What Is the Business of Literature?
Publishing is a word that, like the book, is almost but not quite a proxy for the “business of literature.” Current accounts of publishing have the industry about as imperiled as the book, and the presumption is that if we lose publishing, we lose good books. Yet what we have right now is a system that produces great literature in spite of itself. We have come to believe that the taste-making, genius-discerning editorial activity attached to the selection, packaging, printing, and distribution of books to retailers is central to the value of literature. We believe it protects us from the shameful indulgence of too many books by insisting on a rigorous, abstemious diet. Critiques of publishing often focus on its corporate or capitalist nature, arguing that the profit motive retards decisions that would otherwise be based on pure literary merit. But capitalism per se and the market forces that both animate and pre-suppose it aren’t the problem. They are, in fact, what brought literature and the author into being. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Apr 27, 2013 -
's Hatchet Job of the Year
rewards "the angriest, funniest, most trenchant book review of the past 12 months," with the winning critic taking home a golden hatchet and a year's supply of potted shrimp. 2013's winner
: Camilla Long, for her devastating review
of Rachel Cusk's divorce memoir, Aftermath
. Among other things, she described it as a nasty, bizarre memoir written by a "brittle little dominatrix and peerless narcissist." (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Feb 18, 2013 -
The author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, a popular MetaFilter topic
, was born
177 years ago today (November 30th 1835) in Missouri
. The printer, riverboat pilot, game designer
, journalist, lecturer, technology investor
, gold miner, publisher and patent holder
wrote short stories, essays, novels and non-fiction
under the pen name Mark Twain
. This included The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
(recently adapted into a musical
), one of the top five challenged books of the 1990s
, published in 1884-85 to a mixed reception
and with an ending that still causes debate
. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore
on Nov 30, 2012 -
Chris Kimball prepares a 12-course meal from Fannie Farmer's 1896 cookbook.
Using only a coal stove and other authentic Victorian-era kitchen staples, the chef, who lives in Fannie Farmer's former home
, recreated a classic holiday Victorian meal from her iconic 1896 cookbook.
The twelve courses included: "rissoles (filled and fried puff pastry), mock turtle soup with fried brain balls, lobster à l’Américaine, roast goose with chestnut stuffing and jus, wood-grilled salmon, roast saddle of venison, Canton punch, three molded Victorian jellies and a spectacular French-inspired Mandarin cake."
Chris Kimball is the creator of public television's America's Test Kitchen
) and Cook's Illustrated
. Naturally, he chronicled the experience in a book, aptly titled, Fannie's Last Supper
. In it, he offers some moden adaptations of Fannie Farmer's recipes. A film depicting the difficulties of authentically re-creating the meal airs this Fall.
posted by misha
on Oct 6, 2010 -
"It would be naïve to identify the Internet with the Enlightenment. It has the potential to diffuse knowledge beyond anything imagined by Jefferson; but while it was being constructed, link by hyperlink, commercial interests did not sit idly on the sidelines. They want to control the game, to take it over, to own it. They compete among themselves, of course, but so ferociously that they kill each other off. Their struggle for survival is leading toward an oligopoly; and whoever may win, the victory could mean a defeat for the public good. ...We could have created a National Digital Library—the twenty-first-century equivalent of the Library of Alexandria. It is too late now. Not only have we failed to realize that possibility, but, even worse, we are allowing a question of public policy—the control of access to information—to be determined by private lawsuit."—Robert Darnton
on what the proposed Google Book Settlement
could mean for the pursuit of knowledge—Google and the Future of Books
posted by Toekneesan
on Jan 23, 2009 -
is the first major publisher to give away an entire version of a new book online, revenue being raised through Yahoo! ads. But they don't seem to be 100% committed - if you go to their website
you can pay $18.26 for the e-book and no mention is made of it being available free at the author's own website
[Appropriately the book, "Go it Alone" by Bruce Judson is about entrepreneurial ideas]
posted by meech
on Feb 15, 2006 -
by Scott Adams (of Dilbert
fame) is now available for free in PDF form. It's a controversial book that presents a philosophically strange view of the universe. According to Adams
, it splits readers between "the best book they've ever read" and "an insult to literature and a disservice to humanity".
posted by Plutor
on Nov 18, 2005 -
The DNA of Literature. The Paris Review
, with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, makes available free .pdfs of fifty years of interviews with leading writers.
posted by rushmc
on Jan 12, 2005 -
makes you want to pick up a great novel
and consume it in one long gulp. It’s a love letter to literature and literacy, a bibliophile’s dream film, dedicated to the joys of fiction and the passions of those who need books like they need food, water and air." (The Dallas Morning News)
posted by rushmc
on Aug 13, 2004 -
is a fantastic, prize-winning author. His book Newjack
is, to quote Jon Krakauer, "a compelling, compassionate look at a terribly important, poorly understood aspect of American society." In it, he works undercover as a guard at Sing Sing. You can read the truncated New Yorker version
on the site. Additionally, there are many other articles
, reviews and interviews
, and a pretty interesting group of e-mails
from "officers, their families, and others affected by prison." And, just to name-drop once more, Sebastian Junger says: "Ted Conover is a first-rate reporter and more daring and imaginative than the rest of us combined." Check him out!
posted by adrober
on Oct 25, 2003 -
Things That Never Were
is a new novel from an ex-weblogger. First it was Cory
and now Matthew. Who's next and are there any other webloggers turned authors? Not the other way around.
posted by john
on Jul 7, 2003 -
, the practice of attacking authors who make statements against the U.S. government or engage in dissent, gets a comprehensive overview with a book in progress
. As 72 year old author Dorothy Bryant puts it
, "More than ever, we need free exchange of facts and opinions. I hope that looking back on a few cases that have had time to cool off will help us to understand the psychology of literary lynching, and to resist it — not only in others but in ourselves." But in today's world, is there any distinction between a thoughtful response and a downright ugly rejoinder anymore? (via Moby Lives
posted by ed
on Apr 2, 2002 -
Buddy Ebsen's 93, and he's written a book, and it's got hot sex
in it! Go git 'em, Uncle Jed!
posted by luser
on Jun 6, 2001 -