I’ve got two great, unrelated links for you.
First, Ann Kingman, sales representative for Random House was interviewed by Susan Henderson at Litpark. Do you want to understand how a book gets from the publisher into the store? Or why shopping at independents is so important? Then read the interview. I was particularly struck by this paragraph:
As publishing becomes easier and less expensive, the number of books will increase. And I think that there will be an even more important role for people to act as curators for the volume of content that will come.Â When faced with an infinite number of choices, we will still need someone to put a book in our hands (or the virtual equivalent) and say, â€œRead this, itâ€™s fantastic.â€
Second, what I assume was John Updike’s last review/essay for the New Yorker is available on line. He writes about Blake Bailey’s new biography of John Cheever called Cheever: A Life. One of my fellow booksellers Mark just finished this book and wrote a staff recommendation for it:
This terrific book goes immediately to my top shelf of literary biographies. John Cheever lived in endless turmoil with his contradictionsâ€”the erudite high school dropout; the closeted bisexual who despised gay men, guilt-ridden, manipulative and rampant in his pursuits; the snob most at ease with workers; a man who idealized husband-and-fatherhood, and an alcoholic compulsively unkind to his children and estranged from his wife. Given a lesser biographer all this could be merely lurid, but Baileyâ€™s clean, low-key style and generous insights tease out the strands of harsh judgment and emollient self-deception in Cheeverâ€™s journals, and convincingly trace them into the effort and effect in his stories and novels. I donâ€™t expect to read anything better this year. Brilliant.
Definitely will have to read this one. Also, Blake Bailey will be appearing at my store on Tuesday, March 10th at 7pm if you live in the area.