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Hard Sell in Otherwords

May 1, 1997

Mary Ann Travis

Did "Sex, Drugs and Scots" catch your eye? Lee Lovejoy thought it would. That's the headline he used for a review of Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh in Otherwords, a book-review newsletter published by the Tulane Bookstore with the Tulane Literary Society. Both editor and layout person, Lovejoy is a biomedical engineering junior from Metairie who has just been re-elected president of the Tulane Literary Society.

The first issue of Otherwords came out in February, with two more slated for printing this semester. Distributed in the bookstore and student mailboxes, the eight-page newsletter features book reviews by student writers and book jacket art. Last fall, Peggy Kohlepp, manager of the bookstore's trade books department, approached Lovejoy about having students review newly published books. Her ulterior motive: to sell more books.

If students read book reviews by other students, she figured, they might want to buy them. She said, "I didn't know where they were getting their information about what new books to buy." The dozen or so student writers for each issue get to pick which books to review from a stack of books Kohlepp offers them.

"The students like the free books," said Lovejoy. "They've gotten a better opinion of the bookstore." The April issue of Otherwords will feature science fiction and fantasy books, and the May issue will have a summer reading theme. Lovejoy's goal is to have six issues of Otherwords printed next year. The bookstore foots the bill for printing.

Kohlepp has been pleased to see students referring to Otherwords as they search for the latest Amy Tan, Margaret Atwood or Umberto Eco. Lovejoy, a self-described "English type interested in science" in high school who now plans for a career in neurosurgery and nervous system medical research, relishes his role as literary editor.

Despite his heavy biomedical engineering course load and his interest in computer modeling of neurons and electrophysiology, he also finds time to edit Tulane Review, the literary society's magazine. "On the side," said Loveoy, "I like literature."

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu