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The agency blog and twitter feed offer client-related news and other items sharing the range of our interests.

Wed, 16 Sep 2015 12:46:00 +0000

Bestselling historian Rick Shenkman's next book, POLITICAL ANIMALS: How Our Stone Age Brain Gets in the Way of Smart Politics will be published by Lara Heimert at Basic on January 5th, 2016, and is already garnering some terrific advance praise. To wit:

“In Political Animals, historian Rick Shenkman makes excellent use of the latest research in behavioral sciences to indicate why we Americans so often fail politically. And in highly readable prose he also provides wise advice on how we can do better.”
—Walter G. Moss, Professor Emeritus of History, Eastern Michigan University and author of An Age of Progress? Clashing Twentieth-Century Global Forces

“Political Animals takes readers on an insightful tour of political irrationality over the course of American history, bringing embarrassing political misjudgments into the light of fascinating findings from behavioral economics, evolutionary psychology, and the life sciences. In doing so, Shenkman shows us how we can sharpen our political perceptions and improve, each in our own small way, the future of our democracy.”
—Avi Tuschman, author of Our Political Nature: The Evolutionary Origins of What Divides Us

“A fascinating, well-told account of how our nature both prepares and ill-prepares us for politics in the modern age.”
—George E. Marcus, Professor of Political Science, Williams College

“Politics in America has this Alice in Wonderland quality: what makes sense often doesn't happen, and what happens often doesn't make sense. Drawing on science, history, psychology, mounds of evidence and political insight, Rick Shenkman’s masterful book shows us why. What Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point does for society, Political Animals does for politics.”
—Leonard Steinhorn, Professor of Communication and Affiliate Professor of History, American University

“The most predictable thing about politics is that it’s often unpredictable. In his fascinating and illuminating new book, Rick Shenkman discovers the problem isn’t with our fancy statistical models or forecasts, it’s with our brains. When it comes to politics, humans sometimes do things that just don’t make sense.”
—Taegan Goddard, Founder and Publisher of Political Wire

“Every era has its false prophets; today’s are the neuroscientists and evolutionary psychologists who claim that all we need to know about human behavior lies in our hard wiring. In Political Animals, Rick Shenkman explodes their just-so stories, showing that the best way to understand politics is not through instincts but though history, with all its richness and complexity.”
—David Greenberg, author of Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency

“For generations political scientists have argued over whether voters address political issues rationally. Rick Shenkman vigorously asserts that for the most part they make decisions that more closely resemble the instinctual behavior of animals and early prehistoric man. He further argues that our institutions encourage such choices. Clearly written and accessible to ordinary readers, this book is an important contribution to an ongoing debate.”
—Alonzo L. Hamby, author of Man of Destiny: FDR and the Making of the American Century



Mon, 17 Mar 2014 14:22:00 +0000

KEEPERS by Kathy Brennan & Caroline Campion Wins General Cookbook IACP Award





The International Association of Culinary Professionals held its annual awards on Saturday night, honoring the best in food writing, photography, design, and journalism over the last year.  We are very happy to congratulate clients James Beard and Bert Greene Award Winner Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion, whose KEEPERS: Two Home Cooks Share Their Tried-and-True Weeknight Recipes and the Secrets to Happiness in the Kitchen was published in August by Rodale, won the 2014 IACP best General cookbook of the year award, beating out the likes of Alice Waters and Mollie Katzen.

Caroline Campion and Kathy Brennan

No wonder, considering the fabulous praise the book has received since before and after publication in August:
It may be the best-value weeknight cookbook around
—The Boston Globe
Kathy and Caroline reveal the answer to the often daunting question of "what’s for dinner tonight?" I encourage everyone—whether a novice or seasoned cook—to explore their kaleidoscopic collection of casual recipes that are sure to satisfy any group of friends or hungry family.
—Daniel Boulud 
Leave it to these two smart working mothers to create such a charming, practical cookbook for the home cook. Keepers is filled with delicious recipes (and plenty of good advice) that every home cook will be glad to add to their own collection of "keepers". Keepers is a keeper!
—Christopher & Melissa, The Canal House 
Any book with an entire section devoted to toast for dinner has my immediate respect. Kathy and Caroline have assembled a weeknight arsenal for home cooks that's inspiring, relatable and infused with a deep understanding of the realities of family life. Keepers epitomizes the way I strive to cook every night.
—Merrill Stubbs, co-founder of Food52 
Keepers is one of the smartest cookbooks to come out in recent years. From techniques learned at the International Culinary Center to daily conversations about “what’s for dinner” at Saveur, these two have put together the modern day go-to cookbook. Brennan and Campion hit the nail on the head, speaking in an honest and helpful way while guiding readers through realistic expectations of weeknight planning and cooking. Anyone from those just starting to cook for themselves to newlyweds trying to find their culinary voice to mothers in a food rut will find Keepers a real keeper.
—Dorothy Cann Hamilton, Founder & CEO, The International Culinary Center 
Skillet Lasagna? Cucumber and Watermelon Salad? Yes, please. Find them in this collection of time-honored, proven dishes (from two former editors of Saveur magazine) that will become your own family classics.
—Real Simple 
Do you need another book claiming to offer quick weeknight dinners? Well, you need this one. Keepers is highly focused — it's dinner and dinner only, and not one of its recipes will set you back more than 45 minutes. At the same time, these two former Saveur editors make no compromises on taste or quality. Even their shortcuts — a pack of frozen vegetables, store-bought puff pastry — are in the service of deliciousness (in this case, a fast chicken pot pie).
—NPR Guide to Great Reads of 2013 
Don't think I can face another year of boring old green beans, so I've been flipping through Brennan and Campion's great new not-too-fussy Keepers for out-of-the-box options. Tomato and Zucchini Gratin looks yummy, or – ooh! – Roasted Acorn Squash with Jalapeño-Lime Butter ... I might just have to try both.
—People.com 
The best cookbook you've read all year.
—Joanna Goddard, Cup of Jo 
Kathy and Caroline have filled Keepers with practical advice on everything from meal planning (when was the last time a cookbook reminded you to breathe?) to shopping with kids (don’t worry, it’s awful for them, too). They even give suggestions for families at different stages or with kids of different ages. But my favorite section is ‘Lifesavers,’ which is filled with versatile sauces–aka flavor bombs–that can be made ahead, kept in the fridge for up to a week, and make almost anything taste better. Genius.
—Cool Mom Picks 
Along with pantry-stocking tips, weekly meal-planning guides, and essential tool checklists, they share recipes, which are, with no surprise because of the title of the book, keepers. These recipes are trusted family and personal recipes, infused with years of experience working in the culinary industry — and later the motherhood industry, too. They’re not just delicious, but they’re also tested and proved to be easy and indispensable dishes for you to add to your recipe box, making them perfect for a weeknight meal.
—The Daily Meal
KEEPERS joins THE BALTHAZAR COOKBOOK on the agency list as a winner.  Published by Clarkson Potter in 2003, the book of magnificent classes brasserie recipes from Keith McNally, Riad Nasr, and Lee Hanson's celebrated restaurant won three awards in 2004: the IACP Award Winner for Design Award; the IACP Award Nominee for First Book: Julia Child Award; and the James Beard Award Nominee for Cooking from a Professional Point of View.

