Remember When This Blog Used to be About Books?

I miss that. Indulge me.

Because it provides me with a certain level of schadenfreude, and because I love to flog dead horses, one last review disassembling  Yann Martel’s Beatrice and Virgil, this one by John Crace in The Guardian.

So this summer, it looks like The Passage by Justin Cronin will be the bestselling behemoth. Why? Because everyone is telling you it will be. I don’t know friends, maybe I’m just not attending the right parties and aren’t talking to the right people, but I have no idea why this book has captured the force of the publishing marketing machine so much.  I know it has vampires, and everyone is desperate to find the book that will sate the the demands of all the Twilight readers who have tried to find a suitable substitute, and I know Cronin’s gotta be a better than good writer, what with his MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop and such, but why this book?  I’m just curious to know the calculations that go into deciding what projects get the money tossed around.  It also seems more and more, with new authors especially, that publishing is this ouroboros of marketing: like the post says, anymore the teaser trailer for a new author is the number of digits in his or her advance, which makes the project worthy of mainstream coverage, which creates a best seller.  Leads to another whole re-examination of taste and quality that seems like I’ve discussed before, but may have fresh ammo for after listening to the hosts of Slate’s Culture Gabfest discuss why Stieg Larsson novels have become a global phenomenon.

Speaking of Stieg, the Swedish National Library discovered some manuscripts of Larsson’s sitting around the offices of a small press magazine, unpublished.

Because I’m a closet design nerd: Twenty-five iconic book covers [but don’t try to buy them, Abe Books is a rare editions dealer, so unless you want to pay $3,500 for that copy of Psycho…]

And, in the coolest development I’ve heard all week, a man named Nathan Dunne is starting a new literary journal featuring two stories about 20 minutes in length read by the authors, then pressed and distributed on vinyl records. Respect the ballsiness to pull such a deliberately retrograde maneuver in the dominant currents of the culture.


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