Book Article

OPENING ACTS

''I was surrounded on every side by vermin, roaches, and rat s -- -. And I wasn't even meeting with the executives at Blockbuster.'' -- Opening line of Troma Studios founder Lloyd Kaufman's MAKE YOUR OWN DAMN MOVIE: SECRETS OF A RENEGADE DIRECTOR (St. Martin's Griffin, $14.95)

''It rippled thickly in the bowl, dark and hot and uninviting. Miguel Lienzo picked it up and pulled it so close he almost dipped his nose into the tarry liquid. Holding the vessel still for an instant, he breathed in, pulling the scent deep into his lungs. The sharp odor of earth and rank leaves surprised him; it was like something an apothecary might keep in a chipped porcelain jar.'' -- First paragraph of THE COFFEE TRADER (Random House, $24.95), David Liss' follow-up to A Conspiracy of Paper

Originally posted Mar 21, 2003 Published in issue #701 Mar 21, 2003 Order article reprints