Fri, 03 May 2013 14:48:00 +0000

STRANGE STONES by Peter Hessler Selected as One of Amazon's Best Nonfiction Titles of the Month

Amazon has joined the cohort of those championing Peter Hessler's collection of expanded pieces, STRANGE STONES: Dispatches from East and West (Harper), most of which originally appeared in The New Yorker, selecting it as one of their Best Nonfiction titles of the month.

Publishers' Weekly, characterizing the book as "elegant and thoughtful," also featured it as one of the "Most Eagerly Books of Spring 2013." Kirkus gave it a stellar review, saying: "Riveting... A rich, vibrant collection that pries wide open the door to the East, welcoming Western readers inside."


Steve Weinberg, Professor Emeritus at the Missouri School of Journalism, wrote the first review not oriented toward the trade for the Kansas City Star, "In ‘Strange Stones,’ a former Missourian travels the world, eats a rat and writes elegant essays:"

Hessler’s three books set in China are hybrid masterpieces — part travel writing, part deep sociology, part journalism. Those books (“River Town,” “Oracle Bones” and “Country Driving”) constitute the most interesting, informative English-language accounting I have read about that nation. A bonus is Hessler’s skill at composition — he is a master of clear, compelling language. ...Peter Hessler’s fascination with the characters shines through every one of his magazine features. And the mostly foreign settings add to the fascination for less mobile readers.

Kelly Chung Dawson, writing for China Daily but based in New York, points up Peter's humor in her story "Storyteller Embraces Humor to Depict Life in China."  Earlier this month, Publishers Weekly's Louisa Ermelino asked: "Where is Peter Hessler?" The answer being: "Now, seven years later, Hessler has his own family. He’s married to journalist Leslie Chang with whom he has twin daughters, and he’s living in a very lovely part of Cairo." Ermelino previously wrote about Peter when his National Book Award Finalist ORACLE BONES was published in 2006, in her piece "Lost in Beijing: Peter Hessler."

ChinaFile is presenting "Peter Hessler: Strange Stones -- A Conversation and Book Signing" with Peter in discussion with Michael Meyer and Susan Jakes, editor of ChinaFile, at Asia Society New York on May 21st at 7pm.

Wed, 01 May 2013 20:07:00 +0000

Daniel Radcliffe will play Jake Adelstein in TOKYO VICE

Mike Fleming broke the news on Deadline this afternoon that Daniel Radcliffe will play Jake Adelstein in the film adaptation of TOKYO VICE:  An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan.

The text of the release is as follows:
Daniel Radcliffe is set to star in TOKYO VICE. Veteran music video and commercial director Anthony Mandler will direct, based on a script by acclaimed playwright JT Rogers. Le Grisbi Productions’ John Lesher and Adam Kassan are producing. The film is eyeing a start date of first quarter 2014. 

Radcliffe will play American reporter Jake Adelstein who, while working at the Yomiuri Shinbun newspaper in Tokyo, covered a beat that included murder, vice, and the yakuza. The film will be based on Adelstein’s memoir of the same name and focus on his encounters with yakuza boss Tadamasa Goto, also known as the “John Gotti of Japan". Adelstein investigated the notorious gangster at great personal cost and sacrifice, braving death threats, before finally exposing Goto.

Adelstein, who will be working with Rogers on the script, is still an investigative reporter. He currently writes for The Daily Beast and The Japan Times. His second book, THE LAST YAKUZA(editor Tim O’Connell), will be published in 2014. 

Radcliffe has had a busy schedule since starring in last year’s thriller THE WOMAN IN BLACK. He starred as Allen Ginsberg in this year’s Sundance hit KILL YOUR DARLINGS, which was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics. He also recently wrapped the horror film HORNS and the romantic comedy THE F WORD and he has just signed on to star in FRANKENSTEIN for 20th Century Fox and Davis Entertainment. This June, Radcliffe will return to the West End stage, starring in Martin McDonagh's acclaimed comedy THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN. 

Mandler has helmed videos for such artists as Rihanna, Jay-Z, The Killers, and Muse.
Rogers’ plays include BLOOD AND GIFTS (National Theatre, London; Lincoln Center Theater, New York City) and THE OVERWHELMING (National Theatre, London; Roundabout Theatre, New York City). He was nominated for the 2009 Olivier Award as one of the writers of GREAT GAME: AFGHANISTAN. 

