The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘publishing’

Critics with Sharp Objects, and Other News

January 14, 2014 | by

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Preparing to take down an author. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

 

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Thoreau and the iPad

December 17, 2013 | by

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Recently I took my iPad to a park across a lake, sat under a tree facing the water, and started reading the e-book version of Walden, Henry David Thoreau’s classic avowal of the possibility of, as well as the necessity for, simplicity amid modern life’s profusion and superfluity. Cognitive dissonance doesn’t get much more dissonant than this.

“Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys … improved means to an unimproved end,” wrote the handyman sage in the book’s first chapter, titled “Economy.” Few toys are prettier than the iPad, and its prettiness is by no means a feat of economy. Its minimalism, for one, belies the complexity of thought that went into its design, while its ease of use obscures the intricacy of the industry behind its manufacture. That there’s nothing new and improved about its ends should be evident from the resemblance between the categories of apps in the App Store and those of stores listed on the touchscreen directory at the entrance of shopping malls—that harried shopper’s guide to the nonvirtual versions of apps for games, books, sports, lifestyle, and even social networking. Or especially social networking, come to think of it, when you consider that the din from the food court or the theater lobby is nothing more than the noise from so many short messages being broadcast on an unmetered network with unlimited bandwidth.

But what does it matter if my iPad is merely a prettier means to pedestrian ends that are, in Thoreau’s words, “already but too easy to arrive at”? Does that make it one more toy to be transcended or tucked out of sight when meditating on sufficiency? I also own a paperback edition of Walden, its pages worn yellow with age and marred with the fervent notes of my much younger self. It has none of the iPad’s high-precision electronics; the letter m is smudged in several places, and yet it’s lost none of its functionality. And apart from enlightenment, it has only one other app, as a paperweight. Is this nonmultitasking relic the authentic medium for the all-in-one manifesto and proof-of-concept of the uncluttered life? Read More »

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Choose Your Own Adventure: Author Edition

May 23, 2013 | by

Herewith, a handy-dandy infographic that lays out the basic publishing options for an author. Via Jane Friedman.

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Click the image to access a zoomable file.

 

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Celebrity Publishing, and Other News

May 10, 2013 | by

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  • “I waited until my first book was published to learn the genre, and when Oprah announced ‘It’s literary fiction!’ just seconds after my pub date, I was overcome with joy.” At McSweeney’s, Jessica Francis Kane tries to make the Genre Reveal Party happen. 
  • Stewart Brand, the human proto-Internet.
  • Viggo Mortensen, Johnny Depp, and 50 Cent: just three of the celebrity publishers on the scene.
  • Short fiction, annotated.
  • “Around the time we had our first home computer, my dad started to keep track of all of the books that he read in an Excel Spreadsheet. He kept his spreadsheet up to date for almost twenty years, and he’d accumulated 10,496 books before his death. My dad rated his books on a 1-10 scale, but his average score floated around 7.5/10, so I think he generally enjoyed most of what he read.” A tribute to a devoted reader.
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    Unpoetic Day Jobs, and Other News

    May 2, 2013 | by

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    Letter from Boston

    March 11, 2013 | by

    3-15-12_blank-name-tagSmoky circles formed outside the Hynes Convention Center, the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference and Bookfair’s central hub. The snow was light but constant. There was a consistently surprising disparity between what filled the sky and what accumulated on the ground. Cheap sunglasses doubled as ski goggles. A man in an orange wool hat aggressively bummed a cigarette while smoking a cigarette.

    Across the street, in the shadow of John Mayer’s alma mater, a row of Back Bay sports bars pumped deep cuts off the American Pie 2 sound track. Inside one of them a man with pink cheeks argued with his friend over Ben Affleck’s filmography. He proclaimed Pearl Harbor to be Affleck’s best movie, then ordered another Ketel and Sprite.

    Further down the bar, burlier regulars passed their snow-day or no-show shifts warily eyeing the influx of eyeglasses. One ate waffle fries with a fork. I remained neutral, drinking hard cider and picking at a dry turkey sandwich. Below us a panel talk on criticism was slowly convening in the basement. After filing the mustard from under my nails I descended the wet stairs and made a beeline for the couch, reserving a cushion with a makeshift hat-and-jacket scarecrow while I scrounged for more cider. Read More »

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