Member Blogs > ten pound island book companyActively Engaged in Retirement?

  • Sun, 13 Jul 2014 12:07:51    Permalink
    With the commencement of my seventh decade on this planet I occasionally find myself feeling old. I can rarely stay awake past 9 p.m., and I have the sense that my time is growing short, which sometimes makes my temper even shorter. This unfortunate confluence has inspired me to begin compiling a catalog called “Old, Rare, and Short.” Then, last Monday, I put the catalog on the shelf for a few days and headed out to Springfield Massachusetts for the last bit of the Ledyard walk - a 40 mile hike to Hartford Connecticut. (For those of you who have not been keeping up with my literary adventures, I have spent the past three years following a journey made by John Ledyardwhen he ran away from Dartmouth College in 1773. It is written as a series of essays, published each Christmas by Ten Pound Island Book Co.,about America then, and America now, and about John Ledyard, and about a character called "I." Ledyard sailed down the Connecticut River from Hanover, New Hampshire to his family home in Hartford, Connecticut.
    but "I" walks down a road alongside the river because "I" does not own a canoe.)Fleabag Motel 6 a.m.

    I returned home after three days to find an excited email awaiting me. It was from Allison Malecha, my publicist at Grove/Atlantic. She wanted to let me know that my crime novel, The Old Turk's Load, which is now out in paperback,had just gotten a terrific review in The Bookreporter. It began, 
    I love surprises, and THE OLD TURK’S LOAD is one of them. Gregory Gibson is the highly regarded if non-prolific author of three nonfiction works. At an age when most individuals would be not merely contemplating but actively engaged in retirement, Gibson has published an instantly memorable debut, a complex, occasionally darkly comic novel that exceeds its own promise on all levels... (read the complete review here)
    The Bookreporter is, among other things, an influential online book review website, so this was great news.
    I wrote to Allison and my publisher,  Gee, that's terrific! How do we go about converting this great review into big sales numbers and stampeding demand for the sequel? I will post it on my Facebook page. Twelve people will know. What else should I do?
    My publisher replied,  It’s very nice. Allison—if you know the answer about how to generate a stampede, please be sure to copy me, as I’ve been trying to figure it out for 40 years.
    To which I responded,  A $30K advance on my next book will be a step in the right direction.
    He said,  So would a date with Kate Upton—equally likely.
    So I wrote back,  Who's she, a mystery writer? Maybe I can fix you up...
    He had no answer to that one.
    So I went back to work on Old, Rare and Short.
    Here's one of the featured items: 
    Dying declaration of Nicholas Fernandez, who with nine others were executed in front of Cadiz harbour, December 29, 1829... Annexed is a Solemn Warning to Youth (and others) to beware the baneful habit of intemperance. (NY): (George Lambert), 1830. b/w wood engraved frontispiece and title cut. 36 pp.  A wonderful and scarce piracy pamphlet. Not in Gosse or the Driscoll sale catalog. According to the title page and copyright notice the narrative was “translated from a Spanish copy by Ferdinand Bayer” who presumably added the Solemn Warning. Fernandez delivers his death-row confession in the first person. This is followed by a commentary on the sentences - (What brought Fernandez to ruin? Intemperance, that’s what!) Then the twelve page temperance lecture, which is thematically linked to Fernandez's awful fate. Pages clean and evenly tanned. Bound in original blue wrappers. Pages untrimmed. A remarkable survival. $2500

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