AdWeek gives a summary of the New York Times Company’s annual meeting, at which chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. claimed that the company needed to approach its new paywall with “constant innovation,” and argued that “dangerous and complicated stories are worth paying for.” CEO Janet Robinson pointed out that the company’s 2010 profits were on the rise, but some shareholders remained skeptical: One asked why dividends, which were frozen in 2009, have yet to be reinstated.
Malcolm Gladwell explains his method for keeping up with the news. The Blink author reads newspapers—in their print versions. “At this point, I realize, I am almost a full 24 hours behind the news cycle. Is this is a problem? I have no idea.”
Author Ed Martin has opened a bookstore in New York’s West Village, but he has only one book for sale: his Martian Summer: Robot Arms, Cowboy Spacemen, and My 90 Days With the Phoenix Mars Mission, a report (from the ground, alas) on NASA’s 2008 Phoenix Mars Lander.
Oscar Wilde: uncensored at last.
The shortlist for the 2011 Orwell Prize has been announced.
Following the publication of Rudolph Wurlitzer’s great 2008 Western Drop Edge of Yonder (originally a film script that Jim Jarmusch liberally borrowed from when making Dead Man), most of the cult author’s novels, such as Nog, Flats, and Quake, have been brought back into print (the latter two with an introduction by Bookforum columnist Michael Greenberg). But one title remains hard to find: Slow Fade, an amazing tale about a drifter who is hired by a monstrous director of Westerns to write a screenplay about his missing daughter. Drag City Records is now releasing it as an audiobook, read by none other than musician and Old Joy star Will Oldham. Today at 3pm at Brooklyn’s Spoonbill & Sugartown bookstore, Oldham will read from the text in person (Ben Chansey will provide music). Later, at 7:30pm at Manhattan's Anthology Film Archives, Oldham will read again and talk with Wurlitzer (along with Wurlitzer’s wife, photographer Lynn Davis), followed by a screening of Sam Peckinpah’s Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid, for which Wurlitzer wrote the screenplay.
New Yorker editor David Remnick offers his take on Donald Trump’s “race-baiting.”
Harper Lee speaks: The tight-lipped author of To Kill a Mockingbird has released a statement refuting the claim that a forthcoming book by Marja Mills, The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee, was “written with direct access to Harper and Alice Lee and their friends and family.” According to Lee, “I have not willingly participated in any book written or to be written by Marja Mills. . . . Any claims otherwise are false.”
Brooklyn author and editor Christian Lorentzen talks to Jennifer Egan, Kurt Andersen, and Courtney Love (the granddaughter of the beloved Brooklyn novelist Paula Fox), about Martin Amis's impending move to Brooklyn. It’s a timely topic for Lorentzen, who is leaving the borough, writing, “Next month I'm joining the neurotic exchange and moving to London, a city I mostly know through Mr. Amis's books.”
How will you navigate the Los Angeles Times’s Festival of Books, which takes place this weekend? You could try the app. Just make sure you look up from your smart-phone from time to time, or you could miss something.
Tonight in New York, the PEN World Voices festival presents what promises to be an intense talk between Edmund White, an American Francophile who needs no introduction, and Pierre Guyotat, the French author who wrote the cult classic Eden Eden Eden and Coma, a recent book that describes how Guyotat's tempestuous relationship with language almost killed him.
The latest installment of Emily Gould’s “Cooking the Books,” an Internet cooking and chat show, features Jon Cotner and Andy Fitch, authors of the ambulatory, Basho-influenced, and philosophical book Ten Walks/Two Talks. As always, the theme is cooking, but this time it has a twist—the trio makes fortifying juices from shoplifted food.
Hervé Le Tellier
How did Elif Batuman’s mom end up with a large mahogany replica of a B-52 “flying fortress” bomber in her living room? An amusing email thread that begins with Lorin Stein and goes through Batuman and Hilton Als explains.
