Author

JeriAnn Geller - page 2

JeriAnn Geller has 78 articles published.

is a writer, editor and dabbler in arty stuff. A fourth-generation journalist (on her father’s side) and millionteenth-generation mother (on her mother’s side) she has written, edited, photographed and illustrated for newspapers, magazines, websites, blogs, videos and books. Known for her persnicketyness about grammar, she occasionally leaves in an error to delight people of similar inclination.

From Chicago Raunchy to Hollywood Perky: The Evolution of Grease

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You think you know Grease? I guarantee you have no idea just how much the original musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey had to evolve to become America’s rock-and-roll love letter to the world. The original, which premiered in 1971 in Chicago, was based on Jacobs’ high school experience in the Windy City. It was raw, raunchy and at times downright vulgar and explored subjects that were usually sanitized during the 1950s—teenage pregnancy, gang violence, teen rebellion, class conflict and good ol’ S-E-X. When Grease glides onto the sound stages of the Warner Bros. this Sunday, January 31 to bring us the live broadcast of what is generally considered the most popular American musical of all time (it’s certainly…

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The Original Fan Fiction Prequel Marks its 50th Anniversary

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It may not be entirely fair to refer to Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (WW Norton & Co.; reissuing January 25, 2016) as the first great work of fan fiction—it stands entirely on its own as a classic. But the “prequel” to Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, which celebrated its 50th anniversary of publication this week, is the grandmamma of an entire genre that has spun some classic novels. In case you missed it in English class, Wide Sargasso Sea answers one of the biggest questions from the pages of Jane Eyre—who was the woman in the attic and what drove her mad? Author Rhys wasn’t satisfied with Bronte’s explanation that all Creole women are crazy and instead spent nearly…

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Photos, Videos and Books Inspiring Us on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

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As we honor the memory of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. we look to him for the inspiration we need to continue his work. Racial justice, voting rights, equality, the eradication of poverty and peace in our time are goals he believed in and still worth striving for. To help us go the distance, we’re sharing the items that inspired us from around the Web this MLK Day. The View from the Heavens There’s nothing like a view from a space station of Dr. King’s hometown of Atlanta to make clear just how small our world really is and how much we need one another. To honor King, NASA astronauts Scott Kelly, Tim Kopra and European Space Agency…

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Are Celebrity Book Deals Killing Literature?

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Back at the dawn of my career I interned for a romance author who was forever being considered by publishing houses only to be rejected. Finally I contacted a friend at one of these houses and she explained that editors had a limited budget for new work and were reluctant to take a chance on an unknown unless they could be sure of sales. And this was before the phenomenon called the Celebrity Novel on which publishers pin hopes of jackpot dividends. Alas, for every Tina Fey whose $5 million advance produced a book that sold out within six months, there’s a Graham Nash whose $1 million advance barely sold 31,000 books. However, the trend continues. Actors, musicians and reality…

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Could Your Short Story Get You on NPR?

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My first time listening to Selected Shorts on NPR was also my first real driveway moment. I was spellbound and couldn’t open the car door until I’d heard the rest of the story. There was something about a gifted actor reading a piece of fiction just meant to fit into a certain timeframe that was absolutely mesmerizing. Since then I’ve been absolutely hooked and attending a live recording at Symphony Space in New York City is on my “must see” list for 2016. And that story could even be yours. Here’s how: Selected Shorts has just announced that the Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize writing competition is accepting stories of 750 words or less until midnight EST on March…

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Monty Python’s Eric Idle Has An Epic 6-Year Reading List

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Eric Idle has a beautiful list of books he’s read on his website and that fact alone should fill you with delight. The list is made even better by his brief commentary about each book and why he liked or disliked it. But wait a moment, you say. Isn’t he the chap who wrote Spamalot and ran around dressed like a mid-century British housewife on the telly? Why should I care what he has to say about books? Well I’ll tell you. Before Spamalot and Monty Python and the Holy Grail and that BBC sketch show that captured nerdy hearts around the world there were five graduates of Oxford and Cambridge (ignoring the sole Yank who did artsy stuff). Idle…

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Sitting US Congressman Leaves To Write Satire. What Would Trump Say?

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Comedians often thank Congress for providing them with satirical material to mine for comedy. Now a sitting member of Congress has decided to do the same—US Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) has announced that he will not seek re-election in order to follow his heart and build his career as a satirical novelist. This news came as a blow to Democrats who counted on the popular congressman and Nancy Pelosi ally to hold his seat. Whatever the wider ranging political reasons, we’re delighted to keep an eye out for the congressman’s sophomore book. Booklist praised his freshman effort. “As political satires go, it’s really good; as debut novels go, it’s even better.” For more on what may have shaped Israel’s decision, check…

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What’s the Mystery Behind the Disappearance of a Hong Kong Bookseller?

