The Reading Report: Book News from July 7 – 13, 2014The Reading Report is a weekly list of book news and links we found interesting from the previous week. Actual links may not be from the previous week. We can't read EVERYTHING in a timely manner.
The Best Things All Week
I admit, I’m guilty of doing this with The Dark Tower series, and yeah, that sort of makes me an asshole, too. Sorry, Mr. King.
A letter from Zora Neale Hurston to Langston Hughes. via The American Reader
“Without flattery, Langston, you are the brains of this argosy. All the ideas have come out of your head.”
Is “people laughing with books” the new “women laughing with salad?” via Huffington Post
The Worst Things All Week
Singapore banned three books over gay stuff and “unconventional” families. Oh, and these are children’s books. via Huffington Post
A mathematician tried to figure out which books we were buying and not reading based on . . . wait for it . . . Kindle highlights. The author acknowledges that it’s “just for fun” but the methodology is so problematic that–for me, anyway–it renders the entire exercise a bit pointless. “Like, it totally could be people not finishing the books? or it totally could be a bunch of other factors, IDK! But here, why don’t I publicize it anyway!” Sigh. Editors of major publications, where you be? (via WSJ)
Things That Were Not So Great But Could Turn Out Okay
“So what happens when a bookseller and those he serves, after years of political harmony, fall suddenly and dramatically out of sync?
Well, then you’ve got a fight on your hands.”
Amazon, in a bizarre move, suggested to Hachette that they both give authors all the money from their book sales until the dispute ends. via The Guardian. Don’t get me wrong, it would be an amazing windfall for authors–but the very public and transparent way that Amazon went about trying to win author favor was staggeringly clumsy. While I don’t think Amazon is in the wrong for wanting to renegotiate contracts, they have handled this whole dispute rather gracelessly.
In the “Woe is Authorship” File
As it turns out, it’s kind of hard to earn a living off of writing. via The Guardian
“‘If you want to live by your writing,’ [Carmen Reid] says, ‘you have to make it wonderful, absolutely relevant and exactly what millions of people are desperate to read. No one ever said that was easy.'” This.
Authors We Might All Have Crushes On
Roxane Gay wrote a restaurant review that is not a restaurant review for The Morning News. It’s lovely, as everything she writes tends to be.
Things To Read
An interview with Edan Lepucki (author of California) at The Nervous Breakdown:
“It was really dark on that stretch of Sunset and it was in a place where there weren’t a lot of businesses. It felt really creepy. That got me thinking: What if the streetlights didn’t work anymore ever? How dark would those streets feel?”
Featured review: The Novel: A biography. via LARB.
“In recent years, while the bookish among us were bracing ourselves for the bookless future, stowing our chapbooks and dog-eared novellas in secret underground bunkers, the poet and scholar Michael Schmidt was writing a profile of the novel.”
What was your favorite book news this week?