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Sunday, March 20, 2005

Stilettos and Books

There may be a big weather map covering ¾ of the back page of the San Francisco Chronicle Book Review, limiting the number of critiques the paper publishes each week, but the editors seem to be finding other ways to talk about the local literati.

For the past two weeks, the Sunday Style section has had articles about writers. Last week, there was a featurette on the couple, Julie Orringer and Ryan Harty, former Wallace Stegner fellows who have well-received short story collections. This week, non-fiction gets its turn.

The front page of Style is splashed with a large picture – with pink background – of glam editor/writer Katrina Heron, who edited Wired Magazine. She and a group of women writers have put together book on terrorism, Safe: The Race to Protect Ourselves in a Newly Dangerous World. Heron was an editor at the New Yorker when she came West to do a Knight Fellowship at Stanford. She was so intrigued by the Internet revolution that she stayed, and played a large role in interpreting the Web for the rest of the world, which took awhile to understand the technology revolution.

Now Heron wants to interpret technology for average folks, to “examine the limitations, as well as the possibilities of technology in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center,” writes Paul Wilner in the Chronicle article. “It explores how innovators can help us protect ourselves in the increasingly dangerous world.”

“I’m always interested in bridge situations, where you can kind of be a translator between different cultural languages,” said Heron.

Style also has a half-page Q & A interview with Robin Wolaner, who is arguably one of the Bay Area’s most successful publishers – male or female. She cofoundedParenting, and worked at Sunset, Mother Jones, Martha Stewart Living, Penthouse, Runner’s World, and was vice-president of Time Ventures Publishing. Her new book is Naked in the Boardroom: A CEO Bares Her Secrets So You Can Transform Your Career and it offers tips on how to succeed in a male-dominated business world.

Check this one out:

Naked Truth #3 Don’t meet with a male colleague in a hotel room or private residence. Intentions may be innocent but shit happens.

Now both these women are interesting in their own right, but I can’t help wondering if the Chronicle is applying some smart marketing techniques here. I’ve read that women buy most of the books in the United States. My guess is the newspaper is trying to appeal to the Bay Area’s large book-loving population with this feminization of book news.

I’m not complaining.

1 comment:

Robin Wolaner said...

Thanks - it's good to find your blog. The Chron story (in addition to aging me by a year) was wrong to call me co-creator of Parenting. I'm the founder, there were lots of co-creators, a talented team here and in New York. I asked them for a correction, but don't want the web to perpetrate the mistakes.