Wednesday, March 10, 2010

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*News From the Glamorous World of Bookselling*

"I don't mind about the war, that's one of the things I like to watch, if it's a war going on, 'cause then I know if our side's winning, if our side's losing . . ."
--A young girl from Roger Waters' Amused to Death
1) TURD BLOSSOM . . . There's a saying that the 'winners write the history books,' and we'll probably be seeing a lot of that in the upcoming months as former members of the Bush administration rack up their big money book deals. Karl Rove's Courage & Consequence (9781439191057) 30.00 is one of those titles. I'm not sure if the title is meant to be ironic. Courage? From a man who never served a day in the military. Consequence? From a man who goaded us into a war under false pretenses. Unless there is an American equivalent of the Nuremburg Trials that I am unaware of, there are rarely any 'consequences' for the rich or the powerful in our country. You may rest assured that the rich folks who benefitted most from the Bush years will take good care of Mr. Rove in the future. In the meantime, his smirk will be appearing on Sean Hannity, Fox & Friends, and the Glenn Beck Show for the next few days. Let the spin begin . . .

2) THE GREATEST GENERATION . . . Every American generation seems to have to learn the hard way that 'War is Hell.' In The Civil War, entire families loaded up their horse-drawn carriages to take in the carnage at the First Battle of Bull Run. Four years later, a war-weary nation was finally ready for peace. A generation later, William Randolph Hearst and his ilk reinstalled the romanticism of war to plunge America into the Spanish-American War. My own grandfather learned the ugliness of war first hand in World War II at the Battle of Okinawa. He didn't like to talk about it. So needless to say, I am intrigued by HBO's new mini-series The Pacific which starts this Sunday. Publishers are issuing a plethora of titles hoping to capitalize on this series, and they are: Hugh Ambrose's The Pacific (9780451230232) 26.95, R.V. Burgin's Islands of the Damned (9780451229908) 24.95, Tears in the Darkness (9780312429706) 18.00 by Michael Norman, Jim Proser's I'm Staying with My Boys (9780312611446) 14.99, With the Old Breed (9780891419068) 16.00 by Eugene Sledge, Eric Hammel's Iwo Jima (9780760337332) 24.99, and finally, Hero of the Pacific (9780470379417) 25.95 by James Brady. A display may be in order . . .

3) MATTERHORN . . . As a young child, I watched a neighborhood mother breakdown in tears on her front porch when the military car pulled up in front of her house. Her son was serving in Vietnam. I was five or six, and as my mom ushered me into the house, she probably thought I was too young to know what was going on. But you knew. Karl Marlantes' Matterhorn (9780802119285) 24.95 is about a platoon ordered to take a hill during the Vietnam War. His book was 35 years in the writing and the reviews have been exceptionally laudatory. This could be the next big title . . .

Odds & Sods

The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, Austin has acquired the archive of the late David Foster Wallace. In my opinion, he was the greatest writer of our generation. You can access the press release here:

Easter is early this year. And I'd like to mention a couple of books that should do well:

Ideals Easter 2010 (9780824913243) 8.99 always sells and once they're gone, well, they're gone. Also, Jan Brett is known for her beautifully illustrated Christmas books, but this year she has tackled Easter with her new one, The Easter Egg (9780399252389) 17.99.

"And they are spectacular . . ."

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