Today in books and publishing: Alexandria, Va. is America's most well-read city, at least according to Amazon., Pippa Middleton's having trouble finishing her book, and Gabriel García Márquez is alive, despite what Twitter says.
Uh oh: word is Pippa Middleton is "struggling" to complete her hostessing book before the planned October 25 launch date. Part of the problem, maybe: she hasn't enlisted the help of a ghostwriter and is determined to finish it on her own. Penguin paid Pippa a $600,000 advance for the tome, and they want it delivered by "early June." [The Royalist]
Alexandria, Virginia is the most literate city in the United States. This is according to Amazon's "Most Well-Read Cities List," which measures Amazon's sales of all all book, magazine and newspaper sales in both print and Kindle format" in a given municipality. So really, it's more of a list of where Amazon's best customers live. Still: interesting. The rest of the top-20 is heavy on college towns and cities where the weather is consistently iffy:
2. Cambridge, Mass.
3. Berkeley, Calif.
4. Ann Arbor, Mich.
5. Boulder, Colo.
7. Arlington, Va.
8. Gainesville, Fla.
9. Washington, D.C.
10. Salt Lake City
12. Knoxville, Tenn.
14. Orlando, Fla.
15. Columbia, S.C.
16. Bellevue, Wash.
18. St. Louis
20. Richmond, Va.
Former Newsday reporter Mike McGrady, 78, died Sunday in Shetlon, Washington. McGrady covered the Vietnam War and women's liberation movement for the paper, but achieved literary fame (or infamy) as co-editor of Naked Came the Stranger, a hugely successful erotic novel written collaboratively by 25 Newsday journalists. New York Times obituarist Margalit Fox highlights some of the more memorable sequences:
[T]he novel was a no-holds-barred chronicle of a suburban woman’s sexual liaisons, with each chapter recounting a different escapade:
She has sex with a mobster and sex with a rabbi. She has sex with a hippie and sex with at least one accountant. There is a scene involving a tollbooth, another involving ice cubes and still another featuring a Shetland pony.
The book was published in 1969, sold 20,000 copies, and McGrady and his team of authors came clean regarding their involvement in the book which was "intended to be a work of no redeeming social value and even less literary value." Noted contributors to the volume included recently retired New York Times sports columnist George Vecsey, Pulitzer Prize winner Gene Goltz, and Newsday investigative reporter Bob Greene. It remains in print today. [The New York Times]
Gabriel García Márquez: not dead. But yesterday, a Twitter user purporting to be author Umberto Eco claimed that the Love in the Time of Cholera author, 85, had died and that the author's death would be announced by "[his] the sister Aida and by publishers in few hours." No announcement came and it was quickly revealed to be baloney by the director of the Gabriel García Márquez Foundation and Reuters' Mexico correspondent Cynthia Barrera Diaz, who said a colleague spoke with the Colombian ambassador and that the author was in Los Angeles visiting family, very much alive. [The Guardian]