Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Gimmick Book

EAGER to meet fitness guru richard simmons? what about reliving eighth grade? nostalgic for your high school prom? how 'bout driving across country powered only by dirty fry oil?

my answer to all of these questions is a resounding NO, but to some authors more successful than yours truly, these stunts and others have resulted in new books, some of them big hits. HERE is my LA Times piece on a.j. jacobs, self-help skeptic beth lisick and several others who've put out high-concert gimmick books. they're like the bastard spawn of george plimpton's "paper lion."

in the piece i speak to jacobs, whose voice sounds a lot like arnold horshack's, iowa prof robin hemley, whose book "do over!" takes a middle-aged father back to some painful early experiences, and veteran publishing observer sara nelson. why here? why now?

(HERE is a new story i wrote for the louisville paper on jacobs himself.)

now excuse me while i return the igloo where i have chosen to spent all of 2009...

Photo credit: ajjacobs.com

2 comments:

Amanda said...

Reminds me of a book I started to read by Ben Goldacre who writes a column called Bad Science in the Sat Guardian and the book has the same name.

Scott Timberg said...

interesting... some of the books are quite good, and some of jacobs' stuff is laugh out loud funny as well as smart in a sly way...