A look at bestseller lists from the nation's best independent bookstores.

This week's list is from the Chickering Books in Laramie, Wyoming.


1. Cat's Eye Witness
Rita Mae Brown

2. Eyeing the Flash
Peter Fenton

3. I Am Charlotte Simmons
Tom Wolfe

4. Ordinary Wolves
Seth Kanter

5. Sunday Philosophy CLub
Alexander McCall Smith


1. Collapse
Jared Diamond

2. Hell or High Water
Peter Heller

3. What's the Matter With Kansas?
Thomas Frank

4. Will in the World
Stephen Greeblatt

5. United States of Europe
T.R. Reid


1. Kite Runner
Hosseini Khaled

2. The Summer Fletcher Greel Loved Me
Suzanne Kingsbury

3. News from Paraguay
Lily Tuck

4. Reading Group
Elizabeth Nobel

5. The Known World
Edward P. Jones


1. Don't think of an Elephant
George Lakoff

2. Dreams of my Father
Barack Obama

3. Last American Man
Elizabeth Gilbert

4. Mountains Beyond Mountains
Tracy Kidder

5. Living to Tell the Tale
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Chickering Books
203 South Second Street
Laramie, WY  82070

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Friday 11 February 2005

Penguin head redistributed . . .
The chair and CEO of Penguin UK, Anthony Forbest Watson, "has been abruptly ousted from the company, following a distribution crisis [see Mobylives digest for 11 January 2005] last year," although the company is officially denying any connection between the massive problems at its Rugby distribution center and Watson's departure. According to a report by Saeed Shah for The Independent, Watson is "one of the best known figures in the British books industry," and been with the company for 15 years, including the last eight as head. He will be replaced by John Makinson, Penguin's worldwide head, who is also on the board of corporate owner Pearson. The "crisis" in question was an escalating series of software problems at the company's distribution center in Rugby, England, which led to numerous books and magazines being undelivered or delivered late and in short supply. One "senior industry source" tells Shah, "The talk in the trade was that Makinson himself may have to take the rap [for the distribution problems] but it appears that Forbes Watson is the fall guy."

How could 49,138,831 Britons be so stupid? . . .
Within hours of the announcement yesterday that Prince Charles would wed his long–time paramour Camilla Parker Bowles, the first book deal about it was announced. As reported yesterday afternoon in a story on The Book Standard, Blake Publishing will publish Camilla and Charles—The Love Story in a month. Author Caroline Graham is the US correspondent for London's The Mail on Sunday, and has already written a bio of Bowles (also published by Blake). The publisher's statement says of the not–yet–written book, "This sensational biography reveals everything about their relationship, their decision to marry and the impact that the event will have on the establishment and the public. Caroline Graham has spoken to sources very close to the couple to uncover one of the most controversial love stories of our time." The report also notes that "Blake also promises that Graham will use her contacts in the newspaper world 'to plug the book mercilessly.'"

Why Ayn Rand just gets better and better . . .
It's the centennial of Ayn Rand, and in his most recent column for InsideHigherEd.com, Scott McLemee wonders how it is that her work continues to sell "in spite of being excluded, for the most part, from courses in literature or philosophy," and despite the fact that the "extravagant claims for Rand's importance" by the followers of her philosophy, the Objectivists, "are more than neutralized by the peculiar vehemence of scorn for her by most people over a certain age, and above a certain level of education." Recalling a presentation he witnessed by the Ayn Rand Society at the American Philosophical Association concerning humor in her writing (there are problems with the notion, says McLemee, such as "the fact that Ayn Rand did not possess a sense of humor"), he goes on to conclude: "Perhaps the easiest thing would to be write off her lasting appeal to the fact that, while one cohort after another passes through its teenage years, the condition of adolescence itself is here to stay . . . Rand's heroes . . . tend to have very cool careers, and enjoy some pretty tempestuous sex. Her fiction is like a tourist's brochure for adulthood, showing only the more impressive scenes."

