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  1. intel
    If You Were a Rich Man — You’d Likely Have a Book DealWith Ant Farm — the very odd, funny, and frustrating humor collection from Simon Rich, Times heavy-hitter Frank’s No. 2 Son — attracting “Sunday Styles” attention last weekend in advance of yesterday’s pub date, his older brother Nathaniel, an editor at the Paris Review, has his own hot book making the rounds of houses. We’re hearing that The Mayor’s Tongue, on submission from Elyse Cheney Literary Associates, follows a widower and a young New Yorker whose paths converge in a small Italian town whose mayor is a supernatural evil force. (An Italian mayor as a supernatural but malevolent force? Wherever did he get the idea?!) Editors took it home over the weekend to read, so we should know soon whether Rich is the next Nicole Krauss (to whom he’s being compared, both positively and negatively) or the next — well, the next guy whose book we never really heard anything about. In case of the latter, good thing the Rich family Seders are already over.
  2. intel
    Terry McMillan Reminds You That Her Ex-Husband Is the One Harming Her ReputationLate last month novelist Terry McMillan, best known for bringing Stella her groove back and perhaps second best known for elegantly calling her now-ex-husband a “little fag” after he told her he was gay, filed a $40 million suit against the ex-husband, Jonathan Plummer, alleging a conspiracy to destroy her reputation. (Presumably by mentioning things like that she called him a “little fag” and also “a common fucking criminal, a common extortionist.”) Meantime, McMillan hasn’t exactly salvaged her rep by publishing an essay, “100 Questions I Meant to Ask Him,” in the anthology The Honeymoon’s Over, which includes questions like “Have you been surprised by the promiscuous behavior of a lot of gay men? Are you going to be like this or are you already?” New York rang up McMillan the other day to see how the novelist is continuing to protect her reputation. It’s tough for her: “If you criticize them, you’re automatically a homophobe,” she said. “I’m starting to think they’re heterophobes.” Lots more after the jump.
  3. in other news
    How to Succeed in Publishing Without Really SellingAmazon sales rankings are a great democratizing tool — so it was a terrible idea to hand it to writers, a shrewd and narcissistic bunch. Behold the shenanigans, enumerated in today’s Wall Street Journal: 1. Pony up $15,000 to Ruder Finn, a PR firm that then pays “big names” (like the Chicken Soup For the Soul guy) to blurb you in an e-mail blast to their all-obedient fans. Voila: demi-glace for the narcissist’s soul. 2. Directly solicit your readers, fledgling-band-on-MySpace style, to flood the zone and drive you to victory. Isn’t that what Nabokov did when Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago overtook Lolita in best-seller lists? 3. Lose all professional shame. The rankings include used-book sales, so price those babies at a penny and buy a hundred yourself. Presto, you’re outcharting James Frey while enjoying at least as clean a conscience. As a result of this kind of behavior, of course, the ratings are so volatile (some books rise and fall 75 percent daily) as to make the entire exercise meaningless. But you do get to print out the day’s chart, with your name on it, and hang it in your office. A Few Sales Tricks Can Launch a Book To Top of Online Lists [WSJ]
  4. cultural capital
    Pfizer Whistleblower Sells Another BookPfizer executive turned whistleblower Peter Rost is back doing what he does best: skewering his erstwhile industry. Rost was notoriously banished from Big Pharma after exposing tax fraud at Wyeth and illegal marketing at Pfizer; his tell-all The Whistleblower came out last year. His new project, a novel called The Wolfpack, was sold last week to Pagina AB in Europe. (It’s now being shopped to several publishers in New York.) “I wrote the story because I wanted to reveal the thinking inside a corporation, using the thriller format,” Rost says of his “Grisham-style” crime drama. The story follows a fictional drug company that develops a biological weapon and murders its enemies. Although Rost insists none of the characters are based on former colleagues, the new book is about “just how far corporate executives may be willing to go and what happens when one guy stands up to them.” Fiction, huh? —Jake Whitney
