Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Some Choice Books On the Way....

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:


Anna Funder's ALL THAT I AM, about German refugees from Hitler's Germany living in London during the mid-1930s, and the nonfiction STASILAND: STORIES FROM BEHIND THE BERLIN WALL, investigative journalism that offers an account of life in Communist East Germany under a regime of terror and persecution maintained by the infamous secret police, the Stasi, to Terry Karten at Harper, for publication in Spring 2012, by Sarah Chalfant at The Wylie Agency (US).

Robin Yocum's FAVORITE SONS, in which a teenage boy's murder in 1971 sends an innocent man to prison and the boys responsible for the death vow to each other to keep their secret; thirty years later, one of the boys, now a candidate for state attorney general, is being blackmailed by an ex-con with knowledge of the crime; with a week to go to the election, the candidate tries to sort through three decades of the deceit he helped create, to Lilly Golden at Arcade, for publication in Spring 2011, by Colleen Mohyde at the Doe Coover Agency (World).


Kalyan Ray's multi-generational novel, NO COUNTRY, that winds its way through 19th and 20th century Ireland, America and India, touching on the Irish famine, Ireland and India's parallel quests for Independence, and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire; exploring themes of diaspora, the making and unmaking of emigrant lives, and ultimately, the few intimate degrees of separation that lie between love and murder, to Anjali Singh at Simon & Schuster (NA), and UK rights to Alexandra Pringle at Bloomsbury UK, both by Elizabeth Sheinkman at Curtis Brown UK.

Philippa Gregory's THE KINGMAKERS' DAUGHTERS, for publication in 2012, followed by THE WHITE PRINCESS and THE LAST ROSE, all continuations of her writing about the women of The War of the Roses, again to Trish Todd at Touchstone, with Suzanne Baboneau at Simon & Schuster UK co-editing, in a three-book deal, by Anthony Mason (world).

Writer's Trust shortlisted Trevor Cole's PRACTICAL JEAN, in which a middle-aged artist sets about killing her friends in order to spare them a painful death, to Kate Nintzel at Harper Perennial, for publication in Fall 2011, by Carolyn Forde on behalf of Bruce Westwood of Westwood Creative Artists (US).

Author and syndicated columnist Dan Savage and his husband, Terry Miller's IT GETS BETTER, a collection of essays where celebrities and ordinary people in the LGBT community share their personal and inspirational stories, inspired by a series of popular YouTube videos they created that have gone viral, to Brian Tart at Dutton, for publication in March 2011, by Elizabeth Wales of Wales Literary Agency.


Sorbonne professor Luc Ferry's LEARNING TO LIVE, a short history of Western thought that shows what philosophy can teach us about how to live a better life; reported as a 300,000-copy bestseller in France, to Peter Hubbard at Harper Perennial, for publication in 2011, by Andrea Joyce at Canongate UK (NA).


Author of Career Renegade, entrepreneur and lifestyle blogger at JonathanFields.com Jonathan Fields's BEYOND CREATION: How to Stake Your Claim To Genius Without Losing Your Mind, to Courtney Young at Portfolio, in a pre-empt, by Wendy Sherman (World).


ABC News senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper's ENEMY IN THE WIRE, the investigative and inspiring story of US forces' deadliest battle to date in Afghanistan, in which 54 US soldiers fended off 300 to 400 Taliban fighters, to Geoff Shandler at Little, Brown, for publication in late 2011, by Christy Fletcher at Fletcher & Company (world).

Author of RECOLLECTIONS OF REAGAN and public affairs consultant, Peter Hannaford's PRESIDENTIAL RETREATS, an in-depth history of presidential vacation homes, such as Mount Vernon, Kennebunkport, Hyannisport, and the political plotting and planning, meetings with foreign dignitaries, and stories about the families that lived at these monumental locations, to Anthony Ziccardi at Threshold, with Kathy Sagan editing, for publication in 2011, by Joy Azmitia at Russell & Volkening (World).

World Spanish rights to veteran Chilean journalist and PR executive Manuel Pino's ALIVE UNDERGROUND, a behind-the-scenes account of the Chilean mining disaster and rescue, including exclusive interviews with several of the miners and analysis of the government and corporate interests and leaders involved, to Erik Riesenberg at Penguin, to launch their new, Spanish-language imprint Acento, for publication in January 2011, by Diane Stockwell at Globo Libros Literary Management.


David Haskell's FOREST MANDALA, an expansive portrait of nature's complex ecological and biological web, drawn from the author's year-long observation of a one-square-meter patch of old-growth forest in Tennessee, to Kevin Doughten at Viking Penguin, for publication in Winter 2012, by Alice Martell at The Martell Agency (World English).


