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

This week's list is from Politics & Prose in Washington, DC.


1. Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror
By Anonymous
Brassey's Inc, $27.50, ISBN 1574888498

2. My Life
By Bill Clinton
Alfred A. Knopf, $35, ISBN 0375414576

3. Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency
By Robert C. Byrd
W. W. Norton & Company, $23.95, ISBN 0393059421

4. The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace
By Dennis B. Ross
Farrar Straus Giroux, $35, ISBN 0374199736

5. Obliviously on He Sails: The Bush Administration in Rhyme
By Calvin Trillin
Random House, $12.95, ISBN 1400062888

6. Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II
By Kurson, Robert Kurson
Random House, .95, ISBN 0375508589

7. Alexander Hamilton
By Ron Chernow
Penguin Books, $35, ISBN 1594200092

8. Eats, Shoots and Leaves
By Lynne Truss
Gotham, $17.50, ISBN 1592400876

9. Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror
By Richard Clarke
Free Press, $27, ISBN 0743260244

10. How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization
By Franklin Foer
HarperCollins, $24.95, ISBN 0066212340

11. Who Let the Dogs In?: Incredible Political Animals I Have Known By Molly Ivins
Random House, $22.95, ISBN 1400062853

12. Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President
By Justin A. Frank
ReganBooks, $24.95, ISBN 0060736704


1. The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
By The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks
W. W. Norton, $10, ISBN 0393326713

2. Storm of Steel
By Ernst Junger and Michael Hofmann
Penguin Books, $15, ISBN 0142437905

3. Zagat Washington DC/Baltimore
By Zagat Survey
Zagat, $12.95, ISBN 1570066221

4. My Invented Country
By Allende, Isabel Allende and Margaret Sayers PEden
Perennial, $13.95, ISBN 0060545674

5. Naked Pictures of Famous People
By Jon Stewart
Perennial, $14, ISBN 0688171621

6. Gulag: A History
By Anne Applebaum
Anchor Books/Doubleday, $16.95, ISBN 1400034094

7. Color: A Natural History of the Palette
By Victoria Finlay
Random House, $14.95, ISBN 0812971426

8. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
By Erik Larson
Vintage, $ 14.95 ISBN 0375725601

9. John F. Kerry: The Complete Biography by the Boston Globe Reporters Who Know Him Best
By Michael Kranish, Brian C. Mooney and Nina J. Easton
PublicAffairs, $14.95, ISBN 1586482734

10. The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats: A Journey Into the Feline Heart
By Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
Ballantine Books, $13.95 ISBN 0345448839

11. Feynman's Rainbow: A Search for Beauty in Physics and in Life
By Leonard Mlodinow
Warner Books, $13.95, ISBN 0446692514

5015 Connecticut Avenue
N.W. Washington, DC 20008
Tel 202.364.1919
Fax 202.966.7532

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Friday 15 October 2004

Toward a big, one–headed future . . .
Is Simon & Schuster up for sale? A New York Post report by Erica Copulsky and Tim Arango says some recent maneuvers by parent company Viacom make it seem possible, or even likely. They report: "Industry observers say it would make sense for Viacom to sell Simon & Schuster. But there is a short list of buyers — namely Bertelsmann AG's Random House, Pearson PLC's Penguin and News Corp.'s HarperCollins."

Google and Amazon face–off over respective "Look Inside the Publisher's Wallet" programs . . .
Now that Google has launched its "Google Print" program to set up a searchable book database with an unveiling at the Frankfurt Book Fair, Amazon.com has intensified its efforts to expand its own searchable database functionality, the controversial "Search Inside the Book", on a worldwide basis, starting with Amazon.co.uk. As a Publishing News report notes, copyright concerns remain a big question for both services. As a Random House UK manager says, the company's legal department is taking a close look. Also, "It also has to be cleared with authors and agents to see if they are happy. I think these things do help sales, particularly for non–fiction, so they're really interesting ideas which we are continuing to discuss."

