Saturday, March 24, 2007

'NY Times' Regrets Publishing Book Essay
By E&P Staff
Published: March 24, 2007 12:05 PM ET

In an editors' note in tomorrow's edition of The New York Times Book Review, the paper states that it regrets publishing a recent essay with certain resemblances to passages in someone else's essay -- particularly one involving a chambermaid.

The essay in question appeared in the Book Review on March 4, called "Confessions of a Book Abuser," by Ben Schott, who has contributed other pieces to the paper. The Times said that readers had pointed out "a number of resemblances" between it and "Never Do That to a Book," an essay on the same subject by Anne Fadiman that appeared in her 1998 book "Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader."

Schott denies reading the earlier essay before he wrote his piece.Among the resemblances: "references to a system of dog-earing pages either at the top or at the bottom depending on referential purpose and to travelers who rip previously read sections from paperbacks and discard them before boarding an airplane."

But the most "striking resemblance" occurs in the opening lines of each essay, the editors' note revealed. Here is how it describes the problem.

*Schott's begins: "I have to admit I was flattered when, returning to my hotel room on the shores of Lake Como, a beautiful Italian chambermaid took my hand. . . . Escorting me to the edge of the crisply made bed, the chambermaid pointed to a book on my bedside table. 'Does this belong to you?' she asked. I looked down to see a dog-eared copy of Evelyn Waugh's 'Vile Bodies' open spread-eagle, its cracked spine facing out. 'Yes,' I replied. 'Sir, that is no way to treat a book!' she declared, stalking out of the room."

Fadiman's essay begins: "When I was 11 and my brother was 13, our parents took us to Europe. At the Hôtel d'Angleterre in Copenhagen, as he had done virtually every night of his literate life, Kim left a book facedown on the bedside table. The next afternoon, he returned to find the book closed, a piece of paper inserted to mark the page, and the following note, signed by the chambermaid, resting on its cover:"Sir, you must never do that to a book."

Questioned about the similarities, Schott, who has recently been contributing freelance work to The Times, said that he had never read Fadiman's essay before it was brought to his attention, also by a reader of the Book Review, and suggested that the thematic resemblances were a coincidental result of the narrowness of the topic. He maintains that the encounter with the Italian chambermaid took place as he described it, in 1989, when he was 15.

Had editors been aware of Fadiman's essay, the Book Review would not have published Schott's.

'NY Times' Regrets Publishing Book Essay

Laura Lippman

Every writer wants to think that they've improved with each book, yet we all know that so many don't. I've been reading Lippman for a number of years and while I liked her early books, I didn't drop everything to read them. When she branched out away from her series, I found a new Lippman - one that I wanted to drop everything for and read.

It wasn't that I didn't like her Tess Monaghan series, because I did, but the fact is that each book was getting better than the one that preceded it. And that included her series, and the most recent Monaghan book, No Good Deeds, (just out in paperback) was excellent.

Her latest book is a thriller that has been earning accolades everywhere, from the Washington Post to a starred review from Publisher's Weekly. The latest achievement of this author who has won numerous awards from the Edgar to the Shamus and many others? I am happy to report that What the Dead Know will debut on the New York Times Bestseller List tomorrow in a starred 11th spot, which means it's tied with the 10th place book by Mitch Albom. Congratulations, Laura. I am so thrilled for you! Read all about Laura's reaction here:

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

162 Writers From 45 Countries Gather in New York City April 24-29

New York City (March 21, 2007)-

PEN American Center today announced the theme-"Home and Away"-and program for its third annual PEN World Voices: The New York Festival of International Literature, which will draw together 162 writers and cultural critics from 45 countries for 67 panels, lectures, tributes, readings, one-on-one conversations, and musical performances. America's only festival of international authors, World Voices will occur April 24-29 in various locations around New York City, including festival venues such as the Bowery Ballroom and the Morgan Library. Israeli writer David Grossman will deliver the Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture on the Festival's closing night, and other participants include Salman Rushdie, Nobel Laureate Nadine Gordimer, Dave Eggers, Patricia Melo, Starbucks selection author Ishmeal Beah, novelist and screenwriter (Babel) Guillermo Arriaga, Booker Prize-winner Kiran Desai, Neil Gaiman, Yasmina Khadra, Saadi Youssef, Pulitzer Prize-winner Marilynne Robinson, Ma Jian, Tatyana Tolstaya, Sam Shepard, and writer/musician and downtown artist Patti Smith.

