Riverhead's Susan Petersen calls him 'adorable,' and his work has certainly done well for the house since it first published Nick Hornby its first year out of the gate, in 1995. His first novel, High Fidelity, made quite a critical splash and appeared on a number of bestseller lists here, and last year's About a Boy was serialized in the New Yorker and selected as a New York Times Notable Book. Now Petersen has signed the hip Londoner to a new contract for a couple of as-yet-untitled novels, the first to appear in 2001. Riverhead has also issued a new edition of Hornby's first book, an affectionate soccer memoir called Fever Pitch, which did not at first catch fire here, though it was a huge seller in Hornby's native land. His Riverhead editor, Wendy Carlton, is looking forward, she said, to 'a long and happy future together,' and added that she feels the author has 'endless potential.' The deal was made with London agent Caroline Dawnay of Peters Fraser Dunlop; both of Hornby's previous novels are under development as movies.




It's not just your imagination: You really are tired all the time-and a great deal of what's wrong with you could be cured by a lot more sleep. That's the revolutionary thesis of Kept in the Dark: The Killer Connection Between Sleep and Food, by Santa Barbara, Calif., researchers T.S. Wiley and Bent Formby, for which Pocket Books' Emily Bestler recently paid what is described as 'a healthy mid-six figures' after a spirited auction involving several houses. According to the authors' agent, Deborah Schneider at the Gelfman Schneider agency, their thesis is that many of the diseases that afflict Western civilization can be attributed to the fact that artificial light has interrupted our natural sleep patterns, which are dominated, like those of animals, by the diurnal cycle and the seasons -- meaning we should sleep much longer in the winter than in the summer, should retire at nightfall and eat accordingly. And our screwed-up sleeping habits, according to the authors, are the cause of many contemporary maladies. Is there a proper amount of sleep we should be getting? 'Yes, about nine and a half hours a night, on average,' Schneider said. All this good news for the chronically tired can be perused in detail in spring 2000, when Pocket plans to bring out the book.

At a time of renewed tension in the Persian Gulf, a reminder of the last full-scale war there is on the way from an unlikely source: McGraw-Hill, known mostly for business and professional books. The publisher has bought world rights to the story of Keith Rosencrantz, a 'Top Gun' F-16 fighter pilot who flew 30 successful missions during the Gulf War. His book, Vipers in the Storm: Diary of a Fighter Pilot, is the first title in McGraw-Hill's new Aviation Week Books imprint, and has been put on an accelerated schedule for publication next month. The agent was Phil Calhoun of Sterling Lord Literistic, and the book's editor is Shelley Carr. The much-decorated Rosencrantz is now a pilot with Delta Air Lines.

Even before Into Thin Air appeared here and went on to bestsellerdom, an account of that same fatal 1996 Everest climb had appeared in its author's native Denmark, where it was an instant bestseller. The book was written by a Danish woman climber, a member of Scott Fischer's doomed team, Lene Gammelgaard, and now Climbing High is about to be published here by little Seal Press in Seattle. According to Seal's publisher, Faith Conlon, Climbing High was originally published by Aschehoug in the author's native land, but Gammelgaard retained the rights and contacted Seal, known for its outdoor books and its emphasis on women's issues, among other American publishers. Conlon's response was so swift and enthusiastic that Gammelgaard went to see Seal when she was visiting the States, and signed with them on the spot. 'I think we just clicked,' said Conlon. The author, who is bilingual, had written an English version, which has been polished by an English friend and further by Seal. She tells in her book of how she was one of the few to reach the mountain's summit (becoming the first Scandinavian woman ever to do so) and survived the terrible storm that killed several other members of Fischer's expedition and another climbing alongside it. The adventurous Gammelgaard, who has also been a sailor, a psychotherapist and a lawyer, will be coming to the U.S. this summer to promote her book on an extensive tour. Seal, according to Conlon, is doing a first printing of 25,000 copies, its biggest ever, for the book's July launch by PGW, its distributor -- and Seal's rights director, Ingrid Emerick, has world rights to sell.

Warner's Maureen Egen has signed a seven-figure deal for the next book by physicians Mary Dan and Michael Eades for a followup to their bestselling Protein Power, tentatively called The Protein Power Life Plan. Channa Taub and Carol Mann at the Carol Mann agency were the sellers, and the book is scheduled for late this year.... Yes, Reader's Digest still d s condensed books, but now they're called Select Editions, and each volume includes what the publisher calls a 'Discovery' book. The July offering, for instance, will contain boiled-down versions of John Grisham's The Testament (Doubleday), Stuart Harrison's The Snow Falcon (the 'Discovery' selection, from St. Martin's), James Thayer's Terminal Event (S&S) and Nevada Barr's Liberty Falling (Putnam).