CBC posts the list with Ninja pal Michelle Good’s Five Little Indians topping it. What a year for that book and Michelle. There’s virtually no room left on the cover for award stickers. Couldn’t happen to a nicer person.
Interrupting the holiday break here to bring news you’ve surely already heard: one of the greatest writers and thinkers of the 20th Century has died at the age of 87. New York Times has the obit.
Her attraction to trouble spots, disintegrating personalities and incipient chaos came naturally. In the title essay from “The White Album,” she included her own psychiatric evaluation after arriving at the outpatient clinic of St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica complaining of vertigo and nausea.
It read, in part: “In her view she lives in a world of people moved by strange, conflicted, poorly comprehended, and, above all, devious motivations which commit them inevitably to conflict and failure.” This description, which Ms. Didion did not contest, could describe the archetypal heroine of her novels.
Might take a week or two off to concentrate on not letting the holidays be ruined by the pandemic, etc. If I disappear, that’s where I am and I’ll be back in January. Schools just closed down early here, so let’s see how it goes.
- Hey, red letter day: the Quill has posted an article not behind a paywall for us plebs to read along with their dozens of librarians and handful of publishing royalty people with trade mag budgets;
- Best thrillers of the year according to Crime Reads includes Ms. Ninja’s The Retreat — pick it up for someone in your house to read on Boxing Day;
- LitHub is reviewing and ranking the reviews;
- BookRiot is matching donations to fight library censorship;
- Tiny book, giant price tag;
- What are you doing for the holidays? Don’t bother answering if you’re a lawyer for PRH or S&S… we already know;
- Our oldest fear is disaster from space? Huh. I would have bet “tigers”;
- Vice and its writers reach a deal to ensure more content slurry;
- Samwise-I-would-have-got-there-and-back-again-in-half-the-time-if-I-wasn’t-dragging-this-whiny-fucking-twat-along-Gamgee has a book club?;
- The Believer looks at the origins of the Jim Crow typeface;
- The Hugos have been skewing female lately, which must drive about 30% of the sci-fi world into a Tiki-torch frenzy;
- Today in Floof: obituaries for the literary arguments we forgot about;
- RIP: Bell Hooks, author and thinker, dead at 69;
- The NYer considers her legacy;
- Did you know that Publisher’s Weekly picks a person of the year?
- Scotland opens year of stories (none of which wear underwear);
- Barak Obama’s books of the year… Gosh, he dreamy;
- Celebrity crime fiction on trial;
- Bookworm alert: how to protect your books from bugs;
- Anne Rice’s final interview;
- Remember when Philip K Dick revealed we live in the Matrix? In 77;
- CBC offers its best-of list for Canadian poetry… my hometown St. John’s represents quite well;
- Expectation vs reality: author edition;
- The LARB turns 10, despite the derision of NYC publishing elite;
- PRH and S&S lawsuit something something legal factual something something argue argue myah;
- Cuomo forced to forfeit book earnings;
- Pham Doan Trang sentenced to 9 years for daring to speak…shame on Vietnam;
- The Rossettis, as photographed by Lewis Carroll;
- First hand account: what it’s like to have your book banned by your local library;
- Vonnegut doc arrives…. 40 years late;
- A BookTok fantasy author mystery? Something for everyone!;
- Today in Floof: movies that hate the books they were based on vs. movies that obsessively love the books they were based on;
Is Barnes and Noble helping to kill off bookstores, including itself? Hm. Sounds like a debate we’ve been having for near 30 years. If BN undercuts the price of indie stores, and BN.com undercuts the price of its own retail stores, and if the ad algorithms on BN.com allow Amazon to pop up with ads further undercut BN itself, what hope is there? Where is the incentive to shop any other way?
To make sure the store had Dalio’s book, I went to bn.com and saw that the book, with a publisher’s price of $35, was available at the store and was being sold on bn.com for $27.99. And that $27.99 would have included free shipping to my home, if I had wanted the book sent to me.
When I was checking out of the store, I was surprised to see that I was being charged $31.50 rather than $27.99. That’s the full $35 list price, less the 10 percent discount that I get from my Barnes & Noble membership.
