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Between the lines

‘The Book of J’ author signs new deal, ‘Hobo’ memoir advises on hopping freight trains

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Harold Bloom, who has been a bestselling author since the unlikely success of The Book of J 10 years ago, may finally have attained blockbuster status. The Yale professor has signed a rumored $1.2 million deal with Warner’s Jamie Raab for a new book, Genius and Genius, which will combine biographies of geniuses from Confucius to Ralph Ellison with a study of the imaginative power in all of us and will be delivered in about two years.

It sounds like a throwback to the 1930s, but Eddy Joe Cotton has been hopping freight trains since he was 17, and his memoir, Hobo, was just snapped up at auction by Linda Loewenthal, editorial director of Harmony. In the book, due out in 2001, ”he’ll provide tips for riding the freights,” explains Loewenthal, ”such as how to avoid the refrigerator car and the bullies.”

Flesh-eating bacteria and other antibiotic-resistant perils will get the Hot Zone treatment in The Killers Within, to be written by Mark Plotkin (Tales of a Shaman’s Apprentice) and Vanity Fair scribe Michael Shnayerson. ”It’s about how [we] are locked in a deadly and perhaps losing battle with an unseen enemy,” says Little, Brown publisher Sarah Crichton, who acquired the book for an estimated $500,000.