  5. in other news
    Scooter Libby, Convict and — Soon — Subject The hottest new almost-trend in publishing: political insta-books, like the Scooter Libby tome commissioned today — a day after his conviction — and due in bookstores next month. For decades there have been successful fast-tracked paperbacks on all sorts of light topics from Star Wars releases to the Pitt-Aniston marriage. The announcement of The United States vs. I. Lewis Libby — to be written be a real reporter, National Journal’s Murray Waas and published by Barnes & Noble’s nonfiction imprint — comes only a week after news of a Barack Obama insta-book, the first about the presidential candidate (he’s written two well-regarded memoirs), delivered only a month after he announced his candidacy. All we need now is one more example, and it’s a genuine, certified trend. Doesn’t any writer have anything he wants to say about Sam Brownback? BN Imprint Rushes Libby Book to Stores [Galleycat/Mediabistro]
  6. in other news
    Jenna Bush Announces Book SurgePresumably still trying to shuck off that Regan stink, HarperCollins announced today that it has acquired world rights to Jenna Bush’s Ana’s Story: A Journey of Hope. The “young-adult, narrative non-fiction project” will focus on a “seventeen-year-old single mother who was orphaned at a young age and is living with HIV.” Featuring the photographs of Mia Baxter, Jenna Bush’s book is based on photo diaries she assembled while interning for UNICEF in Panama. (Is “assembling” like “deciding”?) Jenna is not the first First Daughter to hit Amazon, but the book deals usually involve dad (with the great exception of the prolific Margaret Truman). Take Jimmy and Amy Carter’s children’s books or Dorothy Bush Koch’s books about dear old H.W. Even vice-presidents’ daughters get some shelf space: Holla, Mary Cheney, author of Now It’s My Turn. Trend-watchers will recall that the Gore girls also got into the publishing game, Karenna with Lighting the Way, about nine women who shaped American politics, and Kristin with a roman à clef about life in D.C., Sammy’s Hill. Barbara, get on it! Jenna Bush Embarks on Book ‘Journey’ [USAT] Earlier: Candidate Books, Coming Soon to a Shelf, Remainder Bin Near You
  7. the follow-up
    A Second Life for Regan’s ‘7’Judith Regan may be gone from the publishing world (at least for now), but her projects live on (at least for now). Last we heard about her orphaned volumes of controversy, an attention-seeking Canadian publisher was proclaiming its interest in bringing out O.J.’s confession. (Not, you know, that anyone asked, or that they held rights to it.) Today’s news, buried as a squib in the Times, is that Lyons Press, a division of Globe Pequot, has agreed to publish 7: The Mickey Mantle Novel, another controversial project from the late-Regan period. The pub date has yet to be announced, and the print run is pegged at 250,000. “I think all the negative publicity came from people who haven’t read it,” Gene Brissie, Globe Pequot’s associate publisher, told the Times, perhaps a touch aggressively. Of course, as New York’s Vanessa Grigoriadis reported a few weeks ago, the Mantle book — and not the disastrous O.J. project — is what really got Regan fired from HarperCollins. So we can imagine why Brissie would be playing a strong defense. 7, Mantle Novel, Finds a Publisher [NYT] Even Bitches Have Feelings [NYM]
  8. in other news
    ‘Manbivalent’ Books on the Way; Ambivalent Men Not Going AnywhereFeel there aren’t enough neurotic, indecisive, commitment-phobic thirtysomething guys in your life already? Today’s Publishers Lunch brings some good news for you, then: Humorist Bob Powers’ first two books in the JUST MAKE A CHOICE! series, a contemporary choose-your-own-adventure format in which the protagonist is an ambivalent thirty-year old is terrified to make the choices that would add focus to his career and his love life for fear that he’ll never be able to go back and start over again if he’s wrong. We understand Benjamin Kunkel is preparing a copyright-infringement suit.