Lesher produced last year’s END OF WATCH, starring Jake Gyllenhaal. He also produced BLOOD TIES, Guillaume Canet’s English language debut, starring Clive Owen, Marion Cotillard, Billy Crudup, Mila Kunis, and James Caan, which will premiere at Cannes. Lesher is currently in production on Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s BIRDMAN, starring Michael Keaton, Ed Norton, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, and Naomi Watts. He is in pre-production on BLACK MASS, to be directed by Barry Levinson and star Johnny Depp as Whitey Bulger, as well as David Ayer’s war film FURY, which will shoot in the fall and star Brad Pitt. 

Radcliffe is represented by UTA, UK agent Sue Latimer at ARG, and attorney Fred Toczek. Mandler is represented by UTA, Management 360, and attorney Michael Schenkman. Rogers is represented by WME and attorneys Marc Glick and Stephen Breimer. Jake Adelstein is repped by UTA and William Clark Associates.

You can learn more about Jake Adelstein in Peter Hessler's excellent profile, "All Due Respect: An American Reporter Takes on the Yakuza" in the January 9, 2012 issue of The New Yorker.

Jake's next book, THE LAST YAKUZA:  A Life in the Japanese Underground, a singular, in-depth, occasionally humorous, often dark, but inspiring tale about the life of former gang boss Tatsuya Mochizuki, aka "The Tsunami," his unlikely friendship with the author, and the history of Japan's ubiquitous mafia is being edited by the incomparable Tim O'Connell at Pantheon as this is being written, and will be released in Fall 2014.  Other English language publishers are James Gurbutt at Constable & Robinson in the UK, and Henry Rosenbloom at Scribe in Australia/New Zealand.

Fri, 26 Apr 2013 17:51:00 +0000

PARIS REBORN by Stephane Kirkland Hits First Bestseller List


We are very pleased that Stephane Kirkland's PARIS REBORN: Napoleon III, Baron Haussmann and the Quest to Build a Modern City (St. Martin's Press, just published, now in its second printing) is getting such terrific attention, and is debuting on the bestseller lists in The Denver Post. After an inaugural reading at BookCourt in Brooklyn on April 2nd, Stephane spoke with Yvette van Boven in a program entitled "Eat, Drink & Think Like Napoleon III" at the 92Y Tribeca on the 7th, read at the Tattered Cover in Denver on the 11th, and spoke with David Downie, author of PARIS TO THE PYRENEES:  A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of St. James (Pegasus Books) at McNally-Jackson Books in Soho on Tuesday.

Just prior to the London Book Fair, Jonathan Yardley reviewed the book in the Washington Post, saying:

[Kirkland] clearly knows Paris intimately, writes lucid and engaging prose, and is both spirited in his advocacy of Napoleon III and clear-eyed about how he was able to do what he did. … While it is an immense pleasure to accompany him as he leads us through the planning and building of the great boulevards, the construction of the Opera House and the reconstruction of the Louvre, it is also sobering to realize that in the process of gaining much, Paris lost much as well, in particular medieval neighborhoods that had profoundly influenced the city’s character.

Pre-publication reviews were equally good:

Kirkland is an able navigator of architectural history—vivid descriptions abound, and the evolution of the city’s infrastructure, public spaces, and other amenities is a testament to the oft overlooked reign of Napoleon III. Lovers of the City of Light and urban planners alike will find Kirkland’s survey illuminating.
—Publishers Weekly

Fascinating and highly readable, this is strongly recommended for Francophiles, travelers, and students of urban history and planning.
—Library Journal (starred review)

A solid retelling of an always-interesting tale of the first great urban-planning achievement.
—Kirkus Review

My French Life spoke with Stephane about his career, passions, and the book.

Fri, 19 Oct 2012 15:41:00 +0000

FREELOADING by Chris Ruen Released in the US


The original slacker's dream of free everything may have been realized by the Internet—but along with it came the slacker's nightmare of never getting paid for one's creativity. Freeloading seeks—and to a large extent succeeds—to wrestle with the collapse of the commons and the possibilities for a renewed social contract.  
Douglas Rushkoff, media theorist, author of Life, Inc. andProgram or Be Programmed

FREELOADING:  How Our Insatiable Hunger for Free Content Starves Creativity by Chris Ruen takes a critical, cool look at a near-pervasive phenomenon that involves almost everyone who taps a keyboard: beyond that, it's a reminder of the truism that for every action there are consequences. What happens when we pirate a favorite work of art—a song, book, or movie? And as importantly: what, if anything, can or should be done about it?  It has just been released by O/R Books in the US, and will be published by Scribe Publications in Australia and New Zealand in December, with other territories to follow.

Chris will be celebrating the release by reading the book in its entirety this Saturday at WORD in Greenpoint, Brooklyn from 10am - 4pm. At 7pm, there will be free beer from Brooklyn Brewery and wine from Dandelion, cheese from Eastern District. And after the drinking and eating and reading, there will be an afterparty at Lulu's one block away. Chris will be spinning records along with Greg Bennetts and Nicholas Cirillo. DJ sets start at 9:30.

On December 5th at 7PM, Chris and David Byrne will be discussing music and copyright in the final event of Byrne's speaking tour for his new book, HOW MUSIC WORKS.  The event will be equal billing with an emphasis on Chris' and David's books.  Paul Holdengraber will moderate a discussion between the two authors on the topic and there will be a 15 minute Q&A from the audience following the 45 minute discussion.

Mon, 06 Aug 2012 14:35:00 +0000

MARILYN: The Passion and the Paradox by Lois Banner is the Most Reviewed Book in the UK


MARILYN: The Passion and the Paradox by Lois Banner was published on July 17th by Bloomsbury USA and Bloomsbury UK simultaneously, and the agency learned this morning that no book has been reviewed more in the UK over the past week. The definitive biography was reviewed in The New York Times Book Review yesterday by Zoe Slutsky, who writes: “Banner presents a rich and often imaginative narrative of Marilyn’s life. By the end, Monroe feels at once like an earthly being – an almost-friend – and an enigma, still slightly out of focus and just beyond reach. That seems right.”

