Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bay Area Literary Tidbits New York Times featured a profile of Oakland writer Melanie Gideon, whose memoir, The Slippery Year, will be published by Knopf next week.

The title of the article: Car-Pool Epiphanies: A Memoir About the Ordinary, says a lot about the book. “Melanie Gideon does not have a story of divorce, death or abuse to tell. Nor does she write of recovery from cancer, drug addiction or even a miserable childhood,” says the article.

“This really is a book about nothing,” confirms Gideon, who is a write at San Francisco’s Writer’s Grotto.

Well, I have read the book, and while it is true the most dramatic plot element involved Gideon driving five hours to spy on her son while he is at sleep-away camp (either to make sure he is okay or just because she misses him so much) the book really is about finding happiness in ordinary life.

And her first chapter, when her husband buys a deluxe motor home, was so funny that I burst into laughter a half a dozen times.

Gideon will be at A Great Good Place for Books in Oakland on August 12 as well at some other venues in the Bay Area.

Another Bay Area writer, Kathryn Ma, is getting lots of advance praise for her linked collection of stories, All That Work and Still No Boys.

Curtis Sittenfeld, the author of Prep and An American Wife, listed Ma’s book as one of her favorite five books on The Daily Beast. Sittenfeld even went so far as to predict that Ma would win the Pulitzer Prize for her work. (She also praises the work of Jennie Capo Crucet. Sittenfled selected both authors to win an Iowa fiction prize.)

“When Crucet and Ma become really famous and win Pulitzers, I plan to pretend I discovered them,” writes Sittenfeld.

In another contest, Stephen Elliot, the Grotto dweller, founder of The Rumpus, founder of The Progressive Reading Series, author of seven books, and self-declared masochist and wild man, was voted the Bay Area’s favorite writer.

Recent book sales by Bay Area authors, via Publishers Marketplace:

Sister Madonna Buder and Karin Evans's IRON SPIRIT: The Wisdom and Inspiration of Sister Madonna Buder, World Champion Triathlete, about the 79-year-old nun and Ironman competitor known on the circuit as the Iron Nun, to Marysue Rucci at Simon & Schuster, in a good deal, at auction, by Elisabeth Weed at Weed Literary.

Radio show host, magazine writer and frequent contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle Tony DuShane's CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE JESUS JERK, loosely based on his experience growing up a Jehovah's Witness, to Anne Horowitz at Soft Skull, by Mollie Glick of Foundry Literary + Media.

Journalist (formerly with the SF Chronicle) and author Steven Winn's COME BACK, COMO: Winning the Heart of a Reluctant Dog, to Carole Tonkinson at Harper UK, by Juliette Shapland at Harper, on behalf of the Amy Rennert Agency. (Foreign rights have also been sold to France, Holland, Poland and China)

Thomas Peele's KILLING THE MESSENGER: the Assassination of Chauncey Bailey and the Ruination of an American City, a chilling story of murder, journalism, politics and intrigue that investigates the brutal slaying of Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey, who was gunned down in 2007 for writing a story about Your Black Muslim Bakery, the business front of a violent polygamist cult, to Jenna Ciongoli at Broadway, in a pre-empt, for publication in Fall 2011, by Elizabeth Evans at Reece Halsey New York (NA).

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