Blog Entries tagged 'publishing'
Incredible five days at the Ace...
What an honor to work with these amazing women!
See you next year, either here or...in Bequia!
Interesting development, reported in Publisher's Lunch today:
Big Publishers Move to Broad Delay of eBook Releases
With delayed publication dates the only real weapon in publishers' arsenals in fighting back against the $9.99 price point for high-profile new releases in ebook form, experimentation is getting ready to turn into policy in the year ahead. The WSJ reports that Simon & Schuster will delay ebook releases for about 35 "leading titles" early next year, and Hachette "has similar plans in the works." Meanwhile, we're aware of at least one other big six publisher contemplating the same kind of policy for the first quarter of next year.
S&S ceo Carolyn Reidy tells the Journal: "The right place for the e-book is after the hardcover but before the paperback. We believe some people will be disappointed. But with new [electronic] readers coming and sales booming, we need to do this now, before the installed base of e-book reading devices gets to a size where doing it would be impossible."
Hachette ceo David Young adds: "We're doing this to preserve our industry. I can't sit back and watch years of building authors sold off at bargain-basement prices. It's about the future of the business."
Really appreciate this series of perspectives from the Times on digital vs analog reading.
I especially resonated with this one by Maryanne Wolf, John DiBiaggio Professor in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development at Tufts, and the author of “Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain.”
After many years of research on how the human brain learns to read,
I came to an unsettlingly simple conclusion: We humans were never born
to read. We learn to do so by an extraordinarily ingenuous ability to
rearrange our “original parts” — like language and vision, both of
which have genetic programs that unfold in fairly orderly fashion
within any nurturant environment. Reading isn’t like that.
Each young reader has to fashion an entirely new “reading circuit” afresh every time. There is no one neat circuit just waiting to unfold. This means that the circuit can become more or less developed depending on the particulars of the learner: e.g., instruction, culture, motivation, educational opportunity.
Equally interesting, this tabula rasa circuit is shaped by the particular requirements of the writing system: for example, Chinese reading circuits require more visual memory than alphabets. This “open architecture” of the reading circuit makes the young reader’s developing circuit malleable to what the medium (e.g., digital online reading, book, etc) emphasizes.
And that, of course, is the problem at hand. No one really knows the ultimate effects of an immersion in a digital medium on the young developing brain. We do know a great deal, however, about the formation of what we know as the expert reading brain that most of us possess to this point in history.
So of course I'm always looking at books. The copy on the jacket, the blurbs, trim-size, and overall design. Though I'm not completely sold on the color combo, I'd definitely pick this one up.
Just a few spots left for the writing retreat.
Come write your heart out...and then go wade in the ocean blue.
I love this posthumous memoir from editing great Ted Solotaroff, published in the current issue of The Nation. The vignettes about working with writers are endlessly fascinating.This one about James Baldwin, the civil rights movement, and miscegenation is a fave:
"The climax of the second act of our relationship came in early 1963. Norman had commissioned a piece by James Baldwin on the Black Muslim movement and had done a good deal of hand-holding in the prolonged course of Baldwin's writing it. By the time Baldwin finally finished the piece, it had grown into the book-length journey through the shadowland of black militancy that would be published as "The Fire Next Time." When Norman inquired about it, Baldwin told him that it had turned out to be too long for Commentary and that it had been sent to The New Yorker. Already in a fury, Norman then found out that The New Yorker had accepted and scheduled it. A ton of fat went into the fire.
This, in turn, further energized Norman's rage by activating his memories of growing up in Brownsville, Brooklyn, where the Jewish kids were oppressed and the black kids were their oppressors. One night, Baldwin showed up and Norman let him have it. Baldwin said he should write the tirade he was hearing, in effect providing reparation by giving Norman an idea for a powerful piece of his own. Indeed, Norman was so turned on by the idea and its boldness that he was able to blast through his writer's block to produce his famous essay "My Negro Problem--And Ours." I think he was also emboldened by the opportunity to announce a truth, like the one about success, that none in his liberal cohort dared to admit and that would put him right back at the center of attention.