Lois spoke with Diane Rehm at length on Thursday, and you can listen to the interview here or read the transcript.

In a dual review in The Washington Post, Mindy Aloff writes about MARILYN: 
...this is the book to read if you want to try to understand what made Monroe tick. Where [Keith] Badman’s book took five years to produce, Banner’s took 10; and, although their background readings seem to overlap in places, Banner keeps asking questions and weighing evidence long after Badman has settled for his eureka revelations. Banner’s methodical approach and refusal to give Monroe praise when the actress doesn’t deserve it confer a kind of dignity on the subject that Badman’s book doesn’t.

In the Chronicle of Higher Education, Britt Peterson writes that Banner: "highlights Monroe's radical leftist leanings, her racial sensitivities, her interest in psychoanalysis, and other ways in which she prefigured various social and political movements of the 1960s. She doesn't gloss over the uglier aspects of Monroe's character, delving into her possible sex addiction, but works to present a full woman— exactly what Steinem purportedly set out to do nearly 30 years ago, with such half-baked and sentimental results. Banner's version is more complete, more sensitive, more entrenched in archival data than any before..."


In a starred, boxed review, Booklist says: 
By dint of exhaustive research and uniquely informed analysis, distinguished and trailblazing feminist historian Banner has written a profoundly redefining bombshell biography of artist and icon Marilyn Monroe. Banner is the first to bring a scholar’s perspective to bear on the influence of postwar misogyny and sexual hypocrisy on Monroe’s life and work as she painstakingly chronicles Monroe’s shunting from one foster home to another, her sexual abuse and subsequent stutter, evangelical upbringing, daring foray into modeling, and epic battle for Hollywood success. Intellectual rigor and insight shape Banner’s coverage of Monroe’s debilitating endometriosis, chronic insomnia, prescription-drug addiction, numerous sexual relationships, reliance on psychoanalysis, and three troubled marriages. Banner breaks new ground with her sensitive disclosure of the star’s toxic fear of the exposure of her sexual attraction to women, an utter disgrace for a reigning sex symbol in a harshly homophobic time. And her revelations about the role of the Kennedys and the FBI in Monroe’s death are appalling. On the upside, Banner celebrates Monroe’s perfectionism, generosity, humanist political views, trickster humor, covert brilliance, daunting “process of self-creation,” and immense cultural resonance. A passion for precision and truth fuels Banner’s electrifying portrait of an artist caught in a maze of paradoxes and betrayals. Here is Marilyn as we’ve never seen her before."

Other praise:

"Banner elegantly and skillfully chronicles Monroe’s short life…. [she] paints a portrait of Monroe as a complicated, many-faceted woman."—Publishers Weekly

“A dazzling portrait of a fragile but remarkably ambitious and determined personality, as spiritual as she was corporeal, as canny as she was careless.”—Carina Chocano, Elle

“Banner…probe[s] Monroe’s fraught relationship to her sexuality with an uncommonly insightful eye. But fans of Hollywood Babylon, take heart: Studious as she is, Banner also rakes the muck like a pedigreed newshound.”—Jan Stuart, More

“[A] richly researched biography…. The most titillating sections of this refreshingly frank book describe Monroe's years as a party girl…. The Monroe we meet in this sympathetic, feminist biography is a self-nurturing narcissus who blossomed in front of the camera. Monroe was cut down before she could germinate, but in these pages she comes alive.”—Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Thu, 26 Jul 2012 16:16:00 +0000

Vanity Fair's Elissa Schappell and John Waters are reading BUTTERFLY IN THE TYPEWRITER by Cory MacLauchlin

In Vanity Fair's July 25th Just My Type, Schappell writes: "...I’m escaping to a friend’s country estate with a companion, a book I must have been mad to miss this spring, Cory MacLauchlin’s A Butterfly in the Typewriter (Da Capo). ...Drawing on interviews with family and friends and a wealth of letters, MacLauchlin’s story of how O’Toole became Ignatius and how Confederacy of Dunces finally saw the light is heartbreaking."

John Waters mentioned reading the book in an interview.

Mon, 02 Jul 2012 18:15:00 +0000

Read Kaitlin Solimine's "The American Nurse" in the July Guernica

Read the excerpt that was selected by Colson Whitehead for a 2012 Dzanc Books/Disquiet International Literary Program award.

Wed, 27 Jun 2012 19:05:00 +0000

OPIUM FIEND: A 21st Century Slave to a 19th Century Addiction Published

Steven Martin's singular memoir (see advance praise) was published by Villard/Random House yesterday, and Austin's favorite bookstore since 1970, BookPeople, has posted a Q&A with Steven on their site.  Canada's weekly current affairs magazine Maclean's favorably reviewed the book on Friday, and io9 excerpted it yesterday, calling it "a kind of alternate history, where addictions of the past erupt into the present unexpectedly."

Atlanta's AM 1690 aired a terrific two-part conversation between David Lewis and the author yesterday.

Wed, 27 Jun 2012 13:19:00 +0000

Zak Pelaccio Talks Grilling with Bon Appetit

Zak's first book EAT WITH YOUR HANDS (Ecco) dropped in April to a firestorm of praise. Serious Eats said the book "is one of those perfect chef-written cookbooks that conveys not only the chef's dishes but also personality and Pelaccio is full of it. ...[It] is unique but also accessible, written in a tone that makes even the most exotic ingredient or unfamiliar technique seem doable, and fun even." The Wall Street Journal and Epicurious chimed in, and The Austin Chronicle said "The chef, food, and book are wildly irreverent, combining an emo ethos with sophisticated technique and innovative flavors to produce an iconoclastic genre of hipster food for the new millennium. ...With this groundbreaking volume, Pelaccio brings us free spirited, passionate food that takes a novel approach to the new American table."  Check out this video portrait from Handpicked Nation:

Mon, 18 Jun 2012 13:40:00 +0000

Steven Martin's OPIUM FIEND in The New Yorker's "Talk of the Town"


In the June 25th issue of The New Yorker, staff writer Nick Paumgarten speaks with Steven Martin, whose memoir OPIUM FIEND:  A 21st Century Slave to a 19th Century Addiction is being published by Susanna Porter at Random House next week, about how he came to be the global expert on opium-smoking paraphernalia.   For the larger story, you'll have to read the book.

