- Canadian indie cookbook press gets attention;
- I can’t read this piece behind the paywall, but I know Michelle Good and she will have super smart things to say to put this (sadly not?) unthinkable situation into context;
- Related: when will the church have its reckoning?;
- Orwell Prize shortlists;
- What’s good in translation these days?;
- Potential job? Book Butler;
- On the sordid history and politics of the hyphen;
- New graphic novel tells stories of women-led slave revolts;
- The little indies that could celebrates resilience in bookselling!;
- New Wimpy Kid book coming;
- I will always love reading about Sinead O’Connor simply for the unpredictability of what will come out of her mout’ next… She’s a fantastic stunt artist who doesn’t know she’s a stunt artist because she has actual talent;
- Ninja favourite Michelle Good wins Amazon first novel award!;
- Emerging poet Selina Boan profiled at CBC;
- There are Canadian crime writing awards? For what? Improperly filled-out fire permit for burning those leaves? Not waving on other drivers during a four-way-stop? Some sort of government scandal involving school computers? I kid…. I kid because I love…. and because it’s funny;
- 100 years of the Newberry Medal;
- Italian kids book awards;
- New kind of story-telling developed on Twitter;
- Why do we like mysteries? Because life is a mystery: everyone must stand alone; I hear you call my name and it feels like…. home;.
- Ta-Nehisi Coates on his decade at Marvel Comics;
- Almost over: a reminder that all month Steven Beattie has been throwing down on short stories over at his blog That Shakespearean Rag… get over there and get caught up;
- Cast for Sandman adaptation looks amazing;
- Competitive cursive writing? Now that’s a student sport I can watch;
- Emerging Queer voices highlighted on Dayne Ogilvie Prize shortlist;
- Adrienne Rich profile;
- Hey, fellow White people, it’s one year later…. how’s that well-intended allyship going?;
- Roxane Gay launches imprint at Grove;
- NYer Union is close to a strike;
- RIP: Eric Carle, beloved children’s author, dead at 91;
- First new ancient Greek dictionary in years doesn’t spare the swears;
- Somehow a coffee table book about Schitt’s Creek is just perfect;
- The book club of your dreams is at the public library? Move over sticky-fingered perv at the computers, elderly newspaper-hoarder, and man who smells like week-old soup… I’m here now;
- Finally: a book Shakespeare likely owned;
- On the role of the pamphlet in American history;
- I only post the major SFF awards bc there are so many… a guide;
- Worlds collide: Belfast noir bridges reading gap between Ninja and wife;
- “Real life” couple co-author romance novel, get coverage in EW;
An interesting piece in which the author examines the divide between artists (specifically problematic ones) and their work, postulating that we can accept and still consume the work of some jerks (Rowling, Michael Jackson, etc) because their terrible politics and proclivities don’t enter their work, while others (Louis CK, the Cohen brothers, etc), we can’t because their work is predicated on their terrible politics. But in the end all I think about is this: do I want my money ending up in the clutch purse of a child molester or transphobe (or their duly designated corporate heirs)? No, so I will not be spending any more money at the Rowling shop and my listening to Michael Jackson will be relegated to dentist office waiting rooms. End of story.
In real life, we increasingly expect artists to behave like the fictitious heroes they create. During interviews, I’ve been asked more and more how much of my stories are autofiction, i.e. veiled autobiography. Cancel culture (or consequence culture, as LeVar Burton recently called it) is an effort to hold people accountable for harmful actions—both artistic and personal—against the common good. In the manuscripts I read for my and my wife’s imprint Joy Revolution, it’s not just the characters that have a strong social justice bent to them—it’s also the authors themselves.
And just as artists are regarded as heroes, they’re expected to behave like angels, too.
But what do you do when they turn out to be anything but angels?
- Remember the adorable-yet-uncompromizing punk kids from the library gig last week, The Linda Lindas? They got a record deal;
- Lambda’s go virtual next Tuesday;
- Debut NL author interviewed at the CBC on debt and the poetry of place;
- Irish children’s book award winners;
- 2020 Stoker Awards;
- Finally, a chance at Emily Bronte’s handwritten poezzzzzzzzzzsnorkzz;
- Get a peek inside Ingram;
- This book is on the arm of one of our couches right now, and it’s probably about 100 years overdue;
- Belarus is begging for more Gary Oldman villain rolls in action flicks;
- BookTube is a thing and I knew that… I’m not totally out of it, kids;
- A little writing advice from Raymond Carver sounds exactly like what you’d expect from Raymond Carver;
- MIT is always innovating… here with STEM-based graphic novels;
So it looks like Roth’s estate is intent on destroying his personal papers — which would preclude future scholars using anything but dirtbag Bailey’s book as a source for them (he had full access). It’s an interesting conundrum — how much control should a public person have over their legacy after they’re gone? I remember years ago seeing Fred Astaire and Elvis dancing in commercials and thinking…. ew. As far as I’m concerned, we should follow whatever the person outlined in their will. Burn it all? Fine. Release it later? Okay. But having others make decisions for you based on their financial advantages around your reputation? Ew. (Bonus: here’s Salman Rushdie postulating that this whole business implies that people today wouldn’t have stood up for him like they did back then when he was a target. Dude, you’re too smart to not see the differences here, aren’t you?)
