Friday, May 23, 2008

And another one's gone...

Sigh. Another day, another book reviewer bites the dust. Remember all the hoopla when Teresa Weaver was let go from the AJC? It seems like, now, disappearing BREs are just now an everyday part of a publicist's life. Frank Wilson from the Philadelphia Inquirer retired earlier this year - and from what we hear, not too happily. Karen Castro left the San Jose Mercury News. Sally Williams is leaving the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Arthur Salm of the San Diego Union Tribune is gone. William Grimes switched from the New York Times book page to write obits (WTF?). Tom Ginocchio took early retirement from "Good Day New York" (not technically a book reviewer, but a great source of bookings for local authors and those on tour in the NYC area). And now Marie Arana of the Washington Post is taking one of the buyout offers and leaving us as well.

And yes, I know we have alternate contacts to pitch, and the papers aren't doing away with the book sections entirely, but some us have spent quite a few years memorizing names and building up at least a slight familiarity and/or relationship with these reviewers, only now, to have to do it all over again. And, frankly, too much booze and other recreational pleasures over the years have made it difficult for me to retain too much new information at once. How am I supposed to keep track of the revolving door of reviewers? It's not fair, I tell you.

I don't have the time or patience to do research about whether the turnover at newspapers is limited to our BREs. I doubt it is, but if we isolate it to just that, it brings us back to the ever-present issue...our book review sections are shrinking, changing, or disappearing - making it harder and harder for us to get any coverage, unless we happen to be publishing Garth Stein. So guys - what should we do? It seems as though the internet is our answer, but will there ever come a day when we get patted on the back for getting coverage from a blogger rather than a "legitimate" reviewer?


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Book clubbing

Ok, confession time. I like figure skating. I didn't grow up in a big sports house, but my mom and I always watched figure skating. I mean, a lot. To the point where I very clearly remember Nancy Kerrigan getting hit in the knee and being REALLY upset about it. So, Tonya Harding has always kinda fascinated me. First of all, back when she was performing, you could always see her deodorant caked all over her armpits and I remember wondering why she couldn't just buy some kind of clear gel. Secondly, her costumes were never that good. And, finally, um, she had her husband whack her competitor in the knee to guarantee her a spot at the Olympics. CRAZY. Oh, yeah, there was also a sex tape and then when she got kinda fat and started boxing.

But now, Tonya's back in the news with a new memoir! I'm totes scoring a free copy of that when it comes out. Anyway, in an interview with Newsweek, TH is claiming that she knew nothing about the attack beforehand and that her husband and his accomplice (who have both changed their names since the incident btw) held her at gunpoint and raped her when she threatened to go to the FBI. Ex-hubby Jeff Gillooly (now Jeff Stone, which is no where near as fun to say) obviously denies. Tonya also claims that her mother used to beat the crap out of her, which her mom also denies but said "If it makes her money, fine." I wonder if my mom would be that cool if I started spreading rumors about her? No, I'm pretty sure she'd take up child abuse right then and there. Is it still child abuse if I'm a grown-up? Hmm...

So now the question is, what to think? And we all know the answer to that - or rather the question: What would Brian Boitano do? - or in this case, What would Brian Boitano think? Well, according to Brian:

"If you publish a book like that, you probably need to do it for financial reasons. If people are going to read it, they have to read it for the entertainment value, and not go by every word as the gospel truth."

Thanks, Brian! I'll keep that in mind when I get my grubby little hands on a copy.


ps. get the title? book clubbing. 'cause she clubbed Nancy? see what I did there?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Bob Hoover is my new hero

Ha! Bob Hoover over at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published this article yesterday about how despite all the fake memoirs of late (Frey, Seltzer, that Holocaust lady), publishers still keep churning them out. Bob nicely takes the most recent and soon-to-be pubbed memoirs, divides them into sub-genres, and gives classic one line summaries. I have now come to the conclusion that Bob Hoover is an underappreciated (not to mention genius) BRE and should also be writing for Slunch. Check out his memory category breakdown below:

I'm sick, but it only hurts when I write about it: This is a favorite style of memoir. It differs from the "I'm an addict of some sort" in that the misfortune is not the fault of the writer.

Bad girls save themselves: In this appealing and well-worn route to publication, women of good breeding and education wind up in the gutter, then crawl out.

That old standby, celebrity

Guys do crazy things so they can write about it

Nobody knows the trouble I've seen -- till now

My fascinating life, updated

I'll leave it to you to click through and see who's books landed where (and how Bob summed each one up).


ps. did you guys know that there was a sequel to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs?!? I don't how I missed this. Hmm, anyone want to hook me up with a publicity email for Antheneum?

