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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.

Mummy Dearest
All that glitters is indeed gold--golden masks and gilding on thousands of Egyptian mummies--at a spectacular active archeological dig that is the subject of Valley of the Golden Mummies (Abrams, Oct.). The story behind this lavishly illustrated (260 full-color photos) book is a yarn worthy of Indiana Jones himself. When Paul Gottlieb, Abrams publisher and editor-in-chief, read news accounts of the discovery at the Bahariya Oasis in March 1996, he was on the phone immediately. Thanks to existing good relationships with Egyptian archeologists and officials, "we were able to get through very quickly," Gottlieb recounts. "Within 24 hours, publishers from all over the world were calling." Renowned Egyptian archeologist Zahi Hawass provides the text, sharing both facts and feelings about the process of excavating this significant site, a task he supervises. The site is closed to the public, Gottlieb explains, so Valley offers a unique window open to all. A first printing of 150,000 includes U.K., French, Italian and Swiss editions; four book clubs have already selected the title, testimony to its worldwide interest. In mid-October, Hawass will lecture at museums in New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

The Pause That Refreshes

From its founding in the late 1800s through the 1980s, Coca-Cola established itself as "the pause that refreshes" with an assist from calendars, serving trays and highway signs that featured clean-cut, all-American young women known as the "Coca-Cola Girls." This advertising blitz, which was created by such leading artists of the day as illustrators Haddon Sundblom and N.C. Wyeth, forms the basis of Coke collector Chris H. Beyer's Coca-Cola Girls: An Advertising Art History (Collectors Press, Oct.). President and publisher Richard Perry notes that it is Coca-Cola's first licensed art book ever, and Collectors Press has gone all out to produce it "with ultra-high quality." All 400 illustrations are printed on heavy stock in full color. Despite the year it took to negotiate the contract, Perry has only praise for this celebrated beverage. "We've had the full cooperation of the Coca-Cola archives in Atlanta, and our book has images that haven't appeared in any other books," he comments. In a promotional first, his company is sponsoring a Coca-Cola Girls exhibit this fall at the American Advertising Museum in Portland, Ore.

Big Mouths

A good buzz can bring honeyed results. Roger Scholl, executive editor of Currency Books, Doubleday's business imprint, recalls his instant reaction upon reading the proposal for The Anatomy of Buzz: How to Create Word of Mouth Marketing (Oct.) by Emanuel Rosen. "The title crystallized the whole thought and had a certain sex appeal to it," he says. He relates that the author had spent nine years as v-p of marketing at Niles Software, makers of EndNote, before selling his shares in the company in 1998 and becoming a very wealthy man. Since then Rosen has dedicated himself to studying and writing about buzz--and scheming how to turn The Anatomy of Buzz into the anatomy of huge success. "I think he sees it as a mission," says Scholl. To create buzz for Buzz, Currency is sending out 2,000 advance galleys to key figures--whom the publisher affectionately terms "big mouths"--across a wide swath of industries. Furthermore, the book's cover screams for attention. "It's loud and in your face," states Scholl.

Surviving Splitsville

Should warring parents stick together or divorce? The shock of mom and dad coming apart informs a trio of reports. The Love They Lost: Living with the Legacy of Our Parents' Divorce (Delacorte, Sept.) is Stephanie Staal's account of her own life and that of other adult children from broken homes. Judith Wallerstein is the primary author of The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25-Year Landmark Study (Hyperion, Sept.). "She's continuing her longitudinal study of 131 children of divorce," says executive editor Peternelle van Arsdale, "and in her third book, she takes them through adulthood. Contrary to popular belief that the greatest impact of divorce is at the time of break-up, the most striking impact d sn't occur until the children are grown and entering relationships of their own. Often relationships with fathers have suffered due to the failure of custody arrangements." That is precisely the point of Where's Daddy? The Mythologies Behind Custody-Access-Support (Harbinger Press, Sept.) by K.C., who asserts that children are entitled to both parents equally, regardless of their marital state. Our culture assumes that a single, ultimate authority is necessary to resolve conflict, and therefore a child of divorce can have but one parent and one household. Where's Daddy proposes better solutions.

