Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Compendium of Literary Links

1. Publish or Perish — Did you see this fantastic article in The New Yorker by Ken Auletta about the e-book landscape and how iPad began changing it well before the first geeks even got in line at the Apple Store last month?  The piece describes the often contentious relationship between publishers, retailers and readers, and the reasons for those bad feelings. About midway through, Auletta provides a breakdown of a publisher's approximate cost on a per-book basis. This really gives you a sense of how thin margins are, and why publishers are a strange mix of terrified and magnificently furious at amazon, who seems to have designs on eliminating publishers from the book business altogether. There's an interesting tidbit of news near the end of the article: Google is starting its own e-book store this summer called Google Editions. Publishers will set the price for Google Editions purchases, which can be used on any e-reader device.

2. The Reading Ape on Auletta — For an incredibly well-written exegesis of Auletta's piece, check out this point-by-point dissection by the Reading Ape. I didn't have as near a clear understanding of the article until I read this. Highly recommended!

3. The 2010 Pulitzer for Fiction — What's even more perplexing than the fact that I somehow missed this announcement (but please cut me some slack, I was stuck in Germany on an unplanned "volcation") is the actual choice for the book itself: Tinkers, by Paul Harding. Haven't read it, never even HEARD of it. Apparently, it came out more than a year ago. Has anyone out there made their way through this book? What can you tell us about it? 

4. Book Recommendations via IM — Bored at work and itchin' to chat with someone about what your next read should be? The good folks who run the used book store arm of a Chicago literacy campaign called Open Books are offering to talk with anyone via instant messenger about book recommendations, or presumably anything book-related else you'd care to chat them up about. Having spent several hours at Open Books shelving their newly donated books, I can tell you from firsthand experience that these guys know their literature. So sign on and have at it! 

5. With Reverent Hands — Today, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to participate in a weekly feature called With Reverent Hands at Aarti's BOOKLUST blog. The idea of the weekly posts is to get exposure for obscure books that deserve a wider readership. My post today is about The Power of One, by Bryce Courtenay. I'm grateful to Aarti for the chance to further explain a fantastic book I touched on briefly in a post the other day. Also, I'd encourage you to follow Aarti's blog and browse her past posts — she reads and reviews a wide range of books, and is a dynamic and fun-to-read writer. Not surprisingly, she has quite a following, so the comments section of her posts is always robust and very interesting, as well.

Any literary links you'd like to share?


  1. What a great lot of articles. I will definitely make sure I check some of them out :-)

  2. Weird, I've also never heard of the Pulitzer winner. Most of the times I end up reading it after, but I've normally at least HEARD of it before.

    Heh, and I love that you called it a volcation. :-P

  3. Thanks so much for participating in With Reverent Hands, Greg! And I also have never read (or heard of) Tinkers before. Or, to be honest, Paul Harding. Though that doesn't really mean anything.

  4. I hopped over to your blog! The name of your blog is priceless!

    I hadn't heard of Google Editions before venturing here.

  5. Greg-

    Thanks for the linkage; I'm glad you like my analysis and hope a bunch of people do read the New Yorker piece.

    I've read Tinkers and it definitely is a good book. I'm not sure it's a great book, which is what I expect a Pulitzer winner to be, but it beautifully-crafted and evocative. I posted my thoughts on the choice a couple of weeks ago here:

  6. @Becky - Thanks for stopping by. Happy reading!

    @Brizmus - Yeah, this is two years in a row I haven't heard of the Pulitzer winner. Sadly, I can't take credit for "volcation" - but I love it, too!

    @Aarti - Starting to feel less bad about never having heard of Tinkers. ;)

    @Suko - Thanks for swinging by. I think Google Editions is a pretty huge deal!

    @Ape - I'm with you - love the small press, underdog, too. But you make a great point about new readers being underwhelmed - I, too, hope that doesn't happen.

  7. I was sent a link to your site re: the IM recommendations and now I'll be back for all your reviews! Well done, sir.