• Chad Post
    January 05, 2011

    Jan 5, 2011 @ 9:00:00 am

    Open Letter publisher Chad Post engages in "wild speculation" over the inflated prices of two books that rival publisher (and Post’s former employer) Dalkey Archive Press is releasing in 2011. Post writes: "This switch from a $12.95 to (the unsellable) $34.95 feels like some sort of punishment or retaliation or something. But where is this punishment directed?"

    Many critics have complained about James Frey’s “fiction factory.” Here’s a taste of its product: A film trailer for a recently published book, I Am Number Four, which Frey co-wrote with a Columbia MFA graduate.

    The Millions has posted

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  • Sam Anderson
    January 04, 2011

    Jan 4, 2011 @ 9:00:00 am

    You heard it here first: Next month, McSweeney’s Press will reportedly publish a compact and shocking novel titled Donald, which, though fiction, will feature events based on the crazy life of Donald Rumsfeld. The authors are said to be Eric B. Martin, author of Winners, and Stephen Elliott, the primary force behind The Rumpus, and the author of the amazing memoir The Adderall Diaries (soon to be a movie directed by James Franco). Elliott is also a seasoned political writer, so this novel should be legit. That said, this information was—like many good scoops—gleaned over drinks at a bar near

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  • One of Artist and librarian Rachael Morrison's book-smelling ledgers.
    January 03, 2011

    Jan 3, 2011 @ 9:00:00 am

    Those were the days: GalleyCat rounds up the top ten publishing stories for each month of 2010.

    We love the smell of books in the morning, as does artist and MoMA librarian Rachael Morrison, who spends her lunch-break sniffing each book in MoMA’s library and cataloging her impressions (such as “armpit,” or “cigar smoke and tea”) in an accounting ledger. So far, she’s chronicled the scent of one hundred and fifty tomes out of the library’s three hundred thousand volumes. (via The Rumpus).

    Amazon has announced a breakthrough in the Kindle’s software that allows users to lend an e-book.

    While

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  • Deborah Baker
    December 30, 2010

    Dec 30, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    It seems like only yesterday that we were breathlessly speculating about the first iPad, but apparently it is already time for rumors about the iPad 2, which may be released as early as February 2011. Meanwhile, iPad magazine sales have dropped.

    Blogger and Brooklyn bookseller Adam Wilson has landed a book deal with Harper Perennial for his debut novel, Flatscreen, which will be published in 2012. Acquiring editor Michael Signorelli explained the deal: “We became aware of Adam through his blogging and his stellar bookselling at BookCourt. Acquiring Adam’s novel is like a last-minute present

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  • W. G. Sebald
    December 29, 2010

    Dec 29, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    In a fascinating literary homage, photographer Rick Poynor visits the town of Terezin in the Czech Republic and returns with an essay about W. G. Sebald’s Austerlitz, complete with contemporary versions of the photographs that appear in Sebald’s book.

    At the Village Voice, rock writer Rob Tannenbaum names (and interviews) the best music critic of the year—well, “names” isn’t quite right. The award winner is anonymous; He files brief reviews on Twitter as @Discographies. Though short on words, his evaluations pack an expansive, acidic humor.

    Novelist Benjamin Percy talks about his intense work

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  • Denis Dutton
    December 28, 2010

    Dec 28, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    The third-generation Kindle has become Amazon.com’s bestselling product of all time, edging out the humble print version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos is touting the Kindle as the ultimate reading machine, saying of competitors such as the iPad: "Customers report using their LCD tablets for games, movies and web browsing, and their Kindles for reading sessions."

    Christopher Hitchens denounces his old nemesis Henry Kissinger (and his apologists) in Hitchens’s new column for Slate, “Mr. Kissinger, Have You No Shame?”

    2011 will mark the one-hundred-fiftieth

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  • Julian Assange
    December 27, 2010

    Dec 27, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    New details of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s book deal have surfaced: The pact is reportedly worth 1.5 million dollars (with the majority of the fee being paid by his American publisher, Knopf, which is allegedly kicking in $800,000). However, it isn’t a tome that Assange relishes writing. As he insists: “I don't want to write this book, but I have to.”

    Charles Baxter says the “most common mistake new writers make” is “vanity:" "They don’t realize that what has been blazing in their minds does not necessarily make it to the page.”

    Did you think the holidays were (finally) over? You

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  • Kevin Morrissey
    December 23, 2010

    Dec 23, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    The Virginia Quarterly Review has just published its Fall 2010 issue, closing a painful chapter in the magazine’s history. The issue is dedicated to managing editor Kevin Morrissey, who committed suicide on July 30th. A subsequent investigation by the University of Virginia cleared editor Ted Genoways of allegations of workplace bullying, though it became clear that the office had become unpleasant and unduly stressful, with the audit recommending “appropriate corrective action should be taken with regards to [Genoways]." The VQR’s remembrance of Morrissey notes his key role in the magazine’s

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  • Alain de Botton
    December 22, 2010

    Dec 22, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    In the late 1990s, Saddam Hussein hired a calligrapher to write out the entire Qur’an in Hussein's blood as a proof of his piety (it took two years, and more than fifty pints of blood extracted by a nurse). Now, authorities in Iraq are wondering what they’re supposed to do with the thing.

    News that Julian Assange is publishing a memoir with Knopf in 2011 has been leaked.

    For The Awl’s “Best Women Writers that You’ve Maybe Never Read” series, Emily Gould writes about British fiction writer Barbara Comyn, finding that after reading her work “contemporary novels, with their over-deliberate

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  • Francine Prose
    December 21, 2010

    Dec 21, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    There’s been a flood of year-end best books lists lately, and we don’t blame you if you’ve stopped paying attention (especially since they mostly feature the same few books). However, there is one more list that may come in handy as you prepare for the holidays: 2010's Best Nonfiction For Winning Family Arguments.

    On Sunday, Housing Works Bookstore cafe hosted a heartwarming three-hour marathon reading of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, featuring thirty authors including Mary Gaitskill (“I think people who think [Dickens is] corny just can’t read”), Francine Prose (“Here are all these

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  • Amy Hempel
    December 20, 2010

    Dec 20, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    From the Vice fiction issue, an interview with Amy Hempel: “I never liked the term 'minimalism.' I prefer Raymond Carver’s term. He called Mary Robison and myself 'precisionists.' And that’s what he was doing too, of course.”

    It has been only a few days since Google announced their Books NGram Viewer, a tool that allows you to graph word usage over the years, drawn from millions of digitized books, and there’s already been a bit of NGram fever. Some of the most interesting inquiries have been posed by Slate’s Tom Scocca, who’s discovered when television became more popular than the bible (

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