Between The Lines
The inside scoop on the book world
WORK @HOME She may seem an unlikely candidate to succeed Helen Fielding, but right-wing commentator Danielle Crittenden and her new publisher are hoping to turn Amanda.Bright@Home — the story of a successful Washingtonian who decides to stay home with her kids — into something like the next Bridget Jones’s Diary. Well, at least they both started as newspaper serials, with Crittenden’s chapters appearing weekly in The Wall Street Journal Online. Caryn Karmatz Rudy, the Warner Books senior editor who just paid in the six figures for the first novel (which will be reworked from the newspaper version), says that, unlike Crittenden’s last book — an attack on traditional feminism called What Our Mothers Didn’t Tell Us — Amanda is ”not a polemic. It’s just a very realistic look at the difficulties facing all sides.” Also joining the journalist-turned-author crowd: Rick Marin, a style section writer for The New York Times, who has just sold his memoir of single life, Cad: Confessions of a Toxic Bachelor, to Hyperion for a reported $300,000, with Miramax optioning film rights.
TRUE STORIES With John Adams topping best-seller lists, and nonfiction in general selling better than fiction, it’s no surprise that two of the livelier summer auctions have involved serious biographical works. Ballantine Books paid around $200,000 for Gillian Gill’s Nightingales, the story of the 19th-century nurse and reformer Florence Nightingale. And HarperCollins has just spent close to $500,000 for A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare, by Columbia University professor James Shapiro. The year is 1599, during which the Bard wrote four plays — including Hamlet and Julius Caesar — and also bought into the Globe Theater, something unheard of for a player-playwright. ”It was a turning point in terms of theater in England — it wasn’t just any year,” says Shapiro’s agent Anne Edelstein, describing the book as a”social and cultural history of the times.”
A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare