The inside scoop on the book world

CHUCK WAGON Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club and Choke, has just re-signed with Doubleday for two more novels, beginning with Period Revival, due out next fall. It’s written as a diary kept by a woman whose architect husband’s bizarre secrets come out while he’s comatose after a suicide attempt. The novel is ”classically Chuck in its vein of outrageous black humor,” said his editor at Doubleday, Gerald Howard.

GRANN STAND Phyllis Grann, the former head of Penguin Putnam who moved to Random House in January as a vice chairman and reportedly grew bored with her undefined role there, will now be a ”nonexclusive consultant” to the publishing giant. Grann, 62, calling from a boat off Nantucket, says she’s leaving her options open. ”I’m going to do what I really intended to do last fall: I’m going to relax…. I started working at 19 and I’ve never had a vacation. [I’m going] to relax and think about things and pick things to do which I will enjoy.”

OUT ON A LIMB The latest trend on recent book jackets is an odd one: disembodied legs. This is particularly true in the genre often referred to as chick lit. ”When you show a woman in her entirety, you’re basically picturing the character for the reader, when it’s better left to the imagination,” says Plume editor in chief Trena Keating, who put three pairs of lovely legs on the cover of Someone Like You and a miniskirted lower half on One-hit Wonder. ”You want to get a sensuousness without being explicit,” adds Judith Curr, publisher of Atria Books, which has done so well with the legs on Jennifer Weiner’s Good in Bed, it will put two pairs on her next novel, In Her Shoes. ”You never know what everybody else is going to be doing when you see a jacket for your book,” says Robin Desser, senior editor at Knopf, which has knees and some really nice boots on the cover of Her. Images of women have always attracted attention, she adds. ”This has been true since we’ve been painting stuff on walls.”

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