During its ongoing contract talks with the publisher, Amazon has been displaying that Hachette’s books ship in “up to 3-5 weeks.” James Patterson, one of their biggest authors, has declared on Facebook that “there is a war going on between Amazon and book publishers.” The Washington Post has more on the backstory of Amazon’s strategy, while the New York Times blog details how Patterson and other authors are fighting back.
Today in book-related graphics: The Arts Shelf has created an infographic measuring famous literature by word count, and The New York Times provides a handy, illustrated guide to any writers’ retreat, complete with authors’ cloisters and an “emergency idea generator.”
A new story from Beatrix Potter will be published this September. A publisher discovered the almost-finished story, which features a cat in boots named Miss Catherine St Quintin, at the Victoria and Albert Museum archives. For a humorous take on modern children’s books, check out our own Jacob Lambert’s series Are Picture Books Leading Our Children Astray?
One of the more common questions that comes up in The Nervous Breakdown’s self-interviews is what the subjects consider to be the hardest part of the writing life. The most recent edition sees Jac Jemc, whose latest came out last week, admit that time is what foils her: “Everything takes longer than I think it will, more drafts than I think it will.” This might be a good time to look back on some earlier examples of the form.
In the new Granta, Adam Johnson writes about the mind-bending experience of traveling to North Korea, an experience which informed his Pulitzer-winning novel The Orphan Master’s Son. Perhaps the saddest anecdote — and there are a lot of sad anecdotes — is the one about the North Korean tour guide who couldn’t believe the author didn’t want to buy knockoff goods.
Read our own Edan Lepucki’s great review of Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids? Then you might want to read Vivian Gornick’s complementary take on the book. In Bookforum, she reads Meghan Daum’s anthology as well as Kate Bolick’s Spinster, placing the two in a broader feminist context.
Lorin Stein has made the complete archive of The Paris Review interviews available for free online. The New York Times explains why this is such fantastic news: “The first issue of The Paris Review contained an interview with E.M. Forster. The new issue contains two, with Norman Rush…and the French controversialist Michel Houellebecq. In between there have been more than 300 others, from Ernest Hemingway (as indignant as a gored bull) to Jorge Louis Borges (funny and quizzical) and Hunter S. Thompson (surely on a variety of pharmaceuticals). Nearly all are worth a look-in.”