18 June 2010

Anthony Hayward gives Hayward a Bad Name

I posted a question on Facebook today: “It’s time to think up another episode of Words on Books. Any suggestions?

“Graphic novels!” my daughter Sophia said. “Books by people named Anthony, or about people named Anthony,” a friend wrote. “Blockbusters you’re just getting around to,” said another.

As of two years ago, Anthony was the seventh most popular male name for US newborns. Google reports there are 9,435 people named Anthony living in Nevada, 4,658 in Utah. I think there must be more than that. Anthony derives from Antonius, a Roman family name (see: Mark Antony, of Cleopatra fame). St. Anthony the Great founded Christian monasticism. Dozens of Anthonys, and Tonys have become famous -- think Blair and Banderos, Bennett and Bourdain, Curtis, Hopkins, Randall, Shaloub, even made up people such as Tony Soprano, Anthony Goldstein from Harry Potter, Anthony Stark AKA Iron Man. Then there’s Tony Hayward of BP, now turning “Hayward” into a bad name worldwide.

Need I say more? Probably not and never again. But thanks for the idea!

I have been trying to find a way to work in a plug for the Soapbox essays that appear each week in back of the trade magazine Publishers Weekly. You would never normally get a chance to read these, because why would you pick up a rag concerned with publisher financials or employment gossip? Oh, that’s why – for the reviews. And the short, witty essays.

Most recently Richard Curtis presented a “Sneak Peek at Floppatronic’s Reader” which of course turns out to be a printed book, “operated by two hands, one to support it and one to activate the page-turning function.”

I enjoyed Annabelle Gurwitch’s piece “You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up” on “the highlights, lowlights, and downright misguided adventure of writing a book with your husband.”

In another issue literary agent Stephen Barbara explained “How Stephanie Meyer Cramps My Style.”

“Authors... expect me to know things,” Barbara writes. “The number one question I am asked by these aspiring writers is ‘How do I break in?’ ... Over time I came up with a nearly airtight answer. I quoted Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 Hours of Practice rule. I told of the 100-some rejection letters F. Scott Fitzgerald nailed to the wall of his office before having his first story accepted... And then I learned the story of how Stephenie Meyer (author of the Twilight Series) broke in... one night Meyer had a dream, feverishly wrote the complete manuscript of ‘Twilight’ over the next three months, sent it to several literary agencies... sold her series at auction for a then-unprecedented $750,000 advance... knocked J.K. Rowling from her top spot on the bestseller list, and in the space of four years became the world’s most popular author.”

He concludes, “I have a new response... read until you nearly go blind; write till your fingers are numb. Be ready to face years of rejection. Or just wait for a dream to hit you and transcribe a phenomenal world-wide bestseller in three months’ time. Either way, it’s the best answer I’ve got, these days.”

Richard Curtis at the end of last year spun out “The Yr of the Tweet, A look back at 2009" in verse: “Oh Muse, I pray, your face make visible, And help this bard pen something risible...”

“Novelists who couldn’t get work
Found it on the social network,
Washed up hacks got off their bums
And took to texting with their thumbs.
Now any writer sane or dotty
Calls himself a twitterati,
Producing literary treasures
In hundred forty unit measures.
The future Milton, Pope or Keats –
Immortalized in deathless tweets!”


Visit Publishers Weekly for additional Features, Foreword, Bestsellers and Reviews.

Annabelle Gurwitch and husband Jeff Kahn are co-authors of “You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up: A Love Story” Crown Publishing Group hard cover $24. ISBN 030746377X. Due in paperback in January, 2011.

The Facebook discussion, and too bad about privacy, people:

It's time to think up another episode of Words on Books. Any suggestions?

Sophia Ferrel: Graphic novels!

Anthony Miksak: I have Donald Duck in Italian... otherwise, nothing at hand. Good idea, though.

Russ Harvey: Blockbusters you're just getting around to. I've seen every Pride & Prejudice adaptation ever made, but actually hadn't read it until last year. Had never faked it, though, in case you were wondering.

Lisa B Lai: Books by people named Anthony. Or about people named Anthony.
7 hours ago · Unlike ·  1 person ·

Anthony Miksak: c'mon people....! OK Lisa... I vamped up a couple of paragraphs on "Anthony".... I'm that desperate...

Christie Olson Day: Why is the culture obsessed with zombies, vampires, and dystopian fantasy like the new and absolutely rockin' bestseller The Passage? Discuss!

Claire Amanno: to iphone or not to iphone... does research qualify for words on books?

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