Archive for General

A Rock Reunion Reminds Me of a Great Introduction

At the Guns ‘n Roses performance last night, I was reminded of Mick Wall’s stellar book W.A.R.: The Unauthorized Biography of William Axl Rose. In this 2008 release, the veteran British rock journalist delivers one of the best introductions to any book I have ever read. After returning home at 3am last night, I pulled the book off the shelf, read the intro, and yep, goosebumps.

Well worth checking out.

Remember When Cleveland Hated Lebron?

Fresh off the Hollywood-perfect ending of bringing a championship to the long-suffering fans of Cleveland, the praise for Lebron James will certainly hit new levels of genuflection. Without a doubt, it’s a great story.

But if you’re looking for a great sports book to read, don’t overlook the time when James was reviled for the way he originally departed his home region. And look no further than Scott Raab’s The Whore of Akron: One Man’s Search for the Soul of Lebron James. Published in 2011, the book explores Cleveland culture and the author’s own quirky life, in addition to documenting the activities of King James. Funny and insightful and chock full of other celebrities (due to Raab’s longtime work for Esquire), The Whore of Akron is a fun read, regardless of the current thinking about Lebron James.

Funny, and Harsh, Review of the Zuckerberg Book


Sam Grobart has an amusing, and pretty harsh, review of Randi Zuckerberg’s new childrens book, Dot. over at BloombergBusinessweek.

I’d be curious to see the artwork of the book given that Grobart points out the sum entirety of the opus is a whopping 101 words.


The Dangers of Ghostwriting


Over at Salon, Anna Davies offers her experiences with ghostwriting and shares “My dirty secret writing life.” It’s an interesting look into the world of book packagers and those folks who churn out amazingly popular titles.

Now, as one of the commentors suggests, in some ways, ghostwriters are no different than the ranks of studio musicians who perform on record after record. That’s a profession I’ve always admired. While unique, distinctive musicians are certainly appreciated and applauded, I think it also takes a very unique and talented person to play on a jazz record in the morning and then rock out a metal tune in the afternoon and then maybe do an acoustic gig at a coffeeshop in the evening.

Certainly, I enjoyed my own time as a ghostwriter and co-author and would do it again. So I don’t look back and feel as though I’ve lost my soul or anything, as Davies states happened to her.

Nonetheless, the challenges and trials she relates in the article do have some merit. Ghostwriting isn’t for everybody. And for folks who think it’s all fun and glamor, then Davies’ piece is a useful word of warning.

Will Finishing a Book Change Your Life?


GalleyCat referenced an interesting post by Arthur McMahon in which he expresses a bit of amazement at the fact that “Completing a novel didn’t change my perception of life like I expected it to.”

Some commenters at GalleyCat claimed they didn’t expect completing a novel would have any change, they write for themselves, not riches or fans or feedback, and all that.

But I totally understand what McMahon is getting at.

In his full post, available here, he writes that it’s a long-haul proposition. The completion of the first book is but a step towards the next one. And so forth.

It’s worth checking out and then examining your own opinions… Do you think that completing a book will change your life?

A Laugh at Lousy Book Covers

A reader passed along this Tumblr account, dedicated to Lousy Book Covers. Now, obviously, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that, so yeah, maybe this one shouldn’t be included or that one isn’t that bad or whatever. But it’s at least a pretty humorous gaze through the results of ten minutes with Photoshop.

Also, while enjoying this one, I stumbled across a blog dedicated to Bad Book Covers.

Like record covers, some of these are so bad as to be almost cool.

Get Off My Damn Lawn! Says the Internet

As many of you know, November is National Novel Writing Month. To help folks blast through their 50,000 words in 30 days, GalleyCat has been providing writing prompts, tips, and words of encouragement. Most notable is this roundup where they collected two years worth of tips into a single post.

This week, they referred to some words of wisdom from Carolyn Kellogg. It’s a simple admonition, easy to implement, and cheap. And something that all of us writers need to remember from time to time, even if we’re not trying to churn out a novel this month.

Simply go offline.

That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. Here’s Kellogg’s entire post.

British Author Follows the Money

British writer Steve Boggan tracked a $10 bill as it made its way across America. Along the way, he met a variety of people including farmers, bankers, truck drivers, and other folks. In this excerpt Boggan sums up his 3,500 mile journey.

Maybe I’m too much of a homer, but I cringed slightly when I first read the headline, waiting for the inevitable Borat-inspired jokes about American obesity, selfishness, and inbreeding. That easy and obvious kind of material seems too much for many foreign writers to avoid.

But Boggan recalls a warm and friendly welcome from our specific colony:

“So, while I could imagine being laughed at or even beaten up in London or Newcastle trying to follow a banknote, in America I encountered people who treated my crazy mission as if it were their own. Often, I was exhausted and hungry – and they treated me with kindness and respect.”

Follow the Money: A Month in the Life of a Ten-Dollar Bill seems like an interesting book and worth adding to the to-be-read pile.

Are You a Results Person? Or a Journey Person?

As I’ve been stuck in book finalization mode and promotion mode over the spring and early summer, I got behind in my blog reading. As I’ve been catching up on some of my favorite blogs, a particular post caught my attention. These are both kinda old, maybe you hadn’t seen it before, just as I hadn’t.

Agent and author Betsy Lerner tackled the thorny issue of motivation for results or motivation for “the journey.”. Read through the comments to get a wide range of thoughts on this issue.

Personally, I’m about 60 – 40 (which, I think another commenter also said) in favor of results. I’m simply not zen enough to get fully immersed in a journey that yields nothing, with no hope of yielding nothing. I’d like to say that I would keep going to the gym and putting in two hours on a spinning cycle even if I never lost a single ounce of weight, but I just don’t believe that’s true. Not for me, anyway. I tend to fluctuate by the day (or even by the hour) in terms of sometimes I can get fully and wholly lost in an endeavor with absolutely not expectation for any result. But other times, I gotta be seeing the scale declining or the pages accumulating or the flowers blooming or whatever.

Countdown to Calipari Book?

One of my favorite pastimes is guessing which celebrities and public figures are going to be next in the publishing queue. Maybe some day, I can get Vegas to start setting odds on my little parlor gam.

So this morning, I’m wondering how long it will be for University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari to sign a book deal.

Coach Cal published Bounce Back: Overcoming Setbacks to Succeed in Business and in Life in 2010. Ever since the success of Pat Riley and Rick Pitino tomes in the eighties, basketball coaches (seemingly more so than other athletic leaders) churn out business related books whenever they’re in the news.

Calipari’s ability to quickly merge superstar egos into one year units would seem to be particularly interesting to CEOs and the white collar set. Coming off last night’s national championship victory for the Wildcats, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Calipari’s name in the book deal news soon.