The 2016 election will never truly end, at least not in the literary world. Buzzfeed noted that “a series of recent campaign books have enjoyed monster debuts, demonstrating a voracious reader appetite for behind-the-scenes looks at one of the most surprising elections in history”. And before you think this trend will end any time soon, Buzzfeed lists some up and coming titles that will be published later this year or sometime next year. “The success of campaign books come during a tough period for the publishing world, where industry sources have described the difficulty of getting authors on television or attracting media attention in a frenzied environment focused on Trump.” We’re all about the publishing industry doing well but this seems like a slightly unhealthy obsession for both readers and publishers.
Alice Munro announced her retirement from writing this week. “Perhaps, when you’re my age,” she told a National Post reporter, “you don’t wish to be alone as much as a writer has to be.” Previously the Canadian author announced her retirement in 2006, but that didn’t stop her from publishing two more books – including her latest story collection, Dear Life (Millions review). The uninitiated can get a primer on her entire oeuvre by checking out our comprehensive Beginner’s Guide to Alice Munro. See also: “Can Writers Retire? Let Us Count the Ways”
This past week at the LBC was a lot of fun. We discussed the book I nominated, The Cottagers by Marshall Klimasewiski. If you missed it, you should check it out, particularly Friday’s podcast which includes an appearance by yours truly.In other podcast news, Ed, who is an accomplished podcaster, tried and failed to interview Marisha Pessl, author of Special Topics in Calamity Physics, for his show. Callie also had some thoughts on Pessl, as did CAAF.Fresh off of declaring that the typical litblogger is “some guy sitting in his basement in Terre Haute,” Richard Ford will see his Bascombe trilogy turned into an HBO mini-series (via Scott). Litblogger Noah gave Ford’s Lay of the Land a good review last year, but for all Ford knows, Noah was writing from here.Scott looks at Dave Eggers’ What is the What and ponders how atrocity is portrayed in fiction.
“The stories that dominated the serious magazines and journals seemed to share a flat fireless quality… Characters dropped half out of love, or endured a minor crisis, or just wandered around treasuring their sense of dismay about, you know, the fallenness of the world.” In case you missed it: Slate’s review of Stuart Dybek‘s new collection of stories, Paper Lantern, also delivers an acerbic take on the modernist past and current “revitalization” of the American short story.
I’ve gotten a little behind in my reviews of books I’ve read recently. Maybe I’ll get to it this weekend or early next week. In the meantime here are three literary links that caught my eye today:The many challenges of turning books with non-textual elements into audiobooks. Also discussed: how to verbally render David Foster Wallace’s copious footnotes. (New York Times).Daedalus, the big remainder house, is opening a standalone bookstore in Baltimore (Baltimore Sun). Previously: I discuss remaindered books – and buy some, too!A mysterious person – or possibly persons – has been placing roses and a bottle of cognac on Edgar Allen Poe’s grave each year for 57 years on the anniversary of the writer’s birthday. This year some nosy people got in the way, but the meaning behind the ritual and the identity of the visitor remains hidden. (Guardian)