Friday, February 29, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
What do Plum Sykes, Dylan Lauren, and Atoosa Rubenstein all have in common? Three of fashion's most put-together women all have things they'd like to teach their younger, shyer, more awkward selves. The go-getters have each contributed letters to the upcoming book, If I'd Known Then: Women In Their 20s and 30s Write Letters to Their Younger Selves, edited by Ellyn Spragins (of The New York Times's "Love & Money" column fame), to be released by Perseus in May. Additionally, the book features contributions from Jessica Alba, Natasha Bedingfield, Sasha Cohen, Spanx founder Sarah Blakely, and many others.
While Lauren's letter to herself begins, "Dear Dill Pickle, Am I fat? Would he like me better if I were thinner?" Rubenstein's is addressed to her 7th-grade self, urging her to be strong and think of the bright future ahead despite the group of older bullies tormenting her in the present. Meanwhile, Sykes, whose real name is Victoria (she was nicknamed "plum" because a variety of the fruit is called Victoria) wrote a Bergdorf Blondes-esque note to her shy younger self. "The thing that you don't know that I do is that popular teen extroverts turn into loud, pushy adults," she penned. "Really interesting people tend to be the quiet ones. They don't need to show off or shout about themselves because their talent speaks for itself. It's chic to be shy."
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Peeps, Eurotrash, and ‘Dooced’:
The editor of Ultimate Blogs shares some of her good and bad discoveries.
Blogs read over six months:
Most overrepresented topic:
Political blogs, which Boxer spent a mostly wasted month reading, and which tended to be too timely and unoriginal to include.
Most overrepresented oddball topic:
“The handful of blogs devoted to scientific research on the marshmallow Easter candy Peeps.”
Most underrepresented topic:
“Military blogs that are not in some way censored or gung ho stuff.”
Blog she most wishes she could have included:
Dooce, a “mommy blogger” who was fired from her Web job for blogging about it, leading to the new verb dooced. Boxer pitched the book with a sample from Dooce, but the mother “had a book deal going and couldn’t do it.”
Most ridiculous blog:
Snakes on a Blog, “devoted to getting invited to the premiere of Snakes on a Plane, still active.”
Most intriguingly ridiculous blog:
One Red Paper Clip, “by a man hell-bent on trading up from a paper clip until he got a house to live in. He did it, and is now in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most successful Internet trade.”
Best conspiracy news:
Conspiracy Theories, focusing on “the long tentacles of Google, Google Earth, Microsoft, airport security cameras, Diebold voting machines, etc.”
Most revolting post:
“Eurotrash’s fictional send-up of prostitute blogger Belle de Jour, in which she takes a dump on a table for a client. Eurotrash is in the book. The post is not.”
Dead writer most likely to have blogged:
Others have suggested Karl Kraus and Jack Kerouac. “I would go with Plato.”
Blogs she still checks very frequently:
The Times blogs, because “I’m just fascinated by the ways in which newspapers are trying to get bloggy. Journalists don’t make the best bloggers, and bloggers don’t make the best journalists.”
The review of Ultimate Blogs can be found here.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Friday, February 22, 2008
Publisher's Weekly reported earlier this month that David Sedaris had changed the title of his forthcoming book of essays. Originally it was listed as All the Beauty You’ll Ever Need. Then it popped up as Indefinite Leave to Remain. Then, just a few months before its June 3rd publication date, it became When You Are Engulfed in Flames. What happened? The publisher of Little, Brown, the house that is putting out the book, told PW that there was nothing to it: “Titles change!” he said. Well, sure! But why?
We caught up with Mr. Sedaris yesterday and asked him; he spoke to us by phone from Paris.
Turns out “All the Beauty” was never a serious title—just something Mr. Sedaris submitted because Little, Brown had to send their catalog to the printer. And “Indefinite Leave to Remain”? That came from the top of Mr. Sedaris’s new Green Card, which he’d been awaiting eagerly. His partner, Hugh Hamrick, was the one who suggested he use the phrase as the title of the book. Mr. Sedaris liked it, but learned quickly that other people didn’t. “Whenever I said the name to people they just blinked. They had no reaction to it whatsoever.”
The new title, the one about the flames, came from an instructional brochure Mr. Sedaris found at his hotel when he visited Hiroshima last year. “It was called ‘Best Knowledge of Disaster Damage Prevention and Favors to Ask of You.’ And it was broken up into different chapters. ‘When You Check In a Hotel,’ ‘When You Find a Fire,’ and ‘When You Are Engulfed in Flames.’ It just slayed me.”
Mr. Hamrick, meanwhile, who lives with Mr. Sedaris in Paris and London, is still lobbying for “Indefinite Leave to Remain.” As it happens, that’ll be the second title Mr. Hamrick has come up with that Mr. Sedaris has eventually rejected: the first time was with 2000’s Me Talk Pretty One Day, which was originally called “Primates on the Seine,” a phrase that came to Mr. Hamrick in a dream. Mr. Sedaris loved it, but eventually bailed on the idea.