But a subject’s efforts – and by extension his or her representatives and heirs – to try to guide the writer’s hand, at least from this side of the grave, is to be expected, says James Fox, journalist and writer, co-author of the autobiographies of Keith Richards, David Bailey and, yet to be published, Damien Hirst.
“If you get into the area of family biography, there’s always somebody complaining about it, somebody withholding letters and so on,” says Fox. “Everybody feels they possess this character and they don’t want anyone else giving their own version of it because then they feel abandoned and don’t feel special.”
Questions underlying Roth’s biography revolve around efforts to orchestrate posterity. Robert McCrum, former literary editor at the Observer, recalls an interview he conducted with Roth, who died in 2018, in which the author made it clear he expected in death, as in life, to exert narrative control.
I have so many frigging deadlines, I am drowning, but a few of these headlines were too good to pass up.
- CBC looks at some spring titles that include some great books (Gutter Child is fantastic);
- BookNet says Canadians read more broadly during 2020;
- Booksellers in the US aren’t happy with CDC guidelines;
- US gets Asian Youth Poet Laureate;
- This week in news you didn’t see coming: Steinbeck’s werewolf novel;
- Stacey Abrams gets two book deal from Doubleday;
- Get a peek at RBG’s hand annotated law school textbook;
- Cyberpunk: a primer;
- How to move across job roles in publishing;
- Emerging writers shortlisted for Bronwen Wallace Award;
- HOT DAMN: PUBLIC POLICY AWARD HANDED OUT!!!;
- Miles Franklin Award (Aus) longlist;
- Prize pot split among winners like good comrades;
- Sinead memoir impugns Prince;
- On writing character driven thrillers;
- SFF authors from Palestine;
- Last complete le Carré novel coming this fall;
- An entire book investigating the Flaming Hot Cheetos question;
- Can university press books look good?;
I’ll shorten this up for you: no one. But going a bit deeper, Vox looks into the recent controversies surrounding publications (and cancelled publications) of various problematic figures. Anyone who thinks any of this has to do with “editorial” anymore are kidding themselves. Outside indy publishing, it’s all a corporate decision based on some unholy algorithm borrowed from the insurance industry. Risk vs reward. Books that are cancelled are almost always chopped because someone looked at the optics vs the potential sales and decided to play a long game betting against the works, and said works will almost always be picked up by someone else who wants to take the risk. It’s just business. I wish it wasn’t, but it is.
Book publishing is having an existential crisis. The industry is finding itself saddled with deals by polarizing political figures, and no idea how to handle them. Which, in turn, gives rise to some fundamental questions about the purpose of publishing.
Is the industry’s purpose to make the widest array of viewpoints available to the largest audience possible? Is it to curate only the most truthful, accurate, and high-quality books to the public? Or is it to sell as many books as possible, and to try to stay out of the spotlight while doing so? Should a publisher ever care about any part of an author’s life besides their ability to write a book?
These questions are becoming more and more urgent within the private realms of publishing, amid debates over which authors deserve the enormous platform and resources that publishers can offer — and when it’s acceptable for publishers to decide to take those resources away.
- Forest of Reading launches virtual fest with winner announcements;
- Peggy dishes on why she thinks the 1990s adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale didn’t work;
- EU Prize for Literature winners announced;
- Skylight Books in LA unionizes;
- LitHub looks at a list of book stores that have done the same;
- I have a small cadre of my-life-adjacent people who I could use as models if I ever wanted to write a psycho;
- Mary Beard interviewed in the NYer;
- For those who think poetry does nothing: marriage-breaking;
- This pandemic has hurt and benefited all the wrong people… to wit: dirtbag Andrew Cuomo is set to make $5.1m from his pandemic book;
- Listen to Patricia Lockwood read from her work and talk craft;
- Hey, older, bewildered people like me: DYK bookstagram is a thing?;
- I quit acting in part because Philip Seymour Hoffman had the market on chubby redheads cornered, and now here he is posthumously getting into the book rec biz… jerk;
- Should critics “let their guard down” (ie, be more generous)?