A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.
O LORD, how many are my foes!
Many are rising against me;
many are saying of my soul,
there is no salvation for him in God. Selah
But you, O LORD, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the LORD,
and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah
I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the LORD sustained me.
I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
who have set themselves against me all around.
Arise, O LORD!
Save me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
you break the teeth of the wicked.
Salvation belongs to the LORD;
your blessing be on your people! Selah
(Psalm 3, English Standard Version)
Nextbook.org is running a series of diary posts from Author Yoram Kaniuk, who has been called “the great Israeli voice of his generation.” Read his latest entry here. He writes, “Our war started when the British issued the Balfour Declaration, which gave the Jews the right to be recognized as a national entity. Since then, the war has been called by various names, but it’s the same war that began in 1920.”
I agree. Why do the leaders of the world disagree? Why does the American press disagree?
I wonder if many members of the press core don’t take the attitude of these girls Kaniuk quotes: “Five girls with their navels hanging out—two look like hooks for rings—are laughing and talking loudly. One says, ‘What? Are you sure? You’re kidding me! What? His father was killed by a rocket in Haifa? I just saw him a week ago. What a crazy country, that he could die that way, like, how weird is that?’”
Not just a crazy enough country, lass, but a crazy enough world in which would-be leaders and elected officials argue against your country’s right to defend itself. If Cuba had a militia in Mexico and kidnapped two of our soldiers after years of verbal abuse and forked-tongue diplomacy punctuated with errant missiles and suicide bombers in El Paso and Las Vegas, would the liberals of America argue for restraint and police procedure over military engagement? Israel was attacked, has been attacked, and will continue to be attacked by terrorists who do not believe they should exist. The U.N. appears to agree with the terrorists even though they have proclaimed Israel’s existence and mapped out their territory. And the old officials from the last administration as well as like-minded Democrats call for a ceasefire. What will that accomplish? Terrorists may stop shooting, but only to regroup.
Bloomberg reports on the sale of two Christian publishers to large publishing corporations. The more recent deal, the sale of Multnomah, is still anonymous. Publishers Weekly believes the buyer is Random House, though they already own WaterBrook Press so why would they buy another Christian publisher.
On June 8, Thomas Nelson was sold to InterMedia Partners, a private equity firm.
The article concludes with this interesting note:
Thomas Nelson has even invested in its own form of the mega- church. In 2000, the company bought the Women of Faith franchise. Based in Plano, Texas, this self-described “spiritual spa” offers music and a roster of speakers — often Thomas Nelson authors — over two days in an arena setting. Last year, an average of 15,000 people attended each event, and 422,000 people in all bought tickets.
These events have plenty of well-stocked book tables. Thomas Nelson President Michael Hyatt said exposure like this is better than anything he can get in a bookstore.
Lynne Scanlon also complains about the shoppers in some stores, which I felt was interesting enough to put in a unique post:
If Borders were to become the preferred destination for book buyers, people would walk or drive the extra distance and pass right by a Barnes & Noble.
Jones already gets the message that too much time is spent by walk-ins and loungers who spend too little money at the cash registers. He’d like to remedy that, so would I. I loath tripping over those parked baby buggies (install meters!) and having to deal with kids whose moms use Barnes & Noble as a place to kill a few hours on the cheap. PT Barnum faced the same problem until he hung a sign that said: “This Way to the Egress!” I like the idea of a sign that reads: “First you pay, then you read.”
Is that too harsh? Does it conflict with her idea about inviting writers to write on in-store computers? Does it conflict a bit with coffeeshops in stores?
Lynne Scanlon notes that Borders Group has a new CEO, and she wonders what he could do to make Borders and WaldenBooks more attractive than Barnes & Noble. She has many great suggestions:
- Make exclusive arrangements with publishers to sell specific books at Borders and Borders only.
- Create a “new format” book that is sold exclusively at Borders.
- Co-publish books with Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins and medium- and small-sized publishers. Give preferential shelf placement in lieu of a cash investment.
- Have a prestigious VIP cash register and pass out discount coupons to the big spenders, say, at the $150 purchase level.
- Rope off a special VIP room for people who buy books in quantity and make these readers feel important because they are!
- Have “For Authors Only Socials” where local authors meet local authors in Borders to socialize over a glass of wine or something significantly stronger.
- Offer to rent computer space in Borders to struggling writers.
There are more and commenters join in. What do you think?
CNN’s man in Beirut, Nic Robertson, told CNN’s Reliable Sources host Howard Kurtz that Hezbollah controlled his story entirely. Rich Noyes blogs on it:
Robertson suggested Hezbollah has “very, very sophisticated and slick media operations,” that the terrorist group “had control of the situation. They designated the places that we went to, and we certainly didn’t have time to go into the houses or lift up the rubble to see what was underneath,” and he even contradicted Hezbollah’s self-serving spin: “There’s no doubt that the [Israeli] bombs there are hitting Hezbollah facilities.”