Queer Dreams

"I have lived on the wrong side of sex since birth," states political activist Amber Hollibaugh in My Dangerous Desires: A Queer Girl Dreaming Her Way Home (Duke Univ. Press, Nov.). In this collection of published and unpublished essays, written between 1979 and the present, Hollibaugh traces the trajectory of her life from a childhood of poverty and sexual abuse in a California trailer park, to stints as a prostitute and stripper, to her present work in filmmaking and journalism. In recent years, she won the Dr. Susan M. Love Award for founding and directing the Lesbian AIDS Project at Gay Men's Health Crisis in New York, and earned the Freedom of Expression award at the Sundance Film Festival for her documentary The Heart of the Matter. Editor Ken Wissokur notes that this is the first-ever book by this "legend" in lesbian theory; Dorothy Allison, in the foreword, writes that "whether she is writing about the female body, the femme psyche, or the fearful need to admit desire itself, Amber has vindicated all our lives."

Elephants at Work

"At first glance, it looks like some ludicrous joke, but in fact it's a very serious endeavor, that resulted in saving the lives of the artists," says HarperCollins executive editor David Hirshey. He's talking about the November release When Elephants Paint: The Quest of Two Russian Artists to Save the Elephants of Thailand by Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid, with Mia Fineman and an introduction by Dave Eggers. An illustrated history of Komar and Melamid's work with the Asian Elephant Art and Conservation Project (AEACP), which was established in 1998 to save Thailand's elephants, the book chronicles the opening of the elephant art school and reproduces 130 works. "The elephants paint very fast and can complete a work in five minutes. They all have different styles," notes Hirshey, adding "personally I think they're closest to Jackson Pollack." The elephants' canvases have sold for as much as $10,000, and an auction at Christie's in Manhattan last spring brought in $100,000 for AEACP.

Varsity Blues

A trio of forthcoming titles tackle the thorny subject of college athletics. Most critical is Holt's Beer and Circus: How Big-Time College Sports Is Crippling Undergraduate Education by Murray Sperber (Sept.), the Indiana U. professor who raised a firestorm following his criticism of basketball coach Bobby Knight last spring. Sperber has nothing much good to say about college sports, which exist, he claims, to assuage a student body deprived of a decent education by administrations that chase after prestigious research faculty rather than teachers who actually teach. "The controversy raised Sperber's profile," says Holt publicist Heather Fain. "He'll take a leave of absence in the fall, for his own safety, and he'll be more available to tour." In Intercollegiate Athletics and the American University: A University President's Perspective (University of Michigan Press, Sept.), James J. Duderstadt, former head of the U. of Michigan, considers the way college sports have infected academia with the commercial values of the entertainment industry. Sports teams should be either spun out into independent entertainment businesses, he says, or reigned in to conform with the goals of the institutions they serve. Finally, in The Game of Life: College Sports and Educational Values (Princeton University Press, Jan.), James L. Shulman and William G. Bowen, both of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, identify the subtle ways in which athletic teams pull institutions away from their missions, and they're dismayed that college athletes, more than ever before, enter college academically unprepared.

Fed Up

Persuasive evidence, as we have heard and read, implicates the fast food industry in the epidemic of obesity in today's youth. In Fast Food Nation (Houghton Mifflin, Jan.), Eric Schlosser enumerates with relish many other evils resulting from this country's collective appetite for instantly available fat-saturated meals. Executive editor Eamon Dolan says, "Schlosser nails down a lot of facts I have not seen before about the enormous influence [of fast food marketers] on our society. He d s a great job of synthesizing." A contributing editor at Atlantic Monthly, the author traces both the malling of McAmerica and the growth of contemporary car culture back to fast food purveyors. He even reports statistics on how many fast food robberies are perpetrated by fast food employees. Notes Dolan, "The prose is extremely toothsome. Schlosser shows how the fast food industry has an excessive fondness for speed and efficiency at all costs, with the end result that they have eventually achieved what one might call the irrationality of rationality."

Some Do, Some Don't

It's a fact that many women dispute, but--behind closed doors--men really do talk. From his vantage point as a clinical psychologist, Alon Gratch has long been aware of this fact, and now, in a Little, Brown February release, If Men Could Talk: Here's What They'd Say, he shares insights and tips on how the sexes can better communicate. Breaking male behavior into seven categories, including self-involvement, aggression and sexual acting out, Gratch uses anecdotes and examples drawn from his 20 years of practice. The book, which follows in the tradition of John Gray's Mars and Venus series and Deborah Tannen's You Just Don't Understand, "is a great combination of the entertaining and the provocative, and at the same time tremendously helpful," notes senior editor Judy Clain. "Men do talk, they just speak in a different language, and the author gives readers--particularly women--skills and tools for decoding male conversation."

