Christmas Gift for Him? Solved!

Though we’re not prophets we can safely predict that you’re intensely involved in filling out your holiday gift list.  We can also predict that for your your favorite males, many of whom seem to have everything, you will be thrilled to find the ideal gift in your local bookstore or online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. It’s The Oxford Companion to Beer by Garrett Oliver, arguably the world’s authority on the beverage.

Here is Oxford University Press’s product description for the book:

For millennia, beer has been a favorite beverage in cultures across the globe. After water and tea, it is the most popular drink in the world, and it is at the center of a $450 billion industry.

The first major reference work to investigate the history and vast scope of beer, The Oxford Companion to Beer features more than 1,100 A-Z entries written by 166 of the world’s most prominent beer experts. Attractively illustrated with over 140 images, the book covers everything from the agricultural makeup of various beers to the technical elements of the brewing process, local effects of brewing on regions around the world, and the social and political implications of sharing a beer. Entries not only define terms such as “dry hopping” and “cask conditioning” but give fascinating details about how these and other techniques affect a beer’s taste, texture, and popularity. Cultural entries shed light on such topics as pub games, food pairings and the development of beer styles. Readers will enjoy vivid accounts of how our drinking traditions have changed throughout history, and how these traditions vary in different parts of the world, from Japan to Mexico, New Zealand, and Brazil, among many other countries. The pioneers of beer-making are the subjects of biographical entries, and the legacies these pioneers have left behind, in the form of the world’s most popular beers and breweries, are recurrent themes throughout the book.

Packed with information, this comprehensive resource also includes thorough appendices (covering beer festivals, beer magazines, and more), conversion tables, and an index. Featuring a foreword by Tom Colicchio, this book is the perfect shelf-mate to Oxford’s renowned Companion to Wine and an absolutely indispensable volume for everyone who loves beer as well as all beverage professionals, including home brewers, restaurateurs, journalists, cooking school instructors, beer importers, distributors, and retailers, and a host of others.

Garrett Oliver is the Brewmaster of the Brooklyn Brewery and author of The Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food. He has won many awards for his beers, is a frequent judge for international beer competitions, and has made numerous radio and television appearances as a spokesperson for craft brewing.

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T. R. Fehrenbach, Distinguished Historian, Dead at 88

T.R. Fehrenbach, the distinguished historian, author and decorated World War II and Korean military veteran, has died at the age of 88. He was the author of eighteen nonfiction books, several of which have been put back into print by E-Reads.

After the Korean War Fehrenbach began his writing career with a science fiction story, Remember the Alamo, but it was his history of the Korean War, This Kind of War, that established him as a formidable historian despite the fact that he had no formal academic training. That did not prevent him from producing a history of Texas, Lone Star, that is considered the best single-volume work about the state ever written. Those works were followed by histories of Mexico, Swiss banks, The Battle of Anzio, and the US Marines, among others. He wrote a popular and long-running column for the San Antonio Express-News.

He won many civilian awards and honors. Gov. Rick Perry in 2001 named Fehrenbach commissioner emeritus of the state agency he headed from 1983 to 2001.

Fehrenbach – “Ted” – was a client of Richard Curtis Agency for many decades, and a cherished friend.

Richard Curtis

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Nightmare at 28,000 Feet – Dan Simmons’ “The Abominable” Published Today

The latest thriller by Dan Simmons, The Abominable, released today, is being hailed as one of the most exciting adventure novels in decades. If you think that’s hyperbole, check out this review, calling the book “the climb of your life” and  “amongst the best of books.”

What’s it about? Booklist captures the story best:

Simmons, in this thematic cousin to The Terror (2007), once more plunges into a storm of snow and ice, this time tackling no less than Everest. It’s 1924, and a trio of rogue climbers—mysterious WWI vet Deacon; emotional Frenchman Jean-Claude; and our narrator, brash young American Jacob—are hired to find the corpse of a dignitary lost on Everest. While they’re there, they go for the legendary summit. Right away, there’s a complication: a fourth team member, the dead man’s cousin—and a woman, no less! But it’s the subsequent complications that make this required reading for anyone inspired or terrified by high-altitude acrobatics: sudden avalanches, hidden crevasses, murderous temperatures, mountainside betrayals, and maybe—just maybe—a pack of bloodthirsty yeti. Though the first 200 pages of climbing background might have readers pining for the big climb, it is nearly always interesting, and, later, Simmons excels at those small but full-throated moments of terror when, for example, a single bent screw might mean death for everyone. Exhausting in all the best ways; maybe read this while it’s still warm out? –Daniel Kraus

Here’s how a movie industry newsletter summarized The Abominable:

Three climbers set out to discover the truth behind a series of mysterious 1924 disappearances on Everest. Deep in Tibet, the climbers – joined by a missing boy’s female cousin – find themselves being pursued through the night by someone… or something. It’s a nightmare at 28,000 feet. As they fight their way to the top of the world, the friends uncover a secret far more abominable than any mythical creature.