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Hong Kong has a mystery on its hands with the disappearance last week of local bookseller Lee Bo and signs are pointing to Communist China. Lee is the co-owner of the Causeway Bay Bookstore, a tiny shop that sells the gossipy books critical of political leaders in mainland China published by Mighty Current books. He is the fifth person connected to the publisher to go missing in the last two months. The previous disappearances are believed to be linked to the upcoming publication of a book about the love life of current Chinese President Xi Jinping. Adding to the mystery is a new report from Lee’s wife, Choi Ka-ping, who rescinded her missing person report and now claims that he…

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Mixology & Movies: The Perfect Drink for Your Favorite Flicks

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I have been blessed with offspring and 11 nieces and nephews—12 if you count my honorary niece. I’m looking forward to their holiday merriment and flying wrapping paper but when December 26 rolls around I’m going to desperately need some grownup recreation. This means movie night with adult beverages and the little ones safely tucked in for their long winter naps (or for the teens, long winter multi-player games). For this soirée I’m gleaning inspiration from two terrific volumes of mixology: Gone with the Gin: Cocktails with a Hollywood Twist by bartending’s merry punster Tim Federle (Running Press; October 2015) and Cocktails of the Movies: An Illustrated Guide to Cinematic Mixology by Will Francis and Stacey Marsh (Prestel; October 2015).…

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Novel Concept Episode 9: Jessica Hendry Nelson

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It’s not always easy to write and publish books about your own life. In this episode of Novel Concept, host Rachel Carter speaks with author Jessica Hendry Nelson about her memoir, If Only You People Could Follow Directions. The book was published in 2014, received a starred review from Kirkus, was an Indies Next List Selection, and was a Finalist for the Vermont Book Award. It’s also an intimate look at Jessica’s childhood, including her father’s battle with addiction and ultimate death, her mother’s efforts to keep her family together, and her brother’s ongoing issues with heroin. Jessica turns an unflinching eye on her family and herself —something that can be difficult to do when writing memoir. Rachel and Jessica discuss…

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Smart Reads: 5 Beautiful Books That Offer a Visual Feast

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By now our readers are aware of how much we love the holidays—and how much we love sharing our favorite books to give as gifts. But our suggestions wouldn’t be complete without those gorgeous coffee table books that sweep you away with their luscious photos and fascinating stories. Their spectacular covers are the literary equivalent of “You had me at ‘hello’.” Here are some of the most visually sumptuous and smartest reads for your holiday giving. The Sartorialist: X by Scott Schuman (Penguin; October 27, 2015) Nowadays it seems like everyone and her sister have a fashion blog, but Scott Schuman started it all 10 years ago with his photos captured on sidewalks of New York City street style. The…

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Lucky Peach’s Easy Asian Recipes that will Restore Your Tastebuds

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It’s early December and I feel like I’m trapped in some sort of holiday sandwich between last week’s Thanksgiving turkey and next week’s Chanukah latkes. What I really crave are bold flavors and healthy ingredients that are a departure from all the exquisite excess of the season (and won’t require a grim commitment to get to the gym). This is why when Lucky Peach: 101 Easy Asian Recipes by Peter Meehan and the editors of Lucky Peach (Clarkson Potter; October 27, 2015) came into our offices I leapt on it like a crazed badger. Lucky Peach is a foodie magazine with a quirky sense of humor, an appreciation for tradition (but not afraid to toss tradition out the window), and…

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Tracey Stewart Teaches Us (And Jon Stewart) How to Do Unto Animals

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No one expected when Jon Stewart announced his retirement from The Daily Show that he’d be spending his time rubbing the bellies of pigs on a 12-acre farm in New Jersey. But thanks to his wife, Tracey, a veterinary technician and animal advocate whom he calls “the single most joyful, compassionate, empathetic, intelligent individual I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting,” he’s playing with the pigs and loving it. The Stewarts have even started a Facebook page for their porcine friends called “The Daily Squeal.” Pigging Out on Pumpkins!Watch Anna and Maybelle “pigging out” on their pumpkin feast.Music: http://www.purple-planet.com Posted by The Daily Squeal on Friday, October 30, 2015 But the mastermind, and massive heart, behind providing a safe home…

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Before You Plug into Netflix, We’ve Got Your Jessica Jones Cheat Sheet

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I’ve been waiting months for the premiere of Marvel’s Jessica Jones on Netflix and the debut of our first female comic-book anti-hero. As much as I dig Agent Carter, Supergirl, Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel, their heroics lean towards the squeaky-clean. Jessica Jones will be our first female hero with some grit under her nails, dirty laundry lying around the apartment, and the smell of alcohol on her breath. Up until now, flawed heroes were limited to men—Wolverine and Iron Man, to name a couple. Jessica will be our first 3-dimensional female superhero. And it’s not just because of the conventional noir trappings of too much hard living and hard drinking; it’s the character herself. She’s deeply damaged and powerfully conflicted.…

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Forget Pie. You’ll Want to Make These Thanksgiving Alternatives from Violet Cakes Bakery

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This may sound like sacrilege, but on Thanksgiving I don’t do pie. That doesn’t mean we don’t have pie; a fantastic local farm kitchen fills that need, but I don’t bake pies. Ever. While I do terrific fillings, the alchemy that results in a tender, flaky crust has always eluded me. Instead, I prefer to tempt guests to save a little room with a dessert they don’t expect. To dazzle them, this year I’m turning to The Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak (Ten Speed Press; September 29, 2015). One of the things I love about Ptak’s recipes is her emphasis on flavor over appearance and her judicious use of refined sugar and flour. Like everyone else, my family includes…

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Dear Reader Contest Grand Prize Winner

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I personally call the winners of the Write a Dear Reader Contest every year. After I say, “Hello, this is Suzanne Beecher. Your entry in this year’s Write a Dear Reader Contest was a winner. Congratulations!” most of time folks are tongue-tied, reprocessing what I just told them, but not Debbie Perloff, this year’s First Place Winner. “I hate to write,” were the first words out of Debbie’s mouth and she continued, “Even writing a postcard is a chore for me. I am so excited. When I finally decided to enter the contest, I sat down, started writing, and 45 minutes later I was finished. I was so inspired by your writing Suzanne, and also reading the entry of last…

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