One wonders if Mr. Hamrick is a little bit hurt by this pattern! Perhaps Mr. Sedaris would consider going back to “Indefinite Leave,” if only out of loyalty?
“It’s a little too late now,” he said. “I don’t think I can change it again. Maybe I could, but not change it back. If I found something better I could probably do it.”
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
First of all, this is a fashion/memoir so you have to weed through all the personal stuff to get to the “bringing home the Birkins” part of the story (if that is what you are really looking to find) - but even that is pretty good because the author is very witty. For me, the interesting part is how he got into the whole business of buying birkins (selling one of his Hermes scarves on eBay when he decides to relocate to Spain leads to someone asking him to find older versions of the scarves) and all the crazy stuff he does to get them (i.e. traveling all over the world to different Hermes boutiques in order to score the most prized croc versions). Some of his stories are entertaining but the lengths he goes to just to get these bags seems hardly worth it and in the end he more or less goes out of business (it doesn’t say what he is doing now but he still lives in Barcelona with his boyfriend Juan). It sounds so stressful! He certainly disproves the make believe 2-year waiting list to get one of the bags which I think is hilarious! Incidentally, he didn’t even know what a Birkin was until Carole Bayer Sager won some Hermes playing cards on eBay and asked him to find her a Birkin. Can you imagine? Oh and I particularly loved the author's descriptions (and illustrations) of the Hermes salespeople - right on point!
The kicker here is how overpriced these bags really are – especially when bought in the US or resold on eBay or elsewhere! He even threw in the Hermes "Oprah incident." In the end, Birkin Boy has millions of dollars of Hermes loot pass through his hands but decides to stop the insanity. The book definitely proves that no one ever is ever satisfied with what they have and always want more, more, more.
Moral of the story: Money cannot buy you happiness but it can certainly buy you as many Hermes Birkin bags as you wish.
To buy or not to buy: If you are a true Hermes-manic this book is a MUST. I "needed" it and was willing to shell out the bucks just for the opportunity to read the advanced copy! Sadly I did not win the signed copy on eBay which I would have practically given an Hermes scarf for (you all know what I bibliophile I am having worked in book publishing and it would have been a great addition to my signed copy collection!). I am not going to reveal how many scarves I have in my possession or will inherit but oh how I wish I had know Michael when I was trying to track down that darn zodiac print scarf with the black colorway!
Photo credit: Taken by me with my Kodak digital camera so please do not use it without permission.
Friday, February 15, 2008
A few of my personal favorites:
Girl: "He had the nerve to tell me that I had no life. I was like, 'I do too have a life! I am drinking constantly!'" - Petite Abeille, Tribeca
Hipster chick: "Quite frankly, I'd rather wash all my bras tonight." - F train
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
I read about both of these books in the NY Times Style section. Usually their reccomensdations fall flat but this time they picked two good ones. The Meaning of Sunglasses is pithy and entertaining. Buy it! Also, in the same book review was What's Next: The Experts' Guide: Predictions from 50 of America's Most Compelling People which looks like a great read and has received favorable reviews.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Monday, February 11, 2008
You might think that would be enough to make publishers bring back Budget Living magazine, but Martha Stewart has the opposite idea. A prototype concept for a title targeting those in the luxe life envisions the magazine taking on the outsize look-at-me format of W magazine.
But media buyers said it could work -- and augur more to come.
"In most circumstances, high-end advertisers are kind of recession-proof," said Steve Lanzano, exec VP-general manager at MPG. "Secondly, big luxury advertisers want to maintain premium-ness. Big, beautiful photography and pictures allow them to attain the premium pricing."
A spokeswoman for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia wouldn't say much about any big luxe ideas. "We have ideas about all kinds of market segments, including this one and several others," she said. She declined to elaborate.
But publishers increasingly are enthusiastic. Martha's big-and-rich book, should it survive development and reach launch, will share tactics not just with W but also the recently arrived Trump magazine -- whose first shamelessly oversize, 12-inch-by-10-inch cover teased "The Most Refined Superyacht Right Now."
When New York magazine introduced New York Look, a highly visual and polished title devoted to high fashion, last November, it made the spinoff about 15% bigger in size. Affluent homes are already served with big coffee-table periodicals such as Elite Traveler, Cigar Aficionado, Ocean Drive and Palm Beach Cottages & Gardens.
The inverse strategy is just as clearly tactical: Consider Everyday Food, Stewart's digest-size, basic-staple recipe title that's easy for everyday people to carry around. Its readers' household income, according to Mediamark Research's fall report, reached almost $52,822. Cigar Aficionado households, on the other hand, claimed $97,811.