  9. in other news
    Candidate Books: Coming Soon to a Shelf, Remainder Bin Near YouToday the Times turns its publishing-world attention from Nascar lit to a different kind of race, the presidential one, and specifically to presidential books. It seems there are distinct types of candidate tomes, and publishing insiders provide a detailed taxonomy of them: There are “introduction,” “manifesto,” and “off-topic” works. (Generously, if inexplicably, the experts put Al Gore’s Earth in the Balance in the third category and not the second.) The article is full of unsurprising facts: Barack Obama’s Audacity of Hope has opened a can of Amazon whup-ass on the reissue of Hillary Clinton’s It Takes a Village; Bush absolutely did not write A Charge to Keep (we sort of recall news in 2000 that he hadn’t read it, either, but maybe we just feel that’s the case because no one else did), and that if book sales were ballots, John McCain would be finishing his second term. Those best-sellers notwithstanding, though, the quoted experts agree that, as one puts it, “most of these books are going to be wastes of trees.” Hey, in the grand scheme of things, bad books are the least bad things paper can do to a presidential election. Time to Throw Their Books Into the Ring [NYT]
  10. in other news
    Anna Nicole’s Death Brings Bio a Second LifeAnna Nicole Smith wasn’t muse only to octogenarian oil barons and subway-advertising diet-pill peddlers; she was also, as it turns out, the inspiration for a pair of writers. In 1996, Barricade Books — the controversy-seeking Fort Lee, New Jersey, house that published The Anarchist Cookbook and The Turner Diaries — brought out Great Big Beautiful Doll, by Eric and D’Eva Redding, the only biography of the former Playmate, as the Times reports today. Now, suddenly, the book is in great demand. And, even better, Barricade had recently completed an update, planning to republish it in paperback this spring. Publisher Carole Stuart was moved to revisit the bio when she noticed Smith’s many travails last fall, recognizing a marketing opportunity. It’s an even better opportunity now, though, as she assured the Times, “We didn’t kill her or anything.” Of course not. As Judith Regan already showed, that’s terrible for sales. Death Propels Anna Nicole Smith Biography From Backlist [NYT]
  11. in other news
    O.J., Canada!It seems the O.J. Simpson If I Did It saga still won’t die. (Ha! No? Sorry.) The latest news: A Canadian publisher, Barclay Road, has declared its interest in publishing the pulped fiasco. Employees of the publishing company were “initially disgusted by reports of the book’s topic,” according to a Bloomberg News report, but now, “in the name of free speech” — and, we suspect, in the name of a silly, attention-getting gimmick — “it wants to give it a try.” Isn’t it lovely to see foreigners so dedicated to our Bill of Rights? And to our shameless marketing? Barclay Road Says It Would Consider O.J. Simpson Book [Bloomberg]
  12. in other news
    Regan by the Numbers: This Time, ‘Vanity Fair’Excuse us if our English major past compels us to notice that, in the extensive coverage of the decline and fall of Judith Regan, there are by now certain recurring themes emerging. We’re not entirely sure why — either certain Judith peccadilloes make the best copy, or reporters are lazy, or the woman really only does six things — but in the new Vanity Fair, Michael Wolff’s latest addition to the genre hews strictly to the storyline. Indeed, there’s no need to read the article; we’ll tell you the latest updates on the standard plotlines.
