Following our coverage of the Man Booker Prize shortlist, it’s now time to place your bets on which book will eventually triumph. At The Atlantic, Joe Pinsker offers a tip based on previous winners: focus not on the book itself, but on its reviews.
“I thought there were would be more in this writing life, an easier path to walk. I write those words and know they are the unwise thoughts of my younger self and that I am still too stubborn to give up on my dreams. When Annie Dillard invited me outside for that smoke, she knew very well what it would mean to a young writer like me. She intuited my ambitions and it was her way of encouraging me.” This essay is ostensibly about smoking cigarettes and playing catch with Annie Dillard, but it’s also about the incredibly important role that an established writer can play in helping a struggling up-and-comer.
ICYMI: After Hachette writers banded together behind their publisher (piles of tweets, an author petition (pdf), a perplexing Malcolm Gladwell YouTube clip, and of course our own Edan Lepucki in Stephen Colbert’s pre-order campaign), Amazon proposed giving authors “100% of proceeds” from ebooks — that’s including Hachette’s share — while they hashed things out. You gotta admire that gumption. Halfway around the world, a French court order just banned free delivery for discounted book orders–so Amazon now charges one cent. Also: they’ve got drones. The Times concludes that if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
Cheryl Strayed’s Wild is probably the best-known recent example of a memoir that centers on a journey through a harsh landscape. There’s another one that deserves your attention, too — Kathleen Winter’s Boundless, which tells the tale of the writer’s voyage through the icebound Northwest Passage. At The Guardian, a review of the memoir.
On January 25th, if you’re in New York City, you could do worse than to listen to a handful of New York Magazine editors discuss non-fiction storytelling. The event is being held in conjunction with Longreads and Housing Works Bookstore Café.