Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘reading in peril’

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Writing for the Long Haul

In the L.A. Times, author Dani Shapiro reflects on the challenges of a writing career–the lost days of “writing in the cold” for years while building a reputation, the recent “blockbuster or bust” mentality, and how emerging writers can persevere in spite of all of this: I recently had the honor of acting as guest editor for the anthology “Best New American Voices 2010,” the latest volume in a long-running annual series that contains some of the finest writing culled from students in graduate programs and conferences. Joshua Ferris, Nam Le, Julie Orringer and Maile Meloy are just a few […]


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The End of Oprah

Oprah gave book publicists a collective fit of the vapors when she announced her show—and its high-profile book club—would be ending in 2011. Many fretted over the effects on publishing, calling it “a blow”: “Other than a book being turned into a popular movie nothing brings readers to a book like Oprah,” said Dawn Davis, editorial director of the Amistad imprint of News Corp.’s HarperCollins Publishers. […] “She brings a variety of readers to a variety of books. Her impact is immeasurable.” Another publicist mourned, “If it is the end of her daily talk show,we probably won’t see something else […]


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Bestselling authors speak out against big-box discounting

For the past few months, writers at FWR — like those across the literary blogosphere–have been responding to and critiquing the Target-Walmart-Sears-Amazon price-war kerfuffle. Yet outside the publishing and writing worlds, it’s not clear if anyone sees big-box discounting as a Bad Thing; maybe people are too excited about snagging $9 hardback new releases. Recently, though, two big-name authors spoke up about the scary ramifications for emerging writers. In a Big Think talk, John Irving discusses how much harder it is for first-time novelists to get started today, admitting that his first novel would not have been published today. (The […]


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Tobias Wolff, on the future of the short story

The Morning News has a great interview with Tobias Wolff by Robert Birnbaum. As contemporary writers go, Wolff has a somewhat unusual publication record: he’s published one novel, one novella, and five collections of stories. But dip into any of them and you’ll see why. Wolff can rightly be called a master of the short form, and in the interview, he shares some thoughts on both it and its future: RB: You would think somehow that—this being a hyper-accelerated era where time is so precious to people—that short stories would be more popular; they would be more digestible. People would […]


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Book World seeks subscribers

Lit journals fold if no one subscribes, and in the digital age, the same goes for podcasts. For the Washington Post‘s Book World series, it’s get subscribers, or get the ax. Ron Charles, deputy editor of the section, explained the dire situation in an interview with Washington City Paper: [T]he paper’s top brass have threatened to kill the section’s podcast if it can’t rally more iTunes subscribers. There’s no concrete deadline for adding more subscribers, Charles says, or even a goal for how many it needs, just “a general mandate to make sure we’re concentrating our efforts on projects that […]


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scary, scarier, scariest

Happy Halloween! If you’re looking for creepy literature or inspiration on All Hallow’s Eve, here are some recommendations (and warnings): – The Baltimore Museum of Art is currently featuring an exhibit of paintings — some by renowned artists like Gauguin and Matisse — inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s stories. This is only one event in Nevermore, Baltimore’s year-long celebration of Poe throughout 2009 (in January, Poe would have turned 200). Tonight at the Strand Theatre (1823 N. Charles Street), see David Keltz read/perform as Poe, and afterwards, grab a pint at the Annabel Lee Tavern. For a full list of […]


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McSweeney's 33: Litmag Meets News

McSweeney’s next issue will be packaged in the form of an old-fashioned newspaper. The New York Times‘s ArtsBeat reports: McSweeney’s No. 33 is to be in the form of a daily broadsheet — a big, old-fashioned broadsheet. The pages will measure 22 by 15 inches. (Pages of The New York Times, by comparison, are 22 by 11 1/2 inches.) Called San Francisco Panorama, the editors say it is, in large part, homage to an institution that they feel, contrary to conventional wisdom, still has a lot of life in it. Their experience in publishing literary fiction is something of a […]


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Rolling back prices, indeed—Wal-Mart and Amazon in preorder price war for this season’s new hardcovers

In the Arts section of today’s New York Times, Motoko Rich reports on the “tit-for-tat price war between Wal-Mart and Amazon [that] accelerated late on Friday afternoon when Wal-Mart shaved another cent off its already rock-bottom prices for hardcover editions of some of the coming holiday season’s biggest potential best sellers, offering them online for $8.99 apiece.” Originally the company had intended to sell these selected books at $10, but Amazon, perhaps feeling threatened by Wal-Mart’s foray into the online retail market, retaliated by lowering their prices on the same titles to a mere $9. So Wal-Mart responded in kind, […]


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Print sales of Symbol not so lost

Worried that ebooks will be the death of paper books? Sales of Dan Brown’s latest, The Lost Symbol, don’t back that up. At first, it looked like more people bought the book for Kindle than in hardcover. But, reports the L.A.Times: By the time the week was out, with more than 2 million copies sold in the U.S., Britain and Canada — breaking the publisher’s previous one-week record set by Bill Clinton with “My Life” — hardcover sales had easily eclipsed sales of the ebook. Of the 2 million copies sold, only 100,000, or 5%, were electronic versions. Which means, […]




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