Thu, 14 Jun 2012 13:34:00 +0000

DARKEST AMERICA by Yuval Taylor and Jake Austen Lauded by Both Publishers Weekly and Kirkus


It is a rare thing when both Publishers Weekly and Kirkus agree on a book, but that is the case for their reviews of DARKEST AMERICA:  Black Minstrelsy from Slavery to Hip-Hop by Yuval Taylor and Jake Austen, to be published by W.W. Norton & Company on August 27th.

Kirkus reviews the book thus:
A provocative, compelling exploration of one of the most controversial elements of the black entertainment world. Chicago Review Press senior editor Taylor and Roctober magazine editor Austen explore the long history not only of African-American involvement in minstrel performances, but also of black-derived comedy that utilizes elements from the minstrel act—exaggerated stereotypes of the black experience that hearken back to the minstrel shows of the 19th century. More precisely, the authors examine the debates over these myriad forms of entertainment and the accusations of minstrelsy that have often embroiled black entertainers and intellectuals in fevered debates over the nature and depiction of the black experience. Taylor and Austen deftly argue that African-Americans have taken on perceived minstrelsy in one of three ways. The first has been simply to embrace such forms of entertainment and comedy. The second has been to signify on them—i.e., to engage in self-aware parody and wry utilization of elements of minstrelsy to make a larger point. The third approach involves waging war on such stereotypes, which often leads to heated accusations and counterattacks. The authors take a kaleidoscopic look at their topic, emphasizing a diverse range of individuals and works, including blackface entertainer Bert Williams, writers Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright, Stanley Crouch’s attacks on Tupac Shakur as a “thug minstrel,” Spike Lee’s film Bamboozled, and comedian Dave Chappelle’s self-exile when he reached the conclusion that his own work had moved uncomfortably from comedy about stereotyping to enabling the very stereotypes he was combating. An innovative, marvelous book about comedy, stereotypes and the struggle to steer through the sometimes-fierce internal debates over African-American identity in a society still struggling with its racial past.
...and Publishers Weekly:
Taylor (coauthor of Faking It) and Austen (editor of Roctober magazine) provide a comprehensive and perceptive history and critique of black minstrelsy—a tradition that began in the 1840s, where black performers entertained black and white audiences by playing the grinning blackface buffoon, exaggerating the traits white people used to characterize black men. Minstrelsy emerged as the most popular form of entertainment (the ancestor of vaudeville and the variety show) until the turn of the 20th century, when the classic minstrel variety show gradually disappeared. Taylor and Austen argue that minstrelsy’s “Negro caricature” became woven into American culture, reappearing in the 21st century in hip-hop, rap, Mardi Gras Zulu floats in New Orleans, and inspiring the work of artists like Lil Wayne and Spike Lee. The book explores minstrelsy’s long period of popularity; artists such as Bert Williams and Master Juba; its audience’s reactions; and the ways its innovative performances have influenced American culture. According to the authors, black minstrel performers did not simply re-enact degrading stereotypes, but rather satirized those stereotypes to liberate themselves and their audiences. In his performances, Bert Williams expunged some of minstrelsy’s demeaning aspects to highlight its humanity and pathos, while Louis Armstrong and Ray Charles kept minstrelsy’s musical legacy alive through its songs. This well-informed work deepens our understanding of a lasting element of American culture.

Thu, 14 Jun 2012 13:27:00 +0000

ABDICATION by Juliet Nicolson on UK Bestseller List at #3

ABDICATION by Juliet Nicolson, represented by the agency in collaboration with Ed Victor of Ed Victor Ltd., debuted on the London bestseller list on publication day last week at #5, and has now climbed to #3. Ed and Bloomsbury threw an amazing party for Juliet in London on Tuesday, covered by Tatler.

The novel, published by Sarah Branham of Atria in the United States, received a starred Kirkus review:
This story never gets old: the besotted king, his cool American divorcée, the scheming politicians, and a compliant press keeping a nation in the dark. In this new version. Edward and Wallis are merely supporting players to the two main stars of the show: Evangeline Nettlefold, the maladroit schoolgirl chum of Wallis, and May Thomas, a clever and ambitious recent arrival from Barbados. These two cross paths when May is hired on as a chauffeur and aide to Sir Philip Blunt, a government minister, at the same time that Evangeline arrives in England at the invitation of Wallis and takes up residence in Sir Philip’s household. Famous literary and political figures dot the narrative, which plays out against a backdrop of the Fascist rise to power in Europe and the fringe fascination in England with Nazi sympathizer Oswald Mosley. VERDlCT Anyone requiring a post— Downton Abbey fix could do worse than this beguiling, Thirties-era, class-conscious soap opera, written by the granddaughter of Harold Nicolson and Vita Sackville-West. Enthusiastically recommended.
And others across the media spectrum:

Elegantly poignant ... Nicolson has an eye for prescient anecdotes.
Ruth Scurr, The Times on THE PERFECT SUMMER: Dancing Into Shadow in 1911

Sweeps across voices and classes to assemble a mosaic of sunlit impressions.
Boyd Tonkin,Independent

An accomplished and engaging piece of social history.
Daily Telegraph

This is a peach of a book. It is full of good things, elegant and often funny. A cleverly crafted story of the hot, frenetic summer of 1911 which works because of the sparkling writing. 
Jane Ridley, Literary Review