When I told the cashier that I thought the price would be $27.99 because that’s what the website said, she asked me to wait for a few seconds. She did some checking, and promptly and cheerfully charged me $27.99. But if I hadn’t asked for that price, I wouldn’t have gotten it.
When I got home, I went back to bn.com and discovered to my astonishment that there was a pop-up ad from Amazon on the site offering Dalio’s book for $21.57 — more than 20 percent below bn.com’s price. When last I looked, the Amazon price on bn.com was down to $21.09.
(Amazon founder and former CEO Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
I wanted to see whether Amazon undercutting the price of Dalio’s book with a pop-up ad on bn.com was a one-off fluke.
- Crisis in Canadian copyright: John Degen, champion of writers, quoted in this piece on our country’s fucked up copyright laws;
- Recycling news: Alanis to turn musical that was song into YA novel;
- What’s the (near) future of publishing?;
- RIP: Anne Rice, novelist, dead at 80;
- What’s different about writing sex scenes in a mystery novel (the protagonist still can’t find it anyway… heyOOOOO);
- Shirley Jackson finally getting some limelight;
- Millennials love being woke, but also love their Harry Potter and are willing to pay for it right through the nose (aka a feature that doubles hat for their ironic mustache and a shelf for their giant 80s safety glasses);
- Movie tie-in books reach crossroads due to … you know … stuff;
- There’s an Audrey Lourde biopic coming?! Hot damn;
- New to writing? Apply to the Writers Trust to work with some established authors (hell, I’d work with Kaie Kellough NOW);
- First Canadian to be picked for Reece Witherspoon’s book club is (Ms. Ninja’s pal) Marissa Stapley;
- Beatts takes deep dive into impact of Marie-Claire Blais, one of the greatest writers Canada has ever produced;
- On the sci-fi stories that predicted our “reality” (whatever that is);
- Consequence culture strikes again: Chris Cuomo edition;
- On Shakespeare’s female editors;
- On the serial killer movies that women writers love;
- The best books of 2021: SLATE edition;
- Library audio book loan data reveals some surprising choices alongside the usual suspects;
- On the writings that helped this woman finally leave her marriage;
- The best festive revels in literature?;
- On how two-spirit people are “coming in” to their communities;
- How to write about Trans people;
- “How to write in an accent” — ie, how much Spanish that you learned on your day trip to Tulum are you allowed to jam into your novel or poem before someone calls you out on your cultural tourism?;
- Indie booksellers head into the home stretch feeling good about things…;
- …and maybe crowdfunding is part of the reason why?;
- Be free of your guilt: it’s okay to not read the classics;
- Why a 100-word picture book take 2 years to complete;
- 1984 to get feminist reboot;
- Any prize money would be difficult for me to decline at this time, but this guy is giving his away in protest of who funds the prize;
- Portico Prize shortlist;
- Even George RR Martin was surprised at all the prequels;
- I find Lewis Carroll to be utterly fascinating as a strange and problematic character… and I did know most of this, but it’s interesting anyway;
- Imagine finding fake editions of your novel being marketed on Amazon as ancient texts and sold for thousands of dollars;
Man, don’t I know it. Everything I do these days is an attempt to put food on the table without going back to soul-eating work for a company I don’t give a rat’s ass about. Since I started writing I’ve done the following day jobs: bartender, social worker, martial arts coach, bookstore clerk, computer trainer, high school teacher, web designer, policy analyst, communications officer, communications coordinator, communications manager, magazine editor, executive director, adjunct professor, marketing specialist, public relations manager, marketing manager, etc. etc. etc. Now I am trying to run my own company and it’s sort of slightly better for a lot less money. Meh, I’m calling it a win.
In a diary entry dated 1911, Kafka writes that having a day job “is a horrible double life from which there is probably no escape but insanity.” Academia and publishing offer literature-adjacent careers to a small number of writers (who must find time for their own work even within these literary industries), and the rest of us are left to eke out our livelihoods in nontraditional ways, balancing odd hours and demanding labor with creative work (not to mention regular lives of meals, children, exercise, even—dare I say—leisure?).
I asked seven writers about their day jobs and how they manage to produce work in their off hours without losing their minds.