paper trail

Jul 20, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

Anthony Doerr

This fall the Los Angeles Review of Books will launch an online only review headed by Tom Lutz, chair of the UC Riverside creative writing department. Two years in the making, the Review has signed up some tony contributing editors, including T. C. Boyle, Carolyn See, and Marisa Silver (among others), and Lutz vows it will be "the best-paying book review outlet around." Until he can launch a print edition, that is. The first issue promises Jane Smiley writing about Jessica Mitford and James Ellroy on Beethoven.

Amazon reports that ebooks outsold hardcovers for the first time over the past three months—or as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos eloquently puts it, "The Kindle format has now overtaken the hardcover format." The numbers exclude the free "bestsellers" that have inflated earlier sales figures.

"Posthumous publication, with the editor inevitably performing the dead person's imagined identity and wishes, delicately balances between invention or hoax and channeling of the departed's spirit," writes Craig Saper in the introduction to a special section on "posthumography" in Rhizome, a journal that publishes "works written in the spirit of Deleuzian approaches." The issue includes an essay by the University of Florida's Richard Burt on Kierkegaard's writing desk, Goethe's files, and Derrida's paper machine. And while an out-of-print chapbook may seem to be the definition of a dead book, they can now ascend to a glorious Flash-based afterlife on the web: Ugly Duckling Presse has announced that it is making its out-of-print books available as free ebooks.

Tonight at Manhattan's McNally Jackson Books, Anthony Doerr will read from his new story collection Memory Wall. After writing a novel and a memoir, Doerr returns to the form that suits him best: short fiction. (His 2003 debut, The Shell Collector, is a story collection). In the Boston Globe, reviewer Steve Almond writes of Doerr's new book: "He refuses to traffic in the hysterical lyricism that infatuates so many modern writers, as they seek to compete with the frantic enticements of screen addiction. Instead, he places his powers of invention in the service of precision."