Friday, July 3, 2009

Things I'd Like to See This Weekend on C-SPAN's "Book TV"

10:00 am Gov. Mark Sanford
Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina discusses the newly revised edition of his 2000 book The Trust Committed to Me, now entitled The Tryst Committed by Me. The book has been updated with new material about the governor's unconventional approach to crisis management, a strategy that relies on multiple teary narcissistic public apologies played out over an extended period of time. Governor Sanford also reveals that he and his South American paramour did the Lambada together, even though he was fully aware that it is the forbidden dance.

4:00 pm The Book Review Crisis
A panel of authors discusses the dearth of book review coverage in daily newspapers. Alice Hoffman points out the important cultural service performed by the idiots and morons who write book reviews, and Alain de Botton suggests that, while critics should be hated till the day they die and wished nothing but ill will in every career move they make, they still perform a valuable function, especially when they write nice reviews of his work. Also weighing in is Ayelet Waldman, who posits that certain reviewers should rot in hell, presumably because Hades is as much in need of vibrant cultural debate as we are. As a public service, C-SPAN will run an onscreen crawl throughout the program listing the home phone numbers and email addresses of major book critics.

11:00 am James Frey
The controversial author of the embellished memoir A Million Little Pieces talks about his forthcoming YA novel, I Am Number Four. Mr. Frey says I Am Number Four is the first volume in a series of six books, or maybe twenty-two, or, why not, seventy-eight books, and that HarperCollins paid "in the low nine figures" because they were so happy with his last book, the novel Bright Shiny Morning, which, according to Mr. Frey, sold "three-quarters of a gazillion copies." Frey says the main character of his new book is actually identified as Number Three in the text, but lies about it because "four is a much more impressive number. " He describes I Am Number Four as a story about teenage space aliens hiding on Earth, though one insider who saw the manuscript says it consists entirely of the phrase "All work and no play makes James a dull boy" repeated for five hundred pages in a variety of fonts and tab settings.

2:00 pm J.D. California
After a federal court banned U.S. publication of 60 Year Later: Coming Through the Rye, his unauthorized sequel to J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, Mr. California reveals that he wants to put the Salinger affair behind him, concentrate on the future, and take his literary career in an entirely new direction. He discusses his work in progress, 50 Years Later: Zanny and Frooey.

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