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Aussie author raps on life and lucre

Greive chalks up another best seller

'The Meaning of Life' follows on the heels of Bradley Trevor Greive's other best-selling books: 'The Blue Day Book,' 'Dear Mom, Thank You for Everything' and 'Looking for Mr. Right.'

With more than 4 million books sold, each title has made best-seller lists here and abroad.

Like his previous three entries, 'The Meaning of Life' juxtaposes funny, heartfelt messages with whimsical black-and-white photos Ñ this time of animals. Greive gathers the photos from library archives, combing through thousands of shots before he finds the image to match the sentiment. The vintage feel of the photos, coupled with Greive's sharp wit and tightly edited prose, keep the book from being sappy.

The Sydney, Australia-based author admits that on paper, he's a surprising candidate to author the 'feel good' books.

At 6 foot 3 inches with the looks of a matinee idol, the Tasmanian native has been a nude body double in a Val Kilmer film, a cartoonist and a paratroops platoon leader. And despite the books' global acclaim, his publicist is still quick to cite her client's physical attributes for a blatant play for publicity. Does he mind being marketed as a É well, piece of meat?

'I'm willing to do whatever it takes to promote literature on a global scale,' he says deadpan.

It's this reluctance to take himself seriously that makes 'The Meaning of Life' and his prior works shine.

'I try to make simplicity, humor and poetry the foundation of all my work,' he says.

Greive is understandably wowed by the response the little (6-by-6-inch) books have garnered.

'The success has been surreal and wonderful,' he says, shaking his head in amazement.

Furthermore, he isn't bothered by the fact that many consider his work 'literature lite.'

'People think that I think I'm Proust,' he says. 'But my books have a massive, mainstream appeal. Some of my biggest fans are literary types who enjoy the books simply for what they are. I find that my biggest critics aren't particularly well-read.'