Adages fall book list. Better than Oprah's.

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Fall is book season. In Hollywood, publishers flood studios with new novels and nonfiction, all potential film projects. On Madison Ave., the Adages Book Club is deluged with self-help titles, branding how-to texts, books that push "timeless rules" for business success, and "surefire tactics" for creating "superbrands," books with subtitles like: "pushing yourself to the edge in adventure and in business," and "inspirational business lessons," or "changing how the game is played," and "breaking the bounds of the function" (whatever that means).

Sorry, but these mumbo jumbo manuals-as well as anything written by Sergio Zyman (unless he decides to write a novel)-do not make it into the club. Why? They're boring and self-serving.

The Adages Book Club is interested in creativity, especially works of fiction, history, and culture written by people in the advertising and media businesses. Sometimes we even review any good book just for the hell of it.

So here is our Back to Madison Ave. list of recommended reading for the fall, complete with bonafide Adages blurbs (which can be used for publicity and marketing purposes.)

A spellbinding tale!

"The Worthy," written by Will Clarke, a creative director at DDB Dallas, is a worthy read. Will is the Dave Eggers of the West. Actually, he's a lot better than Eggers. This novel, a piece of outrageous indie literature subtitled "A Ghost's Story" is a first-person tale told by the ghost of a young man who was killed at age 19 and comes back to hunt down his murderer. Talk about an omniscient narrator! Clark's clever device allows him to convincingly eavesdrop on all his characters. He takes some liberties. For example, can a ghost really know this: "Ryan, like he always does in public, holds in his acid and bile, letting it boil inside him while he smiles the whitest of smiles." Clarke's first book, "Lord Vishnu's Love Handles," was first reviewed here (Aug. 5, 2002). "The Worthy" is published by The MiddleFinger Press, Dallas.

Some kind of writer!

Retired adman Wallace J. Gordon ( McCann Erickson, Atlanta; Howard Swink, Marion, Ohio; Hume Smith Mickleberry in Miami) is the Marcel Proust of Madison Ave. He has just self-published the second volume of a proposed six volume series of memoirs (1st Books Library). The latest installment, "Another Kind of Writer," follows his exploits from college student to ambitious fiction writer to catalog copyman at Sears Roebuck. A choice, hilarious passage is a series of snooty rejection letters for Wally's short stories from a cruel editrix at Today's Woman magazine. Adages reviewed Wally's first book "The Other Side of Advertising" on April 29, 2002.

You write nice, Gil!

Stanley Bing is the nom de plume of Gil Schwartz, grand poobah publicist at CBS. Oh, gosh, was that supposed to be a secret? Everybody knows it anyway, so who cares? (And the book, published by Bloomsbury, New York, sports a copyright by Gil Schwartz.) Stan is an excellent writer, one of Adages' favorites. Where does he find the time to do all that scribbling? "You Look Nice Today," his latest novel, chronicles, in Bing's trademark witty, wise and warmhearted way, a sexual harassment case at a big Chicago corporation. The scandal engulfs a bland corporate exec and his beautiful, emotional assistant. When you finish reading this book, the otherwise innocuous phrase "You look nice today" will take on a whole new, loaded meaning.

The one that got away!

"Two Thousand Minnows" by Sandra Leigh, a commercial producer at Plum Productions in Santa Monica, is not a book about fishing. (The publisher, Lyons Press, does put out a big list of titles about fly-fishing.) Actually, "Minnows" is a brilliant memoir that tells the story of the author's search for her long lost sister, who was supposed to have died at birth. It's well-told, moving and authentic. What about that title? In the book Sandra spends a lot of time catching minnows in a creek. It's a recurring motif; in other words, it's symbolic, like fried green tomatoes. Incredibly, Adages has just learned that Sandra been offered a film deal for the book with Andy Meyer and Chuck Sloan of Springboard Productions, Santa Monica, the team that produced "Fried Green Tomatoes." "This is incredible, I'm in Adages book club!" Sandra bubbled to Adages over the phone. "This is so much better than being in Oprah's book club!"

We couldn't agree more.

Still taking bookings at rlinnett@crain.com

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