Brett Ortler, a blogger at Bark, chronicles his effort to figure out why indie publisher, BlazeVOX, wants to charge him $250 to publish his book of poems. Follow-up posts reveal, first, that BlazeVOX has rescinded the pay-to-play scheme, and, second, that it now plans to go out of business by the end of the year.
Catapult.co, a new literary website and publisher from the founders of Electric Literature and Black Balloon Publishing, has debuted online this week. It features stories by Padgett Powell and Joy Williams, and a remarkable essay about living in New York by Alexander Chee.
We’ve heard about the weak dollar making things tough on Canadian readers, but the pain is being felt by Canadian publishers as well, as profit margins diminish. The latest casualty is publisher Raincoast Books.Philip Agee died today. His Inside the Company in 1973 may have created a modern day genre, one that would be contributed to by many former agents, the CIA tell-all.The Atlantic reaches deep into the archives to bring us “The History of Children’s Books,” from 1888:It is hard to imagine a world without books for children. There have been children’s stories and folk-tales ever since man first learned to speak. “Many of them,” in Thackeray’s words, “have been narrated, almost in their present shape, for thousands of years since, to little copper-colored Sanscrit children. The very same tale has been heard by the Northmen Vikings, as they lay on their shields on deck; and by the Arabs, couched under the stars in the Syrian plains, when the flocks were gathered in, and the mares were picketed by the tents.” Children’s books, however, are a late growth of literature. Miss Yonge says, “Up to the Georgian era there were no books at all for children or the poor, excepting the class-books containing old ballads, such as Chevy Chase, and short tales, such as The King and the Cobbler, Whittington and his Cat.” We shall nevertheless see that there were English books for children (and it is with no others that we have to deal) long before this time.
For those of you who were not on Twitter yesterday, the novelist Elizabeth McCracken tweeted a series of tips for applying to MFA fiction programs. Among other bits of good advice, she says it’s generally best to apply with a solid short story rather than a novel chapter.
Considering his first novel was a chronicle of gang life in the Bronx, it makes sense that the new book by Richard Price is a tale of the NYPD. In the latest issue of The New Yorker, Joyce Carol Oates reads the novel, remarking that it “retains a residue of Price’s absorption with his rough urban settings and with the phenomenon of a particular sort of masculinity.” Related: our own Garth Risk Hallberg on Price and his crime fiction contemporaries.
In a New York Times op-ed piece on violence in children’s literature, Maria Tatar claims that “the savagery we offer children today is more unforgiving than it once was.” Is that really the case? Adam Gidwitz‘s A Tale Dark And Grimm (reviewed by the Times last November), which underscores the violence inherent in Grimm’s tales, can be read as a counterpoint.