Literary Event Take 2: Literary Upstart

So, remember how our Literary Event of the Week was the Mediabistro Circus Launch Party? And remember how it totally sucked? So, in order to make up for that, Slunch is giving you a second, bonus literary event: L Magazine's Literary Upstart. The slogan for the event is "Short Fiction, Cheap Beer." Really, what more could you ask for? This Thursday, 7 pm, The Slipper Room. Knock yourselves out.

Do tell,

The Editor

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Memorial Day is for TV, Book Lovers

Ah, Memorial Day is almost upon us and that means barbecues, booze, and sittin' in front of the TV vegging out for a bit with marathons of your favorite shows like Monty Python on BBC America, Deadliest Catch on Discovery, or my personal favorite: C-SPAN's 72 hours of Book TV starting Saturday May 24th. Well, I think I need to grab a case of red bull, 2 liters of vodka, a one pound bag of peanut m&m's, put Dominoes on speed dial and hunker down in front of the set and catch up on all those episodes I've missed.


Gawker forgets they've already covered author...

Trolling through Gawker today, I caught sight of a post about Craig Davidson, author of The Fighter. Now, for those of you loyal readers, you may remember that Slunch covered last year's fight between Craig and fellow-scribe Jonathan Ames - and scooped EVERYONE (suck on that) with the first pics of Jonathan Ames and girlfriend Fiona Apple.

Anyway, today's Gawker post referenced an article in the Guardian - a piece about his steriod use while doing research for his book and the impact it had on his body. What Gawker failed to realize, however, is that 1) this piece appeared in Esquire already and 2) they should have already been familiar with Craig from the event they ATTENDED and COVERED on their site. I know you guys have had a lot of turnover recently, and that Josh and Emily (everyone's favorite ex-couple) are no longer there, but come on. A little research please.


mediabistro = bad party hosts

I've been to a lot of parties in my time. Publicist and all. I've organized some for authors, I've attended those organized by friends. I've gone to awards banquets, thank you parties, anniversery parties, charity parties, receptions for this and that. And, really, my expectations are really never high. Have alcohol readilly available. If there is food, wonderful, but not necessarilly expected. Just really really hoped for.

So, when I attend a party held by a company that was sold for $23 million a couple years ago, I kind of expect it to be a pretty awesome party. Um, no. I showed up about 6:45, 15 minutes after the party was supposed to start. No music, no food, no bartender. A bunch of mediabistro staff members standing around awkwardly. I didn't even have a magazine with me. So I went with the old stand-by and just pulled out my phone and started texting people to look busy.

I think the bar probably opened up a little after 7...over 30 minutes into the 2 hour party. There was one bartender. He had no cash. No bar back. It took about 5 minutes per person to get your drink. The line was soon wrapped around the room - and I'm not even exaggerating. Oh, and of course, the alcohol was NOT free. So basically, I spent half the night in a line, spent money I didn't have, and met random bloggers and mediabistro employees that had nothing to do with books. I did spot the galleycat crew floating around, but all in all, the event felt more like a mediabistro employee party rather than a meet-and-greet. I learned absolutely nothing, I spent too much money on alcohol, and when I left, I was so hungry, I went home and ate a lot takeout that was very bad for me. Thanks a lot, mediabistro.

--Paige Sexie

Monday, May 19, 2008

Because everyone wants to see an author play a guitar bong...

yeah, that's right. guitar bong. or bong guitar? whatever. you can smoke pot out of it and make music with it. so, you get the point.

oh, and btw, that's Mike Edison, the former publisher of High Times and author of I Have Fun Everywhere I Go: Savage Tales of Pot, Porn, Punk Rock, Pro Wrestling, Talking Apes, Evil Bosses, Dirty Blues, American Heroes and the Most Notorious Magazines in the World.

ooo, and side note? I heard his book party was catered by White Castle. I damn well wish I had known that in advance. I totally would have crashed it. I wonder if above guitar/bong made an appearance...

Do Tell,

The Editor


Hey kids...I have half of a snarky piece about James Frey written for you, but, honestly, I woke up early this morning to hit the gym, my coffee buzz has worn off, and I haven't had a cigarette in four hours. So, probably not going to happen today. But the freaking Editor made the whole, there needs to be regular posts even though I don't pay you rule, and I said I was going to write the Frey thing and now I just can't bring myself to read thru Ulin's L.A. Times review and compare it to Maslin's, etc. So instead, happy monday. I'm tired. I'm hungry. I'm falling asleep at work. Here's hoping that you guys are doing at least slightly better than me. I'm off to smoke and find some v8 or something.

Thanks and bests,


ps. Two points for anyone who recognizes that sign off...