Big Man on Commercial Novelist Campus John Grisham has told a London newspaper that he is concerned about America's jails. Specifically, he is worried that they are becoming stuffed with old white men, which he seems to have defined primarily as friends of his who, in his view, innocently enjoy underage porn.
Former Nightline anchor Ted Koppel turns 70 today. John Grisham is turning 55. Mary Steenburgen is 57. Nick Nolte is turning 69. Vince Neil of Motley Crüe turns 49. Seth Green is 36. Mary McCormack, the star of In Plain Sight, is turning 41. Comedian Robert Klein is 68. Times Magazine editor Gerry Marzorati is 57. And recently-jailed actor Gary Coleman turns 42 today.
• Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman is cutting employee benefits. [NYP]
• Former Self editor and Bernie Madoff victim Alexandra Penney has landed a book deal with Voice, an imprint of Disney's Hyperion Books. [NYT]
• A few photos of Michelle Obama from the new issue of Vogue. [HP]
• How SI's Selena Roberts landed the Alex Rodriguez steroid story. [NYO]
• Former NYDN editor Michael Cooke is leaving Chicago for Toronto. [CT]
• John Grisham is close to signing a big e-book deal with Random House. [WSJ]
• The Justice Department plans to investigate the proposed (and controversial) merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation. [AP]
New York City's unofficial first lady, Diana Taylor, is celebrating her 54th birthday today. Hope Mike got you something nice! Others celebrating: Tom Brokaw is turning 69. Former Daily News gossip columnist Lloyd Grove is 54. Henry Blodget is 43. Chef Marc Murphy is turning 40. Axl Rose is turning 47. Journalist/author Michael Pollan is 54. Natalie Cole is 59. Rich Astley is turning 43. And Zsa Zsa Gabor is 92. Weekend birthdays after the jump.
♦ She's only been on the air a week but Rachel Maddow has already usurped Keith Olbermann in the ratings. [HuffPo]
♦ The New York Times Co. reported today that ad revenue in August dropped 14 percent compared to the same period a year ago and total revenue declined 8.8 percent for the month. [E&P]
♦ A libel lawsuit against author John Grisham has been dismissed. [AP]
♦ Is Al Gore buying a magazine? [Portfolio]
♦ The Atlantic's website has witnessed a surge of traffic thanks to those gross pics of John McCain drinking blood. [Portfolio]
♦ CNBC's Erin Burnett suggests that short-selling is unpatriotic; Jim Cramer says it may be terrorism. [CJR]
Good news for books! John Grisham's "Playing For Pizza"—the story of a washed-up American quarterback whose trip to Italy to play for the Parma Panthers leads to hijinx—is no longer #1 on the Times hardcover bestseller list. Bad news for books: "Playing for Pizza" is now at #3, bumped by a new Patricia Cornwell novel with "dead" in the title and a "paranormal romance" called "A Lick [hmm!] Of Frost." More distressingly, "The Orc King"—the story of a dark elf named Drizzt Do'Urden—is all the way down to #17. Of course, the list "is not a completely accurate barometer of what the reading public is buying," so phew.
What's this? The New York Times bestseller list "is not a completely accurate barometer of what the reading public is buying," public editor Clark Hoyt informed us last week. This, even in spite of recent adjustments to the top-secret formula, devised in order to prevent publishers from "gaming the system" that determines the list's rankings: Appalling! Well, not really. As people who work in publishing like to tell their disappointed authors, the mysteriously-weighted list has always been essentially meaningless. Unless those authors have bestseller bonuses in their contracts, in which case: The list is extremely meaningful! And so while the list does not mean everything, it must mean something. For example, the #1 spot on this week's Hardcover Fiction list is occupied by a John Grisham book called "Playing For Pizza." What's that about?
And now, in non-war news [Ed. note—don't get too used to it.]...a reader notes that Haypenny has done their own version of McSweeney's #10,—"the one 'guest-edited' by Michael Chabon, featuring stories by Stephen King, among others". "Contributing authors" to this edition—"co-edited by Salman Rushdie and Jonathan Franzen and featuring the artwork of Lisa Frank"—include Tom Clancy ("Smack My Bitch Up"), John Grisham ("He Died With His Boots Off"), Judy Blume ("Fatal Heat") and Frank McCourt ("I Should Have Just Killed You When I Had the Chance").
Haypenny 10: courageous dolphin stories