Remember a few weeks ago when Paul Bogaards was kind enough to list us onto his Hierarchy of Book Publishing: The Top 100? We were entry no. 67, not nearly so powerful in the book publishing world as the original publisher of Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, Amy Einhorn; her hair was entry no. 4. Though we were deemed slightly better than New Jersey, which was listed at no. 68. We even posted a curiosity about it. Well, the New York Observer’s got a follow up piece on the joke, and is calling the original Tumblr post a flame out. Bogaards takes a different tack, saying that his Twitter and Tumblr streams are “a curation of industry anxiety. Interspersed with humor. And cocktails.”
Over at The New Yorker, Roa Lynn recalls going to Pablo Neruda’s home and getting him to write her a poem: “Would he read a few of the poems that I had brought with me? To my delight, he said that after lunch he would take his customary nap and after that he would read our poems. If he liked them, he would write something for our book.” Pair with this Millions essay about Neruda’s house in Isla Negra.
Alice Munro announced her retirement from writing this week. “Perhaps, when you’re my age,” she told a National Post reporter, “you don’t wish to be alone as much as a writer has to be.” Previously the Canadian author announced her retirement in 2006, but that didn’t stop her from publishing two more books – including her latest story collection, Dear Life (Millions review). The uninitiated can get a primer on her entire oeuvre by checking out our comprehensive Beginner’s Guide to Alice Munro. See also: “Can Writers Retire? Let Us Count the Ways”
Implicit in a lot of the discussions about how negative a book reviewer can be is a question of utility: is a book review an act of public service or a work of art in itself? In the Times, James Parker and Anna Holmes debate the purpose of the review. Sample quote: “I’d argue that a majority of the reading public doesn’t necessarily benefit from the sorts of reviews for which artistry is the point.” You could also read our own Matt Seidel’s hypothetical worst review ever.