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December 2009

Posted 12.22.09:  Very Important Notice to all Writers' Reps clients:
The Southern District Court of New York has ordered the Opt Out date to the Google Book Settlement extended to January 28, 2010. We urge all of our clients, indeed all authors, to take advantage of this new opportunity to opt themselves out. While we continue to believe that the use of the opt out process chosen by these litigants is unconstitutional and a violation of copyright, we urge all clients to Opt Out anyway—as soon as possible. The Google Book Settlement is not a good deal for anyone. It compromises your very important future legal rights and the value of your economic rights in your copyrights. There is no predicting how much if any of this proposed settlement will survive further court scrutiny on grounds of lack of due process or other violations of law, so it is best for you to be safe rather than sorry. We are confident that Opting Out will not prejudice your future ability to get an as-good or far better deal than this with Google, should you ever choose to publish on Google in the future. For Google to discriminate against you in that way is likely in itself to be illegal on antitrust price-discrimination or other theories of law. Opting Out can be done by logging onto googlebooksettlement.com and registering your name and contact data under the “Opt Out” selection link. Note that there is no longer any requirement to list all one's works, or all other authors' works in which your works appear, due to the many objections that we and others have raised to this entire process. So, to avoid inconvenience to yourself, and to avert the possibility that only such works you actually list are considered to be effectively opted out, we suggest that you simply post the following notice in the box requesting information about works: “This opt out request should be considered to apply to all works whatsoever of mine that appear in any and all books either by myself or by others.” We believe this will be effective in putting the burden back where it belongs, on the publisher, to inform YOU of what precise uses it wishes to make of your work, and to make it clear that they may proceed to use your work without your clear written authorization, at peril of all your rights and remedies at law.
Posted 12.21.09:  Entertainment Weekly on Yeshiva Boys by David Lehman: “Lehman, at once one of our most playful and thoughtful of poets, demonstrates an unprecedented range here. The book's title derives from a sequence of 12 poems about growing up a religious Jew constantly trying to square his spiritual training with the absurdity, the sensuality, and the evil in the world. Elsewhere, Lehman uses many conveyances—including the prose poem, the sestina, and curt rhymes—to travel across the writing life of a poet whose instinctive romanticism is always bracing and tough-minded, brimming with a rare generosity that never seems drippy or forced.”
Posted 12.17.09:  Paul Among the People by Sarah Ruden gets a starred review in the current Booklist: “The astonishingly high quality of the new literature concerned with the greatest missionary apostle continues in poet and classical translator Ruden's [work]…. Ruden is winningly intimate as well as impressively scholarly in this superb book.” Earlier this year, in the March 12th issue of The New York Review of Books, Garry Wills said of Ruden's recent translation of the Aeneid, "Robert Fagles, shortly before his death, set the bar very high for translating [Vergil's] Aeneid. Yet already the scholar-poet Sarah Ruden has soared over the bar.... The translation is alive in every part.... This is the first translation since Dryden's that can be read as a great English poem in itself.”
Posted 12.05.09:  Terry Teachout's Pops now has been chosen by Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times as one of the “Top 10 Books of 2009”— by the Economist as a “Best Book of 2009”— by Publishers Weekly as one of the “Top 100 Best Books of 2009”— by Amazon as one of the “Top 100 Editors' Picks” and as an Amazon “Best Book of the Month December 2009,” where editor Dave Callanan writes, “Crafted with a musician's ear and an historian's eye, Pops is a vibrant biography of the iconic Louis Armstrong that resonates with the same warmth as ol' Satchmo's distinctive voice.”
Posted 12.02.09:  David Gelernter and his new book Judaism: A Way of Being ("A sweeping meditation on Jewish spirituality.... An attempt to conjure 'the grand scheme' of the Jewish religion.... A strange book.... deeply lyrical, even sensual.") are the subject of a cover story in this week's Chronicle Review supplement to The Chronicle of Higher Education: "Gelernter's career, his habitual breaches of disciplinary borders, can be seen as a revolt against the prevailing tides of academic life. His is also the career of a supremely confident thinker."

November 2009

Posted 11.24.09:  A rave review from Michiko Kakutani in today's New York Times: “With Pops, his eloquent and important new biography of Armstrong, the critic and cultural historian Terry Teachout restores this jazzman to his deserved place in the pantheon of American artists…. Mr. Teachout…writes with a deep appreciation of Armstrong's artistic achievements, while situating his work and his life in a larger historical context…. Although Armstrong's life story has been told many times before, Mr. Teachout does a nimble job of reconjuring the trajectory of Armstrong's experience…. The reader gets a dramatic snapshot in this volume of Armstrong's life.”
Posted 11.10.09:  The December Atlantic Monthly on Terry Teachout's Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong, just published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: “Teachout, an estimable critic, biographer, and former jazzbo, draws on newly available recordings and writings to limn the fullest portrait to date of the most popular and beloved figure in 20th-century music. This volume candidly explores the intersection of messy life events…and great art. It also offers shrewd analyses of many Armstrong compositions, including the chart-topping yet critically dismissed later works. Best of all, it smartly—and simply—finds unity in contradiction.”
Posted 11.03.09:  Publishers Weekly has chosen Terry Teachout's Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong as one of the "Top 100 Best Books of 2009": "Teachout's forceful reassertion of Louis Armstrong's significance to 20th-century America is a model for writing serious biography about pop culture icons." The book also was among the "Top 100 Editors' Picks" at Amazon, where it was chosen as one of the five best biographies of 2009 as well.