The Festival's theme of "Home and Away" explores the insights literature and writers bring to bear on critical topics in today's world: local versus larger attachments in a globalizing world, the conflicting claims of tribe, religion and nation, and the ultimate issue of planetary survival. "In the United States the charged question of who can call America home has ignited a national debate on immigration," said newly appointed Festival Director Caro Llewellyn, who comes to PEN from the acclaimed Sydney Writers' Festival. "We wanted to open up the discussion to include broader questions about what makes a home, and how we define ourselves in relation to it. The Festival affirms PEN's conviction that writers have an essential contribution to make to the resolution of such issues and that our national conversation can and must be enriched by a more diverse and international range of voices."

Taking "home" in its broadest possible sense, the Festival opens with a major event at Cooper Union's Great Hall bringing the writer's distinctive focus to the crisis facing the planet itself. Destruction of the Earth's natural systems touches each of us across boundaries of nationality, economics, religion, ethnicity, and language. On the evening of Tuesday, April 24, Homero Aridjis, Billy Collins, Jonathan Franzen, Moses Isegawa, Pico Iyer, Laura Restrepo, Marilynne Robinson, Roxana Robinson, Salman Rushdie, and Colson Whitehead will each read impassioned and illuminating pieces on the subject of the natural world.

Programs around the city will consider the theme of "Home and Away" from a variety of perspectives. The Festival also features several large-scale ensemble events, comprising writers from a number of nations and backgrounds. Among this year's highlights:

" "Town Hall Readings: Writing Home," where Don DeLillo, Nobel Prize-winner Nadine Gordimer, Steve Martin, and Salman Rushdie join other U.S. and international voices to explore the idea of home (Wednesday, April 25)

" "An Evening with The Moth," where one of the city's hippest literary series takes on the festival theme through storytelling by authors such as Neil Gaiman and Pico Iyer, with humorist John Hodgman as the M.C. (Thursday, April 26)

" "A Believer Nighttime Event," featuring a performance by Miranda July and a "Writer Speed Date Session" with four World Voices authors (Saturday, April 28)

" "The PEN Cabaret," bringing together musician and poet Patti Smith, playwright Sam Shepard, poet Saul Williams and other special guests at the Bowery Ballroom (Saturday, April 28)

Numerous one-on-one conversations throughout the Festival week will pair authors in intimate discussion of their craft. Among these programs are Neil Gaiman with Ivory Coast graphic novelist Marguerite Abouet, Norway's award-winning writer Per Petterson and Pulitzer Prize winner Marilynne Robinson, Babel screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga and Paul Auster, Dave Eggers and the subject of his new novel, Valentino Achak Deng, Kiran Desai and Vikram Chandra, and Tatyana Tolstaya and David Remnick. Events on Sunday, April 29, at the New York Public Library include a tribute to the late Polish writer and journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski, a panel about sex and eroticism in today's literature, and an event examining the temptations and responsibilities of travel writing featuring British author/philosopher Alain de Botton.

Among other Festival programs taking place: a series of events for young people, featuring writers with unexpected takes on childhood themes and experiences, such as Ishmael Beah, Neil Gaiman, Uzodinma Iweala, and Markus Zusak; programs on prison writing, including an evening hosted by director and producer Sydney Pollack (Thursday, April 26); a panel examining the cultural forces that have shifted the focus of Latin American writing from Magic to "Gritty Realism" (Friday, April 27); a discussion moderated by Alice Sebold about the rise of Mediterranean noir (Friday, April 27); and several events about what's lost and gained in the translation from literature to both drama and film (and vice versa).

The Festival's closing event on Sunday, April 29-the second annual Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture (last year's speaker was Nobel Prize-winner Orhan Pamuk)-will feature Israeli writer David Grossman. The author of over a dozen widely translated works of fiction, non-fiction, and children's literature and winner of numerous international awards, Grossman has been an active supporter of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and critic of Israeli settlements on the West Bank. Shortly after he joined public calls for a cease-fire in the recent Lebanese war, Grossman's son was killed while serving in the Israeli Defense Forces. Following the lecture, there will be an on-stage conversation between Grossman and Nobel Prize-winning South African author Nadine Gordimer.

"We asked David Grossman to deliver this year's lecture because he exemplifies Arthur Miller's belief in the unique power of literature to enable the moral imagination," said Festival Chair Salman Rushdie. "Both in his work-and by his personal example-he has insisted upon the responsibility of the writer to assist his community in reaching for a broad, humane and compassionate conception of citizenship. We are honored that Mr. Grossman will share his insights with us this year."

