Thursday, May 22, 2014

Books I Have Known

Not much blogging lately for three reasons: paid work, including the Grateful Dead manuscript; book-reviewin' for Truthdig; and Facebook--so many kitty cats, so little time!

Let me focus on the first two reasons and draw the curtain of charity before the third.

The Dead MS is in production. Now I'm working on the photos (and permissions), chit-chatting with the publisher's lawyer about legal concerns, reviewing cover concepts, etc. This week, I also had a chance to discuss some of the content with Joe Hagan, who's in town to research his biography of Jann Wenner. The publication of that book will coincide with Rolling Stone's 50th anniversary in 2017. From all indications, it's going to be fabulous. It was also a pleasure to visit with Joe, whom I met in the most serendipitous manner--a story for another day, when the kitty-cat traffic is less intense.

In related book news, it appears that Toby Gleason will publish an anthology of his father's writings and private papers. For my money, Ralph J. Gleason was one of the coolest cats on the Bay Area scene during the 60s and 70s. In addition to mentoring Jann and co-founding Rolling Stone, Gleason wrote for Ramparts, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Down Beat magazine; wrote all of Lenny Bruce's liner notes; championed the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane; and was the only music journalist on President Nixon's Enemies List. Very excited about that project, too, and glad I could help conceptualize it.

The Truthdig reviews are an intermittent pleasure enhanced by carefully chosen assignments. The last review was of Matt Taibbi's The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap. That one was picked up by AlterNet, and when I last checked, only the New York Times review had drawn a larger online audience. The one before that was Dean Starkman's The Watchdog That Didn't Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism. And the one before that was Curtis White's The Science Delusion: Asking the Big Questions in a Culture of Easy Answers. To my surprise, that review won the 2013 National Entertainment Journalism Award for Online Criticism. All of my Truthdig reviews can be found here.

OK, enough about that. Back to serious kitty biz.

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