Steal this idea, somebody

Because I'm lazy (and I've already told a certain somebody, so you're already behind the times after you read this) I'm gonna give you my latest $100,000 idea- podcasting plays. That's right, I want to hear some one-act plays and maybe even cast recordings broadcast out to my mp3 player. I'm gonna try to write some and put them in creative commons, but you do the same if you get there before me, okay?

Pure Evil- but not related to Publishing

This is the face of the tree that will eat your children, Mr.Freeling. Mwah, ha, ha, ha. Here's to you Harriet Carter. Jesus loves you more than Archie McPhee.


Trendwatch 2005


Both have generated more occurences in my life than usual this week. Maybe I am more aware of them because of The Surreal Life and finishing Turn Me On, Dead Man by Andru Reeve. But it seems that no matter where I turn I run into something that references the Beatles or Bowling. Just something to keep in mind while watching the TV and going out on the town.

Also, someone has some explaining to do about Journey. Also seen here. (as linked on TVtattle.)


So many opinions for so little

Like this link from Boing Boing, I too am conflicted about the halt of Google's scans. I do like the idea of having a digital way to search the books, but places like Questia and OCLC and Nexis/Lexis have to pay for content, so should Google. Maybe if Google provided the service for free I would feel differently, but they still have advertisements in Google print and they still do the things Google does to make money using others content. It's a slippery slope to be sure and I'm not secure in my skiing abilities. I'm sure there will be lots more to come.


Baseball cards

The bad Karma of my last post has been making me feel uneasy (well that or the 96 degree heat) and I just don't want it as my first post. Still believe what I said, but I wanted something happier to greet me. So, here are some unique sounding project from Lunch Weekly.
  • The Card: The Multimillion Dollar Story of History's Most Desired Baseball Card, by NY Daily News reporters Michael O'Keeffe and Teri Thompson'. LW described as a narrative history of the Honus Wagner T206 card. I love a good book that explores the mythology of pop culture.
  • Susan DePhillips's Bitch in the Office. Another in Adams Media's new line of book. This one will explore the antagonistic relationships that can develop among women competing in the workplace. Why? I'm not sure but it sounds like it could be a fun business/ culture read.
  • And I would be remiss not to mention Skymaul: Happy Crap You Can Buy From a Plane from Kasper Hauser Comedy Group. This one should be self-explanatory and perfect for those days when we really want a Mad Magazine.
Okay, I feel better now.



Welcome to the first entry of "Reviews of Books We Could Do Without," brought to you this week by a subscription to Publishers Weekly. The idea behind this feature is that we as an industry publish too many books. And the industry always has published too much for all the wrong reasons. I am not deluded in hoping for all publishers to find something new under the sun, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't hold ourselves to higher standards. All I want is for us to stop and think "Hey, maybe we shouldn't publish more books on Thomas Jefferson or Mammoths or whatever if we don't have something new to say." I want us to be accountable for what we put out in the marketplace. And not just to the sales force or the bookstores, but when you're sitting at home with your children or at a bar with friends. I want all of us to admit that we did our homework before presenting a title. To feel that what we're publishing is worth publishing and fills a genuine need. I accept with open arms a book that presents new material on an old subject (Shakespeare scholarship is a perfect example of a subject area where one would think we've run the course, but people still find something new to write about), but if you are presenting me with something I've seen several times before, something that several other publishers have already published well in a variety of forms. Stop.

So without further ado . . .

Our first entry from Publishers Weekly just so happens to be their first selection for the non-fiction reviews. I present you The Gladiators by Fik Meijer from St. Martin's due out in November 2005. That's right, more than 5 years after the release of the Ridley Scott/ Russell Crowe feature comes another book on the subject. On St. Martin's site they have such "rave" reviews as "in-depth book" and "The author has pieced together thousands of documents, eyewitness testimonies, and engravings to tell in vivid detail the story of the gladiators of ancient Rome." PW at least admits "Meijer adds nothing new to our knowledge about gladiators." Yet they still reviewed the book. Great I now know of another book out there to not read, but the space could have been used for another title that may actually deserves some attention. A simple search on Amazon and I find more than I ever needed on gladiators:

Age of the Gladiator
De Gladiatoribus: A Gladiator Oriented Roman History
Emperors and Gladiator
The Gladiator
Gladiator (based on the Ridley Scott Movie)
Gladiator 100 BC- 200 AD
Gladiator: The Making of the Ridley Scott Epic
The Gladiators: A Tale of Rome And Judaea
Gladiators: Battling In The Arena
Gladiators: Spectacle and Entertainment in Ancient Rome
Gladiators and Caesar
Gladiators at Pompeii
Gods and Gladiators
Life of a Roman Gladiator
A Roman Gladiator
The Sorrows of the Ancient Romans: The Gladiator and the Monster
The Way of the Gladiator
The World of the Gladiator
By the Sword : A History of Gladiators, Musketeers, Samurai, Swashbucklers, and Olympic Champions

And I didn't even list the original sources, Spartacus, fiction and fitness titles. Most of the titles above have come out in the past few years. I know it doesn't match the quantity of other scholarship, but how many of them do we need? And what is the difference between them? Can you honestly look at the list and tell me that we need more than 2 or 3 of them?