The Future is Nigh

If Bobos are bourgeois bohemians, what are Robo sapiens? They're what you get when you mix machines with humans, endowing robots with traits of homo sapiens! Lots of scientists are working hard to develop sophisticated and useful Robo sapiens, giving their inventions names (a human trait) no human would want (Honda P2, WABIAN R-II, Omniclops, Unibug 3.2, AIBO). To guide us through this fascinating maze of new creation, Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio, the photojournalist team behind Material World and Man Eating Bugs, bring us Robo sapiens: Evolution of a New Species. The September MIT Press release features 176 color photos of robots of all sorts, interviews with robotics pioneers and technical data about the machines. MIT reports intense interest in the book, with attention in magazines from Wired (a September cover) to Scientific American (a featured review) to Ranger Rick and Popular Photography (articles with color reprints). "There are no trade robotics books," says MIT publicist Gita Manaktala, "only high-level research books or hobbyists books, so this is special." The press has upped its first printing to 40,000 copies.

Spare That Treasure!

The patchwork quilt that is our country's history is comprised of many lovely but fraying pieces. Saving America's Treasures (National Geographic Books, Nov.) spotlights places and artifacts in all 50 states that are now endangered through age or neglect. Produced by the National Geographic Society, the book is a compelling visual and verbal argument for the Save America's Treasures preservation campaign, a partnership between the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the White House Millennium Council. It boasts text by First Lady Hillary Clinton and National Public Radio journalist Ray Suarez among other writers and preservationists, along with 150 archival and NGS-quality original photographs. "The goal of the book is to bring these places alive through the stories of what happened there and who did these things," says editor Lisa Lytton at the Society. Promotional plans include a November 15 launch at the historic Decatur House, one block from the White House, and a four-city and satellite TV tour by Richard M , president of the preservation trust and one of the book's contributors.

Booking Ahead

One of publishing's most famous seers is anticipating the future again, and when he speaks, people listen. After all, he established the trade paperback by creating Anchor Books in 1952, and he enjoyed a major stint as Random House's editorial director. Now Jason Epstein looks ahead in Book Business: Publishing Past, Present, and Future (Norton, Jan.). "Jason sees our current business situation not as a crisis, but as an opportunity," says Drake McFeely, Norton president and chairman. "It's true that the crystal ball is a little cloudy right now. We don't know yet how digital technology will play out, but Jason sees wonderful changes going on in the way literature will be delivered to its audience." Epstein piqued interest with his optimistic perspective last spring when the New York Review of Books excerpted Book Business, which greatly expands upon the Norton/Center for Scholars and Writers lectures he gave at the New York Public Library. By the way, if the title rings familiarly, last August Verso published André Schiffrin's The Business of Books.

Gene Therapy

In an era where the human genetic code seems all but cracked, popular speculation abounds as to which of our behaviors are hard-wired into our DNA and which are under our control. Meanwhile, in recent decades the fields of animal behavior and evolutionary psychology have compiled an extensive body of data as to why insects, birds and primates (including humans!) act as they do. Mean Genes--From Sex to Money to Food: Taming Our Primal Instincts attempts to bridge the gap between self-help and the science of evolutionary genetics. Written by Terry Burnham, an economics professor at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and Jay Phelan, a biology professor at UCLA, this October Perseus title both shows how our genes influence everything from eating habits to career choices and offers concrete tips on harnessing our natural tendencies for the better. Says editor Amanda Cook, "As the authors write, people should think of this as an owner's manual for their brain."

The Chyna Syndrome

How d s someone go from serving in the Peace Corps to becoming a superstar in the World Wrestling Federation? Chyna, undisputed queen of the ring and the first woman to hold her own against the men of the WWF and earn the title of Intercontinental Champion, tells all in Chyna (ReganBooks, Sept.), the third in a series of autobiographies by WWF stars. In it, she details how she survived an abusive childhood and legendary Walter "Killer" Kowalski's professional wrestling school, then rose to conquer the WWF. Considered one of entertainment's hottest properties, the World Wrestling Federation produces nine hours of original TV programming each week and its Pay-Per-View events attract more than 100 million viewers. Clearly hoping to catch this wave and put a hammerlock on the bestseller list--Have a Nice Day by Mick Foley (aka Mankind) and The Rock Says... by The Rock and J Layden each hit the #1 spot on the New York Times list, notes assistant publicity director Jennifer Suitor--ReganBooks is plotting an aggressive marketing campaign, from author appearances to extensive cross-promotion with the WWF, including its popular Web site (wwf.com), which receives more than 30 million hits each month.