Abdication beautifully evokes the troubled thirties, with its high-stakes politics, easy money and social tensions. Juliet Nicolson is an outstanding historian who brings the full panoply of her talent and research to the task of recreating the abdication crisis and its effect on Britain. This is a wonderful novel.
Amanda Foreman

Anyone interested in the 1930's will revel in this richly detailed slant on the abdication crisis.
Daisy Goodwin

With her keen eye for historical detail and intimate knowledge of England's social mores, Juliet Nicolson weaves a juicy and evocative tale of lives caught in the midst of one of Britain's great modern dramas, the abdication of King Edward VIII.
Tina Brown

A vivid reimagining ... a thoroughly absorbing novel. Juliet Nicolson combines a historian's deep knowledge and eye for telling detail with a keen sense of drama, a dash of romance, and an understanding of the complex motivations of human nature. 
Sally Bedell Smith

Sat, 09 Jun 2012 13:54:00 +0000

Advance Praise for OPIUM FIEND: A 21st Century Slave to a 19th Century Addiction by Steven Martin

The June 26th publication by Random House of Steven Martin's beautiful and harrowing OPIUM FIEND:  A 21st Century Slave to a 19th Century Addition is just around the corner, and the memoir is already garnering some great praise.

Steven Martin’s fascinating memoir runs so much deeper than the standard literature about drugs. Whereas most writers never move beyond obsessive descriptions of physical effects, Martin’s true interests are cultural and intellectual: he connects the urge of the drug addict with the compulsion of the art collector. By the end of this book you’ll have a new sympathy for both kinds of fiend.
– Peter Hessler, author of RIVER TOWN and COUNTRY DRIVING

Steven Martin writes with a wit and style every bit as intoxicating as his subject.  Entwining endlessly fascinating exotic detail with soul-searing personal revelation, this remarkable author has produced a driving, powerful autobiography unlike any of the countless narco-memoirs cluttering the shelves today.  One warning to potential readers: Opium Fiend is the kind of book that makes the rest of the world disappear. It draws you in from the very first page,  until  you stagger out, blinking at the sun,  not sure you ever wanted it to end.... Dim the lights, lock the doors, and prepare to be addicted. The kick's a bitch but the high is like nothing else in the world.
– Jerry Stahl, author of PERMANENT MIDNIGHT

Opium Fiend is the most engaging memoir of the year. What begins as Steven Martin's search into the lost history of opium—whose trade was once as consequential to empires as oil is today—becomes a harrowing exploration of the liberating, enlightening and enslaving ecstasies of a forbidden pipe. It's not so much a tale of addiction, but of self-immolating obsession. While crafting a spellbinding, literary read, Martin never loses focus of his original aim. Opium Fiend stands as a fascinating, never-before told social history of the poppy blossom’s central place in the rise and fall of nations. As addictive as its subject matter, Opium Fiend should come with a warning that it may lead to lost nights and weekends of intensely pleasurable reading.
– Evan Wright, New York Times best-selling author of GENERATION KILL and HELLA NATION

Sat, 09 Jun 2012 11:03:00 +0000

BUTTERFLY IN THE TYPEWRITER by Cory MacLauchlin and MARILYN by Lois Banner are PW Best Summer Books 2012










The agency is happy to have two books on the Publishers Weekly Best Books of Summer 2012 Staff Pick and Non-Fiction lists, MARILYN: The Passion and the Paradox by Lois Banner (Bloomsbury) and BUTTERFLY IN THE TYPEWRITER: The Tragic Life of John Kennedy Toole and the Remarkable Story of A Confederacy of Dunces by Cory MacLauchlin (Da Capo).

MARILYN will be published simultaneously by Bloomsbury USA and Bloomsbury UK in late July, and PW describes it as "….cutting through the endless Monroe-mania is feminist historian Banner's biography that tells the story that will put the rest to sleep." The author has been blogging about the book on the Huffington Post, and the agency has just concluded a three-way auction for the book in Poland.







BUTTERFLY IN THE TYPEWRITER has garnered a terrific amount of admiration, including:

As a fan of Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces, I'm looking forward to reading the first biography to make full use of the Toole papers and interviews with the people who knew the creator of that brilliant misfit, Ignatius J. Reilly. An unexpected bonus: the index lists a real-life brilliant misfit, horror writer H.P. Lovecraft.
 --Peter Cannon

MacLauchlin has created a book that is literary, erudite and accessible all at the same time. He has married scholarship with storytelling, which is not an easy feat.
--Hunter Murphy, Deep South Magazine
Provocative and lovely…a wonderful book.
--Susan Larson, Pulitzer Prize committee member (2012) and host of The Reading Life—WWNO.

...the most thorough and in-depth account of Toole's sad life and posthumous celebration to date. But here's the best part: in addition to being the most comprehensive and accurate biography about the man so far, it's also a gripping read….If you care for the man, and for his grotesque and beloved creations, read this book.
--Litreactor

MacLauchlin builds a convincing case that Mr. Toole’s life is one of the most compelling stories in American literary history.
--Larry Cox, Florida Weekly

Tue, 10 Apr 2012 14:20:00 +0000

Release Party for EAT WITH YOUR HAND by Zak Pelaccio


Zakary Pelaccio's EAT WITH YOUR HANDS (Ecco) will be published on Tuesday, April 17th, and Food Republic and Fatty 'Cue Brooklyn are throwing what promises to be an off-the-hook release party at Powerhouse Arena for Zak, Jori and JJ Goode to celebrate this singular book in true Fatty Crew style.

Tue, 24 Jan 2012 17:45:00 +0000

Peter Gwin Wins Pulitzer Lowell Thomas Award

Many congratulations to client Peter Gwin, who has just won The Lowell Thomas Award for foreign travel writing for his National Geographic piece "The Telltale Scribes of Timbuktu," which appeared in January of last year. Per the announcement, the piece was praised:  As if the subject was not remote and mysterious enough, the writing here is so filled with atmosphere and memorable people it might have been written by John le Carré. The name itself is a veritable synonym for a place so far removed it epitomizes the other side of the world. And the writer takes us there — with facts, history and unforgettable descriptions.


