At Time Inc.'s book party for Colin Powell last week, the general had some trouble thanking Random House head Harold Evans for buying his memoirs, "My American Journey." It's not that he was at a loss for words; rather, Powell couldn't spot the diminutive publisher in the crowd of 200 pressed into two floors of the Phillips Collection, a Washington museum.
So Powell did what generals do best: He gave Evans an order.
"Harry, you're kind of short," he said. "Stand on something." "He tried to stand on a chair, but the museum officials said, 'Naughty, naughty, naughty,' " explained one of Evans's assistants. Later, he got back at Powell, handing the general what looked like a mint copy of his memoir. When Powell opened the book to autograph the title page, he burst out laughing--all the pages were blank. As for Powell's political future, John McLaughlin offered some advice to presidential hopeful Sen. Robert Dole, who was not at the party. "Dole needs Powell [on his ticket] to win," the television talk show host said.
Evans hosted his own book party later in the week, at Barneys New York. It was the first in a fall series of Random House Literary Breakfasts, this one bringing out the power women for an early morning chat about Louisa May Alcott. Dominique Browning, Agnes Gund, Rona Jaffe and Frances Lear sipped coffee, while the panel--Wendy Wasserstein, Francine du Plessix Grey, Georgette Mosbacher, Bell Hooks and Ruby Dee --discussed the pros (many) and cons (few) of "Little Women." "I wonder if it would have done as well if she'd called it 'Big Women,"' wondered Wasserstein.
Despite the hour--the discussion began at 8:30 a.m.--it was an unusually rousing discussion, keeping everyone interested except for Veronica Webb, who caught a little more beauty sleep.
"I think this series is good for literature," Grey told Eye afterward. "It humanizes it. It's like a friendly graduate school."

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