The PEN World Voices festival continues today with a slate of outstanding events, beginning at noon with bestselling French writers Laurence Cossé and Hervé Le Tellier in conversation. Other highlights include an afternoon panel discussion about authors and audiences moderated by Bookforum editor Albert Mobilio; indie press insurgents discussing “How to Start a Revolution;” and Hanif Kureishi, Tracie Morris, and Luc Sante presenting “De-Gentrify New York and Give Her Back to the World.” And throughout the week, watch for the stand-up critics.
What was life like for successful writers such as Jennifer Egan, Ted Conover, Siri Hustvedt, and Sam Lipsyte before they made it? The blog Days of Yore conducts interviews with first-rate authors about their up-and-coming days.
Tonight, the Fales Library at NYU is hosting its annual Lecture in English and American Literature, presenting Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon on “The Missives of Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop.”
On Thursday, April 28, Publication Studio—a self-described “experiment in sustainable publication”—will be introducing its 2011 releases to New York City at a fashion show at Heather’s Bar, with authors walking down a makeshift runway in the East Village tavern. A dramatic entrance is appropriate for this forward-thinking print-on-demand press. Run by novelist and brainy bookmaker Matthew Stadler, it is publishing new books by poet Christine Shan Shan Hou (Accumulations), and artist Matt Keegan (A History of New York), both of whom will be at the event. Other titles include a modern classic by Lisa Robertson, and a new title by Dodie Bellamy, in which she meditates on a messy affair with a Buddhist.
The Daily Mail reports that the last typewriter factory in the world, a Godrej and Boyce plant in Mumbai, India, has closed.
Colson Whitehead’s advice to authors who claim they get too distracted by the Internet to finish writing their Great Novel: “The old masters didn't even have freaking penicillin. I think Nietzsche would have endured non-BCC'd e-mail dispatches in exchange for pills to de-spongify his syphilitic brain, and we can all agree Virginia Woolf could've used a scrip for serotonin reuptake inhibitors. I digress. The Internet is not to blame for your unfinished novel: you are.”
The PEN World Voices Festival starts in New York tonight with an event titled “Written on Water,” held at the Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers, and featuring a full line-up of international literary luminaries. The festival continues with events throughout the city all week.
The annual Book Expo America conference is gearing up for a return to New York’s Javits Center on May 21. Publishers Weekly offers a preview, including a look at some of the important titles that will be highlighted at the expo, and the best places to eat.
William Deresiewicz, a critic and the author of the forthcoming book, A Jane Austen Education, has a new blog at the American Scholar. His first post is an ode to what he calls the “true church”: Alcoholics Anonymous.
Martin Amis writes a tribute to his old friend, the ailing Christopher Hitchens, focusing on Hitch’s genius as a public speaker, and recalling some of his most memorable lines. Amis says of Hitchens: “What we love is fertile instability; what we love is the agitation of the unexpected. And Christopher always comes, as they say, from left field. He is not a plain speaker. He is not, I repeat, a plain man.”
Christopher Hitchens on Philip Larkin, the "impossible man.”
In The Guardian Elif Batuman writes about a recent trip to New York, in which she attends the NBCC award ceremony, hangs out with Jonathan Franzen, and reflects on life as a newly-minted bestselling author: “I noticed a while ago that many writers of my acquaintance tended to leave the country after a successful first book. I didn't understand this at first, but now I do. Moving abroad lets you keep, in some degree, an aesthetics of bewilderment.”
Penguin art director Paul Buckley discusses seventy-five years of great cover art.
This weekend, McNally Jackson Books hosts two international Spanish language literature events: Tonight, editor Ilan Stavans will lead a multilingual reading of The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry, featuring verse from sixteen countries. On Sunday, the SoHo store presents “Building Bridges: Editors in Translation/Writers Being Translated,” featuring American editors and writers from Spain, Mexico, Argentina, and Chile discussing the challenges of translation projects.
At McSweeney’s, Miles Kahn offers “My Pitches for Future Christian Holiday Animated Films,” including Advent-ture!, which answers the question: “Ever wonder what an Advent calendar does when no one is around?”
Tao Lin weighs in on the recent history and future of the novel.
