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Book News for Tuesday, October 21, 2008

  • It's Miller Time: Disgraced former New York Times reporter Judith Miller has taken a job with Fox News.

    Now, before you utter anything that includes the term "comes home to roost," let's consider the circumstances that made Miller so notorious:

    Miller left the New York Times in 2005 after testifying in the trial of former White House aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby that he had leaked her information about a CIA operative. Miller's conduct in the case, which led to her serving 85 days in jail for initially refusing to testify, drew rebukes from the Times executive editor and some of her colleagues.

    Keep in mind that, as Gawker notes, "Libby had signed a waiver authorizing her to testify about their conversations," and you begin to see what an American hero Fox News has on its hands.

    The network seems to agree:

    Miller will be an on-air analyst and write for Fox's Web site. "She has a very impressive résumé," says Senior Vice President John Moody. "We've all had stories that didn't come out exactly as we had hoped....She has explained herself and she has nothing to apologize for."

    Which is true, as far as Fox News pundits go. Although, there is that whole, pesky Iraq War thingamagig...

  • But Is It Moose Sh-t? David Sedaris writes about undecided voters in the current issue of The New Yorker — a topic about which, I confess, I'm equally as puzzled.

    Of course, Sedaris does a far better job of disseminating the confusion than I ever could. Expect to see the following excerpt emailed to you at least ten times in the coming weeks:

    To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?”

    To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.

  • Insider Trading: Well, there might just be one good thing to come out of our current financial fiasco (besides the election results):

    Just a few months ago, Lifetime Television started adapting the Candace Bushnell novel Trading Up into a movie, figuring an aspirational story about the entitled rich and their limousine culture nailed the cultural moment.

    [...] Time for a rewrite.

    Suddenly, across Hollywood, the stock market is not such a sexy subject anymore — at least not in a yearning sense. "Overnight, it was like the script had been written two years ago," said Arturo Interian, Lifetime's vice president for original movies. Mr. Interian is still keen on the movie, with one major revision: fewer discussions about stock, more about playing it safe with bonds. And how about throwing in a pariah chief executive?

    If we can get back to depicting the idle rich as the slimy, villainous, children-devouring demons they truly are, I will be very, very happy. Still dirt poor, but happy.

  • Exile In Bookville: If you see my boss, Dave Weich, dancing around in a happy mood today, it's not because someone is piping hallucinogenic gas into the building (yet). It's because Liz Phair, his favorite Lilith Fair musician — and when it comes to Dave, the competition is fierceis writing a novel!

    GalleyCat reports:

    This weekend we learned via the Times Book Review, where Liz Phair reviewed Dean Wareham's memoir Black Postcards, that she is working on a book of her own -- "fiction, not memoir." "It was 4 am and the light was gray, like it always is in paperbacks" is probably not the first line, but wouldn't that be awesome?

    Gawker notes this is part of an apparent musician-novelist trend:

    Ryan Adams is publishing a novel plus a book of poetry, and the Observer reports that Bad Seed Nick Cave has just sold his second, titled The Death of Bunny Munro.

    For a moment there, I thought it read Bryan Adams — a common enough mistake, of course, but can you imagine Cuts Like a Knife, the literary thriller of the year? Or the great Vietnam-nostalgia epic Summer of '69? And let's not forget (Everything I Do) I Do It for You, his Condoleeza Rice memoir.

  • Coursing through Your Veins: Because we love writers, and love to help them any way we can, we're passing along's list of 100 free open courseware links that "can help you improve your essay-writing, fiction, blogging, and even managing your own small business."

    I can think of no finer preparation for National Novel Writing Month — just a couple of short weeks away!

÷ ÷ ÷

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. Fair and Balanced, My Ass!: An... New Trade Paper $14.95
  2. When You Are Engulfed in Flames
    Used Hardcover $4.50
  3. Trading Up New Hardcover $26.25

One Response to "Book News for Tuesday, October 21, 2008"

    manwith7talents October 21st, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    Oh Brockman, you know nobody can disseminate the confusion better than you.

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