Growing up is seldom easy: throw one extra obstacle in the way and it becomes chaos. "Am I possible?" asks Rebecca Walker, nee Rebecca Leventhal, the mixed-race offspring of black writer Alice Walker and white Jewish lawyer Mel Leventhal, who worked on behalf of the NAACP. Walker calls herself "a Movement Child," but since her parents' divorce she's not so sure. "I exist somewhere between black and white, family and friend," she writes in Black, White, and Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self (Riverhead, Jan.). "I am flesh and blood, yes, but I am also ether." According to her editor, Amy Hertz, Walker wanted to write about what it was like to grow up taking part in two different worlds. "She had an unusual custody arrangement," says Hertz. "She'd spend two years with each parent. It was a little schizophrenic."

Tube Times

Couch potat s should be all eyes for these three windows onto their screens. First is One Foot on the Floor: The Curious Evolution of Sex on Television from "I Love Lucy" to "South Park" (TV Books, Oct.) by TV critic Louis Chunovic. He details how TV has long tried to keep audiences riveted without prompting large segments of viewers to turn off their sets. Next comes Glued to the Tube: The Threat of Television Addiction to Today's Family (Sourcebooks, Nov.) by Cheryl Pawlowski. Sourcebooks editorial director Todd Stocke says, "Her premise is that television has become part of the family and teaches us what we know about sex, race and most everything else." Even more horrifying is Jack Lechner's experience recounted in Can't Take My Eyes Off of You: One Man, Seven Days, Twelve Televisions (Crown, Nov.). "He really lined up 12 sets and watched for a week," says Crown senior editor Doug Pepper. "Jack says there's always more crap than good stuff, but it's your own fault if you don't watch The Sopranos, The History Channel or The Simpsons." Ironically, Lechner plugged his book on TV a few months ago when he visited Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?--and won $125,000.

It Wasn't Columbus

Straight A's in history may still have you left in the dark. Investigative reporter Thomas Ayresis sets history straight with Taylor's September title That's Not in My American History Book: A Compilation of Little-Known Events and Forgotten Her s. For trivia buffs and casual readers alike, this collection separates historical reality from myth and corrects many long accepted distortions. "Some of the events listed revisit famous personalities and facts you may not have known about them," says Taylor's assistant editor, Fred Francis, noting one of his favorite tidbits about Ben Franklin almost killing himself while trying to electrocute a turkey. "This book casts history in a whole new light."

All in the Family

Birds of a feather may flock together, but not in the Bessie family. Writer/producer Dan Bessie tracks down his family's favorite nesting places around the country in Rare Birds: An American Family (University Press of Kentucky, Nov.), a family history of a most unusually artistic group, starting with his father, Alvah Bessie, who was jailed in 1950 as one of the Hollywood 10. His father's cousin, Michael Bessie, cofounded Athenaeum Press, and his grandmother's cousin, Sidney Lenz, wrote a classic guide to playing contract bridge. There's also an uncle, Leo Burnett, who headed the eponymous advertising agency that created the Jolly Green Giant and the Marlboro Man; and an aunt, Ph be Snetsinger from Webster Groves, Mo., who was a leading birder. Press director Ken Cherry, who edited Rare Birds and plans to use it to feather the press's list of entertainment memoirs, comments, "What struck me was the great strain of creativity running through the Bessie family. The book is like a collection of vignettes in some ways, but you realize that they are all tied together, genetically."

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

It might tickle your funny bone to learn that humans aren't the only creatures capable of producing that convulsive snorting sound known as laughter--our hairy cousins, the chimp, the gorilla and the orangutan, also cut loose with chuckling fits. This and other facts about our vocal response to humor are examined in Laughter: A Scientific Investigation (Viking, Oct.) by neurobiologist Robert R. Provine. Surveying everything from ethnological studies to "paleohumorology," Laughter takes a serious look at this most unserious social tool. Says editor Richard Kot, "Bob Provine has managed to take groundbreaking research about one of the most familiar--if little understood--aspects of human behavior and turn it into a witty and accessible book." A personal testimony to laughter's healing qualities is offered in I'd Rather Laugh: How to Be Happy Even When Life Has Other Plans for You (Warner Books, Jan.) by Linda Richman, with a foreword by Rosie O'Donnell. In the book, the Canyon Ranch spa inspirational speaker (on whom son-in-law Mike Meyers based his Saturday Night Live "Coffee Talk" character) endorses greeting life's hard knocks with humor.

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