  13. in other news
    Susan Orlean Thinks You’re FatLong before politicians realized their idiotic public gaffes would be indexed forever in YouTube, writers faced a similar but somehow graver problem: ill-advised books published early in their career that stick around on shelves forever to haunt their authors. On Radar Online today, Claire Zulkey catalogues many of those wish-they-were-forgotten titles, hitting many of the greatest hits, like Lynne Cheney’s sapphic romp and Scooter Libby’s oddly bestial mystery. We were most interested, however, in a less well-known work that made the cut. New Yorker scribes Patricia Marx and Susan Sistrom — that’s Susan Orlean to you — apparently once interrupted their careers to author the compelling The Skinny: What Every Skinny Woman Knows About Dieting and Won’t Tell You!, which, according to Amazon commenters, is a “sick book by unhealthy women” filled with “tips on self-destruction.” We’d love to ascribe this detour to youthful desperation, but the book was published in 1999 — one year after The Orchid Thief and while Marx was firmly ensconced in a career as a novelist and Saturday Night Live writer. The book’s money quote? “Eat all you want, but never swallow. Spit always.” And to think of all the money Si Newhouse has wasted on their expense accounts. Read in the Face [Radar Online]
  14. in other news
    How Stella Got Her Offensive Stream of Vitriol BackSince leading homophobe Isaiah Washington is stuck in a rehab facility for the time being, best-selling author Terry McMillan has gamely stepped up to the gay-bashing plate. As Galleycat reports, McMillan’s contribution to the new anthology The Honeymoon’s Over: True Stories of Love, Marriage, and Divorce is a list of 100 questions for the ex-husband who left her after he realized he was gay. (Readers will recall the man in question was also the model for the hot young lover in How Stella Got Her Groove Back, which may put a slight damper on those royalty checks.) What did she want to know?
  15. in other news
    HarperCollins, Still With the DecapitationsSpeaking of HarperCollins: Lit blogger Bookburger has notices a curious new trend in the design of covers for teen novels: Decapitation. More and more releases from HarperTeen — Bookburger cites three examples from the spring catalogue — feature cover images of teenage bodies with the attached head conveniently cropped off. It’s a strange trend, and an objectifying one, but it’s also sort of inexplicable to be coming from Harper right now. If nothing else in the last few weeks, hasn’t the publisher learned it might be best to stay far away from beheadings? Headless Wonders [Bookburger] Earlier: Our coverage of Judith Regan
  16. in the magazine
    Five More Things You Didn’t Know About Judith ReganLast week we learned that recently deposed book editor Judith Regan kept all sorts of weird things in her office, including clothes, her kids’ report cards, and an enormous portrait of herself. In this week’s New York, Vanessa Grigoriadis tells us so much more about the woman: 1. While all the O.J.-Jews-firing saga was going on, Regan was on a 21-day liquid fast — no chewing allowed! — that allowed her to eat only an “infusion of berry drinks, enzyme shots, hot tea, live juice, and a once-a-day treat of soup — a mélange of carrots, sweet potatoes, and spinach puréed in the Cuisinart.”
  17. in other news
    Left Behind: Editors-in-Chief Are Different From You and Me EditionThing’s You’d Find in Our Office If We Were Fired Desk drawer: Post-its, rubber bands, tampon, CapitalOne bill, draft of resume Shoved in closet: All papers belonging to previous resident of office Tacked to wall: Picture of ex (forgot to take down) Things HarperCollins Found in Judith Regan’s Office After She Was Fired Desk drawer: Financial statements, will, children’s report cards, divorce papers Shoved in closet: Clothing, unopened Christmas gifts Hung on wall: 30-foot high painting of Judith Regan Pinup Emotions Surface in Wake of Regan’s Firing [NYDN]
  18. in other news
