The Times We Live In

Posted by Carole Stuart on February 16, 2015

 

 

HOT NEWS 

January 16, 2015

The times we live in…  from Carole Stuart  

Thoughts about the news as reported in The New York Times about the attack in Copenhagen.  On Saturday, February 14th, a Danish film director was killed in a café and a Danish Jewish night guard at a synagogue. The gunman, Danish born, was killed by return fire before dawn on February 15th.

The Prime minister of Denmark, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, called it “a fight for freedom against a dark ideology.”

Denmark is a country known for having some of the happiest people in the world.

Having visited Copenhagen, I thoroughly agree.  The people smile at one another, they ride bicycles throughout the city, their homes are decorated in cheerful colors. 

I had the pleasure of visiting Copenhagen where I met Lyle’s cousin, Arne Melchior, son of  Marcus Melchior, then the chief rabbi of Denmark.  Now his relative, Jair Melchior, is chief rabbi following in the family tradition of other Melchiors who have been rabbis.

During World War II, Arne, among others, rode their bicycles through Copenhagen streets alerting people to leave for safety in Sweden.  When the war ended the Danes could not have thought some of them would again live in fear under a shadow that seems to grow darker by the day.

We published “A Rabbi Remembers” by Rabbi Marcus Melchior and “There is Something Wonderful in the State of Denmark” by Arne Melchior under the Lyle Stuart, Inc. imprint.

Below, a response to my email to Arne Melchior and his wife, Nina.  Nina wrote:

Dear Carole,

Thank you for sharing our sorrow in these days.

Denmark stands united. For now more than 24 hours people show their sympathy.

Thousands of Christian and Jewish people lay flowers at the place where a meeting for freedom of speech was held Saturday afternoon, and where a film photographer was killed. And thousands of Danes, Jews and non-Jews gather at the gates of the Synagogue where they place flowers for the Jewish young man Dan Uzan, who was murdered while on duty as a voluntary guard for a bat mitzvah party after shabbat. They also gather in respect for the right of their Jewish citizens to live in peace.

Tonight there has been a spontaneous gathering in the Synagogue, crowded to the last space of floor. Even Arne (now 90 years) and I attended this gathering.

From there most Jews went to another public gathering at the place of the first event of terror this weekend. In freezing weather outdoors there was music and there were speeches, one of which was delivered by the head of the Jewish community. Television was sent live showing 40.000 people gathered in mourning, a number that is exceptional for Denmark.

This same evening there are people meeting in most towns all around in Denmark. Never since the German Occupation has Denmark been that united.

Love,

Arne and Nina

 

 

 

 

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Fall, 2014 End of Summer

Posted by Carole Stuart on October 06, 2014

 

Fall, 2014

This Hot News comes somewhat late, with summer just behind us, and leaves starting to change color. 

 

This and That…

Talk Radio

Joan is Back!

That’s Joan Hamburg, of course.  Yes, she’s back and can be heard on WABC 770 in New York every Saturday from 1-3 PM.

Joan is a favorite of many who have eaten at restaurants she’s recommended, seen Broadway shows she’s enjoyed, and much more.  If you want to know where to find the best and most reasonable anything from bridal gowns to party venues, Joan is the go-to gal.  I’m delighted to be listening to her.

                                             *****

Theater

STALKING THE BOGEYMAN - This is theater not to be missed. If you are a fan of Public Radio’s “This American Life” you may know about this very special episode that Markus Potter adapted and directed as a play. Potter said: “When I first heard David Holthouse’s story I was so stunned that I had to pull my car over to avoid veering into oncoming traffic.” I won’t spoil it but will say it’s right out of Shakespeare. It’s the true story of a plan to kill a man to right a wrong and prevent further wrongs.

From one extreme to another, and only a couple of nights apart, we finally saw THE BOOK OF MORMON possibly the most popular musical on Broadway right now. The theater was packed and the audience applauded and laughed and had a great time. Was it fun? Sure. Sort of. Because of modern theater amplification, I couldn’t actually hear most of what was sung or spoken.   

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHTTIME.

