paper trail

Mar 25, 2011 @ 9:00:00 am

Jenny Erpenbeck

Japanese publishers, after the quake.

As the New York Times’s pay-wall looms, Times fans accustomed to reading online for free are trading slightly panicked queries: If you’re a weekend subscriber, do you get online access? If you pay, can you read articles from more than one computer? And WHY OH WHY ARE THEY DOING THIS? The Times has enlisted Paul Smurl, “vice president for paid products,” to provide chipper answers to all of your digital subscription Qs. Meanwhile, Gawker offers a profile of the people planning to defy the pay wall. As the Times’s publisher Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger Jr. described them: "It'll be mostly high school kids and people out of work."

The great Portland bookstore Powell’s is so big and bountiful that there is now a mobile phone app that provides turn-by-turn navigation within the store to a specific title on the shelf.

Self-published novelist Amanda Hocking—author of YA paranormal hits such as My Blood Approves—has signed a four-book deal with St. Martins Press.

More than once, HBO’s The Wire—which was written by authors such as Richard Price, David Simon, and George Pelecanos—has been compared to a grand nineteenth-century novel. Now, authors Joy Delyria and Sean Michael Robinson have captured the particular similarities in their pitch-perfect satirical evocation “When It’s Not Your Turn.” In one of the essay’s many hilarious highlights, Jimmy McNulty—The Wire’s morally dubious, hard-drinking, but likable detective—is sketched as a Dickensian protagonist: “He is helpless to incite real and lasting change, his passivity forced upon him as he constantly struggles against it, rather than rising from an internal lack of agency.” The essay is accompanied by amazing faux period illustrations—complete with yellowing pages—including a Victorian re-staging of The Wire’s famous four-letter-word scene, in which Detectives McNulty and Bunk Moreland investigate a crime scene uttering nothing but expletives.

The international-literature fanatics over at 3 Percent have announced the finalists for the 2011 Best Translated Book Awards, which include Visitation by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky, Agaat by Marlene Van Niekerk, translated from the Afrikaans by Michiel Heyns, among others.