Archive: Alan Cooperman

Five Recent Books About Conservatism

Alan Wolfe's new book "The Future of Liberalism" attempts to define the underlying spirit of liberalism in U.S. politics. Book World's reviewer, Ron Rosenbaum, summarized the argument: A true liberal, Wolfe contends, is pragmatic, sober, skeptical and emotionally detached. Both the political right and far left, in contrast, are romantic...

By Alan Cooperman | April 2, 2009; 10:33 AM ET | Comments (1)

What Year Was Most Important?

Was it 1492 or 1968? 1066 or 1848? We've had a spate of bestsellers about the events of a single year, and two new titles are on their way: 1959: The Year Everything Changed, by Fred Kaplan, will be published in June. Kaplan (who writes the War Stories column about...

By Alan Cooperman | March 27, 2009; 11:43 AM ET | Comments (1)

The Dartmouth Letter Sweater Case

Sixty years ago this week, the criminal behavior of some college fraternity boys -- and why they did it, and how they got away with it -- transfixed the nation. Whatever you may think of the 2006 Duke lacrosse rape case, it pales in comparison with the Dartmouth football letter...

By Alan Cooperman | March 20, 2009; 12:33 PM ET | Comments (1)

Bush Memoir Due in 2010

You've seen the Oliver Stone movie, "W." But if you want a really sympathetic portrayal of the former president, you'll have to wait until 2010, when Crown (a division of Random House) will publish his memoir. The deal was announced today. The book is tentatively titled "Decision Points" and will...

By Alan Cooperman | March 18, 2009; 06:23 PM ET | Comments (9)

Mysterious Cover Art

I keep hearing horror stories from authors about cover art -- how they detest the cover art their publishers choose, how the publishers refuse to consult them about those choices, how they have pleaded to no avail for the use of archival photos of the real people or places described...

By Alan Cooperman | March 11, 2009; 06:31 AM ET | Comments (1)

Andrew Greeley, Priest and Novelist

I just received "Irish Tweed," the latest mystery novel by the Rev. Andrew M. Greeley, the Chicago priest, sociologist and bestselling author. The protagonist, once again, is Nuala Anne McGrail, a fictional character nearly as multi-talented as Greeley himself: She's an Irish songstress and sleuth with second sight. In "Irish...

By Alan Cooperman | March 6, 2009; 09:10 AM ET | Comments (0)

Five Favorite Garry Wills Books

Whose fame by now is more than mine? Of my work all can quote a line. --from Martial's epigram No. 83, translated by Garry Wills Our era will pose a problem for future social historians: They'll drown in material. Understanding wars and politics won't be so hard. But social...

By Alan Cooperman | February 26, 2009; 12:40 PM ET | Comments (2)

Ur New York

Back in 1971, the New York Times hired Jean-Claude Suares, who goes by "J.C.," as a freelance art editor for its op-ed pages. For seven months, he suggested various images, and the Powers-That-Were rejected them all. Then one day an op-ed piece compared living in New York to living on...

By Alan Cooperman | February 13, 2009; 07:01 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Modern Adonis

The Syrian poet Adonis, perenially listed as contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature, is in hot water again. And you have to say this for his enemies in radical Islamic circles: Like censors in the former Soviet Union, when they try to supress poetry and poets, they at least...

By Alan Cooperman | February 6, 2009; 10:03 AM ET | Comments (5)

Preserving Book World's Mission

In recent years, Book World has run about 900 reviews annually. Counting shorter pieces -- briefs and roundups of one sort or another -- we've been able, by our internal count, to cover in some fashion about 1,200 adult titles, 100 children's books and 50 young adult books a year....

By Alan Cooperman | January 30, 2009; 07:03 AM ET | Comments (8)

How to Publish a Book by an Odious Person

When O.J. Simpson wrote a book, the outcry against its publication was so intense that the publisher canceled its release and recalled 400,000 copies. But there's been nary a peep about the recent publication of My Life as a Spy, a self-justifying memoir by John A. Walker Jr., who is...

By Alan Cooperman | January 23, 2009; 07:02 AM ET | Comments (1)

Blogbooks

"Reverse publishing" -- that's what we call it when we take material (especially feedback from readers) that originated on the Post's Web site and print it in the newspaper. The "reverse" part of the term is a legacy of the days -- it seems like eons ago, but it's been...

