Hite Reports on Male Sex, Miss Piggy Takes Up Pen and Oink and Armageddon's Back in Fashion
Just when you thought it was safe to get back in bed, along comes Shere Hite with another sex questionnaire. This time men are under the glass. The Hite Report on Male Sexuality, which Knopf will publish this spring, is the inevitable, if overdue (it was six years in the making), follow-up to her 1976 study of female sexuality. It sold four million worldwide and was banned in 10 countries. Hite sent out 120,000 questionnaires; only 7,000 men, from 13 to 93, responded, perhaps because some of the forms required 168 answers. The 38-year-old cultural historian has probed male feelings about intercourse (“What it means to males”), adultery (“Men think they should be able to do it but women shouldn’t”), masturbation and homosexuality. “The book is going to be controversial,” promises Shere, who lives in Manhattan and dates an artist. “In a way men and women are brought up in two different cultures. Now I feel better acquainted with them.”
Two years ago John Irving emerged from primeval Putney, Vt. with The World According to Garp and became the literary rage. Since then he has sold Garp to the movies (the screenplay by fellow wrestling buff Steve Tesich films this spring), taught writing at Brandeis and moved his wife, Shyla, and two sons to a carriage house in Cambridge, Mass. (They still spend weekends in Putney.) More important to Garp fans, Irving, 38, has finished his fifth novel, The Hotel New Hampshire, due from Dutton in October. It will have a first printing of 100,000—not overly ambitious, considering Garp sold upwards of three million in paper. “This book delivers the same kind of extreme humor with extreme sadness,” reassures Irving’s editor, Jane Rosenman. “It’s about childhood and the way you grow up.” But what’s the new novel’s Berry family really like? “Let’s put it this way,” says Rosen-man, “they’re not Ozzie and Harriet.”
“Ingrid Bergman, Shelley Winters, Sophia Loren and all those others will finally get theirs!” snorts the latest celeb ready to reveal all. Miss Piggy’s Guide to Life (Knopf) will give fans beauty tips (“Never use yellow lipstick; never put flowers in your nose”), unusual exercise programs (“Telephone-toning the arms”) and worldly advice (“When tipping, divide the bill by the height of the waiter”). Hogwash? Then why is Miss P demanding a Today show appearance? As she pignaciously commanded her publisher, “Tell them I won’t be a boar!”
Long before TV ratings of James Clavell’s Shōgun climbed through the teahouse roof last fall (only Roots drew more miniseries viewers), the author was hard at work on another Oriental blockbuster. Noble House, a 1,200-page saga set in Hong Kong, will be published in April by Delacorte. “I wanted to do for Hong Kong what James Michener did for Hawaii,” says Clavell, 56, who spent a year in the British Crown Colony in the ’60s. A previous novel, Tai-Pan, was a vast dynastic tale about 19th-century Hong Kong. Noble House, a story of 10 days in 1963, brings Tai-Pan up to date. The book has 60 characters, including a smuggler named Four Finger Woo and an ingratiating banker, Smiler Ching. “Hong Kong is the queen of cities,” says the English-born Clavell, who now is a California resident. “It’s an illusion. It only exists when I’m there.”
Are publishers banking on World War III? Dial Press is preparing Bruce Clayton’s Life after Doomsday: A Survivalist Guide to Nuclear War and Other Major Disasters. Clayton advises on fallout shelters and post-bomb diet and has fashioned an Armageddon rain suit, goggles and gas mask for protection against thermal flash and fallout.