As e-books gain market share, publishers are gussying up book designs. Free Press vice president and publisher Martha K. Levin says, “the message [is] that even if you’re buying 90 percent of your books on your e-reader, this is the one that you want to have on your bookshelf.” The article highlights 1Q84 as an example of a successfully well-designed physical object, but if you haven’t seen a copy, check out Chip Kidd’s discussion of his work on the book.
Recommended Reading: this essay by Sophia Knight on why she decided to quit her high-stakes job as a corporate editor in favor of a more modest writer’s income. If it's publishing stories you're after, here's an old Millions favorite on whether or not to self-publish.
Translating is notoriously difficult work, and translating Proust even more so. The Boston Review has published a very thoughtful piece about the history of In Search of Lost Time in English, the trouble with annotations, and the general "tension in translation between the spirit and the letter." We highly recommend you take the time to read it, even if you don't have time for Proust just yet.
Stephanie Danler’s best-selling, semi-autobiographical novel, Sweetbitter, has been given the green light by Starz network for a six-episode series. "As she learns the ropes of restaurant work, [Tess] falls for bad-boy bartender Jake, and makes her first forays into wine, drugs, lust, betrayal and adulthood," writes the Los Angeles Times. Pair with Jason Arthur's essay on novels about work.
If you're looking forward to the next Margaret Atwood novel, you'll have to wait a century. Atwood is the first author to participate in the Future Library project, in which 100 authors will write 100 original manuscripts to be published 100 years from now. We're envious of our grandchildren. If you'd like an Atwood fix sooner, her short story collection Stone Mattress: Nine Tales comes out next week.
"I live a life of appetite and, yes, that’s right, / I live a life of privilege in New York, / Eating buttered toast in bed with cunty fingers on Sunday morning. / Say that again? / I have a rule— / I never give to beggars in the street who hold their hands out." Frederick Siedel's brusqueness makes many readers uncomfortable, yet many others revere him for his "brave cunning." Whichever side of the fence you fall on, this is an interesting take from Don Chiasson at The New Yorker.
After last week's NYT "Room for Debate" feature, ostensibly in answer to the question of why so many adults read YA fiction, Roger Sutton at the Horn Book took umbrage at the panelists' only partial engagement with the question. In the end though, he makes his own position clear: "I don’t worry about adults reading YA novels. Read what you want."