Shaken by scathing reviews from The New York Times and The Washington Post, Yann Martel‘s publisher turns to independent bookstores for help.
If you didn’t make it to BEA this year, first be thankful that you didn’t have to eat any of the food around the Javits Center. Then, check out some of the highlights from the comfort of your desk chair. I recommend Ami Greko and Ryan Chapman’s perennially excellent 7x20x21 panel, which this year featured Nate Silver, Dan Wilbur, and Sheila Heti among others.
At The Wilmington Star News, a round-up of the news coverage of the suicide of The Virginia Quarterly Review's managing editor, Kevin Morrissey, and the accusations that Morrissey's boss, Ted Genoways, the wunderkind editor-in-chief of VQR, may have played a role in the suicide. In the wake of this sad controversy, the University of Virginia has shut down the 85-year-old journal, pending an internal investigation.
"The notion that American literature might have an imperial bent—that it might be anything other than a string of lightly co-influential works of 'imaginative power,' and might itself reflect our national desire to dominate—is lost on its critics, both right and left." Jonathan Sturgeon in The Baffler on American exceptionalism and "the imperial self" in fiction, with particular attention paid to the work of two other Jonathans, Franzen and Safran Foer.
A lot is written about artists just starting their careers, and about those artists with a lifetime of work to look back over, but in a piece for The Enemy Barry Schwabasky considers the difficulty of being somewhere in the middle of an artistic career. After all, "most artists do, for better or worse, live through what’s come to be known as their midcareer. It’s just that they don’t often do so with ease. ... The middle of the journey sometimes seems to be all about losing the way."
"Independent bookstores are intellectual centers of a city." Our own Bill Morris, who's currently on tour for his latest book, Motor City Burning, writes for The Daily Beast about the importance and continued relevance of bookstores in the age of Amazon.