What some writers do when the right takes over their country . . .
In the wake of Austrian Elfriede Jelinek's winning of the Nobel Prize, Ian Traynor, in this Guardian story, notes that she is also at the center of a controversy in her country, where she has refused to participate in a government–sponsored project called the Austrokoffer. According to Traynor, the project is an 18–volume " anthology to be published next year as a showcase of postwar Austrian writing . . . delivered to mark a triple anniversary — 10 years of Austria in the EU, 50 years of Austrian independence, and 60 years since the defeat of Nazi Austria." But Jelinek, who has refused to allow her plays to be performed ever since the ascendancy of the right–wing Haider party, is one of several "refusniks." Then there's the man "viewed by many as Austria's greatest postwar writer," the late Thomas Bernhard—the subject, like Jelinek, of hate attacks from the right. However, just before his death in 1988, reports Traynor, "in a magnificent act of spite, Bernhard amended his will to ban all publication and performance of his works in Austria." Now, that ban is being ignored for this project, and many are up in arms about it.

Found in translation . . .
"At a time when publishers are fixated on writers who can sell 500,000 copies or more," Drenka Willen "publishes books in translation, where a title that sells 10,000 copies is a home run." However, as Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg observes in a Wall Street Journal profile, her list of authors is as impressive as anyone's, as it includes four Nobel prizewinners: JosÚ Saramago, Gunter Grass, Octavio Paz and Wislawa Szymborska . She also defies another trend: "Although foreign media conglomerates own much of the U.S. book publishing industry, the number of literary books translated into English remains tiny." Her ability to succeed despite the trends and the odds, says Trachtenberg, makes her "one of this country's most valued cultural gatekeepers."

Still on the road . . .
A judge in Clearwater, Florida has postponed a trial scheduled to decide whether a will left by Jack Kerouac's mother, Gabrielle Kerouac, was forged. As a report in the Tampa Tribune by notes, "Gabrielle Kerouac, who died in 1973, left all of her son's belongings to his third wife, Stella Sampas Kerouac. The estate included unpublished manuscripts, journals and thousands of letters currently valued at $20 million, in addition to the St. Petersburg house where the literary icon lived at the time of his death in 1969." However, as David Perry notes in a report in Kerouac's hometown newspaper, The Lowell (Mass) Sun, the 35–year fight over Kerouac's estate has been "long and pitched," but at the heart of it is a sad story: Paul Blake Jr., "Kerouac's last living blood relative, a nephew . . . . Homeless, ill and a recovering alcoholic . . . ."

RIP: John Tebbel . . .
John Tebbel, the former head of New York University's journalism department and an author whose best–known work was the four–volume A History of Book Publishing in the United States, died in his sleep last weekend at age 91. As Margalit Fox notes in a New York Times obituary, Tebbel's book on publishing was 20 years in the making, but only a part of a multi–faceted career that saw him working for numerous major newspapers, as a book editor (at E.P. Dutton) and as an educator. As he once explained, "At 10, living on a farm in the middle of Michigan, with Manhattan as remote from me as the moon, I told inquiring relatives that when I grew up I intended to go to New York and be a writer."

Books, DVDs, cigarettes . . .
"Over the past decade, as the bookstore market has become increasingly competitive, many independent bookstores began to delve into sidelines in an effort to broaden their stores' appeal and to enhance their bottom line," observes an anonymous report on Bookselling This Week, the website of the American Booksellers Association. As the report notes, "For many booksellers, that meant bringing in CDs and, more recently, DVDs." However, as many booksellers are discovering, "pricing, returns, and distribution" are significantly different than in the book business, and the margins are lower, to boot. So why do it? As one retailer puts it, "It's one more reason to come into the store."

Yes, it's true: She could have killed you with that spatula . . .
The just–published The Literary Spy: The Ultimate Source for Quotations on Espionage and Intelligence, is "the perfect gift for the shadowy someone in your life," says Alex Beam in his Boston Globe column. Edited by "Charles Lathrop", "an ex–spook using a pseudonymn," it's "a fat chapbook of anecdotes and snippets culled from almost every source imaginable." Among those who made the book: "the young Ceylon–based spy clerk Julia McWilliams, who later cooked up a very different career under her married name, Julia Child."

