Friday, November 28, 2003

News for a friday morning 

Looks like Stephen King wasn't just sick when he accepted the NBA award--he had pneumonia in one lung. When he returned hom, it spread to the other lung, and now he's in hospital, expected to recover. Speedy recovery, Mr King--and next time, no matter how important the honor, don't go walking around with pneumonia. Not worth it, really...

Lawrence Taylor has been all over the media promoting his memoirs, which have many a salacious detail. The New York Times profiles him.

Michiko finds that John Keegan's book on code-breaking may be a tad misleading. It evidently promises information on intelligence relating to Al-Qaeda and doesn't deliver. Hmm, perhaps the promise (as given by the title) was a publisher ploy with nothing to do whatsoever with Keegan? Because if he's giving information on code-breaking as pertaining to the current war, he might be accused of, I don't know, treason...

Patrick O'Brian was the bestselling author of the Aubrey/Maturin novels, but it appears he wasn't much of a father. His son, Richard Russ, speaks out about the fractured relationship between the two of them.

The serial is making a comeback. Starting in January, bestselling author Alexander McCall Smith (whom I happen to think is a genius) will be writing a novel in daily installments, 850 words at a time, for the following six months for his home paper, the Scotsman. They're already very excited about the prospect, predicting that the venture "will certainly succeed" based on the segments the paper has already received. So am I, although I wonder, the man is so bloody busy and has so many other projects in the pipeline--how on earth does he do it? Just another of life's mysteries perhaps....

And speaking further of McCall Smith, evidently his #1 Ladies Detective Agency Books don't really register much in Botswana, the country he celebrates in the novels.

Major players, including WH Smith, are putting their promotional dollars behind the "Nibbies" (aka the British Book Awards.)

Andrew Wylie is one naughty boy, yet again. Seems he's been accused of poaching Will Self and Ali Smith from Godwin & Godwin, and two more authors were "cold-emailed" and asked if they were happy with the service they were getting.

Industry insiders say that Godwin and Wylie have a history of animosity, and point out that Godwin has not been averse to behaving like Wylie in the past – Claire Tomalin’s move to Godwin from Pat Kavanagh being one example. “David Godwin very openly went after people when he first became an agent,” said one publisher. “After Wylie poached the historian Michael Burleigh from him, Godwin apparently e-mailed him and said ‘how could you?’ Wylie’s reply may be apocryphal: ‘Dear Pot, F*** off,’ signed ‘Kettle’.”

OK, he may be a bastard and ruthless, but that's a funny line, if true. Must use it at some point.

Carol Birch at the Independent sounds the alarm about Nathanael West's MISS LONELYHEARTS, imploring that it "must be read."

More on Carl Hiaasen's move from Pan MacMillan to Transworld is found here. A contact at the publishing house told me she had read his upcoming novel, SKINNY DIP, a few days ago and enjoyed it tremendously. Bodes well for Mr Hiaasen, I would imagine.

Mayor Ken Livingstone is initiating a plan to designate the week of February 23-27 as "Get Reading London" where 10 books would be selected to appear on ads in tube, train and bus station and vehicles. Works for me, as long as the right books are picked.

Teenage fiction is given a pointed closeup at the Independent. Further, they wonder when is the right time to graduate from such fiction into more adult waters.

THE BRIDE STRIPPED BARE--released under "anonymous" but really written by Nikki Gemmell--has been selling phenomenally well in Australia. The Sydney Morning Herald wonders why this is so.

The Washington Post has a long profile of travel writer Jan Morris, who's 77 but still going very strong. And coming up next week in the Style section are a couple of contributions from blogland: Chris Lehmann will review VERNON GOD LITTLE, and Sasha Frere-Jones will take a look at Sting's new memoir.

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