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Monday, December 22, 2003

The last Lunch Weekly of 2003 

Although to misquote a hoary axiom, if a book deal occurs over a holiday, and no one is there to report it, did the deal actually take place? Ponder that as I guide you through the notables and well, not so notable.

In the "Frightening Fathers" dep't:

Andre Agassi's father Mike Agassi's BETTING THE HOUSE: The Agassi Story, ranging from Mike's hard-scrabble upbringing in Iran to his emigration to the United States and his attempt to turn each of his four children into tennis phenoms, with dozens of photos, written with Kate Shoup Welsh and Dominic Cobello, to Jack David at ECW, for publication in time for the 2004 US Open, by Drew Nederpelt at Metropol Literary (NA).

This would never have happened oh, eight years ago or so when Andre was playing Challenger tourneys.

In the "Cool Pre-Feminist Women" dep't:

Washington Post staff reporter Kirstin Downey's untitled biography of Frances Perkins, the first female Cabinet member who, as Secretary of Labor under FDR, became the chief architect of the New Deal and single-handedly changed the landscape of the American workforce, while wrestling with a complex personal life, to Lorna Owen at Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, in a good deal, by Gail Ross at the Gail Ross Literary Agency (NA).

Then there's "research for Dennis Lehane's upcoming trilogy":

Boston Herald columnist and WRKO-AM radio show host Howie Carr's WHITEY AND BILLY: The Story of the Bulger Brothers, combining columns and new material about the fugitive James "Whitey" Bulger and his brother William M., former president of the state Senate and the University of Massachusetts, to Warner, in a good deal, for publication in early 2005.

And obviously The Stones have started a disturbing new trend:

SO WHAT! The Metallibook by Metallica, edited by Steffan Chirazi, full-time chronicler of the band and editor of So What! Magazine, the band's first official book, a lavishly illustrated scrapbook, with over 1,000 photographs, documenting the band's more than spectacular journey, to Charlie Conrad at Broadway, for publication in August 2004 (when the band will be in the middle of an extensive tour), by Lydia Wills at Writers and Artists Agency International.

In the somewhat bizarre:

Richard Polsky's LOOKING FOR T REX, a narrative following the author's search for a tyrannosaurus rex and the eccentric world of fossil collectors, to Colin Dickerman at Bloomsbury USA, by Bonnie Nadell at Fred Hill Bonnie Nadell Agency (world English).

And what happens when you look for a T-Rex and only come up with a stegosaurus? Oh, the hilarity that ensues! Anyway...

Turning to fiction, it looks like Louise Bagshawe's touting as "the 21st Century Jackie Collins" might be even more on the mark, because guess what, her younger sister (not named Joan) is getting in on the act too:

30-year-old British journalist (and younger sister of bestselling novelist, Louise Bagshawe) Tilly Bagshawe's debut novel BIRTHRIGHT, the story of Hollywood dynasty, the McMahons--a family bound together by ambition, greed and secrets--from the forties to the present day, to Kate Mills at Orion, in a major deal, at auction, for two books, for publication beginning in January 2005, by Tif Loehnis at Janklow and Nesbit UK (UK/Commonwealth). The agency's US office sold US rights to Warner.

Introducing the next Nell Freudenberger:

Author of the story "Extra" is in the winter fiction Issue of The New Yorker and recipient of the Paris Review Plimpton Prize for new writers Yiyun Li's collection of short stories and a novel, to Kate Medina at Random House, by Richard Abate at ICM (NA).

Actually that's rather unfair, since Ms. Li has had several short stories published already--unlike the lovely Nell before her New Yorker fame--and is at the Iowa Writer's Workshop doing two MFAs (Creative Writing and Nonfiction.)

In the "what exactly is this story about" dep't:

26-year-old Harvard History PhD student Lauren Willig's THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE PINK CARNATION, in which a young American grad student travels to London to research the famous Napoleonic spy the Scarlet Pimpernel, where she finds an even more alluring historical story....and a "hero" of her own, to Laurie Chittenden at Dutton, in a pre-empt, for two books, by Joe Veltre at Carlisle & Company (world English).

I mean...is it romance, thriller, coming-of-age, what? And never mind that besides being a Harvard PhD student, Willig did her undergrad at Yale. My god, I think she has even more Ivy cred than Matthew Pearl.

I don't know if "wicked opulence" is what I would have thought of concerning the Atlanta Summer Games, but whatever sells the book, I suppose:

Author of BookSense 76 pick Trouble with Girls Marshall Boswell's first novel ALTERNATIVE ATLANTA, about a confounded young rock critic coping simultaneously with his father's sudden appearance, his ex-girlfriend's new marriage, and the wicked opulence of the '96 Olympic Games, to Danielle Perez at Bantam, by Jim Rutman at Sterling Lord Literistic (NA).

According to his bio he has another novel in the pipeline. No doubt it'll see the light of day at some point as well.

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