    You’ve Never Heard of Robert Loomis, and That’s the PointIs it our imagination, or have we been noticing an uptick lately in glowing profiles of old-school book editors? (Maybe we’re just projecting: We’ve only read Bennett Cerf’s At Random, oh, eight times.) Today’s Times brings the recap of another ceremony, this one honoring the 50-year career of Random House’s Robert Loomis, who counts among his authors William Styron, Maya Angelou, and Calvin Trillin. As profiles go, it’s pretty straightforward: a roundup of Loomis’s cute editing quirks, reminiscences of an era before bloated auctions and editorial meetings — really? no meetings in the good old days? — and sighs for the days when an editor could merely, you know, edit, rather than being a multimedia star. It’s charming boilerplate, all of it, but we’re more interested in why the media is suddenly obsessed with attending the publishing industry’s version of a Kiwanis send-off. Are newspapers for some reason desperately trying to remove Eau de Regan from the publishing world? (We’re pretty sure the lede “Robert Loomis has never been fired” doesn’t refer to the days before downsizing.) And, if so, we’re eagerly awaiting fawning profiles of every editorial assistant who’s managed not to scream anti-Semitic rants into the phone. A Career in Letters, 50 Years and Counting [NYT] Earlier: Forget the Columbia Course; Aspiring Editors Should Work on Farms
  19. in other news
    O.J. on O.J.: Bad; Wolcott on O.J. on O.J.: GoodAs pleasingly intriguing as it is to realize that a few stray copies of O.J. Simpson’s If I Did It are floating around, we’re even more pleased that one landed in the capable hands of Vanity Fair columnist James Wolcott. So, James, was the ReganBooks fiasco worth the ensuing scandal? His answer, it seems: Not so much. In a review-cum-condemnation posted to VF.com today, Wolcott is most struck by the banality of the allegedly incendiary material, noting that O.J.’s story is a “suave void” in which the running back turned movie star presents himself as a passive figure in his marriage and the murders, only slightly less inert than ghostwriter Pablo Fenvjes’s prose. Don’t think that means you shouldn’t read the review itself, though. Even if O.J. isn’t able to spin more than a yawn-yarn from his story of a wife-beating marriage, double murder, and Trial of the Century, Wolcott’s toss-offs, like his gloriously alliterative contortion — “a shameless yet ingeniously opaque cockteaser of a cash-in confessional (who knew a book about a double homicide could be so flipping coy?)” — are the closest this case will ever get to poetic justice. Murder, He Wrote (Sort Of) [VF.com]
  20. in other news
    Oprah’s Book Club Returns; Americans — Or At Least Publishers — Rejoice!Publishers across the city are presumably giddy as schoolgirls today over Friday’s announcement that Oprah’s Book Club — on hiatus for a year in wake of the James Frey debacle — is returning to the airwaves with an as-yet-unknown pick to be announced at the end of this week. Elie Wiesel’s Night, the last Oprah pick — and not exactly an unknown work — sold more than 1.5 million copies after being tapped. So who will hit the jackpot now? The industry newsletter Publishers Lunch reads the Amazon tea leaves and determines that it’s likely a HarperCollins trade paperback listed at $14.95. The Rupert Murdoch–owned Harper, of course, was most recently in the news for If I Did It, O.J.’s stillborn work of wit and wisdom. So it’s pretty good time for the publisher to be getting a dose of Oprah-endorsed goodwill. And if it’s true, well, we can’t help thinking that a certain Australian billionaire owes the Chicago talk queen a drink the size of Lake Michigan. Oprah’s Book Club Returns With New Title [AP via Yahoo]
  21. in other news
    O.J. Simpson Made $1.2 Million Not to Publish a Book or Appear on TVOkay, there’s one more O.J.-Judith wrinkle today worth mentioning (and, boy, do we hope it’s the last one). Court TV got hold of Simpson’s If I Did It contract with HarperCollins, part of a lawsuit Fred Goldman filed to try to recover the money Simpson owes after losing the 1997 wrongful-death suit. Slate’s Timothy Noah, together with some unnamed literary-agent friends of his, examined the document and finds some interesting points. According to Noah, under the terms of the agreement, Simpson is already owed at least $780,000, even though the book was pulped. He may be due $95,000 more, depending on whether a book is considered “published” when it’s shipped from the warehouse or when it’s rung up at the cash register. He’s also owed $400,000 for the unaired If I Did It TV special, because the contract stipulated he would be paid for being interviewed, whether or not the interview aired. Finally, Simpson apparently wanted to sign the contact under an assumed name and stipulated he would sign as “Sam Jones,” perhaps taking the name from the sixties Celtics star. Despite that clause, the contract doesn’t actually bear that signature: In what might have been the company’s only smart move in this transaction, they insisted O.J. sign his own name. O.J.’s Book Contract [Slate] Hollywood Heat Exclusive: Contract Details Payments Between Simpson and HarperCollins [Court TV]
