This week! Books!
GPT-4 has arrived, leading to all sort of breathless headlines like this one from The Atlantic: ChatGPT Changed Everything. Now Its Follow-Up Is Here. Uhhhh… what exactly has it changed apart from prompting tech types and their financial enablers to lose their collective minds?
Longtime readers know I am far from a luddite, in fact I joined CNET way back when because I’m so excited by the cutting edge of technology. But I really don’t get ChatGPT. It can generate some unintentionally hilarious copy that is weird and a bit unnerving, but I have yet to see a convincing use for it beyond flooding the world with garbage writing.
But hey, in case you are thinking of publishing that ChatGPT novel it just spat out, you should know that the US Copyright Office has issued a paper clarifying that copyright can only protect material that “is the product of human creativity.” ($ link)
Judy Blume is a true national treasure, and I really loved this profile by Amy Weiss-Meyer about Blume and the new generation falling in love with her books.
Updating novels to reflect modern sensibilities is under a microscope, and even novels by a phenomenally forward thinking author like Ursula K. Le Guin prompts knotty questions. Le Guin’s son and literary executor Theo Downes-Le Guin writes about how difficult it is to make these calls and the principle he applies, which came from Le Guin herself.
Longtime book editor Jennifer Jackson, who has edited her share of bestsellers, writes about going through the process as an author. It’s really a shock to be on the other side of those editorial letters!
In writing advice news, Lincoln Michel urges you to necromance your darlings, Austin Kleon writes that you must love your idea because if it’s a success you’re going to be talking about it forever, and DongWon Song has a thoughtful post on why rules exist.
And authors often wonder how they can go about republishing previously traditionally or self-published books and whether they can sort of pretend they were never published and pass them off as a new novel. For many reasons, including contract clauses and readers not being dumb: No, you cannot do this. As agent Janet Reid writes, be transparent with prospective agents.
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
- Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
- It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
- Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher
- Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- Spare by Prince Harry
- The Courage to Be Free by Ron DeSantis
- The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk
- I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
- It’s OK to Be Angry About Capitalism by Bernie Sanders with John Nichols
Young adult hardcover:
- Five Survive by Holly Jackson
- Nick and Charlie by Alice Oseman
- The Stolen Heir by Holly Black
- The First to Die in the End by Adam Silvera
- Lightlark by Alex Aster
Middle grade hardcover:
- Iceberg by Jennifer A. Nielsen
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
- Refugee by Alan Gratz
- Finally Seen by Kelly Yang
- The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs by America’s Test Kitchen Kids
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, at this moment there are hundreds or even thousands of people living fully underground pillaging what’s left of South Africa’s abandoned gold mines. Kimon de Greef has a wild true story that feels like it belongs in another century or set on some dystopian planet.
Have a great weekend!
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Photo: Rainy day at the Huntington Library, San Marino, CA
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