• Sign of the times: a look at BEA banners from GalleyCat
    May 26, 2010

    May 26, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    Exit Index: Total number of editors jettisoned 

    from Harper's in 2010: no less than 5. The magazine has announced the departure of two more top-of-the-masthead staff.

    GalleyCat prowled the halls of the Javits Center on Tuesday, wrapping up the day's BookExpo events, while its companion blog eBookNewser detailed the conference's digital news. The Constant Conversation sent this downbeat dispatch to booksellers: "we’re not asking you to save us; we’re asking you to save yourselves," while Publisher's Weekly reported from BEA's DIY conference. At the LA Times Jacket Copy, Carolyn Kellogg summed

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  • Greil Marcus kills scare quotes dead.
    May 25, 2010

    May 25, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    BEA can blur past faster than a Kindle page-turn, leaving the bookish with the uneasy feeling that they've missed something, but now they can map the three day publishing maelstrom in advance with My BEA Show Planner.

    "We" would like to "inform" you that scare quotes are "frightening," just "say" what you "mean." Greil Marcus, who recently co-edited the exhaustive A New Literary History of America, found scare quotes—"a narrative disease"—scattered throughout the more than two-hundred essays in the collection, and sees them as "a matter of a writer protecting himself or herself." When Marcus

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  • J. G. Farrell
    May 24, 2010

    May 24, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    Bookforum's new summer issue maps utopia, and though the word means "no place" in Greek, that absurdity hasn't inhibited a great many dreamers and schemers: History is littered with attempts to realize some portion of heaven on earth, and literature is rife with depictions of worlds gone right and worlds gone very wrong. 

    When he died in 1979, J. G. Farrell was hailed as his generation's greatest historical novelist. Thirty years later, the view still holds, at least among the judges of the "lost" Booker award, who granted the prize to Troubles, his wicked 1970 satire of Anglo-Irish relations

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  • Robert Walser's microscripts
    May 21, 2010

    May 21, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    The new City Lights catalog cover seems to be saying "Smash your Kindle," according to eBookNewser, but in a long letter in response, publisher Elaine Katzenberger says they've got it all wrong.

    Rock, paper, Twitter: Christopher R. Weingarten plans to be the Last Rock Critic Standing, but it sure isn't easy. Weingarten tweeted more than one thousand reviews last year, wrote for the Village Voice and rollingstone.com, produced a book, and often contributes to online music message boards, though he thinks the Internet is diluting serious music and criticism: "We all wanted to democratize art.

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  • Peter Beinart
    May 20, 2010

    May 20, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    In 2006, Peter Beinart proclaimed that liberals were the only ones who could "Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again," putting a lefty gloss on the neocons' war plans, but oddly he didn't mention Israel's role in America’s “War on Terror.” Now, in an essay in the New York Review of Books, Beinart writes that "morally, American Zionism is in a downward spiral," thanks to its uncritical support for Netenyahu's hard-right coalition government in Israel, against the express wish of most American Jews—especially younger ones—to re-engage the Palestinian peace process.  

    Writing from

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  • Encrypt your data and watch your back: Lisbeth Salander returns.
    May 19, 2010

    May 19, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    The book world is buzzing over next week's new Stieg Larsson novel, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. Knopf has unveiled a flashy book trailer, dubbing Larrson's heroine Lisbeth Salander "a one woman vengeance machine." At Salon, Laura Miller writes that Larsson's prose is "as flat and featureless as the Scandinavian landscape," but that the underlying drama, between the flawed order of institutions and a Lisbeth-like anarchy, is "a contest that still captivates us because we all feel those warring impulses within ourselves." At Time, Lev Grossman details the battle over Larsson's legacy

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  • Vivien Leigh test shot photo, from  the Harry Ranson Center archvies
    May 18, 2010

    May 18, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    In search of "literary pyrotechnics with a heart," Bloomsbury USA, known for its non-fiction, is expanding its fiction list, including a new novel by Matthew Sharpe, author of 2008's Jamestown.

    As the labyrinthine BEA conference comes to New York next week, the array of events, tables, and booths at the Javits center (as well as the off-site parties) will be a little easier to navigate with the BEA To Go mobile app, which, contra Apple, will work on any web browser. Aside from schedules and maps, the app will have news, twitter feeds, and audio and video, among other handy features.


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  • Remain alert and have a safe day.
    May 17, 2010

    May 17, 2010 @ 7:00:00 am

    Slouching towards Williamsburg with a Macbook and a book deal: The "hipsterati" and those who hate them have created a vortex of satire and meta-satire that book publishers love to throw money into

    Russian lit is safe for toddlers, as long as it is in Touch 'n Feel form, ("Run your hand over Raskolnikov's scratchy face. He is feverish and pale") but Moscow subway stations decorated with Dostoevsky's gloomy visage could cause people to hurl themselves onto the tracks.

    Triple Canopy's Molly Springfield profiles the Mundaneum, an early twentieth-century Internet, and its visionary creator

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  • Jorge Luis Borges
    May 14, 2010

    May 14, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    Sloane Crosley, author of the hit memoir I Was Told There'd be Cake, has been promoted to deputy director of publicity at Vintage. Crosley is taking two weeks off from her new gig this summer to embark on a tour for her forthcoming essay collection How Did You Get This Number?observing first-hand the rigors of on-the-ground book promotion, and picking up tips for her clients as well as plenty of fodder for future volumes. 

    Little Orphan Annie has survived many hardships, but has become the latest victim of newspapers' decline.

    Novelist Rebecca Goldstein writes as Jorge Luis Borges, penning

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  • Stephen Prothero
    May 13, 2010

    May 13, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    A long-awaited galley is a signifier of literary cool that outranks all others (at least on the F train); this week in New York, publishing biz insiders will nod knowingly at this hot lit accoutrement, disdaining the lowly iPad—at least for now. Style points aside, we're hoping to find a read so gripping that we miss our subway stop.

    Next month, the New Yorker will publish its double fiction issue, in which it will ordain twenty writers under age 40 as the next great American authors—the first such list the magazine has compiled since 1999. The writers on the shortlist will learn if they made

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  • A writing studio designed by Andrew Berman
    May 12, 2010

    May 12, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    A room of one's own: Andrew Berman creates the ideal private library and writing studio, but with all that foliage in view, who could get any work done?

    Would Jane Austen wear Prada? "Most readers and writers would admit clothing is pretty important in literature as well as in film and drama. There’s a lot of dressing-up going on in the arts," writes Helen Barnes-Bulley. In the 1930s, Nancy Drew had some sexy secrets, including "dainty lingerie," but implored a partner-in-crime to tone down her feminine wiles: "We are going to use strategy, but not charm, so put that frilly frock away." 


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  • May 11, 2010

    May 11, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    The 48 Hour Magazine team is still a bit groggy from this weekend's editorial drag race, but the project has been deemed a success, though the WSJ blog wrinkles its brow in consternation at the thought: "Creating a magazine from start to finish in two days sounds like an insane, nearly impossible task." The end product, a sixty-page first issue called (what else?) Hustle, will soon be available for purchase on magcloud. The editors have posted a blog of inspiring YouTube clips that helped them along the way—certain to come in handy when you're up against a tight deadline—as well as a list of

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