Normally, a piece by a member of the staff circulated in manuscript like any other and benefited from our comments. But Norman's came around already in type, not even galleys but page proofs, all set to lead off the next issue. It was the first time he had openly pulled rank, and it stung. All the more so when he wound up his self-exposé of the fear- and hate-twisted feelings of whites--liberals no less than reactionaries--toward blacks by making a large and, to me, very dubious point that the stigma of color and the hope of ending it as a poison on both sides of the racial barrier would not come in time, by way of the liberal panacea of integration, to spare us Baldwin's "fire":
I share this hope, but I cannot see how it will ever be realized unless color does in fact disappear: and that means not integration, it means assimilation, it means--let the brutal word come out--miscegenation. The Black Muslims, like their racist counterparts in the white world, accuse the "so-called Negro leaders" of secretly pursuing miscegenation as a goal. The racists are wrong, but I wish they were right, for I believe that the wholesale merging of the two races is the most desirable alternative for everyone concerned.
Up to that point, "My Negro Problem--And Ours" had been a nakedly candid account of how Norman's boyhood experiences in Brownsville had left a residue of fear, hatred and envy of blacks in his psyche, which gave the lie to liberal racial pieties. But for him to then try to trump integration with miscegenation was very troubling: first, because of the heroic civil rights movement in the South that daily was gaining wider and deeper Northern support through its nonviolent strategy and practice; and second, because he was doing so in a banner piece for the "new Commentary," which was trying to chart a course for pressing political and social reform. I thought it through and decided that I couldn't feel right working there if I didn't let him know what I thought. So I walked down to his office and we had it out. As clearly as I can remember, the discussion went along these lines:
"I guess since you sent this around in pages, it's set in stone."
"What do you want to say about it?"
"I think it's courageous, strong and valuable up to the end. But I think the conclusion you come to about the solution being miscegenation is untimely, to say the least, and all wet if the deep-down feelings are what you say they are. I think it will do you and the magazine a lot of harm, and I think you should reconsider it."
By then he had turned to ice. "Is that all?" he said.
"No, it isn't. There are my own reasons. We're trying to keep the image and values of a more humane America alive and working, and about the only concrete political action toward that end is the civil rights movement. What you're saying in effect to those black ministers and students who are risking their lives is to stop trying to integrate, stop trying to claim their constitutional rights and liberties, and find some white chick or guy and have babies. That's how it's going to be read."
He said coldly, "I'm not proposing miscegenation as a solution but as the best outcome, given the refusal of whites, particularly liberals, to own up to their real feelings about Negroes." Then he said, his voice clenched with anger, "I don't ever want to hear you tell me again what's good or bad for Commentary. Ever!"
I could sense we were now on the fast track to an explosion that would end with my leaving the magazine--which I wasn't prepared to do. "Well, thanks for hearing me out," I said, and then got up and left.
There was some hue and cry about the miscegenation issue, but it was mostly swallowed up by the applause the piece received. Norman was back at his favorite place, and I was moved toward the periphery at Commentary."
In the face of gloomy news about the state of publishing, I predict the book will have a huge resurgence. At the end of a day of tapping, or the beginning of a day with no tapping planned, there is nothing more comforting than to lie in bed with a lovely book. The feel of it in my hand is satisfying; the paper, the pool of yellow light on me and the paper, the turning of the page, my single-pointed absorption in another world.
Viva el libro!
How to Read
We each come to literature in our own way. For some, the gift is bestowed by a helpful governess who guides our fingers over the letters in a primer. For others, a private tutor first enlightens us to the majesty of the written word. How you arrive is immaterial. What is important now is that you forget all that and learn to read anew. In my literary criticism, I have become known as a champion of the eternal verities and a scold of the trendy and the fashionable. I have essayed to instruct your writers in how to write correctly. Now I will teach you to read correctly.
When we see a word, we must ask ourselves foremost, What does it mean? This is the first step in comprehension. When we have accomplished this, we can proceed to the next, and so on. In due course, we have read the sentence in toto. By returning to the beginning of the sentence to perform a close reading, we unlock its essence. I learned this skill at university. Although born in the States, I journeyed abroad for my education and underwent my intellectual coming of age at Oxford. I remember when the first dispatches of Dirty Realism made their way across the Atlantic. I pored over each latest issue of Granta as if it contained the Holy Word. And perhaps it did. One of my favorites from that time has always been Raymond Carver, in particular his affecting tale “Leave the Porch Light On, It’ll Be Dark.”