Lesson #35 from the Press Release Writing Institute: Be bold! . . .
Writers Closet, "a publisher of quality books and eBooks, today announced the pre–release of a newly discovered and never before released 1957 translation of Adolph Hitler's Mein Kampf," according to a press release released by the Tallahassee, Florida company. The release explains, "This translation was accomplished by a British Intelligence Officer in 1957 and has been literally kept in the closet until now. The translation contains translatorıs notes and comments throughout the book." The release also carefully notes that "It is certain that we want no repetition of the terrible consequences that ensued from the proliferation of this work and the actions of those who used it as their guide." Plus, notes publisher Gary Harris, "This translation has been buried for almost 50 years and puts a whole new slant on Adolph Hitler."

Literature and rockets: 1957, baby . . .
It was the year the Soviets launched the Sputnik rocket into space, and everything changed. In literature, too, momentous things were happening, notes Edward J. Renehan in an essay on his website called "The Fabled Damned: American Literature in 1957." As Renehan notes, it was the year Robert Frost and Ernest Hemingway tried to get Ezra Pound out of a mental institution, the year Jack Kerouac published On The Road (which Truman Capote, working on Breakfast at Tiffany's, said was not writing but "typing"), and that John Cheever published his first novel, and that Allen Ginsberg's Howl was confiscated by officials in San Francisco, who tried to prosecute publisher Laurence Ferlinghetti, and that Ayn Rand published Atlas Shrugged and that — well, it was a big year.

Book may find itself not in reviewing situation . . .
The former Simon & Schuster (UK) executive Nick Webb, in a Publishing News report, discusses his forthcoming book, The Dictionary of Bullshit, due out next fall. It is, says the report, "an attack on corporate double–speak — which Webb claims to have become very familiar with during his time at S&S." Says Webb, "My corporate life was certainly a rich source of bullshit — but then, I think everybody's is. A lot of that corporate language is drained of responsibility. You don't say, 'I'm not paying you,' you say 'that's not a payment situation'."

NOTE: Daily newspapers often change URLs when archiving, so some links won't work beyond the day they're first posted.

Thursday 10 February 2005

Attacker attacked for new attack . . .
The co–author of the best–selling book that derailed the Kerry campaign, Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry, has a new book out that looks at the Iran's acquisition of nuclear weaponry and finds that the Kerry campaign may have been involved. As a report on Media Matters for America notes, author Jerome R. Corsi "has previously suggested that Kerry's position on Iran was motivated by bribery." Meanwhile, the Media Matters report notes the book, Atomic Iran: How The Terrorist Regime Bought The Bomb And American Politicians, is getting promotion from the Sinclair Broadcast Group, such as in this commentary from Sinclair v.p. Mark Hyman in which he says the book is "painstakingly researched and documented" and that "Corsi asserts that [Iranian] regime supporters were active in the 2004 Presidential campaign, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars." However, says the Media Matters report, "Hyman did not mention Corsi's history of racist, homophobic, xenophobic, anti–Catholic and anti–Muslim comments" such as those reported on in this Associated Press wire story. As Media Matters notes, "Corsi later said that criticizing him for his online comments is 'like saying Shakespeare is responsible for something one of his characters said.'"

Full story of the Cairo Book Fair . . .
While yesterday's MobyLives digest reported the closing of the Cairo Book Fair as a semi–successful event, another version of the Fair appears in an Associated Press wire report by Paul Garwood. It says "this year's event has been marred by a crackdown on books and activists demanding reform in the Arab world's largest country." Garwood reports police "confiscated leftist books and arrested three people protesting any renewal of Hosni Mubarak's presidency. They have also barred a government critic from delivering a lecture." One of those arrested was lawyer Marwa Farouk, who told the A.P. "The role of the book fair is to spread new ideas, but this isn't happening because it is being controlled by the government. It has become a government event that expresses ideas that don't challenge the country's problems." A leftist publisher whose books were confiscated, Mohamed Hesham, said, "The confiscation of the books was very upsetting, catastrophic, but the biggest catastrophe is that the president has been ruling for the past 24 years."

