August 30th, 2015
August 25th, 2015
It’s always gratifying when I know I’ve helped an author make his or her book better than when I received the manuscript from them, and even better when they show their appreciation with a recommendation that I can use in marketing my editorial and publishing services to other writers. Professor Dov Waxman’s Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict over Israel is an extremely important and timely book, just the kind of title I enjoyed acquiring when I was an in-house editor, one that I am proud to have worked on with Prof Waxman under the rubric of Philip Turner Book Productions. I look forward to seeing it in print in 2016. Meantime, I’m pleased to share his recommendation of my services:
“I was looking for someone to edit my book Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict over Israel (Princeton University Press, 2016) and my agent recommended Philip Turner. His recommendation was excellent. Philip turned out to be exactly the kind of editor I was looking for—thorough and detailed, with a keen understanding of my goals as a writer, my intended audience, and my book’s arguments. His careful editing has certainly improved my book, and I recommend him wholeheartedly.”—Dov Waxman, Professor of Political Science, International Affairs, and Israel Studies, Stotsky Professor of Jewish Historical and Cultural Studies, Co-Director, Middle East Center, Northeastern University
August 24th, 2015
My sister Pamela and her good friend Billy visited NY the past couple days, and last evening she took us on a Classic Harbor Line cruise in NY harbor with an AIA-certified guide, Scott Cook, who spoke very knowledgeably about NY buildings and the Manhattan, Brooklyn, and NJ waterfronts. It was far superior to NY’s more well-known and trafficked Circle Line! The docent Cook, one of six architecture professionals who work these cruises for Classic Harbor, was very good, a fluent speaker, quick to deliver interesting information on individual buildings, their locations, the architects responsible for them, and details of their design and especially their ‘green’ features. He described NY’s waterfront as our “sixth borough,” an idea that really appeals to me, and he broached urban issues, from climate change to how the Hudson River Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park are permitting high-rise development in exchange for resources for upkeep of these newly created public spaces.
The docents have to be quick because the boats of Classic Harbor are so-called ‘motor yachts,’ and they cruise at quite good speed. The vessel we sailed on was the Manhattan II, nicely appointed with teak and mahogany and lots of clean, clear wrap-around glass. Inside was a lounge with many comfortable seats at wide tables, quite a roomy space. The copy on the brochure and map they handed out (pictured below) suggests that these NY Harbor cruises are the least crowded of all the lines offering these boat rides, and I believe it—nothing at all like being on the subway, an unfortunately apt comparison for the ride I took a couple years ago on the Circle Line. Out on deck there’s some bench seating, and enough room to walk and stand comfortably, though carefully, leaning on rails and holding on to pieces of the ship. The captain was a rather young mariner, who helmed the yacht very ably, coming to a floating rest a number of times, near the Statue of Liberty, the shore of Governors Island, the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, and Battery Park City. Figured in to the price of a ticket is a free drink, so Kyle and I welcomed the discovery that Yuengling’s light beer is very drinkable!
A coincidental sidelight made me eager to go on this tour: when I was executive editor with Times Books at Random House in the late ’90s, I acquired, edited, and published the 4th Edition of the AIA Guide to New York City, an essential handbook that has been published continuously since 1967, with a new edition out roughly every decade. The edition I published—by architect and pithy writer about buildings and public spaces Norval White—included entries on more than 5,000 of the metropolis’s buildings in all five boroughs, a book I still treasure.
I hope at some point to take Classic Harbor Line’s cruise that circumnavigates all of Manhattan, a three-hour trip, twice the duration of the trip we took Sunday night. Given my personal interest in the GWB, aka The Great Gray Bridge, and The Little Red Lighthouse, I’m sure I will enjoy that tour even more. Here are lots more of my pictures, with commentary in the captions, though it’s a dead certainty I’ll come nowhere recalling most of the buildings and architects that Scott Cook named, but the day was so clear with abundant light, I think you’ll be able to appreciate many of the views and buildings anyway.
