Could this be the start of a trend? HarperCollins paid the singer Billy Joel $3 million for a memoir back in 2008. Joel wrote The Book of Joel, the publisher edited it, and a June publication date was set. Last week, however, Joel abruptly backed out of the deal and apparently will return the portion of the advance he’s been paid. His reason? He told the Associated Press he “was not all that interested in talking about the past.”
Simon & Schuster is planning to put out full-length audio editions of Ernest Hemingway’s novels. At the blog Okay Terrific, Steve figured out that Islands in the Stream will be read by Tommy Lee Jones and For Whom the Bell Tolls by Campbell Scott (and Steve is launching a campaign to get his own narrating gig.)Remember my post about book news RSS feeds? I’ve added the USA Today book news feed to the list. I use the book news feeds to generate the headlines that appear to the right. Any feeds that I’m missing? Let me know in the comments.Recently discovered The Publishing Contrarian via Books Inq. It’s full of all sorts of insidery book industry commentary.
“‘I just want to be normal,’ she said, even though she had amazing powers and a super-family and was mega-gorgeous and better than normal in every way and the entire book would be terrible if she were normal and she had no conception of what normal was to begin with.” At The Toast, Mallory Ortberg lists flaws only a protagonist could have.
For The New Yorker Alex Ross describes the role Nebraska’s prairies played in Willa Cather’s writing, his encounters with Cather people, and how he became one himself. “From this roughshod Europe of the mind, Cather also emerged with a complex understanding of American identity. Her symphonic landscapes are inflected with myriad accents, cultures, personal narratives—all stored away in a prodigious memory. “
“Save one life save the world, instructs the Talmud… You can’t save every life. You can’t save every book. But you can at least throw lifelines now and then.” Susan Coll writes for The Atlantic about the power of shelving and the importance of staying hopeful, no matter how gloomy publishing becomes.
If you know that Patricia Highsmith wrote The Talented Mr. Ripley, you know that she’s an exceptional authority on the workings of the criminal mind. At The Paris Review Daily, Dan Piepenbring digs up an old interview with the author, in which she describes the act of murder as “the opposite of freedom.” You could also read Tana French on Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train.