Proclaiming the death of the book has been in vogue nearly as long as the book itself. Leah Price presents a short history of our pessimism for the future of the written word.
New this week is Carlos Fuentes’ vampire tale set in Mexico City, Vlad. Also out are The Collective by Don Lee, Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann, Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer, and Evel Knievel Days by Pauls Toutonghi, who last year introduced us to six Egyptian writers as the world watched the Egyptian revolution.
Adding to the general hand-wringing over the state of the humanities, Lee Siegel contradicts Leon Wieseltier’s lament that fewer college students are majoring in literature by contending that modern literature courses ruin the joy of reading. “For every college professor who made Shakespeare or Lawrence come alive for the lucky few,” he writes, “there were countless others who made the reading of literary masterpieces seem like two hours in the periodontist’s chair.” (You can also read a similar argument from a humanities professor in The New Republic.)
There are book tours and then there are book tours. You either get the full-scale, all-expenses-paid treatment from your publisher, or else you get a request to plan it all and pay for it all yourself. In the weeks after his latest novel came out, our own Bill Morris set off on a DIY tour — all driving, no flying — about which he’s been writing dispatches for The Daily Beast. This week, he thinks about the changing nature of book promotion, recounts his nights in dumpy motels and compares his experience to that of our own Edan Lepucki. (FYI, they talked about writing their novels in a Millions piece.)