W.W. Norton

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

A number of years ago, a guy named George Kurian, an encyclopedia author, wrote me a letter proposing that we co-author a book. His title: “Advertising as Literature.” I had never heard of Kurian, but he seemed well credentialed, with contacts in the publishing world, so I agreed and put together a book proposal. My subhead: “What Authors Can Learn from the Great Copywriters.” In my spare time I amassed a huge file of material. All I needed was a contract and I could produce the book in six weeks. Kurian liked it, shopped the proposal around and got zero response. A top editor I know

“Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” —Blanche DuBois, Tennessee Williams’s, “A Streetcar Named Desire.” “Dreamgirls” is boffo. My wife, Peggy, and I saw it in a neighborhood movie house where the audience is often restless, rattles popcorn bags and talks back to the screen. For the entire duration of this film the theater was dead silent. At the end of the Jennifer Hudson love song that devolved into a heart-wrenching soliloquy, we all applauded. The drama within this magical musical is all the more poignant when you discover that Jennifer Hudson was bounced from “American Idol.”

I adore trains. I love rip-snorting tales of high adventure and hijinks. When I read the first two paragraphs that appear in the In The News section of this newsletter—a screaming rave review about “The Great Train Robbery,” where a band of Union volunteers traveled incognito into the deep South and hijacked a locomotive with the intention of taking it up north—I decided then and there to order the book. Alas, the reviewer committed one of the Three Deadly Sins of book reviewing, and talked me out of buying the book. The good news: I saved $29.95 plus tax. The bad news: Richard

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