paper trail

Jun 4, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

Michael Silverblatt

Shakespeare & Company, the bookstore whose lineage stretches back to Sylvia Beach's 1919 shop, which first published Ulysses, is starting a literary magazine and a prize.

Twain saw being interviewed as torture, Hemingway found it akin to hand-to-hand combat, while Nabokov agreed only to be questioned via typewritten transcript (the better to polish his prose before it saw print). In Bookforum's pages, Albert Mobillio, introducing a section on interviewing the interviewers, wrote that interviews are a "high wire act for writers." Michael Silverblatt has been conversing with authors for twenty years, often provoking bouts of astonished silence in the wake of his lengthy questions. In The BelieverSarah Fay chats with Silverblatt, who talks about crying on-air, being intimidated by guests (especially Susan Sontag), and of interviewing Norman Mailer, who "was like a mellow bull in a pasture, with flowers wound around his horns."

new issue of Quarterly Conversation is out, including an essay on Reading Bolaño in Tehran.

"Seventy years ago, a publisher decided to distract children from the war with intelligent, affordable and beautiful books. It paid off handsomely" for Penguin Books, which is celebrating its young readers' Puffin Books's platinum anniversary this year. Perhaps you can't transform them into "nifty little seats," but Puffins can be found at some of the "best bookstores around the world." Bookstores not anointed into that select few can find inspiration at Bookshelf Porn, a blog of the world's "best bookshelf photos."