A friend who goes to theater frequently saw this play in previews. She said “You have to see it.”  That was enough for us and we managed to get mezzanine seats for opening night.  I knew nothing about the play that had been performed in London and directed by Marianne Elliot who won a Tony for “War Horse.” 

This story of an autistic boy’s coming-of-age is unlike anything I’ve seen before.  Based on a best selling novel by Mark Haddon, which I did not read, it is riveting, both for the play itself and the productiona that is pure genius.

The audience was filled with first night friends but also people like us who just like to go to plays.  Ben Brantley’s review in the New York Times says, “…be prepared to have all your emotional and sensory buttons pushed, including a few you may have not known existed.”

I leave you with the words of that friend….”You have to see it.”

 

Books

I’ve been in the publishing business for a long time but with the publication of Avery Corman’s memoir, MY OLD NEIGHBORHOOD REMEMBERED I’ve had an experience new to me.

Avery is widely known as the author of popular novels such as OH, GOD! KRAMER vs KRAMER, THE OLD NEIGHBORHOOD, and others.  His fiction is so good, so authentic that people sometimes get confused.

After reading THE OLD NEIGHBORHOOD, a woman wrote to him and said, “I knew all the boys in the neighborhood, but I don’t remember you.” “I didn’t live in the neighborhood,” he told her.  “It’s fiction. We make it up.”

Well, now for his first non-fiction book, Barricade is the publisher of MY OLD NEIGHBORHOOD REMEMBERED, Avery’s memoir of growing up in The Bronx of the 1940s and 1950s.

The Bronx of his childhood, during World War II was a life very different from today. The apartment buildings were home to a mixture of mainly Jews, Irish Catholics and Italian Americans.  These first and second generation Americans went largely to public schools and had as teachers, men and women who weren’t able to get jobs in commerce because of ethnic and class prejudice. These smart people made excellent teachers and the youngsters who were lucky to have them were ready to move up in life. The Bronx of those years was home to many who later became boldfaced names like:  Garry Marshall, Ralph Lauren, Stanley Kubrick, Robert Klein, Eydie Gorme… and, of course, Avery Corman….

The “new to me” experience is the amount of mail and email Avery has received from those who have read and enjoyed the memoir and the earnestness of their responses. They range from old friends out of contact for many years to those who grew up in similar neighborhoods and who share their own experiences. 

Me -- I’m from Brooklyn, but I get it too. 

Until next time,

Carole

 

 

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June, 2014 Hot News

Posted by Carole Stuart on June 08, 2014

 

June, 2014

 

BEA 2014 was the usual massive crowd event with long lines of people lining up at many booths getting signed copies of upcoming Fall books, amid gossip about the Hachette/Amazon battle.

 

I know I’m supposed to be caught up in it regarding Barricade Books, but somehow I feel this warfare between conglomerates just doesn’t seem to be about us.

We’re an independent book publisher with a dedicated audience of readers who enjoy our extensive list of True Crime books, offbeat nonfiction and some surprises.

 

Barricade is publishing Ron Felber’s Jack Madson series of crime novels.  The first, A MAN OF INDETERMINATE VALUE, introduced Jack Madson who gets himself in and out of tense and bizarre situations.  The newest is THE KAFKA SOCIETY where there are more of Madson’s adventures.

 

We’re publishing new trade paperback editions of Avery Corman’s classic novels, KRAMER vs KRAMER and THE OLD NEIGHBORHOOD.

Also new from Avery is his first nonfiction book, MY OLD NEIGHBORHOOD REMEMBERED, a wonderful memoir of his growing up years in the Bronx of the 1940s and 1950s.  Ken Auletta has called it “lyrical,” Walter Isaacson said it is “poignant and evocative.” The memoir beautifully recalls neighborhood life vanished from the culture. 

 

A recent gathering at the Bronx County Historical Society drew a crowd of current and former Bronxites who watched a film adapted from the memoir, followed by a lively discussion between author and audience.  You can see the film yourself, “My Old Neighborhood in the Bronx Remembered” on YouTube - two versions adjusted for attention spans -- short and longer versions.

