As the New York Times reports, Anthony Bourdain will soon be acquiring books for Ecco, a HarperCollins imprint. When asked what types of books he'll publish, the celebrity chef turned travel host replied, "an initial list composed of chefs, enthusiasts, fighters, musicians and dead essayists."
"[I]n the world of letters, it is hard to imagine a more seismic change than this one." The New York Times announces that its longtime book critic Michiko Kakutani is stepping down after nearly four decades of reviews. The Times also offers a roundup of her greatest hits, including writeups of Beloved, Infinite Jest, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and Bill Clinton's memoir My Life: The book, which weighs in at more than 950 pages, is sloppy, self-indulgent and often eye-crossingly dull — the sound of one man prattling away, not for the reader, but for himself and some distant recording angel of history. This announcement was followed by the great news that repeat Year in Reading alumna Parul Sehgal will join Jennifer Senior and Dwight Garner as a Times book critic, leaving her position as senior editor of the NYT Book Review. Congratulations, Parul!
The New York Public Library has named five finalists for its inaugural Harriet Tubman prize, which recognizes non-fiction books that explore the topic of slavery. You may also want to revisit our own Edan Lepucki's essay from a few years back on slavery in fiction.
In case you missed it: Google bought Frommer's last August. Then in April, Google announced that it would stop printing hard-copy guidebooks, so founder Arthur Frommer bought his company back. All of this has led Doug Mack to argue that not only do we need guidebooks, but they should be part of the literary canon. "They also stand out for shaping history, if not always intentionally, because of their authoritative reputation—they have long been the best insight into that which would be otherwise unknown."
Roberto Bolaño's "Beach," the story that has been the source of the notion that the late author was a heroin addict (since debunked in a fairly convincing fashion) has been translated into English."Science Fiction Authors That Lit Geeks Think It's Cool To Read""Top 10 US out of print books of 2008" and the heartening news that three of the books on the list will be brought back into print in 2009: Once a Runner, A Lion Called Christian, and Comanche Heart.Google now has 7 million books scanned.Put this instant classic in your stocking and save it for next year: "A hearing into the case of Rudolph, a reindeer"