Beginning March 26, the full program for the PEN World Voices Festival, including author participants, event location, ticketing information, and corporate sponsors, can be found at

Founded in 1921, PEN is the world's oldest literary and the oldest ongoing human rights organization. Its mission remains the advancement of literature, the defense of free expression, and the promotion of international literary fellowship. PEN American Center was founded in 1922 and is the largest and most active of the 141 chapters constituting International PEN. Its 3,100 distinguished members carry on the achievements in literature and the advancement of human rights of such past members as W. H. Auden, James Baldwin, Willa Cather, Robert Frost, Allen Ginsberg, Langston Hughes, Thomas Mann, Arthur Miller, Marianne Moore, Eugene O'Neill, Susan Sontag, and John Steinbeck. To learn more about the PEN American Center, please visit:

2007 James Beard Foundation Awards
Nominees Announced

Culinary World's Most Prestigious Awards Honor the Art of American Food and 'Rising Star Chefs' at 20th Anniversary Celebration

NEW YORK, March 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The James Beard Foundation has announced nominees and special honorees for the 2007 James Beard Foundation Awards, the nation's top honors for culinary professionals. This year, there are a total of 62 Award categories for restaurants, chefs, broadcasting, print journalism, books, and restaurant design.

Highlights of the announcements, held at a reception at the historic James Beard House in Greenwich Village, included: Barbara Kafka, Lifetime Achievement Award; Art Smith, Humanitarian Award; and Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen; Cookbook Hall of Fame.

NOMINEES 2007 James Beard Foundation Book Awards
For cookbooks published in 2006
Winners will be announced May 7, 2007

Category: Asian Cooking

Cradle of Flavor
Author: James Oseland Publisher: W.W. Norton; Editor: Maria Guarnaschelli Price: $35.00

Into the Vietnamese Kitchen: Treasured Foodways, Modern Flavors
Author: Andrea Nguyen Publisher: Ten Speed Press Editor: Aaron Wehner Price: $35.00

The Sushi Experience
Author: Hiroko Shimbo Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Editor: Judith Jones Price: $40.00

Category: Baking and Dessert

Baking: From My Home to Yours
Author: Dorie Greenspan Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company Editor: Rux Martin Price: $40.00

Heirloom Baking with the Brass Sisters
Authors: Marilynn Brass and Sheila Brass Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers Editors: Judy Pray Price: $29.95

King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking
Authors: The Bakers at King Arthur Flour Publisher: The Countryman Press Editors: Kermit Hummel Price: $35.00

Category: Cooking from a Professional Point of View

Alain Ducasse’s Desserts and Pastries
Author: Frederic Robert Publisher: Les Editions D’Alain Ducasse Editor: Stephanie Ruyer Price: $195.00

Happy in the Kitchen
Authors: Michel Richard with Susie Heller and Peter Kaminsky Publisher: Artisan
Editor: Ann Bramson Price: $45.00

The Professional Chef, 8th Edition
Author: The Culinary Institute of America Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Editors: Pam Chirls Price: $70.00

Category: Entertaining

The Big Book of Appetizers
Authors: Meredith Deeds and Carla Snyder Publisher: Chronicle Books Editor: Bill LeBlond
Price: $19.95

The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining
Author: Cheryl Alters Jamison Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Editor: Harriet Bell Price: $24.95

Opera Lover’s Cookbook
Author: Francine Segan Publisher: Stewart, Tabori & Chang Editor: Leslie Stoker
Price: $35.00

Category: Food of the Americas

Dishes from the Wild Horse Desert: Norteño Cooking of South Texas
Author: Melissa Guerra Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Editor: Anne Ficklen
Price: $29.95

The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook
Authors: Matt Lee and Ted Lee Publisher: W.W. Norton Editor: Maria Guarnaschelli
Price: $35.00

Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table
Author: Kathy Casey Publisher: Chronicle Books Editor: Bill LeBlond Price: $35.00

Category: General

The Family Kitchen
Author: Debra Ponzek Publisher: Clarkson Potter Editor: Rica Allannic Price: $25.00

The Improvisational Cookbook
Author: Sally Schneider Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Editor: Harriett Bell Price: $34.95

Tasty: Get Great Food on the Table Everyday
Author: Roy Finamore Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company Editor: Rux Martin
Price: $30.00

Category: Healthy Focus

The Diabetes Menu Cookbook: Delicious Special-Occasion Recipes for Family and Friends
Authors: Barbara Scott-Goodman and Kalia Doner Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Editor: Justin Schwartz Price: $29.95

