The New Republic offers a lengthy consideration of Toni Morrison’s newest novel:
In A Mercy, more than in any of Morrison’s previous books, slavery is as much a metaphor for the human condition as it is a historical fact. The novel is an extended consideration of the many ways in which people deliberately or unconsciously assert ownership over each other: spouses, lovers, mothers and children. The language in which Jacob considers his requirements for a wife — "an unchurched woman of childbearing age, obedient but not groveling, literate but not proud, independent but nurturing" — is a slightly . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Richard Nash takes some lengthy quotes from Jeff Barry on the future of book design, with regard to the growth of ebooks. His fifth point is the one that’s most pertinent for me:
5) Print book designers will still flourish as some publishers will realize that a niche audience is willing to pay a premium for a wonderfully designed book, heralding a surprising renaissance in book design. Also, print book designers can design PDF-based e-books with no problem since PDF is usually a byproduct in the print book design process.
Jeff Barry, in case you’re asking, . . . continue reading, and add your comments
The New York Times reports that Amazon’s Kindle is currently out of stock, letting some of the other players in the field move in.
The $359 Kindle, which is slim, white and about the size of a trade paperback, was introduced a year ago. Although Amazon will not disclose sales figures, the Kindle has at least lived up to its name by creating broad interest in electronic books. Now it is out of stock and unavailable until February. Analysts credit Oprah Winfrey, who praised the Kindle on her show in October, and blame Amazon for poor holiday planning. . . . continue reading, and add your comments
You’d think after Frey et al. publishers would have become a bit more skeptical of incredible stories that jus sounded too good to be true.
A man whose memoir about his experience during the Holocaust was to have been published in February has admitted that his story was embellished, and on Saturday evening his publisher canceled the release of the book.
A bound proof of “Angel at the Fence” circulated in advance of the publication date. And once again a New York publisher and Oprah Winfrey were among those fooled by a too-good-to-be-true story.
The . . . continue reading, and add your comments
The Guardian previews some of the books to be published next year. Among others included is Pynchon, which everyone must certainly be aware of now, as well as AS Byatt, Geoffrey Dyer, and Kazuo Ishiguro (although his is not a novel but a short story collection).
Philip Roth is also publishing a new novel, which makes something like 4 in the last 8 years. That’s excessive.
If Amis’s new novel looks designed to be provocative, then the same is true of the forthcoming one by Philip Roth, The Humbling (also out in September). The . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Catching upon some of the coverage surrounding the publication of Susan Sontag’s first diary volume. Craig Seligman’s review in Bookforum reads like a rushed blog post:
Anyway, she wasn’t a writer whose life was informed by a few large ideas (except, perhaps, for seriousness, which isn’t an idea but an attitude). She was as promiscuous intellectually as she was with her body; or, more accurately (in both cases), she was serially monogamous. Though she had her cynosures, what always excited her was the new theory or writer or director, which she would wrestle into an essay and then . . . continue reading, and add your comments
The Guardian considers the new translation of The 1,001 Arabian Nights.
The review includes an interesting bit about the provenance of the stories:
When the stories passed from the storyteller to the scribe, nobody knows. The oldest surviving manuscript containing some of the stories and the Shahrzad motif, which is now in the Bibliothèque nationale de France, goes back only to the 15th century.
It was this manuscript that the French antiquarian Antoine Galland discovered and translated into French as Les Mille et une nuits between 1704 and 1717, thus launching the Nights’ brilliant second career in Europe . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Theoretically, we generated between $2,100 and $3,500 for small and indie presses this year. Awesome.
And, a pretty bad-ass collection of suggested reads.
What did books you receive during the holidays, and what books are you planning to purchase with your holiday cash?