thing you've written — but it appears to be entirely possible.

    This Friday, March 7, at 12 noon PST I'll pick one random lie powerful, moving testament to the human condition, and send the liar hero an ARC of Love and Consequences.

    Feel free to snigger at it, write snarky comments in the margins, or hang the individual pages from your ceiling as a Lie Mobile.

    Related: Gawker points out some interesting connections to the New York Times that should raise a few eyebrows over at the Grey Lady — where I'll bet eyebrows are already arching toward the ceiling.

  • Bound for Glory: One work we're quite secure is fiction (since it bills itself as such) is Hillary Jordan's novel Mudbound, which has just been unveiled as the second volume in Powell's new Indiespensable subscription program.

    Winner of the Bellwether Prize for Fiction, Mudbound is storytelling at the height of its powers: "the ache of wrongs not yet made right, the fierce attendance of history made real" (Barbara Kingsolver), as men and women from two families become players in a tragedy on the grandest scale.

    "Mudbound, an ambitious and affecting debut, may very well become a staple of syllabi for courses in Southern literature. It is accessible, engaging and spiked with suspense." — Paste magazine

    Sign up for Indiespensable and get your special edition of Mudbound before they're all sold out!

  • Big Winner: Young aspiring writers should take a gander at the Dylan Thomas Prize, whose £60,000 (about $120,000 U.S.) award will go to one lucky writer. Says Publishers Weekly:

    Awarded every two years, the Dylan Thomas Prize is intended to honor "the best published writer in English under the age of 30 from anywhere in the world." It is open to any literary work — poetry, fiction, screenplays, film scripts — published in English by a writer 18-30 years old.

    A word to all white people: if you want to write a story about how you're going to singlehandedly save all disenfranchised minorities trapped in inner city ghettos, please be sure to correctly categorize it as "fiction." Saves time and embarrassment down the road.

÷ ÷ ÷

Brockman is the head writer for the daily Book News posts on the 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

  1. Love and Consequences: A Memoir of...
    Used Hardcover $8.95
  2. A Million Little Pieces
    Used Trade Paper $5.95
  3. Dylan Thomas: A New Life New Hardcover $35.00
  4. Mudbound: A Novel
    Used Hardcover $9.95

13 Responses to "Book News for Tuesday, March 4, 2008"

    Navin R. Johnson March 4th, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    I was born a poor black child.

    manwith7talents March 4th, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    I was a one-legged Bangladeshi orphan with ADD who became a soldier of fortune in Angola before moving to America, going to Harvard, and becoming CEO of Citibank.

    Lenny March 4th, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    Why not just file the book in humor? Won't that clear everything up?

    Kurt March 4th, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    My name is William Jefferson Clinton and I never had sex with that woman.

    Marcus March 4th, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    The Dylan Thomas prize is not so wide open after all. It's available "to any literary work...published in English by a writer 18-30 years old" ONLY so long as that work has been issued by a publisher in the UK or British Commonwealth.

    april March 4th, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    I was immaculately conceived.

    carlam March 5th, 2008 at 2:09 am

    Yesterday "Surviving With Wolves"
    Today "Love and Consequences"

    why not a whole now genre... ummm..


    bio-fakery... Yes! Bio-Fakery!!!

    It can be shelved right next to the Psychobabble books..

    eliz. March 6th, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    After being seriously beaned with a softball while playing at the summer Olympic games, I went into a coma for three years. During my coma, I met Jesus, Ghandi and Rosa Parks. When I awoke from my coma, I found that a male nurse had fallen in love with me and married me without my consent by bribing the hospital chaplain. But I grew to love him and now we have 10 kids.

    Stephan March 6th, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Having been born a poor half-black, half-Phonecian child in a concentration camp, I honed my skills as a mage and a ninja while escaping from the Nazis -- using an airplane built from scraps of paper and used matchsticks.

    I survived the rest of the war by running drugs for wolves, in the process becoming addicted to the product. After waking up bloodied and bruised on a steamer ship in the port of Orleans, I entered a twelve step program and upon my recovery set off to England to reclaim my rightful place as heir to the throne.

    While serving in as paleontologist and phrenologist for His Majesty's Royal Fusiliers, I traded my chance to win ten gold medals in my third consecutive Olympics in order to finally realize my lifelong ambition of becoming the first astronaut to journey to the center of the earth. Here I fought a grueling battle against a serpent-demon, and bested the Devil in chess, which earned me the Victoria Cross and a promotion to Field Marshall. It was during these heady years that I also received Nobel Prizes for discovering gravity, electricity, and water.

    Renouncing my claim to the English throne in order to accept my joint appointments as Pope, Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel, and Secretary General of the U.N., I served in this capacity until I became the first asian, lesbian virtuoso cellist to be elected President of the Earth.

    reallyfromSouthSide March 6th, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    I was born in Hawaii to an African father whom I saw only a few times in my life, and a mother from Kansas. I was raised by my white grandparents in Hawaii, with a short stint living with my mom and her new husband in Thailand, when I was a young child. I was sent back to Honolulu to attend a prestigious private school primarily for native Hawaiians and to be raised by my Midwestern grandparents. Im very smart so I got into Harvard. Along the way, I changed my name from "Larry" to Larack, rather more African sounding. I grew up, moved to the trendy upscale Hyde Park neighborhood near the University of Chicago. And, after a short stint as a state legislator in a state where it matters little, I got elected to the Senate, served for two years, then decided I could "beat a woman" even if she did have way more credentials. I then decided to market myself as black man from the "baddest side of town" in Chicago, running for President. Nobody dares call me "the spoiler." I managed to bury my "Larry" background and even half of my relatives in the process. I have reinvented myself as an urban black guy who has risen up from the South Side! I keep telling everybody that makes me real tough. Also, in my new reinvention, I have Extensive Overseas Experience, basically from living in Thailand as a child with a mom who collected exotic husbands for short periods of time, and later, after my own unknown-to-me father in Africa died, going back to meet up with those relatives. Amazing spin on a life that could have tremendous consequences.

    Brockman (Post Author) March 7th, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    And the winner is... April!!

    Thanks to everyone for their elaborate life stories lies. I have six-figure publishing contracts that I'll be shipping to you all shortly. (Just don't cash the check. Trust me.)

    Brockman (Post Author) March 7th, 2008 at 1:44 pm


    "Bio-fakery" is a fine category suggestion.

    However, I have to throw my weight behind hoaxoir. I even managed to persuade Dave to drop the term a few times on OPB this morning!

    Let's hope it catches on.

    Colin March 9th, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    How come you pulled her book and still sell James Frey's?

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