  22. in other news
    ReganBooks to Die; Future Uncertain for Distasteful Stories of Sports Stars’ ExploitsAnother day, another chapter in the O.J. Simpson–Judith Regan debacle. (We’ll once again insert an offensive “This story won’t die!” so you don’t have to.) Numerous outlets are reporting that as of March 1, Judith Regan’s HarperCollins imprint, ReganBooks, will be folded into HarperCollins proper, with books from her division bearing the interim imprint “HC.” Her L.A. headquarters — she moved her operation to California last year, so as to better cross-market TV and film projects — will be shuttered, with five senior staff members returning to New York and ten employees being let go. While most of the 100 books signed by ReganBooks will transfer over to HarperCollins, one more casualty will be Peter Golenbock’s 7: The Mickey Mantle Novel, a planned salty, eww-inducing “fictionalization” of the baseball player’s bedroom exploits. We have no idea if the future HC will continue publishing a controversial, ReganBooks-style list, but O.J. and Mickey’s fates make at least one thing clear: You should probably pitch your unseemly tales of former sports greats’ exploits elsewhere for the next little while. ReganBooks to Shut Down After Firing of Its Creator [NYT] Former O.J. Publisher’s Imprint to be Dissolved [MSNBC]
  23. in other news
    Forget the Columbia Course; Aspiring Editors Should Work on FarmsVenerable Knopf editor Gary Fisketjon received major treatment in The Oregonian last week (sorry for the delay, but it is Oregon, after all), and the mildly fawning look at the boot-shod margin-scribbler and his high-toned stable of writers and friends — Sonny Mehta, Gay Talese, T.C. Boyle, Richard Ford, Jay McInerney — duly documents his rise from a childhood on a mink farm to publishing powerhouse. The editor is famously beloved by his writers, and the profile kicks off as Fisketjon receives the Maxwell E. Perkins Award for “discovering, nurturing and championing writers of fiction” and then goes on to make much of the fact that a simple farm boy has risen to become heir to that famous editor. Here’s a brief Oregonian description of those early days: The mink ranch always came first. It was labor-intensive, and Fisketjon was the laborer from the time he was 4, feeding, checking and cleaning up after hundreds of aggressive animals that love to eat and bite the hand that feeds them. “It was hard work,” Fisketjon says. “Our ranch bordered on a park, and I remember looking out and watching my friends play while I was shoveling mink [manure].” Nurturing a pack of needy animals, trying to keep them from biting the hand that feeds them, shoveling their shit endlessly. Shocking he works well with writers (and with Sonny Mehta), ain’t it? Is Gary Fisketjon the Best Editor in America? [Oregonian]
  24. in other news
    O.J.’s Book Deal: Regan’s Out, But Everyone Else Is Allegedly InThe O.J. book project — and forgive the metaphor — will seemingly never die. Publisher Judith Regan may have left the building, but the Juice’s coterie is still shopping a page turner from the disgraced football has-been. The old “fictional” aspect of the If I Did It Regan deal seems to have been scrapped; now publishers and agents are, says O.J.’s lawyer, “clamoring” for a memoir. (We don’t know if receiving three e-mails in one day, as attorney Yale Galanter says he did, necessarily constitutes “clamoring,” but prevarication-wise, it’s progress.) Galanter claims he’s got a profit-sharing deal worked out between O.J. and Ron Goldman’s family — to which Simpson owes millions on a civil judgment — but Fred Goldman, Ron’s mustached dad, doesn’t seem too hot to get on board. (Astonishing!) Still, we understand why agents and publishers are so eager to follow in Regan’s footsteps. Sure, the first deal was an unmitigated disaster, but the ruthless, delusional psychopath at the helm managed to weather the media assault and the eventual unraveling of the project without killing anyone — so it’s probably safe to enter the room now. Oh, and, also, he seems like such a nice guy to work with, doesn’t he? There’s Plenty of Juice for O.J. Book, Att’y Sez [NYDN]