Bonfire of the vanities . . .
For bestselling children's author Graham Taylor (aka J.P. Taylor), the idea was to give his office "a merciless spring clean," reports Arifa Akbar in this story for The Independent. So, Taylor started a bonfire in his garden and " gathered a one–foot–high heap of yellowing papers in his arms and flung the sheets into the flames." Then, as he stood watching the flames he caught sight of some of the words on the burning pages and "realised with great alarm that he had accidentally burnt the original manuscripts for his best–selling thrillers, Shadowmancer and Wormwood, as well as the only updated draft of his unpublished work, Tersias." The manuscript for Shadowmancer—which sold over a million copies in England— had been valued at £250,000.

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

Thursday 14 October 2004

Rebuttal by Texans for Truth getting coverage not from the mainstream, but from FOX and bloggers . . .
After the initial blitz of ads, the author of Regan Books' Unfit Commander: Texans for Truth Take on George W. Bush, the book reporting how President Bush skipped out on his National Guard duties during the Vietnam War, has hit the airwaves. Glenn W. Smith started with—of all places—FOX TV. But mainstream media sources have dropped the story much more quickly than the story of the book Smith's book responds to, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's Unfit for Command. One blogger is keeping watch, however. As noted in a report at News Hounds ("We watch FOX so you don't have to"), Smith appeared on FOX news with commentator Alan Colmes, and "pro–Bush author, Byron York, White House correspondent for National Review." As News Hounds reports, "For some reason, Mr. Smith did not have much of an opportunity to discuss his findings."

Random House garners no fiction nominations; senior Menaker reportedly talked off ledge . . .
What everyone's going to be talking about from this year's National Book Awards nominations is the fact that Philip Roth and Bob Dylan didn't make it, and the fact that the report of the 9/11 Commission did. That inclusion was "the oddest and biggest piece of news," according to Steve Zeitchik of PW Newsline (in a report not available as a link). In fiction, Zeitchik called the fact that there were no nominations for Random House or FSG the "big surprise," although big houses weren't exactly ignored: fiction nominees included, in addition to Chrstine Schutt of TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press, Kate Walbert, Joan Silber, Lily Tuck and Sarah Shun–Lien Bynum of Scribner's, Norton, HarperCollins, and Harcourt, respectively. Another way of looking at it: That's "five New York City–based women," the front page of today's New York Times observed in its summation of a report by Edward Wyatt. The wires, meanwhile, including initial reports such as an Associated Press wire story by Jeff Baenen and an Agence France Press report, all focussed on the inclusion of the 9/11 report.

Complete list: The group that sponsors the awards, the National Book Foundation, has posted the complete list of nominees.

RELATED: Although it has been treated with reverence, not everyone felt the 9/11 report was a good piece of investigative research, as this commentary at TomPaine.com shows. It's called, "Five Things Wrong with the 9/11 Report."

Something graphic . . .
"It may be a shocking dilution of academics — or an ingenious way to hook reluctant readers," but, as Teresa Méndez says in a Christian Science Monitor report, in upstate New York, one ninth–grade English teacher is using "graphic novels" instead of books to try and lure students to literature, despite the stigma attributed to them in the past as "comic books." Teacher Diane Roy believes that "For a certain type of student — particularly those who are visually oriented and bright but may lack the motivation or maturity to succeed in freshman English — the graphic novel can become a 'bridge to other things,'" reports Méndez. So, after a problematic experience with Hamlet, she assigned Art Spiegelman's Maus. But, reports Méndez, "other educators . . . firmly believe this form of pop culture has no place in the classroom." Famed New York University education professor Diane Ravitch says, "Once kids know how to read, there is no good reason to continue to use dumbed–down materials. They should be able to read poems, novels, essays, books that inform them, enlighten them, broaden their horizons."

J'accuse, although less than I used to . . .
In Europe, and especially in France, writers from Zola to Sartre have established a tradition of writers and intellectuals as important public commentators. But is that trend finally diminishing? In both France and England, says Alan Riding in an International Herald Tribune commentary, public intellectuals are "becoming endangered species," and "people with genuine learning, breadth of vision and a concern for public issues have been replaced by facile pundits, think-tank apologists and spin doctors." It's a worrisome trend, he says. "Critical intellectuals once represented an independent voice outside the ruling establishment and, as such, enhanced democratic pluralism. Today, with political debate increasingly orchestrated by government and media, the silence of the intellectuals risks undermining one of democracy's crucial checks and balances."