EatingWell Serves Two
Author: Jim Romanoff Publisher: The Countryman Press Editor: Kermit Hummel Price: $24.95

Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way
Author: Lorna Sass Publisher: Clarkson Potter Editor: Rica Allannic Price: $44.00

Category: International

Author: Claudia Roden Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Editor: Judith Jones Price: $35.00

The Soul of a New Cuisine
Author: Marcus Samuelsson Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Editor: Pam Chirls
Price: $40.00

Author: Ana Sortun Publisher: Regan Books/HarperCollins Publishers Editor: Cassie Jones Price: $34.95

Category: Reference

Culinary Biographies: A Dictionary of the World’s Great Historic Chefs, Cookbook Authors and Collectors, Farmers, Gourmets, Home Economists, Nutritionists, Restaurateurs, Philosophers, Physicians, Scientists, Writers, and Others Who Influenced the Way We Eat Today
Editor: Alice Arndt Publisher: Yes Press, Inc. Price: $48

The Organic Cook’s Bible
Author: Jeff Cox Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Editor: Linda Ingroia Price: $40.00

What to Eat
Author: Marion Nestle Publisher: North Point/Farras, Straus and Giroux Editor: Paul Elie Price: $30.00

Category: Single Subject

Author: Daniel Boulud Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Editor: Emily Takoudes Price: $32.50

The Essence of Chocolate
Authors: John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg Publisher: Hyperion Books Editor: Leslie Wells Price: 35.00

Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen
Author: Deborah Madison Publisher: Broadway Books Editor: Jennifer Josephy Price: $19.95

Category: Wine and Spirits

Keys to the Cellar: Strategies and Secrets of Wine Collecting
Author: Peter D. Meltzer Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Editor: Linda Ingroia
Price: $29.95

Romancing the Vine
Author: Alan Tardi Publisher: St. Martin’s Press Editor: Elizabeth Beier
Price: $25.95

The Wines of France: The Essential Guide for Savvy Shoppers
Author: Jacqueline Friedrich Publisher: Ten Speed Press Editor: Meghan Keefe
Price: $19.95

Category: Writing on Food

Author: Bill Buford Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Editor: Sonny Mehta
Price: $25.95

The Omnivore’s Dilemma
Author: Michael Pollan Publisher: The Penguin Press Editor: Ann Godoff Price: $26.95

The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation
Author: David Kamp Publisher: Broadway Books Editor: Charlie Conrad Price: $26.00

Category: Photography

Kaiseki: The Exquisite Cuisine of Kyoto’s Kikanoi Restaurant
Photographer: Masashi Kuma Publisher: Kodansha International Editor: Greg Starr
Price: $45.00

Michael Mina
Photographer: Karl Petzke Publisher: Bulfinch Press/ Little, Brown and Company
Editor: Michael Sand Price: $50.00

Photographer: France Ruffenach Publisher: Chronicle Books Editor: Bill LeBlond
Price: $35.00


Monday, March 19, 2007

Thriller Awards, Part 2

I received an email from author Rob Walker regarding the Thriller Award nominations. He expressed some comments and questions that I think others might have as well, so with his permission, I'm posting our exchange.

>>> --- Rob Walker wrote:---
Not to be totally cynical but after the Mystery Writers of America named Stephen King their guy this year for lifetime achievement, now the ThrillerFest authorities decide James Patterson is due a lifetime award for the Thriller...None of these organizations are playing tiddly-winks with name recognition now are they? Tell me, do you think the awards have to go to American authors who've consistently hit the bestseller list? Is it possible that this is a great way to get publicity for the MWA and the ITW? Does it have to do with output--number of books published? Or number of books sold? Or is there a scarcity of truly good authors known to the typical man on the street--not a household name, so we pass on sayFrederick Forsythe for a James Patterson? Just curious.

Rob Walker>>>

My response:

First of all, I think Stephen King is one of the greatest American writers, a master storyteller and while I wouldn't classify the majority of his books as mysteries, there are enough for him to qualify. Does that help MWA get more publicity? You betcha. Is there something wrong with that? Nope. Does King not only write amazing stories but also support new authors? Yep. All in all, I totally support the MWA's choice.

As for the ITW, their ThrillerMaster award states it goes to an author who has a body of work spanning at least two decades, and while I wouldn't swear to it,I'm pretty sure the author has to be a member of the organization, which leaves out a lot of people, including Forsyth.

Furthermore, for years and years there has been a stigma attached to genre writers, and thriller writers have been one rung below even that, a subgenre, if you will, that many authors don't want to be associated with - of course, a lot of that feeling has changed since Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code stayed on that bestseller list for more than two years.

