iOS app Android app

Laurence Hughes
GET UPDATES FROM Laurence Hughes

Entries by Laurence Hughes

Smoke Signals: Secret Notes From Inside Conclave

(0) Comments | Posted April 10, 2013 | 6:21 PM

According to Italian media reports, a diary has surfaced written by an anonymous cardinal who participated in the recent Vatican conclave. Here are some excerpts from this remarkable account, which offers unprecedented insight into this secret ancient ritual.

How strange to be tasked with electing a new Pope...

Read Post

"Fifty Ways to Hide the Cover" -- A Song for Readers of Fifty Shades of Grey

(2) Comments | Posted June 1, 2012 | 1:33 PM

With acknowledgment to, and a deep abiding respect for, Paul Simon, in the sincere hope that no legal action will be forthcoming.

"The problem is Fifty Shades of Grey"
She said to me
"I'd rather my husband, kids and neighbors
Didn't see
That I'm...

Read Post

The Hungry Hungry Hippos Games

(0) Comments | Posted May 11, 2012 | 2:54 PM

The movie The Hunger Games has inspired a number of mash-ups that mix the film with a certain children's game. It's time the meme was extended to the original novel...

Haymitch insisted that we meet in the Training Center for breakfast: Peeta and me to eat...

Read Post

Downton Abbey: Season Three Spoilers

(2) Comments | Posted April 17, 2012 | 3:40 PM

Do you suffer from Downton Syndrome -- that empty feeling brought on by the lack of new episodes of "Downton Abbey?" Take heart -- the show's third season is in production now. Here's how I see key plot lines playing out in Season Three:

Lady Mary's insistence that Matthew Crawley...

Read Post

Undead Letter Office

(2) Comments | Posted March 20, 2012 | 1:25 PM

In which characters in a classic epistolary novel
must deal with the modern Postal Service


I remain a prisoner of the fiend Dracula! Fearing for my life, I have acquiesced to his demand that I write letters to...

Read Post

CFS: Bethlehem

(0) Comments | Posted December 21, 2011 | 11:52 AM



DATE: The reign of Cæsar Augustus, when Cyrenius was governor of Syria, in the days of Herod the king; Tuesday.

COMPLAINT: An anonymous epistle reporting a newborn infant living in unsanitary and possibly unsafe conditions.


COMMENTS: Accompanied...

Read Post

Researching the Rogue: Selected Entries From the Secret Journal of Joe McGinniss

(2) Comments | Posted September 19, 2011 | 4:49 PM

To research his book The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin, author Joe McGinniss spent the summer of 2010 in a house immediately next door to the Palin home in Wasilla, Alaska. The following are excerpts from McGinniss's private diary from this period.

May 23 -- Took possession of...

Read Post

Ahab at Starbucks

(0) Comments | Posted April 9, 2011 | 1:09 PM

Whenever it was a damp, drizzly November in my soul, I would drop by Mr. Starbuck's for a steaming double-cupped grande vanilla latte with extra foam. Our industrious First Mate made a habit of buying coffee from local growers in whatever far-flung lands The Pequod made port -- from Brazil...

Read Post

The Battle Hymn of the Tigger Mother

(3) Comments | Posted January 25, 2011 | 10:09 AM

One morning Pooh was awakened by a bouncing sound outside his house. He heard a stern voice shouting "Bounce! Bounce!" over and over the way a drill instructor might shout it. Pooh had never heard a drill instructor before so that is what it sounded like to him.

He decided...

Read Post

Sanitizing Twain -- to the Nth Degree

(13) Comments | Posted January 14, 2011 | 11:07 AM

When I saw the recent headline that Mark Twain scholar Alan Gribben was removing all the n-words from Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, my first thought was: Good! Those narratives will flow a lot better without words like neologistic, numismatic, and nanotechnology cluttering things up.

Then I thought: What if...

Read Post

Something Book Publicists Love to Hear: "Pretend I'm a Producer, Pitch Me My Book"

(0) Comments | Posted November 18, 2010 | 10:08 AM

This has happened to me more than once:

A publisher invites an author in for a let's-get-acquainted meeting to have an initial discussion about marketing and publicity. At a minimum, the editor, the publicist, and the marketing director are there, but the publicist's boss might be there too, and...

Read Post

The Doggies of War

(0) Comments | Posted October 18, 2010 | 12:11 PM

This publishing season is thick with new and forthcoming memoirs by Bush administration insiders, from Donald Rumsfeld to Condoleezza Rice to Dick Cheney to President Bush himself. Now comes the most stunning inside account of the Bush administration to date: On the Spot: From Dog House to White House, by...

Read Post

Test Your Knowledge of Literature's Greatest Bed Bug Infestations

(2) Comments | Posted September 3, 2010 | 5:04 PM

Identify the work of literature in which each bed bug infestation occurs:

A. In this short tale of mystery and imagination, a man is bitten by a strange gold bug, which leads to the discovery of a cryptograph revealing the location of Captain Kidd's treasure. The story's narrator, who is...

Read Post

Books That Sell

(6) Comments | Posted August 30, 2010 | 2:08 PM

Twitter was all atwitter about a recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece in which Rod Adner and William Vincent argue that the increasingly difficult economics of the publishing business will soon lead to advertising in ebooks.

I'm dubious about the idea. For one thing, how would you...

Read Post

Something Book Publicists Love to Hear: "Will It Sell Books?"

(8) Comments | Posted July 15, 2010 | 1:33 PM

The life of a book publicist is undeniably glamorous and exciting, except for about 98% of it. Mostly it consists of trying to extract useful contacts from outdated media lists and shoving books into Jiffy bags. Sure, sometimes you get to deal with Oprah and Colbert and the Today Show...

Read Post

Something Book Publicists Love to Hear: "Did We Know This Was Coming?"

(0) Comments | Posted June 24, 2010 | 10:06 AM

When a publishing company's publicity department announces that a major media break has occurred, many an editor, publisher, and sales director will exhibit a unique two-stage reaction. The stages occur sequentially. Stage One is usually along the lines of: "Yay!" Stage Two, which follows just milliseconds later, is invariably: "Did...

Read Post

Decision Points by George W. Bush--Leaked!

(0) Comments | Posted May 17, 2010 | 1:02 PM

"This groundbreaking new brand of memoir will be centered on the fourteen most critical and historic decisions in the life and public service of the 43rd President of the United States." - press release announcing George W. Bush's forthcoming book Decision Points

1. Choices: Name my dog Spot,...

Read Post

Things I'd Like to See This Weekend on C-SPAN's "Book TV"

(3) Comments | Posted April 23, 2010 | 3:23 PM

10:00 am London Book Fair
A recap of the action at the London Book Fair, where attendance was down significantly due to the cloud of volcanic ash that grounded air traffic throughout Europe. Organizers offer an upbeat assessment, saying that most attendees found the...

Read Post

Tea Party Rhetoric or Amazon Review?

(1) Comments | Posted March 29, 2010 | 3:39 PM

A highly controversial and divisive issue has stirred up some strong feelings and vitriolic rhetoric recently. No, I'm not talking about health care reform and the extreme reaction it has provoked in some members of the Tea Party. I'm talking about Michael Lewis's book The Big Short and why there's...

Read Post

If E-Books Were G-Strings

(0) Comments | Posted March 16, 2010 | 11:30 AM

I try to keep up with the publishing news, and these days the news is e-books. But it's so hard to stay on top of it all. Every day brings a glut of stories about new e-readers, enhanced e-books, e-book software, e-book pricing, e-book scheduling, e-book stores--egads, I can't digest...

Read Post