A favorite section of mine is his recounting of “The Talking Dog.” Yes, really. The first celebrity he ever saw.

 

Until next time,

Carole 

 

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LOOKING FORWARD

Posted by Carole Stuart on January 05, 2014

I’ve missed writing an end of 2013 report but wanted to bring in 2014 with some news…

Sad news to report is the passing of Suzanne Henry, who managed Barricade’s book production and many other things. Suzanne’s sudden death from cancer is a great loss for me both professionally and personally.

When I was looking for an assistant about five years ago, one of the possibilities was Suzanne, an older, though not old woman, with lots of experience, although none in book publishing.

I credit my daughter, Jennifer, for the suggestion that I hire Suzanne. “She’s mature and knows a lot about what work and life is about,” she said.  And this was true.

She quickly picked up the nuances of book publishing and very soon was an integral part of running Barricade Books.

We had our differences -- I was neat, she was not. I tended to ask the same questions over and over. Suzanne was usually patient and answered them over and over.

She got to love the business and was soon not just managing production but offering valuable suggestions about book covers, authors, and much more.  The people who worked with her respected her and liked her greatly.

It won’t be the same without Suzanne. I miss her now and will continue to miss her. I will always value her contribution to Barricade.

 

Coming soon….

 Barricade has become a go-to publisher for true crime with 25 true crime titles in print, the latest to be published soon, THE MILWAUKEE MAFIA by Gavin Schmitt.

       ************************

 Having had success with Ron Felber’s true story, IL DOTTORE, we published Ron’s novel, A MAN OF INDETERMINATE VALUE that will be followed by THE KAFKA SOCIETY, with a third already being written.

       ************************

Our list continues to grow and this June, Barricade will

publish Avery Corman’s memoir, MY OLD NEIGHBORHOOD REMEMBERED.

This is his first non-fiction book and his gift as a writer will have the reader laughing, crying…enjoying.

Some early comments:

“Lyrical.” Ken Auletta.

"Poignant and evocative.” Walter Isaacson

“This is the way we were.” Richard Reeves

We also produced a film shot in several places in the Bronx that were meaningful to Avery… his schools, his old apartment building, the street where he played stickball, as he tells anecdotes that are taken from the book.

And, timed in coordination with his memoir in hardcover, we’re republishing his nine novels in trade paperback including KRAMER VS. KRAMER, OH, GOD! and THE OLD NEIGHBORHOOD.

 

Wishing you a slightly belated Happy New Year.

 

Carole 

 

 

 

 

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Anna Nicole, The Opera - Anna Nicole, The Real Life Drama

Posted by Carole Stuart on September 30, 2013

Last Friday night I visited Fort Greene, a part of Brooklyn I used to live in and had not been back to for a long time.  It isn’t the Fort Greene I knew.

What brought me there was the BAM production of the opera, “Anna Nicole” with libretto by Richard Thomas and music by Mark-Anthony Turnage.

It struck me that if Barricade Books had not published “Great Big Beautiful Doll” by Eric and D’eva Redding, there would not have been an opera.

Eric was the photographer who took the first pictures of Anna (then known as Vickie) who lived in Mexia (pronounced Mahaya), Texas.  He took snapshots of a very pretty Vickie, and sent them to Playboy.  They responded by sending her a ticket to Los Angeles to have a photo session.

Anna, being somewhat lacking in education, was upset when she got her airline ticket.  “You said I was going to Hollywood,” she complained to Eric. This ticket says Los Angeles.”

Well, intelligence may not have been her strongest suit but her beauty, augmented by new breasts, sure was.  Enormously photogenic, she quickly became a star.  Her life story has been widely reported in the press including its tragic ending.

The opera was amazing.  Funny, smart, and wildly entertaining.  Sarah Joy Miller, the soprano who played Anna, was just terrific.  The rest of the cast was wonderful.

It was a great show but a sad moment.  This New York City Opera production may have been the company’s last.  The company couldn’t afford to stay at Lincoln Center and backing has not been enough to keep it going.

Oddly ironic if its final performance was about the life and death of Anna Nicole Smith. 

Until next time,

Carole

 

 

 

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