Around the Water Cooler

  • New York magazine lists the best novels you’ve never read. It’s a good list which includes Roberto Bolano’s Savage Detectives, Calvin Baker’s Dominion (love, love this book), and Mavis Gallant’s Varieties of Exile. There’s also a lot on there I haven’t read but have heard good things about such as Sepharad by Antonio Munoz Molino and Experience by Martin Amis. I have to admit to having never read Martin Amis or any Amis for that matter. This makes me a bad bookstore employee.
  • Condalmo reports that the Morning News needs book recommendations for its annual Tournament of Books. Email your favorite two books to tob at themorningnews dot org.
  • I’m skeptical of Scholastic’s brilliant idea of what to do now that Harry Potter is over. Part of what worked with HP was the word of mouth. Typically when a large corporation tries to create the buzz, it fails. But what do I know? I do love Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series. Brilliant and better than HP.
  • Commentary magazine writes about Simon Armitage’s new translation of Sir Gawain & the Green Knight. This book also received a rave review in this past week’s NYTBR.
  • Thanks to Maud, I read this interview with Andrew Wylie, power literary agent to the likes of Susan Sontag, Italo Calvino, and Martin Amis. I did not know that he was old money Boston. I do like his attitude toward getting his job done: “When you represent someone’s work, if you’re passionate about it, and that passion is sincere, it’s conveyed,” Wylie told
  • This sort of ties into my next link. This post about the NBCC’s Best Recommended list debuting at bookstores is interesting, but the comments on the post really caught my attention. I’m sure to call down the wrath of the internet for even commenting on it, but I have to defend the independents from the first commenter Fran. I get that you’re upset to not have been published, but if this is how you talk to the local indies in your neighborhood, no wonder they won’t carry your book! I’d love to see her open her idea of an “independent” bookstore and see how long it lasts. Besides, is it really a crime to carry the books of Michael Chabon and Denis Johnson? Isn’t that throwing out the baby with the bath to suggest that all books from larger publishers are inherently bad? Maybe your books aren’t picked up because they’re no good! And I’ve got another statement that’s going to piss folks off: Far too many people think that they’re great writers these days. Anyone who’s stubbed their toe thinks they should write a memoir about it. It’s fine to write, go for it, but everyone shouldn’t expect to get published. There’s just no way. Rant over.
  • Last but not least, Ed Champion is closing up shop for now. Is this the end of our intrepid litblogger? Will he close up shop never to blog again? I hope not, but I also  understand his decision and wish him the very best.

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