Friday, October 22, 2010

Some Leaks Are....????

From Secrecy News:


It seems that some disclosures of classified information can lead a person to poverty, ignominy and a jail sentence, while others provide a royal road to fame and fortune. Some leaks are relentlessly investigated, while others are tolerated or encouraged.

This apparent inconsistency, as notably illustrated once again in the phenomenon of author Bob Woodward, was examined by Michael Isikoff in "'Double standard' in White House leak inquiries?", NBC News, October 18.

In the wake of an earlier Woodward book in 2007, Rep. Henry Waxman noted a similar discrepancy in the Bush Administration's response to leaks.

"The administration seems to be inconsistent in their approach in these cases, and it's troubling," Rep. Waxman said at a March 16, 2007 hearing. "They raise very serious questions about whether White House policies on sensitive information are driven by political considerations. If it's a critic [who discloses classified information] they are going to investigate, they're going to really stop it. When it comes to people in-house, people they like, people they trust, well, the investigation hasn't even started with regard to those people."


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Better Not To Have These!



Keith Taylor

My computer had 390 e-mails on the screen name "DipsyDmstr" alone when I returned from a five-day, ultra expensive vacation at Sharp Chula Vista Hospital.

One was five-day old and from Neika, my magnificent great grand niece back in Indiana. She and I often exchange e-mails. I tell her what it's like to be old and grouchy and she tells me LOL.

My last had been about an exchange with a woman in Bangladesh who didn't understand "Dipsey Dumpster talk" or Midwestern humor. Neika learned the exciting news that the computer had survived the two language restoration and I was now relaxing before tackling the problems of the day -- saving the world from itself.

But, as it ensued, fate doesn't always work according to plan. About the time I sent my note to Neika I was besieged with a series of chest pains -- just the thing to help an octogenarian relax. I figured it was the result of my internet frustration and would soon pass.

But not this time. The pangs kept getting worse. I have no idea how to measure a threshold of pain, but this was ridiculous. A comparable excruciating pain may have been when, as a ten or eleven-year old, I pissed on an electric fence. Although I don't keep records of such things, I'm sure the fence pissing caper didn't compare with my recent screaming thorax.

The best medicine for recovery from the pain of hangovers had always been to lie down. Maybe it would work for angina, But no! I simply could not lie down. That made things worse. And don't even ask about the result of trying to maintain the good old Hoosier farm boy treatment for any pain, emitting methane though my anus!

Finally my wife summoned help by punching 911. It fetched the only public service left in debt stricken California, an ambulance.

Away I went, lights a'flashing and siren a'blazing. The medics were too busy exchanging pulse rates, blood pressure readings, breathing rate et al with the rapidly approaching hospital to spend any time with me except to reassure me with promises that "you,ll be fine" and "we're about there," I knew that the first was as true as what we get from most any of today's politicians, and the second was true in fact.

Back in the days of strenuous exercise I often ran from my house to the hospital, got a drink, then ran back. It was about five miles round trip! The ambulance ride broke my existing record for the distance. My wife followed behind in Spiffy, our shiny, modern car with multi colored lights in the coffee cup holders.

At the hospital things brightened up a teeny bit for a teeny while. One of the medics was a well constructed middle age lass. She positioned herself at my feet when they rolled me and my gurney out of the ambulance. In fact my feet were directly on her boobs. Why had I insisted on wearing shoes?

Into the emergency room we went. There the pain continued and the questioning commenced. My wife hugged me as I suffered, crying with me on the overwhelming spasms. I looked at her and realized she looked more like Theresa Wright every day.

Then the questioning: Eighty years and 258 days after my date of birth I was asked for it and again, eventually by every employee of Sharp General, and again every time any one of them had occasion to have intercourse (in the classical, not coital, sense) with me.

And all sorts of other shit! At times it seemed they were lined up to ask me "On a scale of one to ten, how much pain do you have."

My answer, "If this isn't a ten I've never had one. I've never hurt so fucking much in my life."

I couldn't tell if they recorded the entire answer or not. A guy, I presume was a janitor, did seem to get a kick out of it.

It was now back to the loud moaning, bitching, and bellyaching. This set off my neighbors in the ER where deathly sick or deathly poor patients were waiting in quasi rooms -- actually partitions separated by a curtain. They started praying. Most went at it by reciting the Rosary. I already had learned it in English and Portuguese.

Portuguese: Ave maria chia de gras

mumble mumble

mumble mumble

agora e em a' hora de sus muertos

mumble mumble

'e sua filho Jeeeeeezus.


