Around the Water Cooler

  • Interesting article in today’s NYT about Atul Gawande. His new book Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance hits stores today. I always like his essays—don’t you wish more doctors were like him?
  • The latest book trend—InsiderLit. We need a better name. Or perhaps to not write anymore of it.
  • Oscar Villalon takes on the fiction/non-fiction divide in today’s Chronicle. He says that authors, editors, and publishers shouldn’t play fast and loose labelling their work.
  • Whoo! Another good review of Jamestown. This one brought my attention to some ideas I hadn’t thought of, mainly the idea of staging in the novel.
  • Check out FSG’s Poetry Blog. They’ve got podcasts of authors reading their works. You can download a Paul Muldoon ring tone. That’s so….
  • Everyone’s mentioned this article from yesterday’s NYT about the pre-pub author tour, with Steven Hall as the example. “In attendance were some of the biggest names in the tightly knit world of independent bookstores, who are still not accustomed to being wooed over fancy dinners.” (I was at that dinner!) “‘What they’re trying to do is make a statement about the book,’ he said. ‘They want you to go read it, and it gives them another five minutes. But you can’t manufacture these things. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, and the book has to deliver,” [Paul Yamazaki] said. ‘Ultimately it’s about the book.'” This is very true. You can’t do this for every book.
  • There’s some douchbag author scamming bookstores across the country into special ordering his non-returnable print-on-demand book and giving false personal and payment information. The story begins here, when the owner of the Seattle Mystery Bookshop took a phone order for Shortcuts: 20 Stories to Get You from Here to There. The next day Publisher’s Weekly reported that many stores across the U.S. had been hit in the same way. And that’s not all. Several people have reported that the author/vanity press have done more harm. Now that’s pretty sleazy. If you know anyone who owns/works at a bookstore, I’d give them some warning.

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