Recommended reading: Lauren Collins writes for The New Yorker about the Oxford University Marginalia group and the fate of bookish scribblings.
Cheers to Joshua Cohen for this early look at Péter Nádas’ mind-bending magnum opus, Parallel Stories. Our own review will appear sometime in 2014, when we finish reading. (But we can already say that all 1,100-page novels should begin, as this one does, with a dead body.)
BOMB Magazine is collaborating with Farrar, Straus & Giroux to commence their “Something Out of Something” design contest. Participating designers, writers, and artists are invited to “draw inspiration from the written work of Israeli short story writer and filmmaker Etgar Keret to create visual art of their own.” Winners will receive $500, a personalized copy of Suddenly, a Knock on the Door, and their artwork’s appearance in a Keret story or film. You can read the full details on the contest’s Tumblr and Facebook pages.
We are now over a week into Amazon’s boycott of the indie press e-books distributed under the Independent Publishers Group. IPG is taking a stand against Amazon’s hardline negotiations during the retail giant’s annual contract review, and 5000 titles are no longer available through the Kindle store. Last week Jim Hanas, author of the digitally and independently published Why They Cried, spoke out against Amazon to champion other e-readers and e-book retailers. The renegotiations are taking place across the industry, though, as Melville House’s Dennis Johnson puts it, “major industry figures at the big houses in New York — facing similar cutthroat demands from Amazon for their own annual contracts — remain silent… This isn’t over yet.”
The LA Times‘ Festival of Books is happening this weekend, and attendees have not one, not two, but three chances to see Millions staffers Patrick Brown and Edan Lepucki. On Saturday, Patrick will be hanging out on the Nuts and Bolts publishing panel, and on Sunday, he’ll be moderating one entitled Art of Immersion. Also on Sunday, Edan will moderate the Visionary Eyes fiction panel with Aimee Bender, Mark Leyner, Ben Ehrenreich, and Elizabeth Crane.
The world isn’t exactly wanting for character studies of Captain Ahab, but Chris Power manages to come up with a novel analysis of the character in this essay about the Moby-Dick antagonist. In Power’s telling, Ahab was valuable in part for what he told us about the 20th century — namely, he foreshadowed the dictators and despots to come. You could also read Hester Blum’s contribution to this essay about the best American novels.