Now, I had the delight of recognizing and misunderstanding the words in espanol. It didn't help calm me, nor did it seem to bring any miracles. Of course the supplicants were also patients in the emergency room so they had their own problems and likely weren't including me in their pleas.

After a few minutes which seemed like hours I managed to see some doctors. Each would ask me the "one to ten" question. Then he'd poke and prod a bit, look at one of the two, maybe three, EKG printouts. Then he'd go back to his cubbyhole and write an order for a test. One after the other they put me into contraptions which squealed, schreeched, binked and boinked.

Together the robotic monsters told him that I had not had a heart attack after all.

How disappointing! I still have one coming! I wonder if they'll have to come up with a new scale to measure the pain.?

The robotics and medicos diagnosed my pain as something that sounds like pericarditis -- and I have no idea how close that is to the korrect speling. This peri thing is an inflammation of the area where the sternum hooks up with the rib cage. Possibly it's caused by a virus, and I'm guessing it isn't detectable by McAfee.

The medicos increased my pill count from the one good-sized handful I'd been taking to two good sized handfuls including one to control the fibrillation which showed up in the tests. After a couple of days, and after my heart beat returned to normal I was set to go home. At three in the morning of my anticipated departure a nurse woke me with the news that my heart had gone into fibrillation again.

That meant one more day of bland food, ersatz coffee, and a continuous stream of solicitous needle pokers and blood pressure takers.

The last night I was treated to a gran fiesta without the mariachis and aye yi yi music, but with two giggling teenagers who aperiodically told my antediluvian roommate who had just been admitted: "oh grandpa you'll outlive us all."

Please pass the word I do not want to ever hear that? It's hard enough making it through this world in 80 years. Outliving those giggling girls would make it unbearable.

The fiesta commenced at 9 p.m. and ended with the last round of "you'll out live us all" at 12.30." I did not pray for him. Surely he needs to get some rest and those kids and their idiot parents who laughed at how cute they were, put they old boy through hell enough for one lifetime.

If he ever asks for my help I'll notify my grand/greatgrand relatives to come visit him. They all know enough to avoid making a grumpy "papa" even grumpier by uttering bullshit, and they are too smart to stay up until the next day with an octogenarian. Few of us are much fun!

Finally that ephemeral balance was achieved. The ol' ticker was beating normally, or within some sort of "normal range." That morning the cardiologist came in, said I was good as new and I could go home. I didn't want to complicate things by bitching about a fiesta that continued hours after visiting hours were over.

My exit wasn't as I had imagined. Surely I would walk through the lobby waving at loving doctors, nurses, and various attendants, all of whom knew my date of birth. Out the door I'd go into the waiting arms of Theresa Wright.

But, wouldn't you know it, there were more papers to be signed. These were by a woman who also wanted to know my date of birth. How long will so many retain the knowledge of that event which took place in Atwood, Indiana on 2/10/30?

Finally, with the help of Spiffy, Theresa drove me home. I'd again eluded the grim reaper and lived to tell about it.


Thursday, October 07, 2010


From Secrecy News:


The Pentagon's heavy-handed attempt to censor the new Afghanistan war memoir "Operation Dark Heart" by Anthony Shaffer has predictably turned a volume of narrow, specialized interest into a mainstream bestseller.

It has also focused attention on just what information the government was seeking to conceal, and why. For a review of the material that was blacked out in the second edition of the book, see "Censored book masks sensitive operations" by Sean D. Naylor, Army Times, October 4. A side-by-side view of the book's Index, in censored and uncensored formats, is here (pdf).


Saturday, October 02, 2010

Whole Mess of Good Books Coming....

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:


Ayad Akhtar's unsparing debut novel, AMERICAN DERVISH, about an American Muslim family struggling with faith and belonging in a diverse yet divisive heartland community, to Judy Clain at Little, Brown, by Donna Bagdasarian at Publication Riot Group (world).

Erin Morgenstern's THE NIGHT CIRCUS, set at the turn of the 19th century, which tells the story of two young magicians, pawns in an age-old rivalry between their mercurial, illusionist fathers, and the enchanted circus where their competition (and romance) plays out, leaving the fates of everyone involved - from creators and performers to patrons - hanging in the balance, to Alison Callahan at Doubleday, by Richard Pine at Inkwell Management (World).

Alan Lazar's ROAM, the story of a little dog who gets lost for eight years, and when he is miraculously reunited with his owner, has traveled thousands of miles and lost a leg, in an epic journey across America that includes many narrow escapes and living with a pack of wolves for a time, while never losing his longing for the Great Love, his first owner, to Sarah Durand at Atria, by Henry Dunow at Dunow, Carlson & Lerner (NA).


