A lot happened over the weekend (and not just to Brett Favre). Here’s a quick primer to get you caught up so you can get back to that collating you were doing.
- The National Book Critics Circle has announced the finalists for its 2009 awards. Among the finalists for the fiction prize are NBA finalists Bonnie Jo Campbell (American Salvage) and Jayne Anne Phillips (Lark and Termite), as well as local author and Vroman’s favorite Michelle Huneven. Finally, her excellent novel Blame gets some much deserved recognition. The other two nominees are Marlon James (The Book of Night Women) and Hilary Mantel (Wolf Hall). Congratulations to all the finalists. I’m also excited that one of my favorite poets, the great D.A. Powell, received a nomination for his collection Chronic. Click here to see the full list of finalists in all categories.
- At The Millions, Max Magee interviews a “book pirate.” “One thing that will definitely not change anyone’s mind or inspire [pirates] to stop are polemics from people like Mark Helprin and Harlan Ellison – attitudes like that ensure that all of their works are available online all of the time.”
- This piece by Emily Bazelon at Slate is interesting for a number of reasons. It’s a parenting article about why she and her husband don’t allow their children to receive birthday presents from their friends and instead set up a book swap in which each child leaves with a book to read. While I’m all in favor of the book swap idea, what I find interesting about the article lies in this quote: “Paul quietly explained that this was our family’s way of drawing a line against consumption and excess.” The idea here is that books are outside the culture of consumption and excess. While I think I agree with this, I’m not entirely sure it’s true. Certainly not all books are outside consumer culture, are they?
- I’m only about partway through this NY Times Magazine article about James Patterson, but I highly recommend it. It’s a glimpse into the atypical world of an author who breaks many of publishing’s rules (for instance, don’t publish too many books) and sells books at a rate that none can rival.
- Lastly, why sell the books when you can give them away for free and become a “bestseller?” This strategy works, of course, when there’s a physical object to sell. Give away digital downloads to sell physical books. What if the physical book went away? What then? I still don’t see a solution there.