Rothko's "manifesto" discovered . . .
After the suicide of AbEx painter Mark Rothko in 1970, his estate fell, as has been famously documented, into "a decade of Dickensian legal battles," and thus although it had been rumored that he'd written a manuscript, it wasn't discovered until 1988 "in a warehouse, in an accordian folder marked simply 'Miscellaneous Papers.'" What was found, Phoebe Hoban reports in a New York Times story, was "sloppily typed, with numerous hand–marked additions and deletions — and more numerous typos — and it betrayed no obvious order or narrative direction," according to Rothko's son, Christopher Rothko. But it was also an utterly remarkable book, he says, explaining why he has allowed the Yale University Press to publish the manuscript, which he calls "uncanny and almost unnerving," and an "abstractionist's manifesto."

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

Wednesday 13 October 2004

Texans for Truth launch Bush attack book in a big way, but will it get the same kind of coverage as the book it responds to? Early reports: No . . .
Turnabout is fair play in the publishing business: As was reported yesterday in Paul D. Colford's New York Daily News column, as well as in numerous full page ads in various newspapers, ReganBooks, which has published big sellers by conservatives such as Gen. Tommy Franks and Fox News pundit Sean Hannity, "will now aim one at President Bush" in a new book called Unfit Commander. The book, whose cover photograph and title parody one of the biggest hits of the political season, the book of largely disproven charges against John Kerry by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth called Unfit for Command, is written by Texans for Truth founder Glenn Smith. Colford's brief report focusses on the book's charges, saying it "will raise questions about Bush's stint in the Texas Air National Guard and present some 300 pages of his service record released by the Pentagon." A day after a full page ad for the book appeared in the front section of the New York Times, the paper's Edward Wyatt picks up the story today, but says little on the book's charges. He focusses mainly on the publisher's publishing books on both sides of the political spectrum.

Roy angers Aussies with plan to donate her Peace Prize in promotion of, er, well, peace . . .
Indian writer Arundhati Roy has stirred up a controversy in Australia, where, according to a Sydney Morning Herald report, she will be donating her $50,000 Sydney Peace Prize to Aboriginal political activists. "It's funny," she says, "I've spent so much time in South Africa recently, and the white South Africans have a fascination for Australia. So, I was talking to some black friends and they laughed and said, 'Yeah, it's because they think the Australians got it right. They just killed the blacks. The South Africans let us survive'." The article notes that Roy won the prize "for her advocacy in demanding justice for the poor and people displaced by dam projects, as well as her opposition to nuclear weapons." It also notes that she has criticized Austrailia for its involvement in the Iraq war, which she says is "inexcusable."

This is a problem? . . .
It seems to be a hot story of the moment, in the British press, anyway: There are a lot of books being published nowadays. Robert McCrum, in his
column for The Observer, quotes an expert saying, "The reading of books . . . is growing arithmetically; the writing of books is growing expontentially. If our passion for writing goes unchecked, in the near future there will be more people writing books than reading them." Rosemary Goring, in an article for The Herald, cites a book by Gabriel Zaid, who says there's "a new book published every 30 seconds." Are there too many books being published?

The nerve! Who let this guy in, anyway? . . .
Actor Sir Antony Sher has had a second career as a novelist over the last fifteen years, a career that got off to a good start when his first book, Middlepost, was given warm reviews—and, perhaps, a certain attention because he was a well–known actor. But now, as Katy Guest reports in a story for The Independent, Sher has "launched a bitter critique of the exclusivity of the literary world," and says he's giving up writing novels entirely after "he had struggled in vain for wider publicity surrounding the publication of his four novels." He blames it all on "the 'closed doors" of an elitist literary club."

When a sadist goes all masochistic . . .
Popular literary blogger Edward Champion announced yesterday that he is taking a break from his Return of the Reluctant weblog ("withholding brownies from sam tanenhaus since september 2004"), but not before a Deborah Solomon interview of Ed P. Jones inspires him to post his own version of a Deborah Solomon interview—with, in this case, well, Deborah Solomon. The frist question: "You're a moribund NYT journalist who can't even treat Pulitzer Prize winners with anything close to respect. Do you smile much?"

