Wednesday, October 30, 2002

This is just beautiful .

Hudson's new collection of short stories, "Dear Mr. President" (Knopf, $19), has made him a favorite of book critics, fellow writers and lots of readers. But the book, it seems, has had the opposite effect on the commander in chief...

"The letter began by thanking me for sending the book," Hudson said. "Also, I'm from Austin, Texas, and the president touched on the fact that I was a fellow Texan, congratulating me on my book. But he was setting me up for the one-two punch. Because he called the book unpatriotic and ridiculous and just plain bad writing. Beyond that, I've been instructed not to talk about the contents of the letter for the time being."

That's not all. Hudson says FBI agents have been hanging around at his recent book readings, and the book's website ( is apparently being monitored by the government.

"We have a [website] tracker," he said. "It tells us the percentage of hits coming from different places, from around the world. From universities. From the military. From different media sources. And from the government. The government's percentage is surprisingly high."

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