The inside scoop on the book world

— A KNIGHT’S TALE Marion ”Suge” Knight hasn’t been wasting any time since he was paroled last August after serving five years for violating probation. The gangsta rap impresario, who has been busy rechristening Death Row Records as Tha Row, is also selling the film rights to his life story — and pitching that story as a book. ”He asked his caseworker for permission to go to New York, and we started scheduling meetings,” says Knight’s literary agent, Frank Weimann. ”I always thought people write books when their career is over,” Knight has said. ”My career is not over. There’ve been a lot of allegations about Death Row and me. I felt I owe it to the public and the fans to hear the truth.”

— PLAYING THE FIELD Retired slugger Jose Canseco is hoping to sell a book, and according to his literary agent, Ron Laitsch, he’s fielding offers from a number of publishers. ”He wants to set the record straight [about his life],” Laitsch says, ”as well as talk about the use of steroids in baseball.” Canseco isn’t the only slugger swinging for the best-seller fence. Recently, when the Giants were playing in New York, Barry Bonds met with publishers. Apparently the proposal didn’t go over so well. ”This is a very complicated guy,” one editor says of Bonds, ”and the proposal basically reflected that he loves his wife and kids and fears God. That doesn’t sell.” According to another editor, the proposal’s already been scrapped. Bonds’ agent, Jan Miller replies, ”We had fantastic publishing meetings…. He is a phenomenal enterprise.”

— LOVE LINES Ashanti Douglas, whose self-titled debut album has made her the new queen of R&B, is taking a page from Jewel’s book: She’s just signed with Hyperion to publish Foolish/Unfoolish: Reflections on Love, a collection of her poems and journal entries musing on love, relationships, and the experiences behind her songs. It will be out in November.