The piece was written for his Pulitzer Center project Saharan Insecurity, documenting the changing social and political tides of the Sahara region.

The Lowell Thomas Award is sponsored by the Society of American Travel Writers and awards more than $18,000 annually in prize money. Begun in 1985, the award recognizes outstanding print, online, broadcast and multimedia works, and also travel photography. You can view a full list of the award winners here.

Peter has been a staff writer at National Geographic since 2003. He has reported on modern pirates in Southeast Asia, a Stone Age graveyard in the Sahara, early tyrannosaurs in Western China, and kung fu masters of China’s Song Mountains among other subjects. His work has been anthologized in Best American Travel Writing 2008 (Houghton Mifflin) and has been nominated for a National Magazine Award for reporting. He began his career teaching English in Botswana and stringing for his hometown paper, theAtlanta Journal Constitution.

Tue, 20 Dec 2011 16:58:00 +0000

Bloomberg Names EMPIRE STATE OF MIND by Zack O'Malley Greenberg One of Year's Best Rock Books

Mark Beech writes in a review of several music titles that Zack's book is "one of the year's best rock books."  We agree.

Tue, 20 Dec 2011 15:57:00 +0000

Peter Hessler Wins Sidney Award for "Dr. Don: The life of a small-town druggist"

In today's New York Times David Brooks names Peter Hessler's piece "Dr. Don:  The life of a small-town druggist" one of the best magazine essays of the year, saying: The article is a beautiful description of what it’s like to live in a small town, where everybody knows each other’s sins and virtues. As one resident puts it, “I like to play chess. I moved to a small town and nobody played chess there, but one guy challenged me to checkers. I always thought it was kind of a simple game, but I accepted. And he beat me nine or ten games in a row. That’s sort of like living in a small town. It’s a simple game, but it’s played at a higher level."


The Sidney Awards, named after the public intellectual Sidney Hook, were originally called The Hookie Awards, which Brooks began awarding on Christmas Day, 2004.

Thu, 10 Nov 2011 19:49:00 +0000

INSTRUMENT by Pat Graham Named Best Cover of Year by Amazon


Amazon's Best Books of the Year were announced yesterday, and the cover of Chronicle's edition of Pat Graham's INSTRUMENT with an introduction by Johnny Marr was named one of the best of the year.  

Pat has an exhibition of the book hanging at Rough Trade East in London until November 15th.  Rough Trade is, hands down, one of the best record/music stories in the UK, and, possibly, the world, in our opinion.

In the mid nineties while living in Washington DC music photographer Pat Graham photographed Ian Mackaye (Fugazi, Dischord Records) and his iconic white Gibson SG. At that point his photo project Instrument was born. Over the next 15 years Graham documented/photographed and interviewed 50 plus musicians about there favourite instrument and the stories that went along with them.

Some of the artists in the book include:

Johnny Marr - The Smiths, Modest Mouse, Cribs, Healers, etc
Bernard Sumner - Joy Division, New Order
Colin Newman - Wire
Alex Kapranos - Franz Ferdinand
Gary and Ryan Jarman - The Cribs
James Cauty - KLF, The Orb
Ian Curtis - Joy Division
Tom Cullinan - Th Faith Healers, Quickspace
Jerry Dammers - The Specials, Special AKA Arkestsra
Justin Vernon - Bon Iver
Hal Blaine - Beach Boys, Phil Spector, etc
Jeff Tweedy - Wilco
Kim Deal - The Pixies
Billy Childish
Kate Nash

Tue, 08 Nov 2011 17:24:00 +0000

PDT Named Best Bar in the World

Just in time for the publication of THE PDT COCKTAIL BOOK, the list was compiled by 100 of the top bar professionals in the industry, and votes were received from every continent. The list has bars from 16 countries and regions including France, Spain, Australia, the UK, Ireland, the Middle East, Singapore, and Japan. The Daily News offers it up here. Check out the rest of the list on Drinks International.

Thu, 03 Nov 2011 13:44:00 +0000

Gaz Regan says THE PDT COCKTAIL BOOK is "The very best. Bar none"

In today's Ardent Spirits eLetter, Gaz Regan calls the book ...the best book of its kind to hit the shelves in the twenty-first century. The very best. Bar none. 

Paper Magazine has a great interview with Jim today, too--here's an excerpt:

It seems like you wrote your cocktail book with an eye on history.
I started collecting cocktail books right after I started working at Pegu Club. Audrey [Saunders] had a bunch of books at the bar and at that time I'd also met a vintage cookbook collector named Bonnie Slotnick. I realized the history of bartending was in these old books and it was almost like proof that what I chose to do with my life was a really good decision. I tried to infuse the book with what I thought was great about these old books, make it nostalgic without being derivative. Now I'll go into a bar and see a bartender with a 19th century mustache, vintage sailor tattoos, like he's straight out of a Civil War reenactment. My goal was not to be a Civil War reenactor, but show how we're doing things now with a sense of history.

Tue, 01 Nov 2011 19:35:00 +0000

THE PDT COCKTAIL BOOK Has Landed, and the World Takes Note

The long-awaited PDT COCKTAIL BOOK by Jim Meehan with illustrations by Chris Gall drops today, and along with other sites, Eater has offered up a "First Look" at Jim Meehan's PDT Cocktail Book.  Check it out, and also check out the video.  The New York Times' T Magazine kicked off the advance press with "Booze Cruise" by Stephen Heyman.  FIND. EAT. DRINK. then carried a short Q&A with Jim about the book.  Professor Cocktail (aka David Montgomery) was the first to really review the book, saying:  "The PDT Cocktail Book joins Gary Regan's THE JOY OF MIXOLOGY and Dale DeGroff's THE CRAFT OF THE COCKTAIL as the indispensable monographs on modern cocktails and spirits.  It belongs on every cocktail lover's shelf."

Thu, 29 Sep 2011 14:17:00 +0000

Will Friedwald's A BIOGRAPHICAL GUIDE TO THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP SINGERS Wins ASCAP Deems Taylor Award

Congratulations to Will Friedwald (and his editor, Bob Gottlieb--read Larissa MacFarquhar's excellent Fall 1994 Paris Review interview), whose A BIOGRAPHICAL GUIDE TO THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP SINGERS (Pantheon Books) has received The Timothy White Award for Outstanding Musical Biography, which is one of the 43rd Annual ASCAP Deems Taylor Awards for outstanding print, broadcast, and new media coverage of music.  This is not Will's first Deems Taylor Award, however:  his SINATRA! The Song is You, the first full-length musical biography of Old Blue Eyes, won the 1996 award for Excellence in Music Criticism, and was hailed by The New York Times Book Review as the "single most important book on Sinatra ever published." . The Awards were established in 1967 to honor the memory of composer / critic / commentator Deems Taylor, who died in 1966 after a distinguished career that included six years as President of ASCAP.

Additional Praise for the book:

Top Five Books of the Year 2010: Friedwald chronicles the Great American Songbook, its creators, and its interpreters—a body of work that stands at the apogee of this nation’s civilization. Quirky, opinionated, shaped by exquisite taste and judgment, this feat of musical and cultural criticism offers an exuberant glimpse into the American character.
—Benjamin Schwarz, The Atlantic

A perfect holiday gift . . . An authoritative, comprehensive and oft-amusing guidebook that leads readers through the lives and recordings of hundreds of singers, from Louis Armstrong to Hank Williams.
—The Wall Street Journal

Incisive and useful . . . In this mammoth volume, jazz critic Will Friedwald does for jazz and pop vocalists what David Thomson has done so brilliantly in his New Biographical Dictionary of Film. . . . The author also acts as a consumer guide, steering the reader toward particular songs or albums. . . . Vastly entertaining.
—Dennis Drabelle, The Washington Post

In this passionately opinionated encyclopedia of the old-school virtuosos of the American songbook, music writer Friedwald celebrates 200-odd performers of jazz and pop standards, from the mid-20th-century titans to latter-day acolytes, with a raft of unjustly obscure singers in between. . . . [Friedwald] accords each a substantial career retrospective, selected discography and wonderfully pithy interpretive essay. His tastes are wide-ranging and idiosyncratic . . . However unconventional, his judgments are usually spot-on . . . Friedwald’s exuberant medley is that rarest of things: music criticism that actually makes you sit up and listen.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

I think Will Friedwald’s Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers will be of real interest to anyone who cares about the music.
—Hugh Hefner, editor-in-chief of Playboy

If there were such a volume as the Great American Songbook, this book should be right next to it on your shelf. It is truly the definitive work on those who sing and swing those songs.
—Alan Bergman, Grammy and Academy Award–winning songwriter

Will Friedwald has created an instant classic reference tome with his Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers, the wealth of information and the breadth of knowledge being quite staggering. It is written without academic posturing but with wit and warmth and accessibility, covering in fascinating detail the careers of everyone from Jolson and Sinatra, of course, to Lee Wiley, Noel Coward and Marlene Dietrich; from Armstrong to Doris Day, and everyone in between. It will surely be considered an essential text.
—Peter Bogdanovich

This extensive work is essential and comprehensive. In opinionated, sometimes witty essays, Friedwald sorts out the lives and careers of more than three hundred singers, some of the greatest vocalists of the twentieth century including such giants as Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Bessie Smith. There are also dozens of unexpected inclusions. For example, Martha Raye merits almost seven pages and her entry helps dusts off her historical reputation as not just a zany character but rather an incredibly gifted and complex artist. . . . Friedwald spent ten years researching this magisterial reference book and it is certain to delight and inform anyone with a passion for the iconic music of America.
—Larry Cox, Tucson Citizen

Will writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal, and his previous book, STARDUST MELODIES:  A Biography of Twelve of America's Most Popular Songs, was also published by Pantheon.  Dubbed (by Past Times magazine) as "The Poet Laureate of vintage pop music," Friedwald is internationally recognized as the leading authority on jazz singing and "adult" pop music. He is also the author of Tony Bennett's autobiography, THE GOOD LIFE (1998, Pocket Books) and JAZZ SINGING, published in hardcover by Scribner and in paperback by Da Capo Press.

Friedwald has written regularly about music for The Village Voice (since 1984) and also appears frequently in The New York Times. His work has also appeared in The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, Entertainment Weekly, Oxford American, New York, Entertainment Weekly, New York Newsday, L. A. Weekly, Mojo, BBC Music Magazine, Stereo Review, Fi(Delity), The New York Observer, Seven Days and numerous music and film journals.
With prolific television and radio experience under his belt, Friedwald has appeared on hundreds of program in both mediums. He has served as a consultant and on-screen commentator on many television documentaries and news programs (including ABC Nightline, The MacNeil-Lehrer Report, Good Morning America, The Today Show, CBS Sunday Morning, and A&E Biography's profiles of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Mel Torme). On the radio, he has hosted many of his own regular disc jockey radio shows, and has also served as a commentator / "columnist" on the National Public Radio program Artbeat. He was a frequent guest with Stan Martin and Jonathan Schwartz on WQEW, and was the subject of an hour-long interview on Fresh Air with Terry Gross. He served as a consultant and interviewee on NPR's massive Ellington project as well as on dozens of installments of Jazz Profiles and other NPR documentary programs. In addition, Friedwald has produced and annotated hundreds of compact disc reissues, including several Grammy-winning packages (out of a total of six Grammy nominations).

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