Wednesday, May 26, 2010


As noted on Classics Rock!, independent booksellers found a sympathetic ear with singer/songwriter Al Stewart.  The first stanza of his song "Elvis at the Wheel" gives a nod to their plight:
There's an independent bookstore
The last one that remains
All the others you might look for
Have been eaten by the chains
They soldier on 
No one cleans the window panes
Yes, we featured this song once before but it seems appropriate to cite it again on this, the first day of BookExpo America.  I'm out the door right now on my way to the Javitz Center--should be quite a show!
(And thanks to Shelf Awareness for the shoutout!)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bush's Book

George W. Bush has been out of work for some time, poor fellow.  Having been without full-time employment for about fifteen months myself, I sympathize. 

Bush has put the time to good use by writing a book.  Apparently all the brush in Crawford had been cleared, and he had nothing else to do. The book is called Decision Points and focuses on fourteen key decisions he's made in his lifetime.  It comes out in November.

I thought I'd do him a solid and start seeding the market now.  Being a book flack, I thought some advance publicity was in order.  So I've leaked the fourteen decisions to the press. This way the public can get an early taste of Decision Points so they'll know what to expect in the fall.  The first one concerns his decision to name his dog Spot.

You'll find the other fourteen (yes, there are actually fifteen decisions--that George W. Bush is full of surprises) on The Huffington Post.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Your Inner Caveman

I was fascinated by the news last week that Neanderthals had mated with modern humans.  I think my first response was probably the typical reaction that most people had:  Hubba hubba!

Then I thought that Neanderthals, presumed to have gone extinct about 30,000 years ago, had never really died out--at least not genetically.  If you're descended from ancestors who lived in pre-historic Europe or Asia, chances are that up to 4% of your genetic makeup is Neanderthal in origin.  When I thought back to the first time I met my wife--how I clubbed her over the head and dragged her home by her hair--I perceived the essential truth of this.

Being a book flack, musing about the fate of the Neanderthal ultimately led me to a novel:  William Golding's The Inheritors, published in 1955.  (This was his second novel, the followup to his classic Lord of the Flies.)  The Inheritors is about the last surviving group of Neanderthals and what happens when they encounter Homo sapiens.  As you might imagine, it doesn't go real well for the Neanderthals.

But it seems that Golding didn't get it quite right.  Turns out before modern humans drove Neanderthals to extinction, we mated with them.  In retrospect, this shouldn't be surprising.  After all, it's so easy even a caveman could do it.

I was also delighted to find that Golding's novel inspired a Genesis song called "A Trick of the Tail"--perfect fodder for my Classics Rock! blog.  You'll find the details posted there, along with my theory that lyricist Tony Banks may have been influenced as much by the book's cover art as by its themes.  See what you think.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Song Book Publicists Can Embrace

While this blog was napping (picture it yawning and stretching in its feety pajamas), my other blog, Classics Rock!, passed an important milestone:  Its one-year anniversary.

I observed this milestone with a song that touched on both my background in book publicity and my interest in the intersection of music and literature:  "Lady Writer" by Dire Straits.  Mark Knopfler saw an author interviewed on television and wrote a song about it ( Lady writer on the TV is the opening line).

Knopfler never identified the author (as far as I can determine) but clues in the lyrics have led to a consensus that the song was inspired by one author in particular.  (Check out the post to find out who that is.)

The lady writer in question blushingly acknowledges that she is the inspiration behind the song and says, "I wish I could claim something of more distinction in terms of popular culture, but I don't know that I can."  First of all:  Way to dis Dire Straits!  Second (and I may be biased here), credit really goes to the unknown publicist who booked you on that TV show.  They may not even be aware that they affected the course of rock and roll history.