By Alan Cooperman | January 16, 2009; 03:35 PM ET | Comments (1)

Father Richard John Neuhaus, Politics, Books and Nakedness

I suspect that the Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, who died of cancer on Thursday, will be remembered primarily for helping to forge evangelical Protestants and Roman Catholics into a potent alliance on conservative social issues such as abortion and embryonic stemcell research. But there was much more to him than...

By Alan Cooperman | January 9, 2009; 01:38 PM ET | Comments (2)

Obama's Cabinet: Team of Writers

Some imagine that Barack Obama is creating a cabinet in the image of Abe Lincoln's, a Team of Rivals, to borrow Doris Kearns Goodwin's phrase. Obama has suggested it's more like a team of hoopsters, "the best basketball-playing Cabinet in American history," including Education Secretary-designate Arne Duncan, who was co-captain...

By Alan Cooperman | December 19, 2008; 07:01 AM ET | Comments (0)

Books for Wine Lovers

You can't take liquids on planes anymore, and it's risky to put wine in the mail, so sometimes you can't easily give a bottle to someone who'd like one. If you're looking for a gift this season for someone who likes wine, skip the pretentious, expensive tomes. Here are some...

By Alan Cooperman | December 12, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

If Banks Are Failing, Could Books Be Far Behind?

Retailers across the United States sold 16.2 million books during the week of Thanksgiving, up 6 percent from a year ago, according to the latest figures from Nielsen BookScan. But despite that news, this was a bad, bad week in the book publishing business, as one publishing house after another...

By Alan Cooperman | December 7, 2008; 01:38 AM ET | Comments (3)

Shiver Me Timbers, Oy Vey!

Among my favorite Jewish haiku is this gem: Seven-foot Jews in the NBA slam-dunking! My alarm clock rings. That verse came to mind as I compiled this list of books about the importance of my tribe. OK, so the Irish saved civilization! That's practically bupkes. According to this (mostly new)...

By Alan Cooperman | December 4, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Black and White and Read All Over

For chess enthusiasts (and those who love them), I want to pass along a few good moves ... in terms of what to read. On a recent coast-to-coast flight, I devoured Zugzwang (now out in paperback), the first and only chess thriller I've ever read. It's by the talented Irish...

By Alan Cooperman | November 28, 2008; 06:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Who's Going to Read Books in the Future?

It's a national scandal, or should be. After spending $6 billion on a program to help First, Second and Third Graders learn to read, the U.S. Department of Education has concluded that the program isn't effective. As the Washington Post's Maria Glod reported last week, the so-called Reading First program...

By Alan Cooperman | November 24, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

Pattern or Coincidence? You Decide

Piles and piles of books arrive at our offices every day, and we often notice publishing trends, or what seem to be trends . . . but might just be coincidences. So the game here is: Pattern or Coincidence? You tell us. I'll start you off with an easy example...

By Alan Cooperman | November 14, 2008; 10:58 AM ET | Comments (1)

Why Readers Loved Michael Crichton and Critics Didn't

Michael Crichton once compared writing a novel to being deep in the bowels of a ship. "All you can see are the pipes and the grease and the fittings of the boiler room, and you have to assume the ship's exterior," he said, adding that the role of an editor...

By Alan Cooperman | November 6, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (10)

Presidential Race Gets Much Verse

Good news today for Calvin Trillin fans. The Nation's (and probably the nation's) most amusing political versifier is hard at work on Deciding the Decider: The 2008 Presidential Race in Rhyme. Random House says he has promised to pen his final stanzas within three days after the election so the...

By Alan Cooperman | October 31, 2008; 02:58 PM ET | Comments (0)

Davin Seay: The Collaborationist

Davin Seay is a professional co-author. His name typically appears in smaller type and lighter ink next to a more famous author's name on a book cover. But Seay (pronounced SEE) is not a "ghost" writer. He gets credit. And he deserves it. He's co-authored the life stories of Snoop...

By Alan Cooperman | October 24, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

A Father's Madness, A Daughter's Perseverance

Once in a while, parents are absolutely right to insist they have (or had) an unrecognized genius for a child. I'm thinking, for example, of Thelma Toole. Mighty good thing she took her dead son's smudgy manuscript to Walker Percy and demanded he read it. Otherwise we would not have...

By Alan Cooperman | October 17, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

Truth or Dare? The Bush Administration Memoirs

In this coming Sunday's Book World, The Post's national security editor, Carlos Lozada, presents a history of the Bush administration as told through snippets -- all cited verbatim -- from tell-all memoirs by former White House aides, executive branch officials, generals and diplomats. It's a rollicking and revealing look back...

