Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mermaids and Kings

While my German friends were still arguing about soccer — how long does that Soccer Cup run anyway? — I had more important things to do: I helped opening the Atlantic Ocean for the summer season. With a grand key. Okay, not helped, but been there. Today was the Mermaid Parade in Coney Island. As usually, I arrived too late and it was so packed that I had no chance whatsoever to see mermaids. Thankfully, I found a first-floor bar, air-conditioned, to watch the parade from above (with a beer).

It didn't feel very summery, though (thanks to the air conditioning and the Heavy Metal), so I went to the beach to warm up. Coney Island has evidently been taken over by Puerto Ricans, btw. Anywhoo, at the end of the parade the King, the Queen, and some guy with a hat walk down the beach with their entourage, mostly photographers.

Before the actual marching down happened, a bunch of mermaids cleared the path by planting red tape in the sand; I figured it out only when I looked up and found myself being the only person still lying on a towel within that path (reading The New York Times Magazine). I hopped out of the way just in time; this, however gave me a head start before all those other photographers (this, and my elbows). 

So, I took a picture of the King, the Queen, and the guy with the hat opening the Atlantic Ocean with a big key. Here is it. Afterwards, I had another beer.







Saturday, June 9, 2012

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

The BEA is over (and I have just so recovered). It is pretty clear that the future of the book is digital and cross-platform; meaning, combinations of books, movies, websites, and the like. Everything is extremely loud, more colorful, faster, inter-active, and loaded with bits and pixels.

And, of course, what really sells books is still celebrities.

This applies also to political books, not only to fiction. Basically, there were two types of political non-fiction books at the BEA that made a splash: the drama-queen conspiracy book, like, how that black-muslim-arab-kenyan-indonesian-Hitler/Stalin-type foreigner is wrecking our country, or, likewise, how Aliens operating from Area 51 are doing the same thing. And the second category are celebrities known from newspapers or, even better, from TV.

If you want to double up on that one, be Bill O‘Reilly. After "Killing Lincoln," he has written "Killing Kennedy". The Google can't miss that one. What's next, "Killing MLK"? "Killing Garfield"? "Killing Hitler"? I‘m not taking any bets, but I am probably incredibly close.

On a lighter note, I listened to a comedy riff by Dan Wilbur about "Better Book Titles," he also talked about blurbs. Here is my favorite: "Is that a tape recorder? Get the fuck away from me" — Jonathan Safran Foer



 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Books, Books, Books

Today was the first day of the BEA! Actually, not precisely today, since it's after midnight, but I'm in my own time zone anyway. Today was the day when the Javits Center was still preparing for the tide, so, not much going on, except experts telling us what hot new internet feature Silicon Valley is offering us this year. Evidently, this year's hot new thing is Pinterest. It is especially liked and used by women, which is good for the publishing industry, because we are, by and large, women. The next three days will consist of IT- and SEO-guys telling us the difference between Epub3 and htlm5.

Other than that, I am looking forward to meeting the widow of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Stephen Colbert, Neil Young, and Colin Robertson, whose phone number I have lost, so I sure hope he is there. There is also a new book on Starbucks, as well as one on the Penn State scandal.

Other than that, we had a great event in May in Los Angeles introducing the new Berlinica book The Berlin Wall Today, at the Wende Museum with Justinian Jampol, Michael Cramer, Cristina Cuevas- Wolf, and the Consul, Wolfgang Drautz, who has left for Berlin by now. Here are two pictures.





Now the newest update on Mark Twain: The book is nearly none, but not completely. I‘m preparing the second proof. There are still some rights issues, and also, three or four pictures are missing. But it will be a great book! I'm going to post some pictures as soon as I've figured out how to use Pinterest.





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