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

Tuesday 12 October 2004

Well, if it wasn't the FBI, who could it be? Could it be, oh, I dunno—Satan? . . .
American authorities apparently seeking to shut down Indymedia, "an international media network which covers social justice issues," have seized the company's British–based webservers. As Rachel Shabi reports in a Guardian story, "a court order was issued to Rackspace, an American–owned web hosting company in Uxbridge, Middlesex, forcing it to hand over two servers used by Indymedia . . . . The websites affected by the seizure span 17 countries." A spokesman for Rackspace says the company was "served with a court order under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, under which countries assist each other in investigations such as international terrorism, kidnapping and money laundering." An Indymedia spokesperson, meanwhile, says they don't know why the move was taken. "The authorities may just be using this as a trawling exercise. We don't know." Shabi reports it isn't even clear who, exactly, seized the servers, althogh an FBI spokesperson says "It is not an FBI operation." But reports on Indymedia itself—running again on backup servers—disagree, saying it was the FBI. Meanwhile, the general secretary of the International Federation of Journalists called the seizure "intolerable."

Jacques Derrida: Still dead, but getting more interesting . . .
Obituaries on Jacques Derrida were quick to focus on his most famous theory—deconstructionism—and the fact that it was difficult, and especially on the fact that it sparked a certain amount of hostility . . . but not so much on an actual definition. But in his remembrance for The Chronicle of Higher Education, Scott McLemee declares that "Derrida offered not so much a theory as a new way of reading," and he details exactly how it worked: "Reading a dialogue by Plato, a scene in Shakespeare, or one of Freud's essays," McLemee writes, "Derrida would locate a moment in the text when some concept or image proved impossible to reconcile with whatever theme or argument seemed to drive the rest of the work. Then, from that interpretive sticking point, he would work his way back through the text, patiently revealing intricate networks of meaning and otherwise hidden levels of internal conflict." McLemee also asks some who were inspired by Derrida to say why. University of Oregon associate professor Forest Pyle tells him, "it was extraordinarily exciting to see a philosopher reading texts in a way that was rigorous and careful, that showed things that had remained unseen before . . . It was intellectually exciting and politically hopeful."

RELATED: In a note on his personal home page, McLemee talks about his reasons for writing about Derrida: there was the fact that he cared about Derrida and, well, the fact that "The piece at the New York Times [see yesterday's MobyLives] was particularly awful.áThe guy who wrote it derived his entire knowledge of deconstruction from reading the back ofáthe video box for a Woody Allen movie with the word in the title."

How to make the Booker stand out: Give awards to, er, the same people everyone else does . . .
In a move designed to overcome criticism "for concentrating on fashionable and quirky writers," the Booker Prize "will this week attempt to regain its reputation for high seriousness with the launch of the 'super Booker', a worldwide search for the living greats of fiction," according to a report in The Independent by Anthony Barnes. The new £60,000 prize will, for the first time ever, be open to citizens from beyond the Commonwealth, and the farcorites are reportedly Philip Roth, Margaret Atwood, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and John Updike.

Screwing a book for its cover . . .
It's a typical story in the murky and dangerous underworld of small, independent publishing: Nicholas Clee, in his weekly column for The Guardian (fourth item), tells the sad tale of what happens when a small British independent, Flambard, has a book (Murphy's Favourite Channels by John Murray) make it to the long list for the Booker. Should be a good development, right? Clee says it got the giant bookseller Waterstone's interested—except, first, "Waterstone's did not like Flambard's cover . . . ."

All you need is love . . .
Even during the dissolution of the band, Ringo Starr says there was "still love and contact" between the members of The Beatles. To prove it, he's collected postcards the bandmembers sent to each other over the years and is presenting them, front and back, in a new book, according to a USA Today story by Edna Gundersen. Included in Postcards From the Boys is a postcard from George Harrison and his wife Olivia, for example, from Fiji, with the message "Bula! Our feet are getting bigger every day."

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

Monday 11 October 2004

What can it mean? Jacques Derrida dead at 74 . . .
Jacques Derrida, one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th Century, whose theory of literary criticism known as "deconstructionism" famously asserted that an "author's intent could not overcome the inherent contradictions of language itself, robbing texts . . . of truthfulness, absolute meaning and permance," has died of pancreatic cancer. The announcement was made by the office of French president Jacques Chirac. As Jonathan Kandell observes in a New York Times obituary, Derrida had an enormous following that was "larger in the United States than in Europe," but "he was the target of as much anger as admiration." Kandell stresses heavily that Derrida's philosophy was "murky" and not very "accessible." But Kandall does admit that for many young intellectuals, particularly in the academy, "deconstruction was a right of passage into the world of rebellious intellect. " As for Derrida himself, he described his famous theory in a 1993 presentation in New York thusly: "Needless to say, one more time, deconstruction, if there is such a thing, takes place as the experience of the impossible."

