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Publishers Weekly

Fall 2000 Title Listings Stories
The following vignettes were coordinated and edited by Daisy Maryles, Laurele Riippa and Dick Donahue; writers were Mallay Charters, Dena Croog, Robert Dahlin, Lucinda Dyer, Heather Frederick, Charles Hix, Suzanne Mantell, Marcia Nelson and Judith Rosen.

Bowling in Groups
In the hierarchy of the Third Place movement, home is the first place, work is the second, and the third is the place you go to feel connected and schmooze. Celebrating the Third Place: Inspiring Stories about the "Great Good Places" at the Heart of Our Communities, edited by University of West Florida sociologist Ray Oldenburg (Marlowe & Company), contains 19 illustrated essays by fans, proprietors and journalists about successful Third Places. Among the entries are Annie's Garden Center in Amherst, Mass., Your Good Neighbor Coffee Shop in Pensacola, Fla., and Larry and Jeff's Bicycles Plus on Manhattan's Upper East Side, which editorial director Matthew Lore calls "one of the greatest places in New York City." Lore describes Celebrating the Third Place as an antidote to Robert D. Putnam's Bowling Alone, which laments the disintegration of social ties. "Ray's book celebrates places where people can come together for good of community and democracy," Lore says. "It's a quiet movement, but we hope the book will bring attention to it." The November title is a follow-up to Oldenburg's The Great Good Place, which Marlowe brought back into print last year.

The Barnyard Was Never Like This

With an all-star cast that reads like the table of contents for Austin Powers's little black book, Swingin' Chicks of the '60s (Cedco Publishing, Oct.) promises to be one of this fall's grooviest launches. Author Chris Strodder's brainchild began as a Web site (www.swinginchicks.com) a few years ago when he wondered whatever happened to his first crush, the foil-wrapped Angela Cartwright of TV's Lost in Space. Soon, he added bios and photos of other shagadelic divas of the decade, from supermodels Twiggy and Veruschka to Bond Babes Honor Blackman and Shirley Eaton, TV icons Barbara Eden, Peggy Lipton and Diahann Carroll, and movie goddesses Ann-Margret, Julie Christie and Raquel Welch. An overnight sensation (it was named a Yahoo Cool Link and Pick of the Week), the Web site is set to be spun off into print, with a foreword by Angie Dickinson. "We're excited about capitalizing on the site's success," notes Cedco acquisitions manager Lara Starr, adding that what's particularly fun is how enthusiastically many of the women "really got into the spirit of celebrating the '60s." Strodder, she says, "has them telling stories that not a lot of people know, and many of them shared photos pulled from their own scrapbooks" (including Julie Newmar of Batman fame relaxing off-camera in her Catwoman costume). Y-e-a-h, baby!

Bad, Badder, Terrific

How bad a bad girl is Cameron Tuttle, author of 1999's The Bad Girl's Guide to the Open Road and the forthcoming The Bad Girl's Guide to Getting What You Want (Chronicle Books, Nov.)? So bad that the delivery of the manuscript for the latter title was held up while she recovered from a concussion sustained while dancing. "We thought it was just an excuse until she showed us the x-rays," marvels editor Jay Schaefer. (Tuttle is now fully recovered, thank you very much.) Where The Open Road showed ladies how to road-trip in style, Getting What You Want explains how to roar over those pesky speed bumps in relationships, at work and in love. Whether you need help "paving over resumé gaps," snagging yourself a hottie or merely scoring free drinks in a bar, Tuttle explains how to find the "G spot of your own life." As she puts it, "Being a girl is your ice cream sundae--being a bad girl is the cherry on top."

The A to Z of the 411

If you want to know how much your neighbor is making, and how often he or she is making it, check out The Rating Game (Lebhar-Friedman, Oct.) for the answers to a dizzying variety of questions about who we are, what size we wear, how often we lie, how much we spend on credit and more, more, more. (Wallet check: the average American household g s through cash at the rate of $90 daily.) Reporting averages and other numeric tidbits on topics ranging from abortions to work, researcher Les Krantz offers a prodigiously detailed statistical snapshot of Americans in these fast times. A promotional budget of $15,000 is aimed at landing Krantz and his fact collection on college and public radio stations across the country, natural outlets for information with a whimsical twist.