Borders says it didn't make as much as it said it did . . .
The Borders Group Inc. issued a surprise announcement on Wednesday that it was cutting its 2004 and 2005 profit forecasts "to reflect a charge related to accounting practices on leases" after the Securities and Exchange Commision issued a "clarification" on the subject. As a Reuters wire story, the "corrections will cut earnings for the fiscal 2005 year, which ends in January 2006, by about 2 cents a share and will cut earnings for the recently ended 2004 year by about 3 cents a share. Results for the three prior fiscal years will also be reduced by about 3 cents a share, Borders said." In addition to the lowered profit due to accounting "corrections," company CEO Greg Josefowicz said the fourth quarter report "will show a decline in net income for the year due to a variety of factors, including slow mall traffic and soft sales of bestsellers, which hurts Waldenbooks more than Borders." Part of the coping strategy: Borders is changing the name of Waldenbooks outlets to Borders Express. Meanwhile, stock prices fell at the news of the downgrade.

Cherie Blair in the goldfish bowl . . .
The Australasian book tour of Cherie Blair, "the prime minister's wife, as she is billed in publicity," got off to a rocky start when, speaking in Auckland, she "left the impression — twice — that she thought she was in Australia." As a Guardian repo rt by Bernard O'Riordan and Michael White, "Even allowing for 11,000 miles worth of jetlag, that is a serious gaffe to commit among proud Kiwis," who had paid £100 ($187 USD) per person to see her. Meanwhile, she is being hounded by newspapers back home in England and in Australia by criticism of the reported £102,600 ($191,000) fee she's getting for five fund–raising talks for cancer charities. Newspapers in London have dubbed her tour for her book, The Goldfish Bowl, the "Queen of Sheba" tour, while in Australia the director of one of the charities suggested she should be "held accountable" and donate her fees to the charity.

Doris Kearns Goodwin to step back into the spotlight at BEA . . .
The speakers have been announced for this year's BookExpo America, the publishing industry national convention, which will be held in New York City this year. As a brief Associated Press wire story reports, in addition to John Irving and Umberto Eco—both of whom have new novels coming out—the list includes one major surprise: Doris Kearns Goodwin, who will be promoting her forthcoming Abraham Lincoln biography , " her first work since she acknowledged in 2002 that parts of her book, "The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys," were taken from another author without proper attribution. Irving and Eco each have new works of fiction coming out."

AAP says PIRG must be taking LSD . . .
As previously reported in the MobyLives digest, a recent Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) survey "accuses publishers of driving up studentsı costs by revising textbooks too often, bundling textbooks with expensive and unnecessary supplementary products and raising prices at rates well ahead of inflation." Now, as Karen Holt reports in a Book Standard story, the Association of American Publishers has called for a meeting with PIRG on February 14 to discuss the allegations. Meanwhile, the charges "have sparked negative media coverage of eduacational publishers," and the AAP has hotly refuted the charges, "even commissioning a Zogby poll to bolster its side," reports Holt. AAP head Patricia Schroeder has issued a statement saying, "We understand that the increase in tuition and student fees, along with the cost of textbooks, is putting a great deal of pressure on students and parents. . . . Still, that doesn't justify all of the misinformation and misunderstanding we've seen over the last few days."

Looking for Whitman in Washington, finding him in Beltway . . .
With the 150th anniversary of the publication of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass coming next month, a group of 38 poets in Washington, DC have "have searched this city for images Whitman might have seen — the Whitman who found friends and love here, who worked in the Bureau of Indian Affairs, who volunteered as a nurse in many of the 40 hospitals set up to treat the wounded returning from the Civil War." As Marc Fisher reports in a Washington Post story, "Next month, a festival marking 150 years since the poet's 'Leaves of Grass' was published will feature readings and walking tours of his Washington. Right now, a tribute to Whitman is online in Beltway, a quarterly of poetry."

NOTE: Daily newspapers often change URLs when archiving, so some links won't work beyond the day they're first posted.

