Today in publishing and literature: Nicolas Sarkozy's lavish spending habits have earned an entire book, Herman Cain is being sued by the firm that took the picture he used on the cover of his book, and Donald Westlake explains the process of having a book turned into a movie -- circa 1973.
How's Fidel Castro these days? Well, apparently. He just finished writing Fidel Castro: Guerilla of Time, a fantastically titled, thousand-page, two-volume memoir. On Friday, he spent six hours -- six hours! -- reading excerpts from the first volume and answering audience questions during an appearance. (The event -- sliced into more digestible 90 minute blocks -- is being broadcast on Cuban state television this week.) Even in Cuba, the project was kept under wraps: CNN reports that the first public acknowledgement of the book came on Saturday, when state newspaper Granma ran excerpts from the first volume and reported on Castro's reading. [CNN]
Herman Cain and his publisher Simon & Schuster are being sued in U.S. District Court in Atlanta by Adventure Advertising, the firm that snapped the photo that graces the cover of This Is Herman Cain! The company says the image was one of three portraits commissioned last April by Friends of Herman Cain for his campaign, and that slapping it on the cover of Cain's memoir constitutes improper usage. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
A former White House intern named Mimi Alford has written a memoir called Once Upon A Secret about her relationship with John F. Kennedy. The secret, it turns out, is that they had an 18-month affair, which she recalls in painstakingly graphic detail. It's vaguely unpleasant, but also kind of endearing, especially when Alford recalls Kennedy in non-canoodling moments, teaching her how to make scrambled eggs and extolling the virtues of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. [New York Post]
The revelations about Nicolas Sarkozy in L'argent de l'État -- Money from the State -- a new book by his Socialist foe Rene Dosiere are limited to financial matters, but still manages to be juicy, silly, and embarrassing. Dosiere provides a thorough accounting of the wine and newspapers that the French public pays to supply Sarkozy with. Then there are day trips, like the" 80-mile trip to Saint-Quentin, from Paris, that cost £350,000, a £109,000 sortie to the Lascaux caves." A reasonable reply would be "But he's the president!" by even the standards of French heads of state, Dosiere argues Sarkozy's spending is excessive. He notes that his fleet of cars is twice the size of the one commanded by Jacques Chirac. To be fair to Sarkozy, he has cancelled the annual £500,000 palace garden party in the interest of austerity. [The Daily Mail]
Closer to home -- our home -- Kate Bolick is going to be turning "All the Single Ladies," her cover story for the November issue of The Atlantic, into a book called Among the Suitors. Crown bought the rights to the project at auction last week. Per Publisher's Marketplace, the price was somewhere north of $500,000. Update: Kate Bolick tells us via email that while book will deal with some of the themes she touches on the article, it isn't based on the article, and there's going to be very little overlap between the two. [The New York Observer]
Finally, thank goodness for garages, and reporters like Vince Cosgrove -- formerly of The New York Daily News -- who save audiotapes of all their old interviews. Cosgrove recently unearthed the tape from an hour-long conversation he had with the late crime writer Donald Westlake in 1973, and the revelations are just wonderful, even if you're not a fan of Westlake's Dortmunder novels or the many, many other books he wrote under a variety of pen names. Most of the talk is about the experience of having a book turned into a movie, which Westlake says can be great if William Goldman is writing the screenplay and Robert Redford is playing the lead (which happened on the 1972 adaptation of his book The Hot Rock) but less great if Jean-Luc Godard insists on transporting your book Parker to France and changing the title, which also happened to Westlake in 1966. The movie would become Made in U.S.A. [Page Views]