The attacks against (and defenses of) Greg Mortenson’s book Three Cups of Tea, in which the author recalls his philanthropic work in Afghanistan, are quickly accumulating. 60 Minutes ran a segment alleging that parts of the book (including a scene in which the writer is kidnapped by the Taliban) are fabricated, and that the author mishandled funds. Jon Krakauer has written an 89-page article (title: “Three Cups of Deceit”) attacking the book. MobyLives calls Mortenson’s defenses of his behavior “insane.” The Christian Science Monitor wonders if publishers are to blame, while NPR ponders the “murky waters of memories.” Laura Miller, on the other hand, explains why this isn’t the scandal critics are making it out to be.
A Visit From the Goon Squad, the TV show.
Morrissey has completed writing his memoir and is in the “redrafting and trimming stage,” according to a recent interview on the BBC. Moz told Front Row host John Wilson that the book will be out in the “next year or so,” and his preferred publisher is Penguin, but only if the publisher agrees to make it a Penguin Classic right away.
When Christian Lorentzen departs for the London Review of Books, Sarah Douglas will take over the culture desk at the New York Observer. In other media news, Michael Calderone has announced (via his Facebook page) that he’s leaving Yahoo! News for The Huffington Post.
During his short tenure as culture editor at the New York Observer, Christian Lorentzen wrote and edited many memorable pieces, including a profile of Tao Lin perfectly imitating Lin's style, and a column written as the voice of snow. He’s now leaving the Observer and heading to the UK to become an editor at the London Review of Books. When asked to confirm the move, Lorentzen told Adweek “No time to talk. Working.” But reliable sources have since conformed the rumor. For now, we hope that means he’s busy penning a final score-settling send-off Internal Memo from New York.
From the Harry Ransom center, a look at decline letters. Evelyn Waugh perfected the art with this concise postcard: “Mr Evelyn Waugh deeply regrets that he is unable to do what is so kindly proposed.”
Amazon doesn’t collect sales tax, and most customers don’t realize that they may owe tax on items bought from Amazon. So, MobyLives asks: Are you about to be audited for your purchases from the online giant?
New York’s Standard Hotel, which will host events during the upcoming PEN World Voices Festival, has drafted Salman Rushdie to choose books for the hotel rooms’ reading material.
The Los Angeles Review of Books launched a test website yesterday, with an essay, “The Death of the Book,” by Ben Ehrenreich, an impressive list of contributing editors, and an intriguing list of forthcoming articles, including essays by Jonathan Lethem (on Norman Mailer), novelist Grace Krilanovich (on Californian suburban youth) and work by many other literary stars from around the world. The Review was founded by editor and University of California professor Tom Lutz, and will have a full website online by the end of the year, followed by a quarterly print edition, and a book publishing series. Lutz describes the Review as being “Like Los Angeles itself . . . a mashup of elite and popular cultures, old and new, sunshine and noir, unafraid to embrace the full range of reading.”
Francesca “Frannie” Stabile has become the Village Voice’s new web editor, replacing Zach Baron, who has moved to The Daily.
The long-form journalism website Byliner has a lengthy report by Jon Krakauer on the inaccuracies in activist Greg Mortenson’s increasingly less heartwarming book Three Cups of Tea, whose publisher, Viking, has announced that it will “carefully review the materials with the author.” Mortenson explains to Outside magazine that the true story is "really complicated" and his co-author and publisher talked him into simplifying and compressing multiple trips and events into a smooth story. Mortensen now admits that he “should have taken off several months and really focused on the book. But I was trying to raise a family, be gone most of the year, and work 16- to 20-hour days without stopping.”
The 2011 Pulitzer Prize winners have been announced. The book awards are: Jennifer Egan (in fiction for A Visit From the Goon Squad); Siddhartha Mukherjee (in general non-fiction for The Emperor of All Maladies); Ron Chernow (in biography for Washington: A Life); Eric Foner (in history for The Fiery Trial); and Kay Ryan (in poetry for The Best of It).