  25. in other news
    Roman à RosieFollowing the Rosie O’Donnell–Donald Trump kerfuffle, what better time for a Rosie tell-all? Little Pink Slips is a “novel” written by Sally Koslow, who just happened to be shoved out of her editor-in-chief position at McCall’s when O’Donnell improbably took over the magazine after a six-year stint as a talk-show host. In the book, according to early chapters obtained by Radar Online, Koslow harps on boss Bebe Blake’s “well-fed face,” “lady-wrestler legs,” and predilection for spandex. After the success of The Devil Wears Prada and How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, the publicist for Putnam can sit right back and plan her upcoming trip to Bermuda. The rest of us will hope for the movie, something to cleanse our minds of Rosie’s performance in Riding the Bus With My Sister. Axed Editor Takes Revenge on Rosie [Radar Online]
  26. in other news
    Americans Get to Pick Authors, Too, If Not Iraq PolicyThe Times Arts section this morning discovered a shocking new trend: Authors who are willing to do pretty much anything to get published, even if it means getting in on this crazy Internet thing. Apparently Simon & Schuster’s Touchstone Imprint — which recently canceled a first-time author contest co-sponsored with Sobol Literary Enterprises, an agency, after the $85 entry fee scared off participants — has now created a new contest in partnership with Gather.com, a sort of MySpace for people who understand they’re too old for MySpace. (We’re impressed with the judging skills already.) Aspiring authors will submit the first chapters of their novels; Gather.com members will vote in rounds until they get a winner. The prize is $5,000 from the site and a book contract from Touchstone. We already know, of course, that You control the media, ever since Time told us. So we’re not terribly surprised You control publishing. (Can we say how much we’re looking forward to getting You coffee?) But we’re most taken by the article’s lede, which wonders, “Is there anything the American consumer isn’t allowed to decide?” and cites examples like YouTube, American Idol, and a decision on Doritos’ next Super Bowl commercial. See, it’s true: There is nothing Americans aren’t allowed to decide. Well, except, the 2000 election, whether to fight global warming, housing for Katrina victims and the war in Iraq. But, hey, we do get to pick the Top Chef. One Click, One Vote to Publish a Winner [NYT]
  27. intel
    Regan’s Staff: Down and Out in Santa Monica Judith Regan likely won’t be the only person to lose her job in the If I Did It fallout: Her imbroglio with HarperCollins leaves a dozen loyal New York publishing types stranded in Los Angeles. Six months ago, Regan relocated her imprint from Harper HQ in Manhattan to sunny Santa Monica so that she could more easily work on cross-platform, book-related movie and TV projects. (Yay, synergy!) She uprooted her publishing, marketing, and editorial staffers from Manhattan, and they headed west as recently as October, signing apartment and car leases and learning to call highways “freeways.” Then Regan got the ax. Now her bagel-craving staffers are spending their days on a half-floor in a gorgeous Santa Monica office building, praying for a lucrative severance deal from HarperCollins, which presumably won’t keep the pricey office open. “We’re just waiting to hear from corporate,” says one staffer. “We thought there would be an announcement last Friday, but there wasn’t.” Erin Crum, a HarperCollins spokesperson in New York, says only that the office’s fate will be decided “at the appropriate time.” —Arianne Cohen
  28. in other news
    Judith Regan Stopped in the Nick of Time?So who was embattled, mezuzah-violating, rat-metaphorizing book publisher Judith Regan about to sign just before she was fired? According to Mediabistro’s GalleyCat, none other than the most famous power-lifter, tennis champion, tango lover, spy, and Yalie ever to apply for an i-banking job and hit YouTube: Aleksey Vayner. You know who he is, right? If not, go read up. And then tally another reason why Rupert made the right call. For Judith Regan, Impossible is Nothing [GalleyCat] Previous Incident Reported Involving a Fired Publisher [NYT]
