And people say print is dead.
The Basses have also tapped into New York’s great subsidizing resource: the global rich. If you’ve bought $15 million worth of living space on Park Avenue, it probably has a library, so what’s another $80,000 to fill those shelves? Make a call to the Strand with a few suggestions — “sports, business, art” — and a truckful of well-chosen, excellent-condition books will arrive. (Fred recalls that when Ron Perelman bought his estate on the East End from the late artist Alfonso Ossorio, the Strand had just cleared out Ossorio’s library; Perelman . . . continue reading, and add your comments
The past couple of weeks I have been plowing through Literchoor Is My Beat, Ian S. MacNiven’s excellent biography of New Directions founder James Laughlin. Although Laughlin is the clear subject of this book, it also doubles of a sort of history of a certain era/school of publishing. This is a hugely inspiring, educational read, and it should be required for anyone who is involved with literary publishing.
A couple of the things I love about this book: first, all of the crazy facts that one discovers, or is reminded of, while reading it. Like, for instance, . . . continue reading, and add your comments
At Full-Stop, Ryu Spaeth has a pretty good essay on William H. Gass, jumping off from NYRB Classics’s reissue of In the Heart of the Heart of the Country. The essay is a pretty good discussion of the fact that Gass inspired a lot of very passionate opinion, both good and bad, oftentimes in the same reader.
I’m decidedly one of the mixed Gassians. There’s no doubt that he’s been a sensitive reader and critic, and a person who has popularized a number of writers who might not still be read but for his critical energies. And . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Excerpt from Peter Turchi’s new book, A Muse and a Maze, at Tin House.
My wife has a fantasy, a desire she often expresses, which I feel certain she would be delighted to have me share with you.
“Let’s just float in the pool and drink gin and tonics,” she’ll say. “Let’s bake like lizards.”
We live in Arizona, where we have a pool, and where gin is sold in every grocery store, and where it is no challenge at all to bake like a lizard.
From this you might understandably presume that my wife . . . continue reading, and add your comments
The thing that jumps to mind when I read things like this is to wonder exactly how much more unprofitable Amazon would be if it didn’t manage to avoid paying so many taxes.
Mathias Enard’s mega-one-sentence-novel Zone is finally published in the UK, from Fitzcarraldo Editions.
While full stops are conscientiously omitted, there is no end of conventional punctuation: commas, colons, semi-colons, parentheses, hyphens, and so on. Whether this is a more authentic way of rendering thought than the use of conventionally punctuated sentences, or an unpunctuated Joycean stream of consciousness, or some other modernist method involving page layout or font or coloured ink, is arguable. Punctuation marks, according to Theodor Adorno, are guides to oral delivery, there to represent a lack of sound. One wonders what the audiobook . . . continue reading, and add your comments
David Bellos in The Guardian.
Georges Perec never made a secret of having written an unpublished early novel about Antonello da Messina’s Portrait of a Man, but after his death in 1982, the manuscript of Le Condottière couldn’t be found. On leaving his perch in Paris’s Latin Quarter for a larger apartment in 1966, Perec had stuffed old paperwork into a suitcase for the dump, and put his manuscripts in a similar case. The wrong one got junked, and all Perec’s early writings disappeared. Or so he thought.
When I was tracking down everyone who had . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Ed Park, exit Amazon, enter Penguin. Incidentally, pretty much everything about this article puts the lie to Matt Yglesias’s insipid Vox blog post about how useless publishers are.
But now, in the latest setback for Amazon’s publishing aspirations, Mr. Park is leaving the imprint to join Penguin Press as an executive editor. His departure reflects the challenges that Amazon faces in a publishing ecosystem that largely views the online retailer as a rapacious competitor. Most bookstores — having been undercut by the giant retailer — refuse to carry books published by Amazon, a major hurdle as . . . continue reading, and add your comments
BEE on the novel John Williams wrote before Stoner, also a very good book.
Butcher’s Crossing is resolutely a western. However, when his publisher expressed a desire to state as much on the cover due to the popularity of the genre at the time, Williams said no. It may be one of the more literary westerns I’ve read, but it is a western – and a precursor to what Cormac McCarthy would do with the genre, especially in his blood-soaked and hallucinatory Blood Meridian, or what Robert Altman achieved in his frontier masterpiece McCabe & Mrs Miller. . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Interesting thoughts on how McCarthy revitalizes the 18/9th-century prose he is known for being inspired by.
Aside from his restrictive rationing of the colon, McCarthy declares his stylistic convictions with simplicity: “I believe in periods, in capitals, in the occasional comma, and that’s it.” It’s a discipline he learned first in a college English class, where he worked to simplify 18th century essays for a textbook the professor was editing. Early modern English is notoriously cluttered with confounding punctuation, which did not become standardized until comparatively recently.
McCarthy, enamored of the prose style of the Neoclassical English . . . continue reading, and add your comments