The Christmas rush is officially on, and Monday has decended like The Birds. I have stuff to mail today, groceries to buy, and presents to wrap. Too, Mini greeted me this morning with a babywipe. He'd gotten into the kiddie toothpaste, which is usually kept up high and out of reach, but it got left on the counter in the bathroom and he had himself a fun time with it for sure. He smeared it all over his face and tummy, which he wanted me to wash off. I did. Then came the questions: Mini, how much of it did you eat? I sincerely think he wore more of it than he ate, but since I didn't know for sure, I called Poison Control.
So here I am at 9 am, precoffee, a toddler smeared in blue toothpaste and the guy on the phone is laughing his ass off when I tell him, "No, it's not flouride free. It's Oral B Stages brand, Disney Cars Fruity Pursuit toothpaste." (Jesus, who names this stuff!) To be safe, the guy tells me to give Mini two Tums or two glasses of milk. Or both. *sigh* I gave him two tums and a glass of milk just to make sure. For the next few hours I have to watch him for a tummy ache, nausea, vomiting. If he starts feeling rough, take him to ER. Gotcha.
As if the great toothpaste incident wasn't enough of a Monday qualifier.... I've time and again stumbled across the news at Galleycat that Random House and HarperCollins have pounced on book deals revolving around Bernard Madoff, the former NASDAQ chairman who was arrested this month over fraudulent investing practices. Basically the man was running a pyramid/ponzi scheme. [Probably one of the largest outside the national social security system, but I digress....]
What gets me is that these publishing houses have been through lots of restructuring, layoffs, firings, pay freezes, acquisition freezes, absorbing imprints, etc. etc. and then this is their strike while the iron is hot story?
I'm not saying they shouldn't do a book on Bernard Madoff, but I can't be the only person NOT interested one iota in this story. I'd be willing to bet most people have no idea who the man is, much less want to read a 400-700 page book about him. As a test, go to your teenager right now and ask her/him who Bernard Madoff is. If he/she does know, have them take a look at your investment portfolio. But if your kid is like mine and has no clue, ask him/her who Lee Iacocca is. Next, ask them about Newt Gingrich.
Do they know any of those names? Probably not, I'll wager. And they probably don't care. To make matters worse, by the time these little Madoff book gems come out in 2010, I'm sure you'll be able to effectively gather a similar deer-in-the-headlights look from just about any passer-by simply by asking, "Have you read that new book about Bernard Madoff?"
Somewhere, somehow, a book by someone either with literary talent at the very least, something commercially viable got bumped from a publishing slot for Mr. Madoff, who's story -albeit the condensed version - is already available on the internet for free.
I also cringe to think what these publishers have put forward in advances for books that I imagine will end up on a sale table just like the rest of the political, wall street inspired goodies that clutters that section of the bookstore. I brush past those books when I'm looking for "diamonds in the haystack" at BAM. You know, stuff like erotic shapeshifting dragons....
But, really, dry humor aside, I hear about this and wonder if I'm missing something, or if maybe NY just doesn't "get it" yet, even after all the cuts this year? Or is this what we have to look forward to? More Madoff, less...shapeshifting dragons. I never thought for a day that publishers would bump an "important" or award winning books for something commercial. But I thought the point of making more selective acquisition choices would mean that the focus would shift more toward books that people actually want to read?
Oy, I'll leave it to the experts to figure out. I need another cup of coffee. Happy Monday, everyone!