From Ash Heap to Top of the World

Gotta love a story like this: Esi Edugyan’s Half-Blood Blues was mired at bankrupt publisher Key Porter, then rescued by Patrick Crean at Thomas Allen Publishers, and now has vaulted to win Canada’s Giller Prize. Picador will be bringing it out in the U.S. A foundling to a prize-winner! This is what I’ve always loved […]

Time Traveling With Lady Liberty

Cool b&w photo of Lady Liberty’s torch in Madison Square Park, before its placement atop the full statue in New York Harbor. This very period, the 1880s, is chronicled in Jack Finney’s great NY time travel novel, Time and Again. The 125th anniversary of the Statue’s dedication in New York City is upon us now.

Bob Delaney, Helping People Live With Stress and Trauma

Covert, Bob DelaneyIn 2008 I edited and published NBA referee Bob Delaney’s first book, Covert: My Years Infiltrating the Mob. Co-written with Dave Scheiber, it was named a USA TODAY Best Book of the Year. While relating the dangerous undercover assignment that led to multiple indictments and convictions of organized crime figures, the book also chronicled how the assignment led to undiagnosed post-traumatic stress for Bob. This was in the 1970s, before PTSD was a familiar term in our lexicon. Bob’s path through treatment to healing has now led to his second book, Surviving the Shadows: A Journey of Hope into Post-Traumatic Stress, which I represented with Bob’s longtime agent, Uwe Stender, placing it with Sourcebooks. In a new op-ed Bob writes that vet-to-vet, first responder-to-first responder, peer-to-peer therapy is an effective bulwark against post-traumatic stress and full-blown PTSD.  This is just one of many promising treatments described in the new book. I’m so proud of Bob, now retired from the NBA, for working with medical professionals, veterans’ groups, and law enforcement and first responder associations to promulgate these treatments for survivors of stress and trauma.Surviving the Shadows, Bob Delaney

Ohbijou & Library Voices at the Knitting Factory

Ohbijou from Toronto and Library Voices from Regina played great sets at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn Thursday night Nov. 4. A six-piece outfit, Ohbijou’s music is like a space jam with soaring notes and lyrical interludes with great vocals by sisters Casey and Jenny Mecija, who also play guitar and violin respectively. A seven-piece, Library Voices has a brash, fun sound with vibrant catchy hooks, bookish song titles and literary-minded lyrics (“Reluctant Readers Make Reluctant Lovers,” “If Raymond Carver Were Born in the 90s,” “Prime Minister’s Daughter), and a very athletic performing style. It was great hanging with all the band members before, during, and after their sets. Had fun chatting with Jenny and her boyfriend, Eoin, bassist of Library Voices, about Canadian writers, including Pierre Berton and Farley Mowat. Farley is a longtime friend to Eoin’s father, who works for the Library Association of Canada. Because Ohbijou currently has a popular song called Niagara I mentioned that in the 90s I’d published Berton’s great book Niagara: A History of the Falls, which garnered front-page treatment on the cover of the New York Times Book Review. Their lyrics riff on some of the same dangerous features of the falls that characterizes Berton’s narrative: “You collapsed into iron arms/A bridge, a crossing into desperate parts/We filled this quiet, this poison cup.” Several members of fellow Regina band Rah Rah were also in the house–Leif Thorseth, Joel Passmore, and Kristina Hedlund–adding to the good times for all.

#fridayreads/Nov. 4

Better late than not all: a last-minute #fridayreads, ‘The Abramsky Variations,’ Morley Torgov, an acerbic comic novel about a Toronto Jewish family.

Discovering the American Philosophical Society

I’ve known my friend George Gibson since 1979 when he paid a call as a sales rep on Undercover Books, the bookstore I then ran in Cleveland with my sibling and our parents. George, now publishing director of Bloomsbury USA, hosted an event Nov. 1 at the Grolier Club, one of NY’s most distinguished book […]

Richard Nash Tells All–Or At Least Quite A Lot

Richard Nash is a very smart publishing person, and plenty smart enough to know when an experimental direction he’s taken isn’t working out. As a result, he gave a talk this week at the Books into Browsers conference in San Francisco conceding that Cursor, the enterprise he announced with great anticipation in 2010, hasn’t really […]

Treasuring Neil Young

Neil’s the best. What a beautiful concert he played for the kids at the Bridge School. The lyrics of “Sugar Mountain,” all about the uneasy passage from childhood to adulthood, are especially meaningful here. The cover of the old Youngbloods song, “Get Together,” was a special way to close the night. I treasure Neil Young.