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Elizabeth Royte has a cute article in the New York Times today about the various stages an author goes through when writing a book. Royte is the author of "Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash" and "The Tapir's Morning Bath: Mysteries of the Tropical Rain Forest and the Scientists Who Are Trying to…

Writing a Book

Elizabeth Royte has a cute article in the New York Times today about the various stages an author goes through when writing a book. Royte is the author of "Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash" and "The Tapir's Morning Bath: Mysteries of the Tropical Rain Forest and the Scientists Who Are Trying to Solve Them."

The phases:The Fog of Love; The Big Suck-Up; naked in Public; Euphoria; Obsession; Denial; Bitter Recrimination; Shame and Embarassment; What about Oprah?; Reality Beckons; The Last Hurrah; Withering.

My favorite description of Royte's is for Shame and Embarassment: "Keenly experienced by author at a reading attended by only one person, or when author feels he's being jerked around. "You ask yourself, 'Why am I getting up at 4 a.m. to go to Fort Lee, New Jersey, to be on a business program that no one will see when I wrote a sensitive literary book about relationships on the Internet?' " said John Seabrook, the author of "Deeper: My Two-Year Odyssey in Cyberspace" and "Nobrow: The Culture of Marketing - The Marketing of Culture."

Posted by Joel Schettler on October 25 2005 • Books

Best Magazine Cover, Ever

On Monday, the American Society of Magazine Editors announced their pick of the best magazine cover of the past 40 years. Their choice: John Lennon and Yoko Ono on the cover of Rolling Stone.

From the New York Times: "The best magazine cover of the last 40 years was Rolling Stone's January 1981 cover photograph of a naked John Lennon curled up in a fetal position around his wife, Yoko Ono. That is the judgment of editors and art directors from about 50 of the nation's top magazines, who were asked to pick the 40 best covers of the last 40 years, in honor of the 40th anniversary of the National Magazine Awards. The picture was taken by Annie Leibovitz just hours before Mr. Lennon was shot and killed on Dec. 8, 1980."

According to the Times, the contest was designed as a way to revive interest in magazines, which have been under constant pressures in recent years from other media sources, namely the Internet. " The association allowed any consumer magazine in the country to nominate its four "best" covers, using their own subjective criteria. The association received 444 nominations from 136 magazines and named 52 top editors to judge them. The only rule was that the judges could not vote for a cover with which they had been involved."

Posted by Joel Schettler on October 19 2005 • Journalism

Elements of Style

Any writer can tell you about the famous Strunk and White Elements of Style; It's a classic. I just learned that a new illustrated version hits the shelves today, published by Penguin, which features illustrations painted by Maira Kalman. The lively paintings breathe life into the "discussion of grammatical rules." Here's what the New York Times had to say about it:

"Ms. Kalman, an artist, children's book author, designer and illustrator whose credits include the popular "Newyorkistan" cover of The New Yorker, says she had never used Strunk and White as a student but discovered it only four years ago at a yard sale and was immediately struck by its vividness and charm. "Each sentence was so full of incredible visual reference," she recently recalled. "I said to myself, how could anyone not have illustrated this before?""

Posted by Joel Schettler on October 19 2005 • Books

Laughing Matters

I guess I am a week late on this, but I understand that Jon Stewart lit into the magazine publishing world during a recent MPA event. His session titled, "Laughing Matters: Magazines Celebrate Humor" made fun of some of the industry's sacred cows. Funny stuff I'm sure (he wasn't the only panelist), but it has the industry abuzz. The part causing the greatest stir is likely Stewarts comments about print media being irrelevant; this said in a room full of advertisers. "One could almost hear the drain of ad dollars from the room."  Here is a summary of what was said.

According to Folio, a magazine industry trade publication, the reaction to the event has been mixed: “To avoid becoming irrelevant, magazine publishers need to stop pretending we're the only game in town,” says Travis Daub of Washington, D.C.-based Foreign Policy. “If more publishers wake up and realize this as a result of Jon Stewart's talk, then that $250,000 was the best money MPA has spent all year.”

Esquire Editor David Granger had this to say: "Comedy is reductive. In order to make a joke, you’ve got to reduce the joke to its most ridiculous point. He did that, but it’s an exaggeration. He does the same thing for every medium and just about every facet of human endeavor.”

Posted by Joel Schettler on October 10 2005 • Journalism

The Shining

A co-worker sent this to me this morrning; this is hilarious. What if Nora Ephron directed The Shining instead of Stanley Kubrick? Here's the trailer.

Now I want to see what he would do with a Jerry Bruckheimer film.

Posted by Joel Schettler on October 07 2005 • Multimedia

Community Effort

I think this is a good story. A bookstore in Menlo Park that was forced to close in August will soon reopen, thanks to the efforts of a community of readers who hated to see it go.

"The store's closure prompted an outpouring of support from the community that included a rally in September and an effort to work with the Menlo Park City Council to create a revival plan," accroding to  the New York Times. "Ms. Banta [the store's chief marketing offficer] said that some local entrepreneurs developed a business plan to improve the store's long-term standing and also invested cash. She said that at least $500,000 was raised from 17 individuals, who each pledged at least $25,000 to become shareholders. About 370 local residents also signed up to volunteer time to help the store."

Posted by Joel Schettler on October 06 2005 • Current Affairs