Wednesday 9 February 2005

Churchill gives fiery, defiant speech: Nothing to apologize for, he says . . .
A defiant Ward Churchill "threw down the gauntlet" in a fiery speech before a packed house of 1,000 people the University of Colorado last night, saying, "I'm not backing off an inch. I owe no one an apology." As Charlie Brennan reports in a Rocky Mountain News story, the speech, advertised to be an hour long but running only 35 minutes, was the embattled professor's first public talk since his three–year–old essay on 9/11 sparked a heated nationwide controversy last week (See Monday's MobyLives). "A primary reason for Tuesday's speech was so Churchill could explain the reasoning behind his essay," Brennan reports. But when Churchill—who arrived 20 minutes late, clad in leather with a "phalanx" of supporters, and received a standing ovation from the crowd—finally stepped to the microphone after a "fiery introduction by AIM activist Russell Means," he began by taunting Colorado governor Bill Owens, who has called for his firing, and declaring, "there is not an inch of give" in his stance. Reports Brennan, "The battle lines were drawn and underscored repeatedly, in overtly political colors." Earlier, when Churchill supporters said they had received threats, the school had cancelled the speech, but then Churchill supporters threatened to sue the school, so the event went forward, although—as another RMN story reports—with extremely heavy security. At speech's end, Brennan reports, Churchill "raised one fist above his head, saying, 'Power to the people' but his voice was largely drowned by the applause."

Awards to be issued by leading book–trade publication in collaboration with conglomerate publishers and retailers called, er, "conflicted" . . .
San Francisco Chronicle book critic David Kipen has weighed in on the Quill Awards, the new book awards announced last week that will be brought forth "courtesy of those shy, sensitive, bookish folks at NBC Universal and Reed Business International." As Kipen notes in a Chronc column, "What NBC Universal gets out of all this isn't hard to guess. By wrapping itself in the ermine mantle of literature for a couple of hours a year, it temporarily inoculates itself against any future Nipplegate-like FCC imbroglios." However, he notes, thatıs "small beer compared with what's in it for Reed Business International . . . . If anybody thinks PW doesn't see the Quill Awards as a potentially comparable generator of humongous ad revenue from publishers, I've got a short–story collection by a homely writer over 50 I'd like to sell you." Which leads him to point out, "in co–administering an annual awards ceremony honoring the very industry PW covers, the magazine's conflicts of interest are, not to put too fine a point on it, ripe for the plucking." Meanwhile, noting that "the advisory committee to the awards is positively lousy with some of the most powerful names in publishing" (see last week's MobyLives) Kipen also observes, "Someone unfamiliar with the book industry's altruistic dedication to quality might take one look at the Quills and see, not simple self–congratulation, but revenge on the National Book Awards for their notoriously uncommercial fiction shortlist last year. In other words, the publishers could well be saying, 'Pick five books nobody's ever heard of, will you? What if we just start our own awards and bury you?'"

Cairo Book Fair breeds its own kind of political activism . . .
Ending last night after a three–week run, the 27th annual Cairo Book Fair was a "rare opportunity for discussion on constitutional reform as well as literary gossip," says Ursula Lindsey in a report from The Daily Star. Fair organizers say it had over 3 million visitors this year. "Students and families wander the large publishing warehouses and the many bookstalls looking for bargains. Vendors hawk cheap editions of books that cost less than LE20 ($3). Textbooks, dictionaries, language books and computer manuals are popular purchases, as are CDs, movies and cassettes, computer accessories and software, coloring books and cheap Chinese toys." But, Lindsey notes, there was also the opportunity for political discussion and activism: "The upcoming presidential elections and President Hosni Mubarak's likely candidature for a fifth term hangs in the air at the fair as it does everywhere in Egypt these days. In fact, newspapers reported that the president's annual private meeting with writers and intellectuals before the book fair was peppered with 'direct' questions about constitutional reform and the concentration of powers in the presidency."

Why show & tell rocks . . .
It started in a remote hamlet in southern Spain, when the town of Alhama decided to organize an exhibition to honor the 400th anniversary of the publication of the book many consider the first novel, "Don Quixote" by Miguel de Cervantes, and called on "local children to bring a copy from their parents' collection." What happened next seems to have left everyone in a state of shock: one child showed up with a first edition of the book. As an Agence France Presse wire story notes, "Only 18 are known to exist worldwide." Experts are still examining the book, but one reports that it "contained several first edition characteristics," such as a dedication including the phrase, "after the shadows I await the light."