So, is Patterson a great thriller writer? Well, that depends on your perspective. He may not be what I would consider a great writer (have you read Patrick Anderson's book, [The Triumph of the Thriller: HowCops, Crooks, and Cannibals Captured PopularFiction]? In my opinion, he condenses everything that's wrong with Patterson's writing into a short paragraph, it's brilliant.) But, that said, you can't argue with the millions of people who love his books, line up to buy his books every THREE months, and yes, have kept him on the bestseller list for a long time now.

Personally, I've enjoyed several of Patterson's books but I accept them for what they are - he's a good storyteller, no one can pace a book better or faster than he can with those ridiculous two page chapters, and enough character development, especially over the course of a series, to make the reader care. Does he support lesser known authors? Hell yes, they are writing his damn books for him and their names are front and center. And are you familiar with his PageTurner Awards? The man gives back.

Finally, Patterson has done more for the thriller genre than just about any other author except maybe Dan Brown - the bestseller lists are peppered with thrillers in large part because of Patterson. So all in all, I cannot argue with this choice for Thriller Master. And yes, I do think that these type awards do need to go to authors that consistently hit the bestseller list. Despite what you may think, popularity does count, especially in a lifetime achievement award. You don't get a career that spans a lifetime if you're not popular, it's that simple. If no one is reading your books except a small, diehard fan base, then no, you don't deserve this award.

I think Forsyth would be an excellent choice for this award and who knows, maybe someday he'll decide he is a thriller writer and join the organization. Or maybe they will offer him the award and then he'll join. There are a lot of very fine writers writing thrillers and this is only the second year of this organization and its awards, so I don't think it is fair to jump all over their choice when they pick someone who is obviously one of the most popular and most successful writers in that genre. In fact, to dismiss him because a lot of people don't like his writing would be doing a disservice to the genre and its fans. Yes, there will be more publicity for ITW because of their choice, but what on earth is wrong with a new organization getting some publicity?

I thank you for bringing these questions to me. I think a lot of people may be wondering about the same things you are.

Follow up from Rob Walker:

>>>Thanks for your thoughtful response and you covered all the bases well. I frankly in the end just would like to see an award for Excellence in writing, not Popularity in reading, I suppose.

Still, in my world, writing is an art not a souffle. When editors in New York are dictating to authors to write snippets instead of scenes and chapters, or to write a DaVinci Code type book, this bugs an artist. Most real artists rebel against the mainstream while still trying to be commercial and to get fed.>>>

My response:

I know that writing is an art, and most artists need to write to their muse, not to their editors. But the excellence in writing awards are out there, isn't that what the Best Novel, Best First Novel, and Best Paperback Original categories are for?

I was referring to the lifetime achievement type awards that, in my mind, require popularity as one of the components to that type of award. And it doesn't eschew excellence in writing either, it's just a completely subjective thing to judge.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Amid a grand celebration during the West Coast debut gala, BRUNCH ANDBULLETS, the illustrious co-presidents of ITW, Gayle Lynds and DavidMorrell, announced the nominees for this year's “Thriller” awards. They alsoofficially proclaimed the recipient for the 2007 ThrillerMaster Award (anaward honoring an illustrious body of work spanning two decades or more) tonone other than a true master of suspense, James Patterson.


False Impression, Jeffrey Archer (St. Martin's Press)
Killer Instinct,Joseph Finder (St. Martin's Press)
Cold Kill, Stephen Leather (Hodder &Stoughton)
The Messenger, Daniel Silva (Putnam)
Beautiful Lies, Lisa Unger(Shaye Areheart Books/Bantam)


Shadow of Death, Patricia Gussin (Oceanview Publishing)
Switchback, MatthewKlein (Orion)
A Thousand Suns, Alex Scarrow (Orion)
18 Seconds, George D. Shuman (Simon & Schuster)
Mr. Clarinet, Nick Stone(Michael Joseph Ltd/Penguin)


Skeleton Coast, Clive Cussler with Jack DuBrul (Berkley Trade)
The Deep BlueAlibi, Paul Levine (Bantam)
An Unquiet Grave, P.J. Parrish (Pinnacle)
Headstone City, Tom Piccirilli (Spectra Books/Crown)
Mortal Faults, MichaelPrescott (Onyx Books)


Inside Man: Russell Gewirtz
The Departed: William Monahan
The Good Shepherd: Eric Roth
Children of Men: Alfonse Cuarón, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergusand Hawk Ostby
Casino Royale: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Paul Haggis

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