I’ll start this post with a plead for you to read the comments on yesterday’s post about Rick Moody & Electric Literature’s Twitter experiment. The great thing about writing a blog is that smart people come and leave their thoughts for you to read. Highly recommended. Now on to the other, also recommended stuff:
- Clay Shirky and Cory Doctorow, two smart guys whose books I like, have offered some thoughts on the future of bookselling. I had planned a lengthy response to these articles, but to be honest, I don’t see the point. I will summarize both by saying that they have great ideas for new stores. If I were opening a bookstore today, I’d take a hard look at whether a non-profit model made sense, as Shirky suggests. I’d also focus on the areas where the net can’t compete — making a great browsing experience, carrying as many limited edition, object d’arte that I could, having a kick-ass coffee shop/wine bar, etc. But to take a store that’s already in existence and move to those kind of models is extremely difficult. Ask the folks at Shaman Drum how easy it is to switch to a non-profit model after years of operating as a for-profit business. In the end, discussions like this are important, as they’re bound to inspire some innovation, but they need to be fully grounded in reality to be useful.
- The Millions has begun its Year in Reading series for 2009. As I said last year, The Millions does this year-end business better than everyone else because the focus is on reading — the best book you read in 2009 — rather than publishing. Jonathan Lethem, Julie Klam, Mark Sarvas and others have already been posted. Mine is forthcoming, so stay tuned for that.
- The New York Times 10 Best of 2009 is out. Topping the fiction list, alongside books by heavyweights Lorrie Moore and Jonathan Lethem, is Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It, by Maile Meloy.
- Finally, those in Los Angeles will want to check out Interviewing the Audience with Zach Helm, running this weekend at Bootleg Theatre. “Interviewing The Audience is an opportunity to expand the perception of theater and narrative with a simple, human approach. Specifically, members of each evening’s audience will be asked to sit with Mr. Helm and allow themselves to be interviewed without any pre-conception or structure. The result is a series of stories so personal, so real, so emotionally deep, so strange that they often surpass our expectations more than any typical piece. Mr. Helm saw the late Spaulding Gray perform the piece in Chicago and became immediately enamored with it. After a 5 night successful run in 2007, Teatro de Facto & Bootleg are bringing it back for a 2 Night Limited Engagement.” The show is this Friday and Saturday night. Tickets are $15 online and $20 at the door.