So the concept at Martha Stewart is less innovative than it is jarring amid this economic gloom and, more importantly, part of a growing split in print. Publishers under all kinds of pressure, not least their rising digital competitors, increasingly are setting tough priorities. The result is a widening divide between utility players such as newspapers and lavish showcases like luxury magazines.
This is certainly news given the folding of Blueprint! Read the entire article here.
The idea is to give readers the opportunity to sample the books online in the same way that prospective buyers can flip through books in a bookstore.
“It’s like taking the shrink wrap off a book,” said Jane Friedman, chief executive of HarperCollins Publishers Worldwide. “The best way to sell books is to have the consumer be able to read some of that content.”
Starting Monday, readers who log on to www.harpercollins.com will be able to see the entire contents of “The Witch of Portobello” by Mr. Coelho; “Mission: Cook! My Life, My Recipes and Making the Impossible Easy” by Mr. Irvine; “I Dream in Blue: Life, Death and the New York Giants” by Roger Director; “The Undecided Voter’s Guide to the Next President: Who the Candidates Are, Where They Come from and How You Can Choose” by Mark Halperin; and “Warriors: Into the Wild” the first volume in a children’s series by Erin Hunter.
HarperCollins also plans to upload a different title by Mr. Coelho each month for the rest of the year.
For more than a year, visitors to HarperCollins’ Web site have been able to use the company’s Browse Inside function to look at some pages of most of the publisher’s current titles. Ms. Friedman said she believed that by displaying even more of the book’s content free, more readers would be enticed to buy.
Brian Murray, president of HarperCollins, said that the free electronic editions would be available only for one month, and readers would not be able to download them to laptops or to an electronic reader like Kindle from Amazon.com. The print function will also be disabled, but readers will be able to link to retailers like Amazon.com to buy copies of the books.
Ms. Friedman said she doubted most people would read the entire versions online, but HarperCollins would track whether the editions actually helped increase sales. “We will know very soon if we sense any kind of cannibalization,” she said.
There is evidence that readers still buy books even if they can get the content free on the Web. “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” a children’s novel illustrated with cartoons, was published online three years ago at Funbrain.com, an educational Web site. But the physical book has spent 42 weeks on the New York Times Children’s Chapter Books best-seller list.
Reached by telephone in Paris, Mr. Coelho said: “I believe that generosity pays off.” On his own blog, he gives readers links to pirated editions uploaded by readers in numerous languages. “I believe that they are not going to go beyond 20 or 30 pages” when reading on the Internet, he said.
Neil Gaiman, the fantasy novelist, short story and comics writer, is asking readers of his blog to vote on the title they would most like to give as a gift. An electronic scan of the winning title will be offered free on the HarperCollins site later this month. Mr. Gaiman said the online effort was not so different from what has been going on for generations.
“I didn’t grow up buying every book I read,” said the English born Mr. Gaiman, 47. “I read books at libraries, I read books at friend’s houses, I read books that I found on people’s window sills.” Eventually, he said, he bought his own books and he believes other readers will, too.
HarperCollins will also begin offering 20 percent of some books two weeks before the hardcover editions go on sale. Starting Tuesday, readers can see the first fifth of “The Perfect Wife” by Victoria Alexander; “Deep Dish” by Mary Kay Andrews; and “Friend of the Devil” by Peter Robinson, all books that go on sale later this month.
NY Times: 2/11/08
Friday, February 8, 2008
You can see the press kit on the eBay listing - the book when released will not come with the "handbag" slipcase.
NY Post 2/8/08: The lure of the Hermes Birkin bag knows no bounds. An advance copy of "Bringing Home the Birkin," which chronicles author Michael Tonello's success in circumventing the faux two-year wait list and reselling the insanely coveted accessories, sold for nearly $1,000 on eBay this week. Tonello's hysterical tome about catering to desperate "label whores" is sure to be on many uptown bedside tables when it arrives in April. "Hermes has created a totally fake waiting list, and if you know how to ask for the bag, you get it right then and there," said one source. "People are so desperate, thinking they can't get Birkins because they aren't Katie Holmes, that Michael would resell the bags at a huge profit. He traveled all over the world doing it."
Thursday, February 7, 2008
And for the David Sedaris lovers like me, his new book "All the Beauty You Will Ever Need" will be released on June 3rd. Yay!
Catholic girl. Jersey. It’s all true. – Mary Elizabeth Williams
Became my mother. Please shoot me. – Cynthia Kaplan
Full of tequila and bad ideas. – Buck Johnston
I still make coffee for two. – Zak Nelson
My second grade teacher was right. – Janelle Brown
Not as blonde as I look. – Ellen Meister
Gin joints. Love affairs. No relation. – Dean Ellis
Stole wife. Lost friends. Now happy. – Po Bronson
Girls from the Bronx are different. – Arielle Basch
I like big butts, can’t lie. – Dave Russ
Well, I thought it was funny. – Stephen Cobert
Danced in fields of infinite possibilities. – Deepak Chopra