  29. in other news
    A Visit From a Freaking Expensive PoemNews of Wall Street’s Gulfstream-altitude bonuses brings at least one Schadenfreudically bright note for the rest of us: a well-compensated New York businessman wholly scammed by his first foray into the literary world. A businessman paid $280,000 for an original 1860 handwritten copy of the classic poem that begins “‘Twas the night before Christmas” and read it to friends at a party, an auction gallery said Tuesday. The buyer, identified only as the chief executive officer of a media company, received the copy of the poem this month, just in time to read it to relatives and business associates at a holiday party in his Manhattan apartment, Heritage Auction Galleries president Greg Rohan said. Rohan, you thief! Charging $280,000 just for a poem? An honest auctioneer would have explained to that media CEO that he could get a real, live poet to read a brand-new poem for a tiny fraction of that. Hell, a few bottles of Turning Leaf and some cheese cubes usually do it. (Also: So who? Jann? Si? Dick Parsons? Any guesses or info, let us know.) Copy of Poem Sold; Twas Worth $280K [AP via Yahoo]
  30. in other news
    Murdoch to Regan: J’accuse!Oh, see? Now it all makes sense. It’s not that Judith Regan was fired for offending Rupert Murdoch’s notoriously delicate sensibilities by trying to publish a faux-confessional by O.J. Simpson. Today comes the news that Regan was fired for offending Murdoch’s deep commitment promoting civil discourse by tossing off a few anti-Semitic remarks in a fight with lawyers. Reports the Times: Rupert Murdoch personally ordered the dismissal of Judith Regan, the publisher of a widely criticized O. J. Simpson book, after he heard reports of a heated conversation Ms. Regan had with a company lawyer on Friday that included comments that were deemed anti-Semitic, according to two people familiar with the News Corporation’s account of the firing. Mark Jackson, a lawyer with HarperCollins, a division of the News Corporation that includes Ms. Regan’s imprint, reported the alleged comments from a phone conversation with Ms. Regan to Jane Friedman, HarperCollins’s president and chief executive. “And then Jane called Rupert and Rupert said he won’t tolerate that kind of behavior,” said one of the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Think of it as Murdoch’s Hanukkah present to the Jews. (Query to research department.: Any cable or satellite deals currently pending in Israel?) Fired Editor’s Remarks Said to Have Provoked Murdoch [NYT]
  31. cultural capital
    Creepy Old Guy Day in Publishing!Between Judith Regan’s just-announced Mickey Mantle smutography and Walter Mosely’s forthcoming novel, the “fabulously filthy” Killing Johnny Fry, it seems to be Creepy Old Guy Day in the publishing world. A Radar Online interview with Moseley reveals that the novel touches upon “a melange of insatiable sex — anal intrusion, double penetration, priapism, golden showers” — and that he has figured out what college freshman everywhere know: invoke Camus, and you can get away with anything. To wit: Existentialism theorizes that people wander between choice, freedom, and angst. Please help me understand the term sexistential. Well, this is primarily an existential book. Cordell is looking for meaning in his life. Who am I? What am I? Why live? These are very basic questions. And the path that Cordell takes to find that meaning is a path of sexuality. The Stranger is probably my favorite novel. 100 Years of Solitude is pretty good, too. As far as I’m concerned it’s a very similar book, about a guy who is set free by events and goes looking for himself through the act of fucking. Elsewhere in the Q&A we learn that Killing Johnny Fry contains the line “You feel his cum splashing on her ankle” but without the supporting freshman-lit defense. Oh, come on, Walter. Can we get a Kierkegaard? Heidegger? Anyone? Gulp Fiction [Radar]
  32. it just happened
    National Book Finalists Announced; Apple SnubbedThe National Book Award finalists were announced just moments ago in San Francisco. The list itself leans Californian, too; only a few New Yorkers are among the honorees this year — Bronx-born globe-trotter Ken Kalfus (who lives in Philly), ex-Brooklynite Mark Z. Danielewski (California), and children’s author Patricia McCormick. After the jump, the full slate of finalists.