For Collecting Something Besides Dust

Martingale, publisher of craft and how-to books, strikes out in a new direction with its Collector's Compass series, books about collectibles aimed at novice collectors. First out in September for book, and collector, shelves are Collector's Compass: '50s Decor and Collector's Compass: Barbie Doll. "People love to collect Barbie and all the little accessories that come with her," says Jane Hamada, Martingale's publisher. The '50s book represents Martingale's nod to trends in collectibles: that period of blond wood and jelly-jar glasses is with us once again. Two other initial offerings in the series cover jewelry and 20th-century glass. The new series is the publisher's next step in broadening the crafts niche in which it began. "The mission of the company is to inspire creativity; we consider collecting as part of that mission," Hamada explains. First printing for each of the four inaugural titles is 25,000, with an ad/promo budget of $50,000 for the series to fund national publicity and radio promotion. Syndicated antiques columnists are being targeted, and radio shows will feature giveaways of the new books. The Antiques Road Show Book Club and Country Homes and Gardens have selected both the glass and Barbie books.

It's A Date

The rules of the dating game have never been laid out for would-be lovers as clearly as they are in the American Dating Association: Universal Dating Bylaws and Regulations (S&S/Fireside, Feb.). With tongue only partially lodged in cheek, the Los Angeles-based ADA, which bills itself as "the official governing body of courtship in the United States," codifies everything from mandated first-date disclosures to post-coital etiquette. The premise: any partner who violates one of the bylaws automatically forfeits his or her dating "rights." Editor Kristine Puopolo says that "not since the follow-up to Bridget Jones's Diary has a book been so highly anticipated by singles." Taking a less legalistic approach, Peachtree Publishers offers Cheap Psychological Tricks for Lovers by psychologist Perry W. Buffington. Aimed at those of us who don't mind stooping a little to conquer, the October release taps into such relevant sources as recent scientific research findings and Greek philosophy to outline 60 strategies for capturing and keeping a mate.

Beyond the Fringe

The irony is not lost on publisher Beverly Potter that in her bid to move Ronin Publishing (based in Berkeley, Calif.) into the mainstream, she is launching a series on psychic topics, called Fringe. "It's mainstream to us," she says. "It's going to straddle into the gift market." Potter describes the series as brief introductions, or "books to read over a cup of coffee." They will have a 6"´4¼" format so that they can be printed with no waste of paper and priced well under $10. Virginia Bennett's paperback original, A UFO Primer (Sept.), on UFO sightings from Roswell to "Big Bertha Boomerang" by such unlikely witnesses as President Jimmy Carter, will lead off the list with a first printing of 10,000 copies. "It's a big experiment, and I have hopes it's going to work," says Potter, who had a lot of foreign interest in the bookat BEA. Even so, she acknowledges, moving the house's direction may take time: "It's like steering an ocean liner. You can't turn it too fast."

Pacific Overture

It all started when a Japanese psychologist developed a parlor game that turned into a book, selling over four million copies in four different volumes. "It even spawned an entire game show in which celebrities answer questions and everybody laughs at their disclosures," reports Kris Puopolo, senior editor at S&S/Fireside, who is confident the Japanese diversion will prove cross-cultural. Kokology: The Game of Self-Discovery by Tadahiko Nagao and Isamu Saito is scheduled for release on these shores in October, and it will be a One Spirit Book Club selection. Rights have also been sold in Germany, Spain, Italy and Holland. Players respond to a series of 55 quizzes that prove to be not so innocuous. "It's most fun when you play it in a group," notes Puopolo. "It's a chance for people to uncover hidden feelings [about sex and other matters] and to get to know themselves. That impulse transcends cultures. At no other moment has there been such an addiction to self-revealing behavior."

Going Bananas

In her first book, The Lawn, Virginia Scott Jenkins examined 20th-century America's obsession with the perfect grassy plot. Next month, she views the century through the prism of fruit--more specifically, Bananas. Mark Hirsch, senior editor at Smithsonian Institution Press who edited both books, says: "I took it seriously because I knew the first book was a serious take on popular culture. I was hooked by the question that Bananas addresses: How is it that a foreign fruit became a staple of the American diet?" Jenkins's answer runs the gamut from the banana's high nutritional value and easy portability to its "germ-free" packaging. Introduced into America in the 1880s, the so-called "poor man's" fruit played an important role in international trade and transportation, as well as politics at home, where at one time it was even regarded as a weapon against communism. Bananas were a favorite in vaudeville routines and were thought to cure warts, headaches and stage fright, as well as promote longevity--something Hirsch is hoping for the book.

