The New York Times mourns an earlier incarnation of their own version of Harriett Klausner. One hopes that Martin Levin enjoyed his life as a book reviewer, but one can’t read this conclusion:
But it was as a critic that Mr. Levin was undoubtedly best known. This was never more apparent than on April 7, 1963, when The Times Book Review returned to print after a 114-day newspaper strike. Mr. Levin marked the occasion by reviewing 38 books at once.
— and mutter “better you than me, pal.”
Or, as George Santayana told a correspondent who suggested he devote himself to literary criticism:
[B]ut as a man’s view of things is an image in the first place, and his work is an image of that, and the critic’s feelings are an image of that work, and his writings an image of his feelings, and your idea of what the critic means only an image of his writings, please consider that you are steeping your poor original tea leaves in their fifth wash of hot water, and are drinking slops.”
The odds of success: Writers worry a lot about the success or failure of their books. Perhaps it’s best to try to let go. Ron Hogan’s post on Leonard Mlodinow’s book on chance “The Drunkard’s Walk” reminds us that if there’s something book publishing knows, it’s that it can’t figure out which books will be a success. As Leonard put it:
So before I take my publisher’s early excitement over the manuscript too seriously, I remind myself that this is the industry that rejected George Orwell’s Animal Farm, because “it is impossible to sell animal stories in the U.S.;” turned down Isaac Bashevis Singer because “it’s Poland and the rich Jews again;” and dumped a young Tony Hillerman, imploring him to “get rid of all that Indian stuff.”
Wither e-books? Take your pick of opinions. I’m reminded that author Jonathan Maberry, at the Pennwriters conference, mentioned that there are five products in the works that will compete with Amazon’s Kindle. Kassia Krozser, however is down on e-books. But Publishers’ Weekly quotes Penguin as seeing a spike in e-book sales. Could they all be right?
Apocalypse Pennsylvania: The people turning Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” into a movie are lovin’ Pennsylvania. Where else can they find so much abandoned industrial wastelands? On (filming) The Road
How not to suck at interviews: Some helpful tips
Now I gotta get some lunch.