paper trail

The chaos of Barnes and Noble; The new romance novel

John Lanchester

The New Republic reflects on Barnes & Noble’s recent firing of its chief executive Demos Parneros, the company’s fourth CEO in five years. Once the “most disruptive company in publishing,” B&N has been long a high-profile failure, with store closings, sluggish Nook sales, and diminishing revenue. Some argue that the company, still important to the US publishing community, is “too big to fail.” But the company is currently dealing with many hard-to-solve problems, including its own “chaos.”

The Bookseller is excited about The Wall, the forthcoming novel by John Lanchester, the novelist (Capital) who also writes about economics for the London Review of Books and the New Yorker, among other places. The Wall, which is due out in Britain in January 2019 and in the US in March, is about an island nation that has built a wall to keep out the “Others.” According to Lanchester’s publisher Faber, the book “arrives with its own world of ideas and concerns, woven into a compelling and accessible narrative.”

Editor and writer Nicole Rudick is leaving her position at the Paris Review.

Keith Gessen, the author of the new novel A Terrible Country, describes what it has been like to see Russia become such a hot topic in the US. “So what is it like for a longtime Russia watcher? I guess it’s like having your favorite obscure band become famous for some stupid act, like destroying a hotel room — the hotel room being, in this case, the postwar global order.”

In a story about increasing diversity in the romance-fiction genre, the New York Times profiles Helen Hoang, whose popular new romance novel, The Kiss Quotient, is a “multicultural love story centered on an autistic woman who has trouble navigating the nuances of dating and courtship.”

On Saturday, a customer in a Richmond, Virginia, bookstore walked up to Steve Bannon and called him a “piece of trash.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Mary Beard, Pankaj Mishra, Geoff Dyer, and many others pick the best summer books of 2018.