School Daze

High school seniors--or others--who are college-bound and less than enthusiastic about being known by their social security number and taught by underpaid graduate assistants at Pack'em In State U. have alternatives. Cool Colleges: for the Hyper-Intelligent, Self-Directed, Late Blooming and Just Plain Different (Ten Speed Press, Sept.) is a directory of unconventional schools, from colleges with experiential or entrepreneurial courses of studies to schools where students read Aristotle, Marx and Freud, not predigested textbook versions of great thinkers. Author Donald Asher, an authority in the field of career planning, profiles 40 schools ranging from scholarly Reed College to innovative New College of the University of South Florida. The book also contains essays on topics such as "Why Kids Aren't Happy in Traditional School" and lists Web sites, books and other resources.

The Next Great Thing

Generation mavens Neil Howe and William Strauss (Generations, 13th Gen) are great believers in the truth of cohorts. "Trying to understand the direction of America by looking at the breaking headlines while ignoring generations is like trying to understand the movement of the ocean by looking at the breaking waves while ignoring the tides," they write in Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation (Vintage Original, Sept.). Millennials--kids born after 1982--are unlike any other youth generation in living memory, the authors say. They are more numerous, more affluent, better educated and more ethnically diverse. They exhibit a new focus on teamwork, achievement, modesty and good conduct. They are the first generation to grow up thinking of itself in global terms. (They're also the fattest generation to come along.) They promise great things for the future of the country, the authors predict, so hold on to your hat and get ready for a great ride.

Did You See Survivor This Week?

Not everyone belongs to Mensa. Sometimes we just have to fake it, particularly when the crowd is brainy and the chitchat is over our heads. "The idea is to appear more erudite than you are. It's a way of cribbing, a way to stay afloat," says Caryn Karmatz Rudy, senior editor at Warner Books, explaining the premise of The Portable Pundit: A Crash Course in Cocktail Party Conversation (Oct.) by T.E. Krieger. She allows that the book's style is "deliberately pretentious. You could give it as a gift to a friend and say, 'You're just the pretentious type who'd go for this,'" Rudy explains. "But you would also read it yourself." So is The Portable Pundit a humor book? "It has more takeaway value than that," she replies. "It's tongue-in-cheek, but there's a ton of information in it." Subjects covered in sound-bite nutshells extend from art history to philosophy, from Wall Street to the Internet. The Portable Pundit even answers, in easy-to-paraphrase fashion, the burning question: What is this whole Director's Cut thing about?

Skirting the Issue

Likening London-born author Anna Johnson to a nonfiction Bridget Jones, Workman suspects they have a bona fide hit on their hands with the forthcoming Three Black Skirts (Oct.), a hip, savvy life-skills guide for women 18-45. "As with a couple of other books I've edited that have done very well, this one got passed around the office like wildfire," says senior editor Ruth Sullivan. "I'd have it on my desk and it would disappear, and I'd see people reading parts of it out loud to friends on the phone." The 32-year-old Johnson, a globe-trotter who moved to New York prior to revamping the Australian edition for an American audience, covers everything from wardrobe basics and home decor to relationships, careers, spiritual well-being, nutrition and money management ("PMS to how to change a flat tire," as Sullivan dryly puts it), while tossing out such bon mots as her editor's personal favorite, "rich people are not cleaner than you and me--they have storage." According to Sullivan, "It's sort of like a girls' night out. Anna's knowing and very funny voice is what got us all so attached to this book." A 50,000 first printing is planned, along with a 20-city author tour and a Three Black Skirts survival guide store kit.

How'd They Do That?

Former patent examiner Travis Brown explains it all in Popular Patents: America's First Inventions from the Airplane to the Zipper, a September title from Scarecrow Press. With profiles of more than 80 inventions, the book provides the historical evolution of each invention, a biographical sketch of its inventor and a description of how the invention was made. Also included are brief histories of U.S. patent laws, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and U.S. patent models. "We think it's going to be a great gift book," notes Shirley Lambert, Scarecrow editorial director. "It gives quite a bit of insight into the patenting process," she adds, predicting that the book will appeal to both men and women alike, sparking their interests with its meticulously researched details.

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