Imperial Hubris author says "Aw, shucks — they liked me!" . . .
"I think any author would be pleased by the reception my book received," says Michael Scheuer, the former CIA officer who was still working for the agency when, as "Anonymous," he published Imperial Hubris, about the threat of Islamic terrorism and the government's response. Still, despite his pleasure at his sales, he says "I have been disappointed by the failure of many reviewers to understand the book's intent. This failure speaks either to the murkiness of my prose and the weakness of my arguments, or to the agendas of my reviewers." In a commentary for Axisoflogic.com, he notes how he was received on each side of the political fence. "My book has been embraced on the left by those eager to attack President Bush and his neoconservative advisers, especially on the issue of Iraq." Still, he notes, "after disgorging their anti–Bush venom, reviewers on the left have consistently referred to the 'schizophrenic' nature of the book," because he said that the US must step up the fight against Islamic terrorists at the same time that it must change it's policy toward the Muslim world. ("Guilty as charged," says Scheuer. "It does not matter whether Muslims are angered by the simple fact that we intend to kill all those who intend to kill us. What matters, and this point was seldom caught by reviewers on the left, is that we cannot kill 1.3 billion Muslims.") Meanwhile, "reviews of Imperial Hubris from the right have been more straightforward and less nuanced. I am simply and variously described as a 'liberal appeaser', an 'Islamist fellow traveler', and — my personal favorite — a 'rightwing weasel' who always 'blames the Jews.'"

Translating Arab literature for 20 years . . .
For those "turning to literature as a bridge between cultures, particularly Western and Arab societies estranged since Muslim extremists from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and elsewhere attacked the United States on September 11, 2001," the American University in Cairo Press "is an inspiration," according to an Associated Press wire story. The AUC "pioneered English versions of the work of Naguib Mahfouz, the Egyptian who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988 and remains the only Arab so honored." The press now has a backlist of 100 novels that "represents one of the largest troves of modern Arabic literature in English in the world," and Esther Allen, the head of the PEN American Center's translation committee says that "when the American wing of the international writers group PEN began planning a forum on international writers, it turned to the AUC Press catalog as a kind of directory to Arab writers." Now, the director of the press, Mark Linz says AUC, "which also acts as an agent for its authors, lately has been finding it easier to interest other foreign language publishers in Arabic writers."

US Army invades fictional country . . .
"Lawyers for author JK Rowling are investigating a US Army magazine cartoon whose characters bear an uncanny resemblance to Harry Potter," reports a BBC News wire story. The cartoon appears in Preventive Maintenance Monthly, a magazine that "teaches soldiers how to care for their kit" and has a circulation of 100,000 readers. Says the Beeb, "Its cartoon strip includes a boy wizard called Topper and a professor of Mogmart's School called Rumbledore." Although sample illustrations accompanying the BBC report show a character with a remarkable resemblance to Harry Potter, PMM editor Ken Crunk denied any copyright infringement and says, "The drawings do not look like any of the characters from Harry Potter. We are very careful when we do these things not to copy images because that would be illegal."

NOTE: Daily newspapers often change URLs when archiving, so some links won't work beyond the day they're first posted.

Tuesday 8 February 2005

Publishers charge Amazon buries new books to boost used–book sales . . .
Within days of Amazon.com's stock plummeting at the news of its new Amazon Prime program — offering customers severe shipping discounts — and also within days of the company upsetting Wall Street by failing to meet its fourth quarter predictions, it seems publishers, too, are upset with Amazon about something: "the way the e–tailer lists revised editions of their books on its site." As a report on BookZonePro notes, "because Amazon uses a system whereby the first book customers see is the one with the highest sales, older editions of books tend to remain more prominent on the site, while new editions are buried under an 'other editions' link." It's "a disservice to their customers who think they are seeing the most up–to–date book," one publisher says, but the report says "Publishers have been told that search results are operating as Amazon intends, and that the company will not circumvent the system to make manual changes." Amazon's refusal to fix the problem is why "some publishers see the practice as an effort by Amazon to build its used book sales since, in some cases, there are more used copies of old editions available than copies remaining in publishers' inventory."