Lisa Lutz and David Hayward's HEADS YOU LOSE, a collaborative crime novel written in alternating chapters about a pair of pot-growing siblings who find a decapitated body in their yard and are forced to deal with the consequences, pitched as Weeds meets Adaptation with the humor of The Spellman Files, to Marysue Rucci at Putnam, for publication in Spring 2011, by Stephanie Kip Rostan at Levine Greenberg Literary Agency (world English).


Janice Steinberg's AN INTELLIGENT JEWESS, about an 85-year-old woman, finding a clue to the whereabouts of her twin sister, who disappeared from the little-known Jewish mecca of Boyle Heights, LA on the eve of WWII, and plunging back into memories of her childhood and the momentous historical facts that impacted her family; along the way there are stories within this story - those from the Old Country, and tales of immigration travails - not only about the stories we tell but more importantly those that we believe, especially the ones about ourselves, to Kendra Harpster at Random House, by Susan Golomb at the Susan Golomb Agency (NA).

Natasa Dragnic's EVERY DAY, EVERY HOUR, pitched as reminiscent of The Solitude of Prime Numbers and The Time Traveler's Wife set in Croatia and Paris, about a couple who are meant to be together, but fate keeps them apart; beginning with their meeting as children, when a young boy faints at the sight of his beguiling kindergarten classmate, and following the brief episodes when they reconnect over the course of their lives, through marriages and children, careers and personal tragedies, to Stephen Morrison at Viking, with Alexis Washam editing, by Gesche Wendebourg at DVA.

Rights have also been sold to Chatto, De Bezige Bij, Seix Barral, Flammarion, Feltrinelli, Doubleday Canada, and Gyldendal (for Norway and Denmark).


THE CHRONICLES OF HARRIS BURDICK: 14 Amazing Authors Tell the Tales, in which fourteen notable authors will each contribute a short story for middle-grade readers based on an illustration, including an introduction by Daniel Handler and stories Sherman Alexie, M.T. Anderson, Kate DiCamillo, Cory Doctorow, Jules Feiffer, Stephen King, Tabitha King, Lois Lowry, Gregory Maguire, Walter Dean Myers, Linda Sue Park, Louis Sachar, Jon Scieszka, and Chris Van Allsburg, to Margaret Raymo at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's, for publication in Fall 2011.


Veronica Rossi's UNDER THE NEVER SKY, about forbidden lovers from radically different societies - following a girl banished from her enclosed, technology-bound city out into the deadly natural world, where she encounters a savage boy who becomes her only chance to survive and return home, to Barbara Lalicki at Harper, in a three-book deal, for publication in Winter 2012, by Josh Adams at Adams Literary (NA).

CLA Award-winning author Lesley Livingston's trilogy STARLING, pitched as a supernatural Bourne Identity that blends Norse, Egyptian, and Greek mythologies with paranormal elements, to Laura Arnold at Harper Children's, by Jessica Regel at the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency (NA).



CLA Award-winning author Lesley Livingston's trilogy STARLING, pitched as a supernatural Bourne Identity that blends Norse, Egyptian, and Greek mythologies with paranormal elements, to Laura Arnold at Harper Children's, by Jessica Regel at the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency (NA).


NYT bestselling author Stephan Talty's AGENT GARBO: How a Brilliant and Eccentric Double Agent Tricked the Nazis and Saved D-Day, the little known World War II espionage story of Spaniard Juan Pujol, whose intrinsic role in leading Hitler's Abwehr on a wild, several-year goose chase for the landing area of D-Day aided in the success of the famous mission and saved thousands of lives, moving to Bruce Nichols at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, by Scott Waxman at the Waxman Literary Agency (NA).


Grammy-winner Shania Twain's autobiography, ranging from her difficult childhood to her recent divorce from music producer Robert "Mutt" Lange, driven by a "sudden urgency to document my life before I ran out of time," to Atria, by Robert Barnett at Williams & Connolly.

Richard Seaver's THE TENDER HOUR OF TWILIGHT, about the publisher, editor, and translator who died in 2009 after twenty years at the head of Arcade Publishing, covering his years in Paris in the 1950s and New York City in the 1960s at Grove Press, as he brought the likes of Samuel Beckett, William Burroughs, Jean Genet, Henry Miller, Octavio Paz, Pauline R�age, the Marquis de Sade, Hubert Selby, Jr, and Malcolm X to American readers -- often finding himself embroiled in what are now landmark censorship battles to do so, to Jonathan Galassi at Farrar, Straus, for publication in spring 2012, by Leon Friedman representing Jeannette Seaver (world).