paper trail

Jul 19, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens recently canceled the book tour for his new memoir, Hitch-22, in order to undergo a round of chemotherapy treatment for esophagus cancer. So what does the devout atheist think of people praying for him to get well? In a recent interview, Hitchens says, "I think that prayer and holy water, and things like that are all fine. They don’t do any good, but they don’t necessarily do any harm. It’s touching to be thought of in that way." 

Jimmy Carter: President, Nobel Peace Prize winner, peanut farmer, and . . . erotic poet built its online business around easy access to a seemingly limitless supply of cheap books. So what's the Trouble With Amazon? In The Nation, Colin Robinson, co-publisher of OR Books (which doesn't sell its books on the online giant's site), details the bullying of publishers over prices, the disappearing "buy" buttons that make these publisher's books unavailable, and argues that ultimately Amazon's devaluing of books dilutes literary culture: "a healthy publishing industry would ensure that skilled authors are recompensed fairly for their work, that selection by trusted and well-resourced editors reduces endless variety to meaningful choice and that ideas and artistry are as important as algorithms and price points in deciding what is sold."

The rise of freelancers, a stretched book review staff at many publications, and the glut of books published each year has made it more difficult for editors to spot the hidden grudges and friendships that can cause a conflict of interest in a book review.