Churchill story goes meta . . .
"After reading yet another article about University of Colorado nutjob Ward Churchill . . . " says Kevin Drum, "I began to wonder. How did this story get so much play? I mean, the guy's an obscure academic in Boulder, and the 'Roosting Chickens' paper that created all the flurry was written three years ago. What gives?" In a Washington Monthly commentary, Drum details a Nexis search he did on the story to see how it developed. After a few days of local reports, he says, " On January 28 it led Bill O'Reilly's program. After telling his audience that free speech has its limits — 'I can't subject my audience to irresponsible ravings,' he said, apparently without a trace of irony — O'Reilly declared that Churchill didn't deserve to be an American citizen and then suggested that he should be arrested for sedition." But it wasn't until January 31, when The New York Times "devoted a thousand words to the controversy. At that point, a story that had been mostly confined to wire services, local media outlets in Syracuse and Colorado, and right wing provocateurs, went mainstream." Drum reports that "Within the next three days stories appeared in the Seattle Times, Philadelphia Daily News, New York Sun, Miami Herald, Los Angeles Times, Deseret Morning News, New York Daily News, Philadelphia Inquirer, Washington Post, Kansas City Star, Detroit Free Press, CNN, NPR, and the CBS Evening News." Says Drum, " It's fascinating how a trivial story like this managed to spread so far, isn't it? The right wing machine pushed, the New York Times responded, and then the rest of the press followed."

RELATED: Hullabaloo's editor Digby discusses the Drum piece and several others relating to Churchill in his own insightful commentary, but as for his own opinion, he says, "I realize that we soulless, decaying leftists are supposed to step up and repudiate him (or maybe tie him up and throw him in water to see if he floats) but I'm just too tired. Since I'd never heard of the guy before the right raised him to the status of leftwing icon I don't really feel like I have much of a stake in his allegedly treasonous three year old book. Anyway, I'm still busy disavowing Jane Fonda and Joseph Stalin, my personal role models."

Nobel committee pleads with Judith Regan to turn her skills to medical science . . .
Due to speculation that it would be a tell–all about drug usage in major league baseball, the forthcoming book by former ballplayer Jose Canseco, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big, has been eagerly awaited, an eagerness that was heightened by the fact that publisher Judith Regan had embargoed the book from the press until its 21 February release date. But, as an amazing flurry of stories atests, all that fell apart over the weekend when a New York Daily News story reported on some of the more sensational charges in the book, including Canseco's claim that he injected steroids with his then–teammate, beloved homerun king Mark McGwire. A Reuters wire story says most of those named in the story have denied drug usage, including McGwire. A USA Today story by Mel Antonen says Canseco himself says he under a "gag order" and can't comment, but the Daily News story "may or may not be true." A New York Times story by Jack Curry, meanwhile, that ReganBooks has moved up the pub date a week to Februrary 14, and that an exclusive 60 Minutes interview with Canseco had to be moved up, too. But it's a Seattle Times report that highlights what may be Canseco's most sensation charge: That when he played for the Texas Rangers he introduced several teammates to steroid usage, and that management "must have known," particularly the team's general managing partner: George W. Bush. The report says a White House spokesman "did not specifically address Canseco's assertion." The White House did, however, finaly address the assertion late in the day yesterday. According to an Associated Press wire story, the President's spokesman said, "If there was, he was not aware of it at the time."

Insane in Seattle . . .
The scion of the R.D. Merrill fortune, Charlie Wright, known along with his parents Virginia and Bagley Wright for philanthropy to artists, and for "restoring solvency" to one of New York's most prestigious art galleries, the Dia Foundation, is turning from visual art to poetry. As an Associated Press wire story reports, Charlie Wright, 50, plans to start a poetry publishing house in Seattle. The name of the company, as well as upcoming titles and authors, has not been decided upon yet, but Wright says, "We'll be focused on mid–career American poets. There will be some exposure to emerging poets, also reprints and translations — sort of a mixed bag." Wright also made clear: "It's not a not–for–profit. You come to it with a different mentality if you aren't asking for grants and donations."

