Dwight Garner, writing in the current issue of The New York Times Magazine, laments that so many high-end American novelists seem to be working on “the nine-year plan,” delivering a new novel roughly once a decade. He cites Jeffrey Eugenides, who will be out soon with The Marriage Plot, his third novel in 18 years, along with such slow cookers as Jonathan Franzen, Donna Tartt and Michael Chabon. One name Garner neglected to mention is the Pulitzer Prize-winner William Kennedy, who will be out next month with Chango’s Beads and Two-Tone Shoes, the eighth installment in his Albany cycle and his first novel since Roscoe appeared nine years and nine months ago. Look for our review of it here next month.
From Flavorwire: in 1970 William S. Burroughs teamed up with British cartoonist and painter Malcolm McNeill to "put together what they called a ‘Word/Image novel’ (the term ‘graphic novel’ had not yet been popularized) and shopped it to publishers. After seven years of trying to sell the new genre, Burroughs and McNeill gave up. Next year the work will finally see the light of day.”
Is envy really the worst form of pettiness, as Kierkegaard suggested? Maybe. The great Roman philosopher Cicero had his own, fairly radical thoughts on envy -- namely, that "compassion and envy are consistent in the same man; for whoever is uneasy at any one’s adversity is also uneasy at another’s prosperity."
Just when you thought we'd covered every aspect of the story of self-publishing, something like this happens. A Canadian serial killer convicted of killing six women and charged in the deaths of another twenty has self-published a memoir on Amazon in which he maintains his innocence. The papers were allegedly smuggled out of the prison by another inmate and published by a self-publishing service under a pseudonym. Amazon has since discontinued sales of the book.
In the latest issue of Harvard magazine, Nathan Heller writes about Arion Press, the last remaining “full-service letterpress in the United States.” Apparently Arion, which has “an in-house foundry where lead is melted into ingots,” sells editions of canonical titles (like Ulysses) that retail for thousands of dollars. (h/t our own Kevin Hartnett)