Jill Abramson, fired last week from her post as New York Times executive editor, broke her silence today with her commencement address at Wake Forest. “I’m talking to anyone who has been dumped,” she said. “Not gotten the job you really wanted or received those horrible rejection letters from grad school. You know, the sting of losing, or not getting something you badly want. When that happens, show what you are made of.” Video here.
We’ve already got several RSVPs for our NYC indie bookstore walking tour. Get all the details and RSVP if you want to be notified of any schedule changes.The Millions’ Collaborative Atlas of Book Stores and Literary Places is still being added to by our enterprising readers. London in particular is now bristling with points of interest including many bookstores and destinations like St Pancras’ Old Church, where you’ll find the graves of Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin.Wyatt Mason’s terrific profile of the poet Frederick Seidel is a must-read.Slate’s Troy Patterson describes the achievement of German sensation Wetlands in autoproctological terms.The William H. Gass site Tunneling posts some remarkable images of Gass’ home library, originally published in 2007 in St. Louis Magazine.L.J. Davis, financial journalist and author of the recently reissued novel A Meaningful Life, offers an insider’s look at house-flipping during booms… and busts.Is a two-novelist marriage sustainable? (from Canteen)And what’s up with J.D. Salinger these days, anyway? (via)Philip Hensher looks back at novels from the dawn of the Thatcher era.Can’t get enough of poet Nathaniel Bellows? Listen to him read.Is Barnes & Noble hoping to arrive better late than never to the ebook reader party?”Wendell Steavenson went looking for remorse among the men who served Saddam Hussein. Her fruitless search, George Packer writes, has produced one of the few lasting works to come out of the Iraq war.”Google gets even better at scanning books.Green Apple Books talks about “cool books we’ll never sell.”
Those who watch the book deal emails from Publishers Lunch know that Chad Harbach, an editor at n+1, recently sold his first novel, The Art of Fielding, but a Bloomberg article today reveals it went for an eye-popping $650,000. The book centers around baseball at a fictional Wisconsin college, and Bloomberg pegs the deal as “one of the highest prices for a man’s first novel on a topic appealing to a male audience.” Possible buried lede: n+1 compatriots Benjamin Kunkel and Keith Gessen saw their first novels sell 48,000 and 7,000 copies respectively, according to Neilsen BookScan.
“To get me through a 550-page collection, the stories must be very good indeed. These are.” When Lionel Shriver participated in our Year in Reading ritual several years back, she dedicated her reading diary to William Trevor, who just passed away. “Trevor’s writing is so perfect that you don’t even notice it’s perfect,” she wrote. “He mainlines pure narrative directly into your veins. The words never get in the way; the words, like their author, disappear.”