Simmons is represented by Richard Curtis Associates.

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Karen Chance’s Latest Cassie Lands on NYT Bestseller List

Tempt the Stars, Karen Chance’s latest Cassandra Palmer fantasy thriller has launched on the bestseller list.

Being a goddess is a lot less fun than you might think. Especially when you’re only a half goddess, and you only found out about it recently, and you still don’t know what you’re doing half the time. And when you’ve just used your not-so-reliable powers to burglarize the booby-trapped office of a vampire mob boss.

Yeah, that part sucks.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg for Cassandra Palmer, aka the Pythia, the freshly minted chief seer of the supernatural world. After all, Cassie still has to save a friend from a fate worse than death, deal with an increasingly possessive master vampire, and prevent a party of her own acolytes from unleashing a storm of fury upon the world. Totally just your average day at the office, right?

Haven’t read Karen’s earlier Cassies or met Dorina, her other glorious heroine? Visit her website and see what you’ve been missing.

Karen Chance is represented by Richard Curtis Associates.

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Caesar the War Dog Wins Hearts – and Breaks Them, Too

From a Smart Books for Smart Kids review of Caesar the War Dog, the first novel in Stephen Dando-Collins’s hit children series launched by Random House Australia:

This is the story of a single father, named Ben Fulton, who is a dog handler in the Australian Army. After his military dog dies, Ben must find a replacement to train to be an Explosive Detection Dog (EDD). When Ben visits a kennel where dogs are housed that have been given obedience training for the military, he takes a liking to a funny-looking chocolate-brown labrador, named Caesar, with a snout swollen from fresh bee stings. The kennel manager warns Ben that Caesar would not be a good war dog, because he’s a relentless digger. But Ben sees something special in Caesar and decides to take him home and train him.

Before long the two are called to active duty in Afghanistan, where Caesar quickly proves to be a most valuable team member, locating explosives in unusual places and saving lives. One fateful day under Taliban gunfire, Ben and some of his fellow soldiers are injured, separated from Caesar. and are sent back to Australia to recover. To Ben’s dismay, no one can locate Caesar, and his whereabouts remain a great mystery, deeply saddening Ben. What happens after that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Although Ben doesn’t know where Caesar is, you the reader will, and along with this four-legged hero, you’ll venture on a journey of admiration, despair, sadness, hope and joy.

“…those who don’t have dogs of their own, don’t appreciate the bond that exists between an EDD and his handler.”

Based Upon Real Life Dog (and Human) Stories

The author is represented by Richard Curtis Associates.

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Dying Is My Business by Nicholas Kaufmann

Kudos to Nicholas Kaufman on publication day of Dying is My Business, the first novel in a wildly imaginative urban fantasy series published by St Martins Press.

Given his line of work in the employ of a psychotic Brooklyn crime boss, Trent finds himself on the wrong end of too many bullets. Yet each time he’s killed, he wakes a few minutes later completely healed of his wounds but with no memory of his past identity. What’s worse, each time he cheats death someone else dies in his place. Sent to steal an old, antique box from some squatters in an abandoned warehouse near the West Side Highway, Trent soon finds himself stumbling into an age-old struggle between the forces of good and evil, revealing a secret world where dangerous magic turns people into inhuman monstrosities, where impossible creatures hide in plain sight, and where the line between the living and the dead is never quite clear. And when the mysterious box is opened, he discovers he has only twenty-four hours to save New York City from certain destruction.

Kaufman is also author of General Slocum’s Gold, Chasing the Dragon, and Still Life: Nine Stories. He has been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the Thriller Award. He and his wife live in Brooklyn, New York. He is represented by Richard Curtis Associates. Visit his website at www.nicholaskaufmann.com.

 

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Fleeing the Inquisitors: “Darkbeast” Sequel Takes Its Young Heroine to a Dark Place

In Darkbeast, author Morgan Keyes introduced the young heroine Keara whose questions about the repressive society she lived in got her into mortal danger. Now on the run with her “darkbeast” Caw, she has discovered other rebellious souls like herself.  Whether they can be trusted is the story of Darkbeast Rebellion, just published.

Betrayal threatens everything Keara dreams of in this fast-paced, exciting sequel to Darkbeast.

Keara, her friend Goran, and the wily old actor, Taggart, are fleeing for their lives. They have all spared their darkbeasts, the creatures that take on their darker deeds and emotions and lift their spirits. But their actions defy the law, which dictates that all citizens must kill their darkbeasts on their twelfth birthdays.

