For Fans of Seinfeld-like Coincidences


Isn't That Bigamy (c) 2005, ISBN 1411634241, Mike Vogel, Lulu Press

You have just broken up with your girlfriend who leaves you in a busy restaurant with no way home, a tough waitress dumps a drink in your lap for no reason, and now you have to walk home with a wet crotch. If that is not enough, while walking across a bridge, you witness a mob hit quite by accident. This is what happens to womanizer Stan Smith in Mike Vogel's Isn't That Bigamy.

But wait, there is more. The waitress turns out to be Asian undercover agent and lesbian, Becky Li, who is charged with the ungrateful task of posing as Stan's wife in the witness protection program in Utah.

Through a series of events, witnessed from all points of view, Vogel takes us on an entertaining romp into fictional city, Tamarind, Utah, where Becky mistakenly takes Stan and where polygamy is not just practiced, it is the law. To attempt to blend in, Stan not only marries the mayor's daughter, whose twin has an unhealthy obsession with her, he marries the town lesbian, who has more than an eye for Becky.

And if things are not messy enough, Becky is recognized by the murderer's associate as she and Stan board the plane headed for Utah in the first place.

Vogel's writing engages the reader through multiple accounts of the same events. Isn't That Bigamy will also find a following in fans of Seinfeld, who enjoy a story that just snowballs into hell through a series of unfortunate coincidences.

The characters are brought to colorful life, with the exception of Stan, who remains nondescript throughout the novel. One would be hard pressed to remember Stan's hair color, let alone his physical appearance.

However, Stan's womanizing personality comes through loud and clear.

Isn't That Bigamy is a light, enjoyable, summer read.

SelfPublisher News, August 2005, Volume 1, Number 1, Copyright 2005, SelfPublisher News, Washington DC, www.selfpublishernews.com">http://www.selfpublishernews.com, editor@selfpublishernews.com


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Alan Brinkley, "one of the pre-eminent historians of his generation, with a specialty in 20th-century American political history," died June 16. He was 70. Brinkley's work "spanned the full spectrum of the last century's seminal events and influential characters, including the Great Depression and World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy."

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"ABA understands the Administration's serious concerns with China's failure to protect intellectual property and the related issues of forced technology transfers that are being discussed here. However, ABA believes imposing tariffs on books is a clear reversal of decades of U.S. policy that exempts books and other written material from trade restrictions, and to make this change would undercut important American policy interests. In addition, imposing tariffs on books would seriously and disproportionately damage U.S. small and medium sized businesses, like my bookstore, and consumers.

"It is crucial to understand that even the most successful of independent bookstores operate on the thinnest of margins. And despite growth and success in recent years, bookselling is a highly volatile business. If prices increase due to an increase in tariffs, the negative impact on the fiscal health of the bookselling world--and on readers young and old--would be significant.

"Based on information from publishing colleagues, some 25% of books they publish are printed in China. And the great majority of children's books and texts such as Bibles are printed in China. Not only will the proposed tariff impact what books are available--and affordable--to young readers and their families, it will impact what makes my store, and other stores like mine, unique. In independent bookstores, sections are curated carefully by store owners to fit the needs of the communities in which the indie bookstore resides. Tariffs on book titles would impose significant and unwarranted roadblocks on creating a vibrant, diverse children's book section, for example. This unfortunate result would impact both my business and the young readers and families in my community in ways that will unquestioningly have long-ranging impact on future readers... continued

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A local book lover, Raj Muhammad, hopes it becomes known as the home of the Darra Adam Khel Library. Located near a gun shop that his father built 12 years ago, the library opened in August, and Muhammad considers it a labor of love as well as a message to the area and the wider world.

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The building that houses the Strand Bookstore at 826 Broadway was designated as a New York City landmark on Tuesday morning, following a contested process and fierce opposition from community members and the bookstore's owner.

"What they [the LPC commissioners] fail to acknowledge is that there are real-world costs associated with landmarking: those costs can affect jobs, those costs can affect union jobs, and those costs can affect businesses like the Strand," The Strand's lawyer, Alexander Urbelis, told Curbed following the vote. "We need a life raft, we don't need somebody to throw us a lead weight with a landmarking."

Elliott Management, the U.S. private equity company whose U.K. arm, Elliott Advisors, bought Waterstones last year, is buying Barnes & Noble, B&N announced this morning. Elliott is paying $6.50 a share--well above recent levels--in an all-cash transaction that places the company's value at $683 million.

The companies will be operated separately, but in a very positive move for the long-struggling chain, Waterstones CEO James Daunt, who led the turnaround of Waterstones, will be made CEO of B&N and be based in New York City. The companies said that under this arrangement, B&N and Waterstones will "benefit from the sharing of best practice between the companies.

Entertainment Weekly's print magazine, which has continued to provide substantive coverage of books and authors at a time when many other print magazines and newspapers have cut back, will become a monthly publication as of August.

Writing in Vox, Kelsey Piper looks at the growing concern about "books by prestigious and well-regarded researchers" which "go to print with glaring errors, which are only discovered when an expert in the field, or someone on Twitter, gets a glance at them."

She cites two examples:

In Outrages: Sex, Censorship and the Criminalization of Love, author Naomi Wolf's entire premise is based on a misunderstanding of the phrase "death recorded," which she took to mean that the person had been executed, but in fact means that the death penalty was deferred for their natural life.

And in Happy Every After, one of author Paul Dolan's central premises is that "Married people are happier than other population subgroups, but only when their spouse is in the room when they're asked how happy they are. When the spouse is not present: f***ing miserable..." This statement is based on a misunderstanding of the American Time Use Survey, a national survey available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics which defines "spouse absent" as no longer living in the household--which is very different to Dolan's interpretation of the spouse not present at the time of the interview!

American novelist Tayari Jones's portrait of a young African American's wrongful incarceration, and its devastating impact on his marriage has beaten two Booker prize winners to take the Women's prize for fiction.

Described by chair of judges Kate Williams as a book that "shines a light on today's America", Jones's fourth novel An American Marriage won the £30,000 award on Wednesday night....

... The Women's prize is the UK's only book award for fiction by women. Running for 24 years, it has been won by writers including Zadie Smith and Lionel Shriver.

People are fortunate if they have one great passion in life. Robert L. Bernstein, who died May 27, had three, starting with his family. He also had publishing. For a quarter century, he led Random House Inc., turning it into an enterprise as luminous as it was successful. In the mid-1980s, when Fortune magazine listed its "100 Best Companies in America to Work For," Random House was among them. And there was Bernstein's passion for human rights, starting with his support of individuals under KGB pressure, then moving on to do whatever was possible by peaceful means to protect whole societies from tyrants around the world.

Forty years ago, Bob cofounded Helsinki Watch (named after the signing place of a pact among 35 countries on a range of issues) to monitor the activities of dissidents such as Andrei Sakharov in the Soviet Union and Vaclav Havel in Czechoslovakia. In time, watch committees were added for the Americas, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, the United States, women's rights, children's rights, LGBTQ rights, and others...

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