October 2009

Posted 10.21.09:  Bruce Bartlett's The New American Economy was a front-page business section story in the New York Times by David Leonhardt : “But perhaps the most persistent—and thought-provoking—conservative critic of the party has been Bruce Bartlett. Mr. Bartlett has worked for Jack Kemp and Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush. He has been a fellow at the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation. He wants the estate tax to be reduced, and he thinks that President Obama should not have taken on health reform or climate change this year. Above all, however, he thinks that the Republican Party no longer has a credible economic policy…. How, Mr. Bartlett asks, is this conservative? How is it in keeping with a party that once prided itself on fiscal responsibility…. 'So much of what passes for conservatism today is just pure partisan opposition,' Mr. Bartlett says. 'It's not conservative at all.' He became well known several years ago for attacking the younger Mr. Bush, in a book called Impostor. But Mr. Bartlett has turned out to be more interesting than most people who publicly break from their own party. In a series of columns for Forbes and in a book that comes out next week, The New American Economy, he has started to describe a new conservatism.” link to NYT story
Posted 10.21.09:  Publishers Weekly on Best African American Fiction 2010, edited by Guest Editor Nikki Giovanni, with Series Editor Gerald Early: "Early and guest editor Giovanni, the noted poet and children's author, do an outstanding job of choosing important and stirring short stories and novel excerpts from outstanding authors for this second volume in the series. Ranging from historical to contemporary pieces that cover African and multicultural issues, the standouts are many.... The collection gives a glorious overview of black literature published in 2010 in a volume that's not to be missed." With Best African American Essays 2010 (Guest Editor, Randall Kennedy) it is forthcoming in January from the Random House imprint One World of Ballantine Books.
Posted 10.08.09:  “Highly readable.”— Christian Caryl on David Price's The Pixar Touch in The New York Review of Books.

September 2009

Posted 09.22.09:  Publishers Weekly gave a starred review to Best American Poetry 2009, the latest in David Lehman's annual series. Entertainment Weekly also reviewed the book, saying, “Every year, the annual Best American Poetry anthology arrives like the gift that keeps on giving…. You get the current world of poetry in one slim volume.”
Posted 09.14.09:  Norman Podhoretz was interviewed by Deborah Solomon for the New York Times Magazine on the publication of Why Are Jews Liberals? And the book was the cover story in a lengthy New York Times Book Review piece a week later. As Jeff Jacoby elsewhere said of Podhoretz, “He writes knowing that he will not be heeded. American Jews cling to liberalism because it has superseded Judaism as their religion—or because they have come to regard Judaism as 'liberalism by another name.' Doubtless that is an assertion many Jewish liberals will scorn. But then, scorn from the left has never kept the author of 'Breaking Ranks' and 'Ex-Friends' from speaking bluntly about politics and ideas. Like its author, this cogent book is pugnacious and perceptive, and even readers who don't share Podhoretz's politics will find his analysis thought-provoking.”

August 2009

Posted 08.19.09:  Another review of David Lehman's forthcoming work in the current Publishers Weekly. This week it's of his forthcoming Yeshiva Boys: Poems, "Disarmingly casual, unexpectedly serious, alert to his predecessors and mentors in literature and in life, Best American Poetry series editor Lehman has produced a seventh book of uncommon variety…. Lehman remains alert to many styles and forms; as a poet he has often followed in the tracks of Kenneth Koch and Frank O'Hara. The title poem, leaving those influences behind, will seem to some readers flat and without style, to others as personal and as profound as anything Lehman has written."
Posted 08.10.09:  This week's issue of Publishers Weekly features a starred, lead review of Terry Teachout's Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong, “A fresh perspective…. Teachout's portrait reminds us why we fell in love with Armstrong's music in the first place”, and of David Lehman's A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs, “Digressive, nostalgic and deeply moving, Lehman achieves a fine, lasting tribute to the American songbook.”

July 2009

Posted 07.10.09:  Norman Podhoretz's forthcoming Why Are Jews Liberals? has received wonderful advance praise from Paul Johnson, Henry Kissinger, and William Kristol, and Michael Novak calls it, “another uncompromising, hard-hitting, brilliant, and richly provocative Norman Podhoretz book…. Intellectual excitement of a very high order.” Doubleday publishes in September.
Posted 07.09.09:  Leon R. Kass delivered the 38th Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities this year. Established in 1972, it is the highest honor the federal government bestows for distinguished intellectual and public achievement in the humanities. Past Jefferson Lecturers include Donald Kagan and Leszek Kolakowski. Dr. Kass is the author of The Hungry Soul: Eating and the Perfecting of Our Nature and The Beginning of Wisdom: Reading Genesis.
Posted 07.01.09:  Booklist reviews Pineapple Culture by Gary Okihiro: "Okihiro traces the impact this one commodity has exerted throughout time and around the globe, aided by the vagaries of geography, ambitions of governments, heroics of explorers, and vanities of businessmen.... Okihiro also constructs a thorough time line for the pineapple's rise to influence and acceptance that ranges from the species' genesis in a remote corner of South America, to its temptation of European botanists and its unwitting role in the overthrow of Hawaii's royal government. Seamlessly fusing geography with anthropology, horticulture with international politics, Okihiro draws a comprehensive portrait of how a singular fruit can unite a world."

June 2009

Posted 06.19.09:  "A fascinating look at our attempts to understand the human body's inner workings…. F. Gonzalez-Crussi, a professor emeritus of pathology at Northwestern University Medical School, has a special talent for finding memorable cases to illustrate his medical histories. Carrying the Heart teems with them…. Believe me. If medical books were half as entertaining as Carrying the Heart, we might see a few of them pop up on the best-seller lists."—Richmond Times-Dispatch
Posted 06.01.09:  Publishers Weekly on Why Are Jews Liberals? by Norman Podhoretz: “Eminent neoconservative Podhoretz surveys the centuries of atrocities that, he says, have pushed most Jews to the Left…. Podhoretz is an astute and joyously provocative and partisan observer of the political landscape.” Doubleday publishes in September.