At Salon, Laura Miller protests National Novel Writing Month (a.k.a., NaNoWriMo) and its participants, saying the month-long writing marathon is a waste of time. At the Los Angeles Times book blog Jacket Copy, Carolyn Kellogg disagrees.
As the publication date nears for Robert Caro’s latest Lyndon Johnson installment, The Passage of Power, it’s a good idea to brush up on your history of Caro’s career. Enter Charles McGrath and his great portrait of one of the most prolific biographers of all time.
In 1969, Random House’s Book of the Month Club offered members an edition of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland illustrated by Salvador Dalí. (You can view the full collection here.) Forty-three years later, the publisher had a mail delivery experience that was almost equally surreal.
“I lived alone for three years in Brooklyn, paying $1,700 a month ($61,200 all told) for a pretty but small one-bedroom within eyeshot of the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway. I also spent $400 a month on health insurance. At one point I thought I would find another full-time job after finishing the book, but then I must have convinced myself that teaching yoga part time would better enable my writing.” Emily Gould on poverty and the writing life.
Whether or not you believe that Oxford University Press is “the largest, most diverse and most respected university press in the world,” you’ll appreciate this review of a new history of the company, which goes through OUP’s origins, its relationship with its namesake and the opening of its New York office in 1896.
As John Steinbeck’s classic Travels With Charley nears the half-century mark, a writer has retraced the author’s cross-country journey and come to the conclusion that the resulting book was full of inaccuracies and outright fabrications. The journalist Bill Steigerwald, whose article appears in the current issue of the libertarian quarterly Reason, says he didn’t set out to trash the Nobel laureate. “As a libertarian, I kind of liked the old guy,” Steigerwald tells the New York Times. “He liked guns; he liked property rights.”
L.A.-based readers won’t want to miss this weekend’s Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, held this year on the USC campus. Millions staff writer Patrick Brown will be moderating a panel discussion about bookselling, “From the Front Register,” on Saturday at 12:30 pm. At 2:30 that same day, I’ll be on a panel facilitated by Lizzie Skurnick called “Fiction: The Long and Short of It.” My fellow panelists are Yiyun Li and occasional Millions contributor Victoria Patterson. Go here for details and to order panel tickets (just $1 each)!