(Jackson Street) Books on 7th is around the corner and on the internet tubes. We strive to be your full-service new and used bookstore, emphasizing good literature, progressive politics, and, of course, books about baseball. Opened in Hoquiam October 1, 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Department of Book Reports: How I Became A Famous Novelist

How I Became A Famous Novelist, by Steve Hely (Black Cat/Grove $14) Pete Tarslaw wants to be a writer. A Famous Writer. He's decided that would be the best way to humiliate his ex-girlfriend from college at her up-coming wedding. A Famous Writer magnanimously attending her nuptials would surely cause her to see the error of her ways and cause her to ditch the Australian at the altar and fall into his arms once again.

He dreams and schemes while ghost-writing college applications at EssayAides and drunkenly plots his brilliant career path. Pete's studied best selling books and he's sure he's hit upon the formula for concocting the novel that will make him famous. He won't waste time by writing a good book, he'll write a popular book. You can even read Pete's blog from those days.

Pete does get his book published and pinballs through the talkshow circuit as he sees it through a drunken haze. Book Expos and author appearances are a blur to him, often reconstructed by others the next morning. Even bad press seems to propel the books sales. A panel with his nemesis proves to be his undoing. In the aftermath, he starts to read. And it is finally that, reading, that shows him there truly are good books that dis-prove his prior sneering view.

Steve Hely was a writer for the Late Show with David Letterman and other shows, his comedy genius shines through in this story. The wicked satires of the NYTimes Best Seller Lists and USA Today reviews had me chuckling out loud. His broad characterizations of Pete's fellow authors had me wondering just which real life person he was spoofing, but really, there are just too many possibilities. Hely really does have a sharp eye for the foibles of the whole publishing biz and captures it well here. This is a really fun read.As always, books ordered here will have a freebie Publisher's Advance Reader copy of something really cool included.