An online ad for Jennifer Weiner’s new book, The Next Best Thing, might look oddly familiar. That’s because the ad, which features Weiner donning a brown vest and pink collared shirt, is a subtle jab at Jeffrey Eugenides, who famously graced a Times Square billboard last year in a similar ensemble to promote The Marriage Plot. The ad reads:“Jeffrey Eugenides doesn’t have a book out this summer, but Jennifer Weiner has The Next Best Thing.”
The diaries of obscure mid-century New York novelist Dawn Powell are going on sale, the New York Times reports, but not at an auction house or in a private deal. The forty-three “clothbound, handwritten daybooks describing [Powell’s] life in Greenwich Village for almost forty years” are being sold online by Tim Page, her unofficial literary executor. Page is asking for a starting bid of $500,000. Asked to comment on the sale, Thomas Staley, the director of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, Austin, told the Times that he wouldn’t “say it’s bizarre, because a lot of strange things happen in this business, but it’s unusual.”
Sarah Manguso offers tough advice to relentless young writers: “Avoid all messy and needy people including family; they threaten your work.”
The University of Minnesota Press will release its first-ever YA novel this fall—Frozen, by Mary Casanova—after the author mistakenly sent them her manuscript instead of to the Minnesota Historical Society Press.
Three times more guests than expected showed up at an Asian American Writers’ Workshop party last Friday to celebrate the launch of three new magazines: The Margins, Open City (not to be confusd with the now defunct literary magazine), and Culture Strike. The former is the organization’s flagship magazine, Open City is dedicated to issues of immigration, and the latter is a “New York Magazine for the places that are rarely portrayed” in New York, executive director Ken Chen told the Observer.
Today in Fifty Shades of Gray news: the “mommy porn” sensation becomes the fast-selling adult novel ever, with paperback sales hitting one million in only eleven weeks. And for readers who feel the book isn’t enough, hotels in Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, are offering Fifty Shades of Gray-themed “getaway” packages, which include copies of the book, tours of local spots mentioned in it, and a bottle of one of the protagonist’s favorite champagne. To be clear, the New York Daily News notes, “the hotel does not seem to be providing ropes, whips or any of the other questionable accessories that make several appearances in the novels.”
A new issue of the Slate Book Review is out, with writing by Matt Taibbi, Britt Petersen, Seth Colter Walls, and Uzodinma Iweala. We recommend starting with Maria Konnikova on why Americans are obsessed with the idea of finding the Great American Novel, or Josh Levin on why R. Kelly’s memoir leaves too many "skeletons in the closet."