Jane Austen goes to Bollywood . . .
Jane Austen's 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice has been made into a new movie by Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chada, who has set the story in "contemporary small–town India," according to a Reuters wire story by Paul Eckert. The new version will be called Bride and Prejudice. ""What's incredible about this is that even though Jane Austen was writing 200–odd years ago," says Chadha, "she was writing at a time when women were not considered whole unless they were married. That is still very relevant to many places around the world, and particularly small town India."

Dead man writing . . .
A new novel by Ernest Hemingway — or at least, an unabridged version of a book that was previously published in 1998 as a "fiction memoir" — will be published by Kent State University Press in September. According to an Associated Press wire story, the book, to be called Under Kilimanjaro (the previous version was called True at First Light), was written while the author was "on safari in Kenya from late 1953 to early 1954." The book's co–editor, Robert Lewis, says Hemingway is "lighter and more comedic" than in his other work. Says Lewis, "Without this book, I think people would tend to stereotype Hemingway as they have in the past, as the macho man, the man of blood sports. ... That man is completely absent from this book."

NOTE: Daily newspapers often change URLs when archiving, so some links won't work beyond the day they're first posted.

Monday 7 February 2005

Apparently, he will fight them on the shores, he will fight them on the streets . . .
Embattled author Ward Churchill continues to be savaged relentlessly by the far right, especially from the empire of Rupert Murdoch, where Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity have kept a steady and vicious attack underway for days on Churchill, his various publishers and his empoyer the University of Colorado, and in editorials such as this commentary from Murdoch's New York Post. Churchill hasn't been immune to attacks from the left, either, such as this commentary on CommonDreams.org from Guerilla News Network editor Anthony Lappè, who calls Churchill's comments "reprehensible" (and which commentary itself drew criticism from the left in this rebuttal from Joshua Frank on PressAction.com). In a commentary in Churchill's hometown newspaper the Boulder Daily Camera, meanwhile, Todd Neff protests that "the public uproar surrounding [Churchill's] more inflammatory statements has obscured Churchill's intended message." That's essentially what Churchill himself says in his first interview since the University voted last Thursday to investigate his writings and also issued an apology for his comments. "It's ridiculous," Churchill says of the apology in his discussion with Charlie Brennan of the Denver Rocky Mountain News. "CU didn't say it, so what are they apologizing for? The fact that I'm there? Well . . . you know . . . " Then, Brennan reports, "with a guffaw," Churchill added, "They're entitled to their free speech." So is Churchill, says another RMN report. Reporter Karen Abbott says "Legal experts on free speech in the academic workplace are betting that Ward Churchill's job is safe — at least against attempts to oust him because of his opinions."

Soon, they'll be selling Godiva cholates, part 1 . . .
One of the major "middlemen" in the American book industry, the giant wholesaler Ingram Book Group, "has formed a company to handle distribution services for publishers and has signed four such companies to contracts," according to a brief report in the Nashville Business Journal. The story says starting on the 15th of March Ingram will distribute books on behalf of Applewood Books of Massachusetts, as well as "New Jersey–based Bloomberg Press, Wisconsin–based Champion Press, and Make Believe Ideas of London, England."

Soon, they'll be selling Godiva chocolates, part II . . .
America's second–largest chain bookseller, the Borders Group Inc., "is launching a major initiative this month, introducing a new stationery and gift store called Paperchase inside of Borders Books and Music superstores and eventually as stand–alone stores in malls across the country," according to an Ann Arbor News report by Mike Ramsey. The Ann Arbor–based company bought a majority stock of the British–based Paperchase last July, and Ramsey reports that Borders "is making the move as part of a new multiple distribution strategy designed to use the main brand to support other brands that will be located both in the stores and alone." There are currently 70 Paperchase stores in the UK, where "the hip–gift retailer is found in airport stalls as small as 200 square feet, up to a flagship store of 12,000 square feet." Meanwhile, Borders has hired Richard Chilcott, who formerly ran the Cole Haan division of Nike, to run the new division. He says of Paperchase, "It's going to bring an element of wit, fashion and excitement to the Borders environment. It's a natural accessory to the core business we have at Borders because a lot of people are there for gifts."

