Two hotly anticipated collections of stories are out this week: Nathan Englander’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank and Dan Chaon’s Stay Awake. Also new this week are Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Ramona Ausubel’s No One is Here Except All of Us, which she wrote about here recently, Dalkey’s new edition of The Recognitions by William Gaddis, and a new volume of William S. Burroughs’ letters.
“Why can’t we keep our literary heroes where they belong, at the top of the bookshelf next to all the others? And why must we ache for their approval, their admiration, their love?” Alex Gilvarry posts about writers who dare to approach their literary heroes for the Paris Review Daily.
At The Rumpus, Catherine Brady interviews Daniel Alarcón, who recently came out with a new novel. Alarcón talks about his love of Roberto Bolaño and the paradox of writing about prison, among other things. (You could also read Jeff Peer’s review of the author’s new book.)
“Other favorites I’ve found myself overusing include ‘she nodded,’ ‘she raised her eyebrows,’ and ‘she walked home slowly / she slowly walked home.’” Maria Murnane writes for the Amazon Author Insights blog (full disclosure: Amazon helps us keep the lights on around here!) about how to watch out for crutch words.
Is all publicity good publicity? Are all reviews—even bad ones—good for books? The answer, according to a new study [pdf] by the journal Marketing Science, depends on whether the writer is well known or unknown. The study examined the impact of a New York Times review on the sales of more than 200 hardcover titles. For books by established writers, a negative review led to a 15% decrease in sales. For unknown authors, a negative review increased sales by a healthy 45%.