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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was reviewing this and all the freebies from yesterday moved waaayyy up in sales. :) The number one book is Michael Phelp's story.
Linda

I didn't realize Phelps had a book out, let alone on Kindle! --Betsy
 

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I am sure Michael's book is great but it reminded me of this editorial from the New York Times this weekend:

December 7, 2008
Op-Ed Guest Columnist
Typing Without a Clue
By TIMOTHY EGAN

The unlicensed pipe fitter known as Joe the Plumber is out with a book this month, just as the last seconds on his 15 minutes are slipping away. I have a question for Joe: Do you want me to fix your leaky toilet?

I didn't think so. And I don't want you writing books. Not when too many good novelists remain unpublished. Not when too many extraordinary histories remain unread. Not when too many riveting memoirs are kicked back at authors after 10 years of toil. Not when voices in Iran, North Korea or China struggle to get past a censor's gate.

Joe, a k a Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, was no good as a citizen, having failed to pay his full share of taxes, no good as a plumber, not being fully credentialed, and not even any good as a faux American icon. Who could forget poor John McCain at his most befuddled, calling out for his working-class surrogate on a day when Joe stiffed him.

With a résumé full of failure, he now thinks he can join the profession of Mark Twain, George Orwell and Joan Didion.

Next up may be Sarah Palin, who is said to be worth nearly $7 million if she can place her thoughts between covers. Publishers: with all the grim news of layoffs and staff cuts at the venerable houses of American letters, can we set some ground rules for these hard times? Anyone who abuses the English language on such a regular basis should not be paid to put words in print.

Here's Palin's response, after Matt Lauer asked her when she knew the election was lost:

"I had great faith that, you know, perhaps when that voter entered that voting booth and closed that curtain that what would kick in for them was, perhaps, a bold step that would have to be taken in casting a vote for us, but having to put a lot of faith in that commitment we tried to articulate that we were the true change agent that would progress this nation."

I have no idea what she said in that thicket of words.

Most of the writers I know work every day, in obscurity and close to poverty, trying to say one thing well and true. Day in, day out, they labor to find their voice, to learn their trade, to understand nuance and pace. And then, facing a sea of rejections, they hear about something like Barbara Bush's dog getting a book deal.

Writing is hard, even for the best wordsmiths. Ernest Hemingway said the most frightening thing he ever encountered was "a blank sheet of paper." And Winston Churchill called the act of writing a book "a horrible, exhaustive struggle, like a long bout of painful illness."

When I heard J.T.P. had a book, I thought of that Chris Farley skit from "Saturday Night Live." He's a motivational counselor, trying to keep some slacker youths from living in a van down by the river, just like him. One kid tells him he wants to write.

"La-di-frickin'-da!" Farley says. "We got ourselves a writer here!"

If Joe really wants to write, he should keep his day job and spend his evenings reading Rick Reilly's sports columns, Peggy Noonan's speeches, or Jess Walter's fiction. He should open Dostoevsky or Norman Maclean - for osmosis, if nothing else. He should study Frank McCourt on teaching or Annie Dillard on writing.

The idea that someone who stumbled into a sound bite can be published, and charge $24.95 for said words, makes so many real writers think the world is unfair.

Our next president is a writer, which may do something to elevate standards in the book industry. The last time a true writer occupied the White House was a hundred years ago, with Teddy Roosevelt, who wrote 13 books before his 40th birthday.

Barack Obama's first book, the memoir of a mixed-race man, is terrific. Outside of a few speeches, he will probably not write anything memorable until he's out of office, but I look forward to that presidential memoir.

For the others - you friends of celebrities penning cookbooks, you train wrecks just out of rehab, you politicians with an agent but no talent - stop soaking up precious advance money.

I know: publishers say they print garbage so that real literature, which seldom makes any money, can find its way into print. True, to a point. But some of them print garbage so they can buy more garbage.

There was a time when I wanted to be like Sting, the singer, belting out, "Roxanne ..." I guess that's why we have karaoke, for fantasy night. If only there was such a thing for failed plumbers, politicians or celebrities who think they can write.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/07/opinion/07egan.html?em=&pagewanted=print
 

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Excellent!  and good grief, a book by Joe the Plumber?  What on earth could he possibly have to say (this is not a political comment)?  Do all of us who have 15 minutes of fame get to write a book?  Leslie's been on CNN.com, she could write a book!  Oh, wait, she did--that's WHY she was on CNN.com.  ::)  I was interviewed for the local news once.  Can I get a book deal?  Sheesh.

Gonna forward this to a couple of writers I know...they'll barf.

Betsy
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I rooted for Phelps in the Olympics and think he is an amazing athlete but won't be reading the book. I thought it was interesting to see how the free books had moved up from in the 3 and 4000's to the top 25 or so. Many people taking advantage of the freebies yesterday.
Linda
 

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Excellent article, and a very disheartening look at the industry as far as true writers are concerned.
 

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Well, I can't really fault poor Joe.  He accidentally got on TV and the media made him into a 'story'.  I've not got a lot of respect for him as a person, from what I've learned, but I can't fault him for being willing to take a lot of money from someone willing to give it to him just 'cause.  It's like he won the lottery.  That said, I won't be buying his book, or Phelps' or any other celeb's "memoir". 

You know, we've got power here. . . .we should pick a book to all buy, in the same 15 minute time slot, to knock the number 1 out of it's place. . .kind of like Colbert did with his iTunes Christmas Special. . . . . .  :D  Except first we'd have to agree on a book. . . . . . .

Ann
 

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CS said:
Excellent article, and a very disheartening look at the industry as far as true writers are concerned.
With that said, I don't have a blanket objection to ALL celebrity memoirs. I think a few of them are quite good, actually.

For example, I read a sample of Baba Wawa's memoir, Audition, and it seems like an interesting read.

It's just the junky ones - like Joe The Plumber - that I have an issue with.
 

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Ann Von Hagel said:
Well, I can't really fault poor Joe. He accidentally got on TV and the media made him into a 'story'. I've not got a lot of respect for him as a person, from what I've learned, but I can't fault him for being willing to take a lot of money from someone willing to give it to him just 'cause. It's like he won the lottery. That said, I won't be buying his book, or Phelps' or any other celeb's "memoir".

You know, we've got power here. . . .we should pick a book to all buy, in the same 15 minute time slot, to knock the number 1 out of it's place. . .kind of like Colbert did with his iTunes Christmas Special. . . . . . :D Except first we'd have to agree on a book. . . . . . .

Ann
Hey, if I could get someone to give me a book deal, you better believe I'd take it. Not blaming Joe, just can't imagine what there would be in it that would be of interest...or why someone would give him money to "write" it (I'm betting there's a ghost involved). I gotta get famous.

Betsy
 

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CS said:
With that said, I don't have a blanket objection to ALL celebrity memoirs. I think a few of them are quite good, actually.

For example, I read a sample of Baba Wawa's memoir, Audition, and it seems like an interesting read.

It's just the junky ones - like Joe The Plumber - that I have an issue with.
Nikki Sixx's Heroin Diaries is one of the few autobiographies I have ever enjoyed. Most autobiographies are excises of ego stroking and tall tales.
 

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The sad thing is that there are idiots out there who will buy good ol' Joe's book. Gag.
 
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