paper trail

Alanis Morissette: advice columnist

Meera Subramanian

Glancing back: In 2015, Amazon’s stock prices went up 117 percent and the Educational Development Corp’s stock prices went up 128 percent, creating a jump in publishing-industry share prices. Meanwhile, Barnes and Noble’s stocks fell 26 percent. Looking ahead: the News & Observer offers predictions for 2016—“Paper is popular, science fiction rises, long-form nonfiction dips.”

The New York Times does not call Sean Penn’s meeting with Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the Mexican drug lord known as El Chapo, unethical, but it does raise the question. Penn’s article about the drug lord was published this weekend in Rolling Stone (just after El Chapo’s recapture). The Times says: “It was not immediately clear what the ethical and legal considerations of the article might be. In a disclosure that ran with the story, Rolling Stone said it had changed some names and withheld some locations. An understanding was reached with Mr. Guzmán, it said, that the story would be submitted for his approval, but he did not request any changes. The magazine declined to comment further Saturday.”

Alanis Morissette, who two decades ago inspired thousands of English majors (and even Weird Al) to critique her use of the word “ironic,” has written a self-help memoir, Perpetual Becoming (to be published by HarperOne in October), and is about to become an advice columnist for The Guardian. Her first column will appear on January 16.

Morissette isn’t the only ’90s pop star who’s been working on an autobiography. Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins says he has written more than 1,000 pages of his memoir. And he’s not done yet.

The Virginia Quarterly Review has launched a new “literary experiment” called #VQRTrueStory on Instagram. For the next year, the literary magazine will be publishing photographs with short, nonfiction essays attached. The first posts are by author Meera Subramanian (A River Runs Again), who has been documenting changes in India. According to VQR deputy editor Paul Reyes, each Instagram post will “receive the same editorial treatment as all other magazine content.” Many of the posts will be collected and published on the website or in the magazine.

Maxim magazine is suing two former employees for defamation after they spoke to the New York Post for a “controversial” article about Maxim’s millionaire owner Sardar Bilgari (who recently named himself the magazine’s EIC) and his alleged behavior at a recent cover shoot.