A memo leaked from within Hachette Book Group can be read as a publisher’s manifesto, or an overview of why publishers and editors are still relevant. Maybe we can incorporate this into Edan’s reasons not to self-publish this year.
“Born Guan Moye, he chose his pen name—“Don’t Talk”—to honor his mother’s caution against talking too much and in sardonic recognition of his failure to heed her warning. Yet I have been struck by his quiet and unassuming presence at literary conferences in Beijing, where he offered kind encouragement in private meetings but evinced a shy persona in public.” On the contradictions of last year’s Nobel laureate, Mo Yan.
Part Into the Wild, part Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Howard Axelrod’s The Point of Vanishing is the story of his two years spent in profound solitude in the Vermont wilderness. Called “torture” by prison rights activists and “a threat to mental stability” by psychologists, Axelrod’s decision to sequester himself from society was nothing if not extreme. Alexander Supertramp would be proud.
There’s no official protocol for responding to a disappointed fan, but that may change after more writers get wind of this response, written by Threats author Amelia Gray, to a man who complained that her book was “nothing more than conversations among insane people.” Gray admitted that the man’s gripe did, in fact, have merit, after which she urged him to buy a copy of A Time to Kill.
Add this to the roster of great literary takedowns. Apparently Evelyn Waugh once wrote the following about Proust: “Nobody told me he was a mental defective. He had no sense of time.” (This stands in stark contrast with the views of Aleksandar Hemon, who wrote in a recent Year in Reading piece that Swann’s Way is “one of those miraculous books that gets better with every re-reading.”)
There are plenty of reading apps out there, but a company called Rooster has released another, this one designed to “allow users to consume bite-sized pieces of highly curated fiction” whenever they have a few spare moments. In an interview with BookBusiness, Yael Goldstein Love, the editorial director of the project, described Rooster as aiming “to bring immersive reading, particularly fiction reading, back into busy peoples’ lives.” It’s difficult to know how to feel about this. Of course we think busy people should read good fiction, but is this just a precursor to the inevitable change of literature in the face of growing technology and shortened attention spans?