Among the things we’ve been celebrating lately at PW is this past weekend’s announcement that our own nonfiction reviews editor Parul Sehgal won the prestigious Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing from the National Book Critics Circle, an honor she shares with such esteemed critics as Joan Acocella, Daniel Mendelsohn and Ron Charles. Around here, we couldn’t be prouder.
NBCC board member (and former Balakian winner) Scott McLemee interviewed Parul for Inside Higher Edto find out more about her and hear her thoughts on criticism. We wanted to point you toward that interview and give you a little sample. Here’s Parul on what she’s trying to do when reviewing a book:
I try very hard to be fair to the author, honest with the reader, and to create something sturdy and beautiful in its own right. More presumptuously, I suppose I’m trying, in Baudelaire’s words, “to transform my pleasure into knowledge.”
[Full disclosure: I am on the board of the NBCC, but we have strict conflict-of-interest rules prohibiting voting for friends and colleagues for these kinds of awards, so I recused myself from all discussion and voting in this award.]
Amazon’s publishing imprints are running at full steam in 2011. Today, Amazon unveiled the eight upcoming titles from its translation and world literature imprint, AmazonCrossing. These eight titles were originally written in German, French, Spanish and English Here’s the complete Spring-Summer 2011 list:
“Life After Forty” by Dora Heldt
“The Secret of the Water Knight” and “This Brave Balance” by Rusalka Reh;
“I’m a Box” by Natalia Carrero
“Brummstein” by Peter Adolphsen
“Summer Storm” by Kristina Dunker
“Farewell” by Eric Raynaud and Sergei Kostin
“Field Work in Ukrainian Sex” by Oksana Zabuzhko
For more info about the individual authors and books, see the press release.
On Saturday, we reported on the announcements of the National Book Critics Circle Award finalists. Today, publishing blog Galley Cat created a cool “mixtape” offering samples of each book on the NBCC finalist list. Check it out–there are tons of good books to be sampled, and perhaps even bought and read all the way through.
[Editor's Note: this blogger is a Vice President on the NBCC board of directors.]
Saturday night the National Book Critics Circle announced the finalists for its 2010 awards. Among the finalists are Freedom by Jonathan Franzen and The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukharjee.
Here is the complete list:
A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (Knopf) Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (FSG) To the End of the Land by David Grossman (Knopf) Comedy in a Minor Key by Hans Keilson (FSG) Skippy Dies by Paul Murray (Faber Faber)
Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick (Random House) Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne (Scribner) Apollo’s Angels by Jennifer Homans (Random House) The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukharjee (Scribner) The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson (Random House)
Half A Life by Darin Strauss (McSweeneys) Just Kids by Patti Smith (Ecco) Crossing Mandelbaum Gate by Kai Bird (Scribner) Autobiography of An Execution by David Dow (Hachette) Hitch-22 by Christopher Hitchens (Twelve) Hiroshima in the Morning by Rahna Reiko Rizzuto (Feminist Press)
How to Live: Or A Life of Montaigne in One Questions and Twenty Attempts at An Answer by Sarah Bakewell (Other Press) The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham: A Biography by Selina Hastings Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous with American History by Yuente Huang The Killing of Crazy Horse by Thomas Powers Simon Wiesenthal: The Life and Legends by Tom Segev
The Posessed by Elif Batuman (FSG) The Professor and Other Writings by Terry Castle (HarperCollins) Lyric Poetry and Modern Politics: Russia, Poland, and the West by Clare Cavanagh (Yale) The Cruel Radience by Susan Linfield (Univ. of Chicago) Vanishing Point by Ander Monson (Graywolf)
One With Others by C.D. Wright (Copper Canyon) Nox by Anne Carson (New Directions) The Eternal City by Kathleen Graber (Princeton) Lighthead by Terrance Hayes (Penguin) The Best of It by Kay Ryan (Grove)
Sanderoff Lifetime Achievement Award: Dalky Archive Press Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing: Parul Sehgal
Here’s a little nibble of news: Amazon’s Kindle Digital Text Platform, the interface through which authors and publishers can self-upload their e-books to the Kindle store, has been renamed “Kindle Direct Publishing.” A note on the site says “We’ve changed our name from “Digital Text Platform” to “Kindle Direct Publishing”. Our name is new, but our service remains unchanged.” There’s also a kind of clean-looking new logo (above).
This ain’t earth-shattering news, but for users of this tool–an there are lots of them–every day of their lives will be just a little bit different.
Amazon has also extended its 70% royalty rate on Kindle books to Canada.
No one expected Eric Schmidt to hang around forever, but today’s announcement that Google co-founder Larry Page would officially replace Schmidt as CEO as of April 4 was a surprise nonetheless. In a statement on the Google blog, Schmidt said the move was long-discussed, and part of an effort to streamline the leadership and “speed up decision-making.” As if Google has been slacking over the last decade with projects like that scan-all-the-world’s-books thing? For publishers and one federal judge still trying to wrap their heads around the fast pace of the books project, the prospect of Google actually speeding up must be daunting.
Under the new regime, Page will now lead “product development and technology strategy” and will handle “day-to-day operations” as Google’s new CEO. Page’s co-founder Sergey Brin, meanwhile, will devote his time and energy “to strategic projects, in particular working on new products.” This may be the real news of the day. More than Page replacing Schmidt, what does Page’s ascension over Brin mean for the future of Google? History shows us that these decisions almost always matter, just look at Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. And, look out for more Ken Auletta.