THE PUBLISHING house of Harcourt Brace Jovanovich has - perhaps depending on the outcome of the gulf war -- one of the hottest books of the year on its hands. Certainly the timeliest.
On March 25, Joe Hyams' "Flight of the Avenger: George Bush at War and In Love" will hit the bookshelves. The war referred to, of course, is not the current Mideast conflict, but World War II. Hyams digs deep to identify the complex man who leads our country -- and the forces that propel him onward. Bush recently told author Hyams: "When it came time for me to send our kids to Panama and later to the Middle East, I thought back on my own experiences and what it was like to be shot at. . . . Those memories were constantly in my mind when we were discussing committing troops and estimating expected combat losses."
Hyams spent many hours interviewing both George and Barbara Bush and his book is said to be rich with previously unpublished, intimate tales. Insiders in the book biz say that not since Don Regan's "For The Record" have they had such immediate advance demand. "Flight of the Avenger" is already into its fourth printing before publication -- 100,000 copies are being shipped out.
And, apparently, George Bush approves of the completed work. The book's editor, Claire Wachtel, has been invited to meet the president Wednesday at the White House.
CARMEL QUINN, the famous Irish singer, has been named the John F. Kennedy National Award winner for the 1991 St. Patrick's Day Parade held annually in New York City.
This award is presented each year to a distinguised individual of Irish descent. Quinn will be only the second woman to receive the honor in 34 years; actress Maureen O'Hara was tapped in 1982.
While Carmel Quinn still appears regularly in concerts (she has ,, performed at Carnegie Hall for 30 consecutive years), her popularity has its roots from TV's early days. Withher flaming hair and lilting voice, Quinn first became known as a regular on "The Arthur Godfrey Show," then one of TV's hottest programs.