This week! Books!
Will Lloyd at the New Statesman dared to ask the question on everyone’s mind today (okay maybe not everyone’s): has the literary male become terminally uncool? After scanning Granta’s list of Best of Young British Novelists and recognizing only one man, Lloyd asks, “If I – a long-time subscriber to literary journals on both sides of the Atlantic, card-carrying London Library member, Daunt Books tote-bag owner – don’t know who they are then who, their mothers and the editorial board of Granta aside, does?”
In potentially related news, Greg Rosalsky at Planet Money takes a look at the extent to which women dominate the book business in a manner unlike other creative industries. Women now write more than 50% of published books, and sell more on average than their male counterparts, despite women accounting for less than 20% of the directors who made the top 250 films in 2022. The changes track similar trends in the composition of college graduates over the past 50 years, but that alone can’t explain the shift.
A few weeks back I criticized Internet Archive’s so-called library, but for a good alternate take check out Adam Serwer’s in The Atlantic, who worries about the availability of books that aren’t economically viable for publishers to produce as e-books, but which are valuable to researchers. This is an issue at the heart of the Google Books debate of yore, where a vast chunk of the books published in print in the twentieth century are “orphaned,” meaning they are under copyright, but the right to produce them digitally is either ambiguously held by publishers or held by an uncontactable literary estate. The public interest in accessing these books vs. authors’ interest in being compensated is something that still needs to be resolved.
How does someone as busy as Barack Obama have the time to read all the books on his vaunted reading lists? Those in the know swear they come from him. Whether you believe him is a bit of a Rorschach test, but there are certainly artifacts that point to the importance of books in his life, including this 2017 interview with Michiko Kakutani and this interview with Marilynne Robinson, where Obama served as the interviewer.
It’s been a long time since there’s been a challenger to Kindle’s dominance as a dedicated e-book reader, but Kobo is looking to change that with its Elipsa 2E, which has a dedicated stylus that lets you take handwritten notes on e-books.
Speaking of Amazon competitors, Kate Knibbs at Wired profiles Andy Hunter, founder of independent online bookseller bookshop.org, who is hoping to launch an e-book product via their app in the near future.
And in writing advice news, Charlie Jane Anders talks about writing YA and how she worked on finding her voice.
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
- Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
- Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
- The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- Outlive by Peter Attia with Bill Gifford
- The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk
- Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
- I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jeanette McCurdy
- Spare by Prince Harry
Young adult hardcover:
- Silver in the Bone by Alexandra Bracken
- Five Survive by Holly Jackson
- Spell Bound by F.T. Lukens
- Nick and Charlie by Alice Oseman
- Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross
Middle grade hardcover:
- Nic Blake and the Remarkables by Angie Thomas
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
- Refugee by Alan Gratz
- Odder by Katherine Applegate
- Two Degrees by Alan Gratz
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 among the legions of Succession fans who were mesmerized by Sunday’s episode. There was a ton of great Succession content on the interwebs in the past week, but my favorite was Eric Sullivan’s interview with Kieran Culkin.
Have a great weekend!
Need help with your book? I’m available for manuscript edits, query critiques, and coaching!
For my best advice, check out my online classes, my guide to writing a novel and my guide to publishing a book.
And if you like this post: subscribe to my newsletter!
Photo: The Huntington Library, San Marino, CA