There are rumors of safe havens, groups of people called Darkers who spared their darkbeasts and live outside the law. To find the Darkers, the trio must embark on a dangerous journey—and evade the Inquisitors who are searching for them everywhere. In the middle of winter, freezing and exhausted, Keara and her companions are taken to an underground encampment that seems the answer to all their hopes. But are these Darkers really what they appear to be?

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“Behind the Candelabra” Cops 11 Emmys

Liberace (file from the Wikimedia Commons)

Behind The Candelabra, the blockbuster HBO film adapted from the Scott Thorson memoir represented by Richard Curtis Associates, scored 11 Emmy awards in last night’s celebration of outstanding television achievement.  Among the winners were Michael Douglas (Lead Actor)  and Steven Soderbergh (Best Director).

And the film won Best Movie.

Tantor Media has reissued Behind the Candelabra: My Life with Liberace, the memoir of Liberace’s “Boy Toy” played in the film by Matt Damon opposite Michael Douglas as Liberace. The book was co-written with Alex Thorleifson.

Tantor went out with the largest first printing since it launched its book unit last fall and produced an audio edition as well.

Ron Formica, Tantor’s director of rights and acquisitions, snapped the long-out-of-print book up from Curtis. Thorson wrote a new afterword bringing readers up to date on the rather dismal and sometimes sordid life he led after Liberace dropped him. The audio is narrated by Peter Berkrot; an interview with Thorson is available on Tantor.com.

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First Volume of Dave Duncan’s New Fantasy Duet Released by 47North

With Dave Duncan’s King of Swords, 47North releases the first volume of Starfolk, a fantasy duet of breathtaking beauty and complexity. But Duncan’s hallmark swashbuckle makes King of Swords as exciting to read as it is elegant.

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Rigel has always known he is not quite human, but the only clue to his origin is the otherworldly bracelet he has worn since childhood.

His search for his parentage leads him to the Starlands, where reality and fantasy have changed places. There he learns that he is a human-starborn cross, and his bracelet is the legendary magical amulet Saiph, which makes its wearer an unbeatable swordsman. Fighting off monsters, battling a gang of assassins seeking to kill him, Rigel finds honorable employment as a hero. He knows that he must die very soon if he remains in the Starlands, but he has fallen hopelessly in love with a princess and cannot abandon her.

Through the imaginative landscape of the Starlands, Rigel’s quest leads him to encounter minotaurs, sphinxes, cyclops, and more fearsome creatures in Dave Duncan’s latest fantasy series.

Dave Duncan is a prolific writer of fantasy and science fiction, best known for his fantasy series, particularly The Seventh Sword, A Man of His Word, and The King’s Blades. E-Reads carries these among its 31 vintage backlist Duncan titles. Visit his author page to see them on display. And check out Duncan’s blog and webpage: www.daveduncan.com

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With Amazon MatchBook Bundling One Big Step Closer to Reality

Publishers Weekly reports that “After years of false starts, bundling e-books with print books may have gotten the spark it needed Tuesday morning when Amazon announced an October launch date for Kindle MatchBook. Under the program, customers who buy—or have bought—print editions of titles can buy the e-book at prices ranging from $2.99 to free. At launch, Amazon expects to have over 10,000 books in the program, ranging from new books to books that Amazon began selling when it first opened in 1995.”

For background here’s a piece we published several years ago:

Bundling is an age-old merchandising technique in which customers are offered a discount if they purchase two related products. In the case of books, it’s a combo of two formats, print edition and e-book. Though the technical barriers to delivering both in one transaction are coming down, the real issue is how much to charge for the bundle. A little test we gave readers a few years ago will give you a sense of how challenging the concept is:

When you purchase a print book you should be able to get the e-book for…

a) the full combined retail prices of print and e-book editions
b) an additional 50% of the retail price of the print edition
c) an additional 25% of the retail price of the print edition
d) $1.00 more than the retail price of the print edition
e) free

The choices aren’t just economic but philosophical, reflecting just how aggressive a publisher wants to be and the various thresholds at which the publisher believes consumer resistance will melt. A good argument can be made for each, and as the bundling issue warms up you can expect to hear them all endlessly debated.

The time will soon come when publishers will have to choose one of the above strategies and put it into effect. Misjudging consumer attitudes could prove to be a big mistake and possibly a ruinous one. My own view? I strongly believe that the e-book version should be included free of charge with the purchase of the print edition. What do you think – and why?

Details in Bundling: Publishing’s Next Battleground.

Richard Curtis
This blog post was originally published on Digital Book World under the title Why Do We Have to Choose Between Print and Digital?

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