The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.
Pamela Paul has been named editor of The New York Times Book Review. She'll replace Sam Tanenhaus, who is "taking on a new assignment as a writer at large," according to a Times memo. Paul began as children's book editor in 2011 and is the current features editor. The Oxford American asked Tanenhaus in a 2009 interview, "[W]hat line have you published during your reign ... that has given you the most pleasure?" and he answered, "I've mentioned, or dropped, many big name contributors. I left out Kinky Friedman, author of the single most memorable lead written in my five-plus years at The New York Times Book Review. Here it is (from November 28, 2004): 'There is a fine line between fiction and nonfiction, and I believe Jimmy Buffett and I snorted it in 1976.' "
David Axelrod, the formerly mustachioed former Obama strategist, is writing a memoir, his publisher announced Tuesday. Penguin Press said in a statement, "Over the past 30 years as a journalist, political consultant and senior adviser to the President, David Axelrod has had a front row seat to our political process at every level." An anonymous source told The New York Times that "the book had bids at least as high as $1.5 million."
Jason Merkoski, one of the original creators of the Kindle, compared Amazon to "the mean stepmother in a fairy tale" during an interview with The New York Times. He added, "I think we've made a proverbial pact with the devil in digitizing our words."
The Interestings author Meg Wolitzer talks about gender bias in a Salon interview: "If you've written a powerful book about a woman and your publisher then puts a 'feminine' image on the cover, it 'types' the book. Serious books with 'dreamy' covers — many with women in water, floating or swimming, as though what's contained within is a kind of dreamy inessential thing — the covers themselves are off-putting." It's territory familiar from her brilliant 2012 New York Times essay.
American Dream Machine author Matthew Specktor explains the purpose of literature to Interview magazine: "to illuminate that gap between our secret selves and our more visible and apparent ones."
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