By Alan Cooperman | October 10, 2008; 07:42 AM ET | Comments (2)

Translating the Nobel Prize Decision

Like a slugger pointing to the bleachers before a home run, Horace Engdahl telegraphed where the Swedish Academy was going: The 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature will be awarded to the French novelist Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio. (Le Clezio's bio.) French novelist Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio. (AP) And to a...

By Alan Cooperman | October 9, 2008; 09:10 AM ET | Comments (24)

Bullseye! Corporate Funding for Books

Corporate funding for the arts is ubiquitous. Go to the opera or symphony in any U.S. city, and -- no matter how crummy the performance -- you'll find lots of proud corporate donors acknowledged in the program or announcements. Ditto for museum shows, edgy theatrical troupes, modern dance, ballet and...

By Alan Cooperman | October 3, 2008; 11:24 AM ET | Comments (0)

Hot, Hot, Hot: The Financial Crisis and Sarah Palin

Two topics seem to be very hot in the publishing industry right now: the financial crisis and Sarah Palin. Let's start with the financial crisis. It's been bad news for many people, but maybe not entirely bad for Alan Greenspan: His book, The Age of Turbulence, has popped back onto...

By Alan Cooperman | September 26, 2008; 07:53 AM ET | Comments (2)

Books on 'Green' Paper

How much good could a do-gooder do, if a do-gooder did good with wood? That question -- in some form -- seems to have occurred to former President Bill Clinton when he was writing "Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World," a very very very well-meaning 2007 book...

By Alan Cooperman | September 19, 2008; 07:54 AM ET | Comments (3)

Five Books Whose Authorship Has Been Disputed

Rule No. 1 in this parlor game is, forget about books whose authorship is clouded by the mists of time. Nothing written before 1500 counts here. What critically acclaimed or bestselling books do you think were not written by their purported authors? Did Ted Sorensen write Profiles in Courage? Does...

By Alan Cooperman | September 18, 2008; 07:46 AM ET | Comments (5)

Fightin' Words: Five Memorable Revolutionary Books

When the Berlin Wall came down and tiny pieces of it (real or purported) immediately went on sale, I took it as emblematic of our era: the mass, crass commercialization of everything. But I was wrong, at least in thinking that there was anything new about the speed with which...

By Christian Pelusi | July 3, 2008; 09:55 AM ET | Comments (0)

Five Books With a Moral Purpose

Ron Charles recently reviewed Hillary Jordan's novel Mudbound, which had won the Bellwether Prize for "socially responsible" fiction. Ron didn't much like the book, which for his taste was too preachy and predictable. What turned him off seems to be exactly what turned on Barbara Kingsolver, who established the prize...

By Christian Pelusi | May 8, 2008; 06:34 AM ET | Comments (12)

Five Favorites About Zoos

"There are so many zoo books," Said young Olivia Newlooks, "Novels and memoirs and Could-it-be-true? books." "But if I wrote about zoos, It would really make news! My views on zoos Would knock off your shoes." "The scarlet macaws and Nazis and stuff They write about now are not quite...

By Christian Pelusi | March 20, 2008; 07:38 AM ET | Comments (0)

Where Is Our Best 9/11 Fiction?

Four bestselling authors were having dinner at Gerard's Place, a quiet Washington restaurant. At one end of the table was George Packer ("Assassins' Gate"). At the other was Rajiv Chandrasekaran ("Imperial Life in the Emerald City," now being made into a movie starring Matt Damon). In the middle were Steve...

By Christian Pelusi | February 15, 2008; 07:24 AM ET | Comments (19)

Books That Reimagine Bible Stories

"I cannot speak for the others, but He always made me feel cherished. When He was speaking with me I felt as if I were the only person in the world to Him." My first thought when I read those lines was: Sounds like Bill Clinton. At least, that's what...

By Christian Pelusi | January 24, 2008; 08:04 AM ET | Comments (13)

Lost and Rediscovered Books

In Mikhail Bulgakov's fantastical novel "The Master and Margarita," manuscripts may be enveloped in flames, but they don't burn. In real life, alas, they do burn -- and rot, gather dust in attics and get rejected by publishers. But there are also writings that are rediscovered and published decades, even...

By Christian Pelusi | October 25, 2007; 06:56 AM ET | Comments (3)

 

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