This report by Borys Kit states that Hollywood knows where to woo and make-up with “pop culture’s smart set”–at the largest comic book convention in the country. A quick run-down:
- Bryan Singer announced that he was discussing the sequel to his Superman movie. The crowd loved the idea, despite the many problems they had with it.
- How about this answer Singer gave to the fan who thought that having an illegitiate child would compromise Superman’s character: “Love in the modern world takes many forms,” he said. “There are many kinds of families that exist now, and sometimes pregnancies occur unintentionally, and it’s a choice to have a child.” Profound.
- Principles from Spiderman 3 appeared.
- Samuel L. Jackson, who hails from Chattanooga, TN, bowled over the crowds.
- Studios showed excerpts from “Children of Men,” “Stardust,” and “Eragon.”
- Bryan Singer said comic books will prove to be the mythology of our age.
I hope to blog later today, but don’t let that stop you from commenting while I wait. I know you’ve been wanting to say something, so go ahead.
Five-time Christy Award Judge Jana Riess talks about this year’s batch of first novels. After praising some specific books, she writes:
As a judge, every year I’ve been able to say quite honestly that despite generally uneven quality and a few total dogs in each batch, the overall picture for Christian fiction continues to improve. This year, however, gave me pause. What was interesting was that my main criticism in the past — that the novels tended to be overly didactic and preachy — was not a common problem among the 25 novels I read. There were only a few that hammered readers over the head with A Message. Instead, this year’s problems were technical: characters who were important in the first half of the book who entirely disappear in the second. Plot threads that go absolutely nowhere. Stock characters and plots that are almost entirely predictable. Overuse of sentence fragments. And excessive conjunctions at the beginning of sentences.
Read on. [seen in on JMarkBertrand.com]
Congratulations to Nicole Mazzarella for her debut novel, This Heavy Silence.
Thomas Sowell writes: “One of the many failings of our educational system is that it sends out into the world people who cannot tell rhetoric from reality. They have learned no systematic way to analyze ideas, derive their implications and test those implications against hard facts.”
I guess we forgot in some circumstances that talk is actually cheap. We understand that in relationships, but not in world policies.
Mark Bretrand is blogging about his experience reading 22 mystery/suspense books for this year’s Christy Awards.
That’s when I made my first discovery: a lot of these books began by giving the full name of the main character as the first two words in the novel. And when I say a lot, I mean a lot. . . . I found myself wondering if there was a rule I didn’t know about . . .
Mickey Spillane, 88, recipient of lifetime achievement awards from the Mystery Writers of America and the Private Eye Writers of America, died today in his hometown, Murrells Inlet, SC. His first novel, “I, the Jury,” starring Mike Hammer, was published in 1946.
The AP reports: “Spillane, a bearish man who wrote on an old manual Smith Corona, always claimed he didn’t care about reviews. He considered himself a ‘writer’ as opposed to an ‘author,’ defining a writer as someone whose books sell.”
I’ve been reading Roy Jacobsen’s blog, “Writing, Clear and Simple,” with the intent to link to a post, but I can’t decide what to link to. He has a few interesting posts on the home page, including a grammar puzzle and rules of thumb for writing. Read on.
Can you name the top three bestselling authors worldwide? Let me help. The third one is Paulo Coelho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His most recent hardback, The Zahir, is about a bestselling novelist who loses his wife, a war correspondent, in what may be adulterous betrayal. Another novel (republished by HarperCollins) is The Devil and Miss Prym, which deals with man’s struggle with good and evil.
Unlike the other two current bestselling authors on our list, Coelho has never sold the film rights to his books. On his website, he says, “I have never allowed [his books to be made into movies]. I recently made a US$2 million offer to recover the only rights I ever sold, The Alchemist (to Warner Bros.). They are studying the matter. I don’t intend to sell any film rights, because I think the film should be in the mind of the reader. My books use the creativity of those reading them.”
Are you familiar with Coelho? Do you know who the other two authors are?
Tags: Paulo Coelho, novels, books, bestseller
Author Katha Pollitt has turned a bad review into an interesting article in the NY Times on whether publicity is bad only when it’s unnoticed.
“Actually, this is good,” my editor said when my book got panned. “It’s a long review by a well-known person. It’s on a good page. It’s even got a caricature of you.” . . .
“Yes, it was pretty negative, and your arms looked like tree stumps,” said one friend, helpfully. “But so what? That just means you’re a star!”
I wonder how many people told her to avoid watching Amazon’s sale rank. I understand the appeal having checked my own site stats more often than I knew I should, but what is an author’s alternative? Do publishers let you know how many of your books sold in a certain time, say quarterly at least?
Tags: books, bookselling, publicity, reviews