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About Jesse Kornbluth
I'm a recovering journalist who now writes books, plays and movies, and edits HeadButler.com.
As a magazine journalist, I was a contributing editor for Vanity Fair, New York and Architectural Digest, and a contributor to The New Yorker & The New York Times.
As an author, my books include Airborne: The Triumph and Struggle of Michael Jordan; Highly Confident: The Crime and Punishment of Michael Milken; Pre-Pop Warhol, and Notes from the New Underground. I collaborated with Roger Enrico on The Other Guy Blinked, with Twyla Tharp on The Collaborative Habit, and with Frank Bennack on Leave Something on the Table. I've written two novels, Married Sex and JFK and Mary Meyer: A Love Story.
On the Web, I co-founded Bookreporter.com. From 1997 to 2003, I was Editorial Director of America Online. In 2004, I launched HeadButler.com, a cultural concierge site that focuses on the best -- not just the newest -- books, music, movies and the occasional product.
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Books By Jesse Kornbluth
—The New York Times
John F. Kennedy said he needed sex every three days or he got a headache. In the White House, he never had a headache. Kennedy met Mary Pinchot in 1935, when he was eighteen and she was sixteen. Twenty years later, when she was living in Virginia and married to Cord Meyer, a high-ranking CIA official, she was Jack and Jackie Kennedy’s next-door neighbor. In 1962, she was an artist, divorced, living in Washington—and Kennedy’s first serious romance. Mary Pinchot Meyer was more than a bedmate. She was Kennedy’s beacon light: his sole female adviser, spending mornings in the Oval Office, and, at night, discussing issues. After the 1964 election, Kennedy said, he would divorce Jackie and marry her.
After the assassination, Mary didn’t believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, and she shared that view, loudly and often, in Washington’s most elite circles. Her ex-husband urged her to be silent, but when the report of the Warren Commission was released, she was even more loudly critical.
On October 10, 1964, two days before her forty-forth birthday, as she walked in Georgetown, a man shot her in the head and the heart. That night, Mary's best friend called her sister. “Mary had a diary,” she said. “Get it.”
The diary was filled with sketches, notes for paintings—and ten pages about an affair with an unnamed lover. Her sister burned it. In JFK and Mary Meyer: A Love Story, Jesse Kornbluth recreates the diary Mary might have written. Working from a timeline of Kennedy’s presidency and every documented account of their public relationship, he has written a high-octane thriller that tracks this secret, doomed romance—and invites readers to solve Mary’s murder.
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As a divorce lawyer for Manhattan’s elite, David Greenfield is privy to the intimate, dirty details of failed marriages. He knows he’s lucky to be married to Blair—a Barnard dean and the mother of their college-age daughter, she is a woman he loves more today than he did when they tied the knot.
Then seductive photographer Jean Coin asks David to be her lover for 6 weeks, until she leaves for Timbuktu. Tempted, David reasons that “it’s not cheating if your wife’s there.” A 1-night threesome would relieve the pressure of monogamy without wrecking their marriage. What harm could come of fulfilling his longtime sexual fantasy?
The problem was time. Dickens wrote the story in 1843, and viewed from the distance of more than 170 years, his language is dense and over-wrought. And long? 28,000 words long.
Because I really wanted my daughter to hear this story, I sat down and started cutting the text. Nothing important is gone. I added only a few words of my own, just to make some connections. And then Paige Peterson produced 15 beautiful and spooky illustrations.
This version of “A Christmas Carol” comes in at 13,000 words. As much as possible, it’s pure story. I’m going to read it to my daughter at Christmas, and I bet --- this time --- she’ll like it. It’s my hope that many other kids and their parents will agree.
--- Jesse Kornbluth
In this practical sequel to her national bestseller The Creative Habit, Tharp explains why collaboration is important to her -- and can be for you. She shows how to recognize good candidates for partnership and how to build one successfully, and analyzes dysfunctional collaborations. And although this isn't a book that promises to help you deepen your romantic life, she suggests that the lessons you learn by working together professionally can help you in your personal relationships.
These lessons about planning, listening, organizing, troubleshooting, and using your talents and those of your coworkers to the fullest are not limited to the arts; they are the building blocks of working with others, like if you're stuck in a 9-to-5 job and have an unhelpful boss.
Tharp sees collaboration as a daily practice, and her book is rich in examples from her career. Starting as a twelve-year-old teaching dance to her brothers in a small town in California and moving through her work as a fledgling choreographer in New York, she learns lessons that have enriched her collaborations with Billy Joel, Jerome Robbins, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, David Byrne, Richard Avedon, Milos Forman, Norma Kamali, and Frank Sinatra.
Among the surprising and inspiring points Tharp makes in The Collaborative Habit:
-Nothing forces change more dramatically than a new partnership.
-In a good collaboration, differences between partners mean that one plus one will always equal more than two. A good collaborator is easier to find than a good friend. If you've got a true friendship, you want to protect that. To work together is to risk it.
-Everyone who uses e-mail is a virtual collaborator.
-Getting involved with your collaborator's problems may distract you from your own, but it usually leads to disaster.
-When you have history, you have ghosts. If you're returning to an old collaboration, begin at the beginning. No evocation of old problems and old solutions.
-Tharp's conclusion: What we can learn about working creatively and in harmony can trans- form our lives, and our world.