Grass tells Jelinek, "Try it, you'll like it" . . .
German author and Nobel literature laureate Guenter Grass is urging the winner of this year's Nobel, "reclusive" Austrian writer Elfriede Jelinek, to get over her "social phobia" and go to Stockholm to pick up her prize, according to an Agence France Press wire story. But Jelinek, who became a recluse after her work was deemd "low" and "immoral" by Austrian right wingers, says she won't attend the ceremony. She adds, "I cannot feel anything about winning the prize. I feel empty." Meanwhile, an Associated Press wire story says Jelinek's sales in the U.S. are "soaring."

Could this be the death of MFA programs across the country? Governor declares, "We're all poets" . . .
The note firing Pennyslvania state poet Sam Hazo was short and sweet: his "services were no longer needed," wrote Penny Lee, an aide to Governor Ed Rendell. Pittsburgh Post–Gazette book editor Bob Hoover reports in an October 3 column that Hazo, who'd had the job since 1993 and refused to take a salary for it, got no further explanation from the governor's office, and a hue and cry quickly rose from poets and the many fans of the popular Hazo. Shippensburg State University student Melanie Simms announced a rally to be held at the school and a petition drive, and said she was getting help from another fired state poet laureate, Amiri Baraka.

FOLLOW-UP: In yesterday's column, Hoover reports that he's finally gotten an explanation out of the governor's office: "since the poet's job fell under the now–defunct office of cultural adviser to the governor, it vanished with the cultural adviser," an aide tells him. However, the aide "had no idea when the cultural adviser was dumped." Rendell's spokesperson Nina Tinari tells him, "Gov. Rendell believes that all Pennsylvania poets should share the title of state poet."

And you thought buying from Amazon was fraught with peril . . .
One of the world's "most notorious conmen" in the antiquarian book business, who "is being pursued by organisations such as the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, whose members have fallen victim to his alleged 'vapour books"' scams over the past decade," has come to ground, or at least virtual ground, on a New Zealand–based Internet auction site. According to a report by Tim Hume on New Zealand's Stuff news site, American–born David George Holt is a former "loading dock supervisor" who "walked out on his wife and five children" and eventually found his way to New Zealand and into the rare book trade. Now, his "modus operandi is to create fictional online guises and pose as cultivated European book dealers to "sell" valuable titles he does not own to US and European collectors."

The Two Musketeers Go To Pittsburgh . . .
When Pittsburgh newspaper columnist Bill Steigerwald heard both Henry Kissinger and Christopher Hitchens were in town, he had a great idea: He'd invite Hitchens to attend Kissinger's lecture with him to see if "he'd try to publicly ask Kissinger why he refuses to answer questions about the crimes against humanity," the subject of Hitchen's book about Kissinger, The Trial of Henry Kissinger. As Steigerwald reports in his Pittsburgh Tribune–Review column, Hitchens loved the idea, and he enlisted the help of a visiting friend: "European superstar philsopher–journalist Bernard–Henri LÚvy," who just happened to have a film crew with him.

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

Visit the mothership:



This week's fiction:

"The Old Greek"
(from Del Sol Review)

"Stranded at the Top of a Ferris Wheel With Judy Long, County Fairgrounds, April 7, 1982"
(from StorySouth)

This week's poetry:

(from Massachusetts Review)

"stow stay stow stay"
(from Trout)

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

GoodReports: Canadian book news

Poetry Daily

Librarian.net: Putting the rarin' back in librarian

Everyone Who's Anyone in Adult Trade Publishing

The Collins Library Almanac

Author interviews at IdentityTheory.com

Stump the Bookseller

Online Etymology Dictionary

Visual Thesaurus

Project Gutenberg

Columbia World of Quotations


Herman Melville's Arrowhead


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All material not otherwise attributed ©2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 Dennis Loy Johnson.