Books Galore

bummiler.jpg Washington’s just a really small camp, isn’t it? Exhibit A: NYT reporter Elisabeth Bumiller is about to take a year’s leave to write a biography of Condi Rice (perhaps due out right as she starts a presidential bid?). The catch? Bumiller’s husband, NYT diplomatic correspondent Steven Weisman has to give up his job (he might end up on the economic beat).

“It was a judgment call,” Times executive editor Bill Keller told the New York Observer, giving them their second big D.C. scoop in as many days. “Our concern was that while Elisabeth is striving for close access to the Secretary of State, anything Steve writes about her might be suspected of pulling punches. These are two professionals of the highest integrity…. And in this case the perception of a conflict is relatively easy to avoid.”

Of course Bumiller’s project is only one of many entering the field now. Just weeks after James Risen‘s best-selling book exposing the NSA wiretapping caused a kerfuffle, NYT writers Jeff Gerth and Don Van Atta announced they’re penning a Hillary Clinton biography. Van Atta even turned down a top editing job for the “million-dollar” deal.

Because of all this extra-curricular writing, the Times, the NYO reports, is beginning to crack down on its reporters writing books.

izzy.jpgMeanwhile, Washingtonian reports (scroll down) in its new gossip column this month, “The Nation’s David Corn and Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff are teaming up for a narrative of the pre-Iraq-war intelligence controversies and the resulting CIA leak investigation.”

The magazine also reports that Risen’s book has sold a solid 35,000+ copies.

Anyone want to bet on whose book breaks the bigger news? Bumiller, Gerth/Van Atta, or Corn/Isikoff? Our money’s on that last one.