paper trail

What Hollywood gets wrong about publishing; How Sally Rooney thinks

Sally Rooney. Photo: Jonny L. Davies.

At The Atlantic, Derek Thompson looks at worrying trends in the media business, noting four in particular: there are “too many players,” a lack of “saviors,” no “clear playbook” for how to move forward, and publications are stuck with “patrons with varying levels of beneficence.” What’s next? According to Thompson, one clue comes from looking back to the early-nineteenth century “party press era,” a time of flush partisan patrons funding the news: “Journalism could be more political again, but also more engaging.” 

Sloane Crosley writes about what Hollywood gets wrong about publishing. But, as she observes, being wrong is not always a bad thing: “Happily, once realism has been pulped like the first print run of a fraudulent memoir, the fun can begin.”

In the New Yorker, Lauren Collins profiles Sally Rooney, the Irish novelist whose next book, Normal People, is one of the most anticipated books of 2019. Collins explains part of Rooney’s appeal: “The quality of thought eliminates the need for pen-twirling rhetorical flourishes. Rooney’s most devastating lines are often her most affectless.” 

Literary Hub rounds up the seventy-five best book covers of the year, polling art designers on what worked. Which book was their favorite? It's a tie between Nico Walker’s Cherry (designed by Janet Hansen for Knopf) and Melissa Broder’s The Pisces (designed by Rachel Willey for Hogarth). Unsurprisingly, New Directions gets a special mention: They have 11 books on the list, the most of any press. 

At the Los Angeles Review of Books, Felix Bernstein interviews Jarrett Earnest, the author of What It Means to Write About Art: Interviews With Art Critics.