August 22nd, 2015
August 22nd, 2015
For my #FridayReads this week, I just finished reading Marilinne Cooper’s excellent suspense novel Blue Moon, set in a New England town reminiscent of Franconia, NH, where she and I went to Franconia College. I was engrossed in discovering how the clever plot resolves, and delighted with the suspenseful ending, and the goodwill among major characters. I was with Marilinne at our FC Reunion last weekend, where I was excited to pick up a copy of this, her latest novel featuring her 6-book series character, investigative reporter Tyler Mackenzie. I read and love this genre, and this book is very well done. Good job by Ms Cooper, whose books are available via this link.
August 18th, 2015
My news reading this morning included quite a synchronous twofer:
1) Here I read about the staggering generosity of Lebron James’ gift of full scholarships to attend University of Akron for more than 1100 Akron high school students—a philanthropic package with about a $41M value.
2) Then I read the latest update in another University of Akron story, this one involving the school’s scholarly publishing arm. Last week, local outlets and Publishers Weekly reported University of Akron Press would be shuttered, as part of wider cost-cutting measures at the school (ending the jobs of more than 150 people, including the press’s staff). Thankfully, today brings news that amid a spontaneous campaign by press supporters, university administrators have rehired two of the press’s staffers, and affirmed they’ll take “all steps necessary” to make sure the press “maintains its well-earned reputation as a vibrant, active academic press.”
I’m sure this was the first time I’d encountered two important stories about the University of Akron one after another like this and so wrote this waggish tweet.
— Philip Turner (@philipsturner) August 18, 2015
August 17th, 2015
I really enjoyed reading The Ecliptic, a novel recently published in Britain by English author Benjamin Wood. It's narrated by a female painter named Knell, set in part in London in the early 1960s. The story opens at a mysterious refuge for artists where Knell and other creative people (a playwright, an architect, a composer) have found safe harbor. Ensconced in the protective cocoon of this colony, to which benefactors have sent them so they could work only on their artistic pursuits, they think are far away from all worldy concerns, until a new artist turns up in their midst, a troubled young man. Wood is a maker of great sentences—the kind your mind likes to chew on and re-read, making leisurely progress through the book a delicious process—and his story is an engrossing one with characters you come to really care about. The Ecliptic is the second novel by Benjamin Wood, whose first novel, The Bellwether Revivals, I am eager to read next. Here's a picture of well-thumbed the galley I read, with my business card out the top, which I used as a bookmark over the couple of weeks I savored this novel of ideas that explores the creative process in entertaining and thoughtful ways. The book will be published in the States in May 2016. I highly recommend you watch for this one.
August 10th, 2015
As I reported on this blog last month, I was excited to begin working with Rizzoli to help them open their new flagship bookstore on Broadway near 26th St in Manhattan. It was gratifying to see the enthusiastic response of many friends and readers here who cheered my return to bookselling, more than 30 years after I got my start in the book business with Undercover Books in Cleveland. After working for Rizzoli pretty much all of July—including a stretch when I worked 19 out of 22 days, determined physical effort as part of a hard-working crew to which I was proud to contribute my efforts—we were excited to open the store to customers on July 27. However, due to the ongoing build-out of the 5,000 square foot space, with two large rooms then incomplete, and construction continuing for more weeks, I’ve decided to step back from working in the store for now. In the days I worked there after it opened to customers, the foot traffic was brisk, and I’m optimistic that the bookstore is going to do very well, indeed. I’m glad I was able to contribute to Rizzoli’s reopening in New York City, and am grateful to store manager Chad Bunning who gave me the opportunity, and with whom I share a devotion to energetic bookselling. I urge you to visit Rizzoli’s handsome new store, and if you first want to see a bit of what it looks like, below is a picture I took at a reception held in July for media and publishing professionals, and at this link there are others. For my part, I am excited to return full-time to my independent editorial and publishing consultancy, Philip Turner Book Productions, with some assignments from new clients already lined up for the fall.
Publishing Consultant, Curator & Writer at The Great Gray Bridge & Honourary CanadianCurator, writer, editor, blogger—amplifying my enthusiasms for many audiences.
Readers of The Great Gray Bridge can buy books from Powell's Books of Portland, OR. You may search for a book here, or in my blog posts click on a title, many of which now link directly to Powell's site. They then return a portion of your purchase to help maintain this site.