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  • I Got the Horse Right Here

    If it's fall, it must be book awards time. Early October saw the Nobel in literature go to Doris Lessing (and a share of the Peace Prize to activist/author Al Gore); last week was the awarding of the Quills and the Whiting Writers Awards. Coming up: the National Book Awards, the NBCC nominations and, in the spring, the Pulitzers.

  • Stet the Edit

    I'm sure you know the old publishing saw about how editors don't have time to edit any more, so busy are they with acquisitions and catalogue copy. It's a tragedy, book people opine: where would, say, Wolfe have been without Perkins, Faulkner without Erskine, Conroy without Talese? So how could anyone fail to appreciate the irony of last week's revelation that Tess Gallagher, the widow of Raym...

  • Weltgeist in Frankfurt

    Here are some things “everybody” knows about Frankfurt. (1) The hotels are hideously expensive (especially during Book Fair week), the food is bad and the weather is worse. (2) Since so much of the work is done in the evening over cocktails, or late dinners, you don't schedule appointments before 10 a.

  • Go On, Get Happy

    The book business, like all fashion businesses, has trends that are often predictable. Election year? Bring on the political books. Internet surging? Get out some geek guides. Baby boomers aging and simultaneously regretting and romancing their wayward ways? Calls for some redemptive memoirs, I'd wager.

  • Reviews Are Mixed

    Apparently, when you're in the book reviewing business, you just can't win. Mostly, over the past year, we've heard about what we, as a culture, are losing in terms of book coverage. To wit: several major newspapers have faced major cutbacks and/or other changes in their book-reviewing departments. The Chicago Tribune moved its Sunday stand-alone section to Saturday, for example; the L.

  • Chicken Soup in China

    As if we needed more proof that globalization is for real, I recently learned that late last year, quietly and without fanfare, the Florida-based self-help publisher HCI made a deal with a Chinese publisher to release up to 164 versions of its Chicken Soup for the Fill-in-the-Blank Soul in China. The books, which will be chosen from the 100-plus titles now published in dozens of countries and l...

  • Stir Frey

    Is it canniness or coincidence that HarperCollins released news of its purchase of disgraced memoirist James Frey's new novel on the eve of Beaufort Books' publication of If I Did It, the souped-up confession from the murderous disgrace O.J. Simpson? (The latter, of course, is almost the selfsame book that Harper Collins canceled nine months ago.

  • Six Years After

    What a difference a couple of years make. In the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks in 2001, there was no limit to what people wrote about them. Months and months of newspaper and magazine stories followed—some of which memorably (and inaccurately) declared the death of irony, reality TV and other annoying cultural fads.

  • Who’s Reading What

    Here’s a newsflash for you: reading for pleasure is dead. We first heard about this, officially, a couple of years ago, when the NEA released its Reading at Risk survey, which concluded that 57% of Americans hadn’t read a book in a year. (Call me cynical, but I have to point out that that’s merely the 57% who admitted it; I suspect that, as with salary and sex surveys, one nee...

  • If Readers Don't Buy It...

    On the one hand, the announcement that it would be little Beaufort Books who would publish the Goldman family's souped-up version of O.J. Simpson's “confession,” If I Did It, was a relief. After days of speculating, both within this office and without, about which major conglomeratized publisher would dare release the book that eve...

  • If We Didn't Do It

    Like most of us publishing watchers, I've taken only a desultory interest in what happened to O.J. Simpson's If I Did It since it was cancelled late last year by HarperCollins. I wasn't surprised when a copy of the book turned up on eBay, nor was I surprised when I heard it was soon removed from the site.

  • Let's Review

    In the current issue of Harper's, novelist Cynthia Ozick takes off on—what else?—the state of "serious" fiction in this country.

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