This week! Books!
A Los Angeles-area expat who, due to the entirely arbitrary circumstances of his birth and heredity, certain portions of society have assented to deem “royalty,” and who parlayed the resulting status and wealth into a marriage with a successful American actress, had a book ghostwritten about his life and went on to smash book sales records, selling an astonishing 1.43 million copies on its first day. The American public, who once fought a successful war of independence against said expat’s antecedents to be free of an antiquated and corrupt system that confers power by birthright, apparently cannot get enough. Or can they?
Your latest edition of authors behaving badly is brought to you by Susan Meachan, who had “died” two years ago, only to pop up fully alive in the forums she previously frequented, whose members had contributed funeral funds and even helped edit her “posthumous” novel. Laura Miller contextualizes this more in forum culture than in book culture, where fake deaths are apparently de rigueur (news to me!).
Mysterious manuscript thief Filippo Bernardini, whose bizarre phishing scheme was the talk of publishing for years, pleaded guilty to wire fraud.
Markus Dohle rose from parent company Bertelsmann’s printing division to CEO of Random House at age 39 and spent 14 years as the most powerful person in publishing, masterminding the acquisition of Penguin Group to form the industry’s first mega-publisher. He resigned in the wake of PRH’s failed acquisition of Simon & Schuster. Shawn McCreesh takes a look at Dohle’s rise and fall and what’s next for the industry.
Having trouble finishing that novel? Why not head over to The Manuscript Writing Café in Tokyo, where you can choose how sternly the owner will hector you to keep you on track.
There’s a new spotlight on the author/editor relationship, with a movie coming out about the fifty year working relationship between Robert Gottlieb (now 91) and Robert Caro (now 87), which started with battles over trimming Caro’s biography of Robert Moses, The Power Broker, from 1,050,000 words down to a still-weighty 700,000 words. And Mary Norris takes a look at the archive of The New Yorker fiction editor Gus Lobrano, who edited J.D. Salinger among others.
Speaking of movies, with Noah Baumbach’s adaptation of White Noise hitting Netflix, Kevin Koczwara looks back at the eerie prescience of Don DeLillo’s 1985 masterpiece.
In writing advice news, Lincoln Michel has some excellent, specific advice about how to avoid bad habits when you have TV/movies in your head as you’re writing, and Ken Brosky has some good advice about thinking about the forces of antagonism that act against your protagonist.
And sad news as Joyce Meskis, owner of Denver’s Tattered Cover, one of the country’s great bookstores, passed away at age 80.
This week in bestsellers
Here are the top five NY Times bestsellers in a few key categories. (All links are affiliate links):
Adult print and e-book fiction:
- It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover
- It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
- Verity by Colleen Hoover
- Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
- Without a Trace by Danielle Steel
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama
- I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
- The January 6 Report by the House January 6th Committee (Harper edition)
- The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk
- The January 6 Report by the House January 6th Committee (New Yorker edition)
Young adult hardcover:
- The Stolen Heir by Holly Black
- Nick and Charlie by Alice Oseman
- Song of Silver, Flame Like Night by Amélie Wen Zhao
- Five Survive by Holly Jackson
- The First to Die at the End by Adam Silvera
Middle grade hardcover:
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
- The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs by America’s Test Kitchen Kids
- Two Degrees by Alan Gratz
- Odder by Katherine Patterson
- The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander
This week on the blog
In case you missed them, here are this week’s posts:
Don’t forget that you can nominate your first page and query for a free critique on the blog:
And keep up with the discussion in all the places!
And finally, I’m a huge Janelle Monáe fan and I hugely enjoyed this interview, where she talks about her mindset, influences, and artistic evolution.
Have a great weekend!
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Photo: The Huntington Library, San Marino, CA