links, with a heaping side of book industry blues
April 22, 2012 by Not Alice
- Can you recognize well-known authors on style alone? I did fairly well, though I shamefully missed the first one and there’s an inclusion near the bottom that raised my eyebrows to my hairline in incredulity at that writer’s inclusion. This is similar to the blind quiz I am dreaming of to determine if there is or is not a distinct “program fiction” style.
- Ever wonder what Bolano read? Me too!
- A consideration of Virginia Woolf’s criticism. And a picture of her bedroom.
- JK Rowling’s next book sounds absolutely … like something I would never want to read. I don’t think she’s a very talented plotter and have been skeptical about the viability of any future books but this sounds remarkably uninteresting. From the synopsis, it seems more like the type of book that sells predominantly to middle aged bookclubby women, something like Alexander McCall Smith, than something that would appeal to her existing fanbase, adult or otherwise. I am much less excited on behalf of my workplace than I was at its initial announcement.
- Fortune has a short article on the ebook knockoffs that proliferate on Amazon. Alternate title: why we should fear the demise of publishers. Speaking of that, I’m quaking. You should be too. (Note: Dennis of Melville House is not in any way unbiased in his Amazon coverage, and I don’t agree with everything about his stance [I think amazon has done a great deal of good, really] but he’s always got the most thorough coverage.)
- In cheerier news: the BTBA shortlist has been revealed. I am pleased with my clairvoyance: all of the ones I randomly chose to read are on the list; I even bought Stone Upon Stone two days before this announcement. Can’t wait to read it to see if it ousts the fantastic In Red as my hoped-for winner.
- While examining the L.A. Review of Books’ new website, I came across an old article on Charles Portis. I disagree with author Cline’s suggestion that Mattie Ross’s unreliability is a flaw–for me, that’s exactly what makes the book particularly interesting and especially brilliant!–and the link between Mattie’s “inaccessible” character and the mystery of Portis-as-person is a little tremulous, but nevertheless I am happy to see Portis receive more attention.
- I have two opinions on the Pulitzer’s refusal to award a prize, and they cancel each other out to create a pleasantly unanguished state of unopinion. On one hand, I am sorry and a bit angry over loss of sales. Optimists are spinning this as an opportunity for booksellers to handsell the titles we personally thought should have won, but … we do that anyway. And, frankly, not everyone is receptive to it. There are lots of people who want to be told what to read by an unshakeable authority, and who don’t trust the word of the girl behind the counter. Most of my Pulitzer devotees are just not going to make that purchase this year. It’s a damn shame, and I’m sorry on behalf of my business. But on the other hand, and thinking from my personal rather than professional perspective, I think this is actually rather brave and it’s a choice that raises my respect for the integrity of the award. Because, frankly, the jurors did a terrible job of creating a shortlist. Two of the books were borderline in their eligibility by some standards (one incomplete, the other a novella originally published almost ten years ago) while the other was just terrible. I would have given the award to Train Dreams, probably, but it’s problem–that it’s not, in any way of considering it, reflective of 2011 in book given that it was published in 2003–irks me so much that I would not do so on principle. In conclusion: boo to the jurors, who fail at their job; hurrah to the Pulitzer board, for the brave and unconventional n0nchoice; and tears for my workplace, which suffers.
- In honor of the newest addition to my household, pictured above, here’s an impressive collection of notorious typewriters (via the book bench).