Did they, by any chance, find a trend of more and more people borrowing Orwell? . . .
Most of the biggest publisher in England have joined in a one–year–old project "to define new ways of working together" with the country's libraries. According to a Publishing News report, Macmillan and the Hachette Group have recently joined original members Random House, HarperCollins, Penguin, Time Warner, Bloomsbury, Faber and Harlequin Mills & Boon and the libraries in the project, Reading Partners. The group could "transform the supply chain between the sectors and improve the timeliness of supply for new titles to public libraries, one of the main concerns of librarians," says the PN report. Already, "a network of reading groups has been developed, Penguin has launched a trial of a 'Book of the Month' promotion to libraries, and a partnership with the Public Lending Right body has been set up to inform publishers of borrowing trends."

Scientists prove being richer makes you smarter . . .
In Great Britain, a government study of five–year–olds has found that the children of wealthy parents have more advanced reading skills than other children, and " the gap occurs irrespective of natural ability, parents' education or how often mothers and fathers read to their child," according to Amelia Hill in a report for The Observer. The survey is "a stark reality –check," says Anne Longfield of the educational charity 4Children. "It shows that the only way to level the playing field is to look at ways of providing extra child benefit and extra educational emphasise to disadvantaged children."

They love the secret love child in Strom's old stomping ground . . .
An appearance by Essie Mae Washington Williams, the daughter of the late, racist U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond and "the Thurmond family's black maid," drew hundreds of people to a bookstore in Columbia, South Carolina on Friday night. In an Associated Press wire story, reporter Julie Halenar asked people why they were waiting in line for Williams to sign their copies of her book, Dear Senator: A Memoir by the Daughter of Strom Thurmond. Phoebia Cooper, 29 said she brought her two children to witness "a great example of black history." Dwight Hanna, himself the child of a white father and black mother, says, "The story itself is intriguing and a part of South Carolina history. The way she has shown poise and grace is really just out of the utmost respect. In revealing the story, she has been positive."

When they say "minor," remember that in the UK, "minor" is the new "major" . . .
The Guardian notes that its "three years on" since Jessa Crispin started Bookslut.com and now "she is a minor celebrity," so they asked her provide a diary of a week in the life. In her report, Crispin explains, "I started this website specifically in the hope that publishers would send me free books, but some days it's only self–published books with a lot of questionable punctuation. One book came with a mis–spelt, handwritten letter from the author including the statement that 'Murakami Haruki' is his favourite author."

White House Shocker: Prez likes books by lying history prof and man dressed as a plantation owner . . .
"If you ask the White House what President Bush is reading these days," says Elisabeth Bumiller, "the press office will call back with the official list: 'His Excellency: George Washington' by Joseph J. Ellis, 'Alexander Hamilton' by Ron Chernow and, not least, the Bible." However, reports Bumiller in a New York Times story, "What the official list omits is Tom Wolfe's racy new beer–and sex–soaked novel, 'I Am Charlotte Simmons.' The president, a fan of Mr. Wolfe, has not only read the book but also is enthusiastically recommending it to friends."

NOTE: Daily newspapers often change URLs when archiving, so some links won't work beyond the day they're first posted.

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From Ig Publishing . . .

The International Bestseller
by Bernard–Henri Lévy


This week's fiction:

"Crank Call"
by Thomas J. Hubschman
(from Me Three)

"Brain Spiders"
(from Prose aX)

This week's poetry:

"Not Pee Wee"
(from Grain)

(from Briar Cliff Review)

Special edition:

First posted in October, 2001, Alicia Ostriker's anthology of poetry that she turned to after the 9/11 attacks — including the work of Stephen Dunn, C.P. Cavafy, Marianne Moore, and others — is far and away the most popular link ever posted on MobyLives. Find out why.


The Stories of Anton Chekhov

Zembla: The Official Site of the Vladimir Nabokov Society

The Complete Review

Poetry Daily

Everyone Who's Anyone in Adult Trade Publishing

The Collins Library Almanac

Author interviews at IdentityTheory.com

Stump the Bookseller

Online Etymology Dictionary

Project Gutenberg

Columbia World of Quotations


Herman Melville's Arrowhead

All material not otherwise attributed ©1998–2005 Dennis Loy Johnson.