Kindle vs. Google: According to the Bookseller, Amazon has cooked up a version of its Kindle for the Web that will allow indie booksellers to sell Kindle e-books through their Web sites, just like Google’s platform.
Books in Germany: The Millions looks around the German book world just before Frankfurt, and sees a lot of American books.
A Comic Collection Donated: The AP talks to a college professor who donated his lifelong comic collection–12 boxes worth–to a scholarly library. It may have been the hardest thing he ever had to do.
Franzen’s Rumpus Interview: We promise the Franzen news will stop before the decade ends (wait, isn’t the decade just beginning?), but there is the interview the Rumpus book club conducted with Mr. Franzen.
Rowling Talks to Oprah: J.K. Rowling talked to Oprah on Friday about things like the fact that she credits her mother’s death as an inspiration for Harry Potter. From ABC Newsnet5.
Franzen’s Freedom Recalled In UK: HarperCollins UK is recalling and exchanging 80,000 copies of Freedom due the fact that the novel is simply too incredible. No, just kidding–it’s being recalled due to typesetting and copyediting errors. From the Bookseller.
Against the Agency Model: This recent article by the Editor-in-Chief of Authorlink argues that the Agency model is hurting authors.
Following Frankfurt: The Frankfurt Book Fair’s annual blog is now up and running, so you can keep up with the fair as if you were there. Unless you are there, in which case, you can relive your Frankfurt days.
Enter Narnia (Contest): HarperCollins is sponsoring a contest to draw attention to a $100 gift edition of the complete Narnia books; the contest winner wins said fancy edition. From Aslan’s Country.
In an interview with the UK’s Guardian newspaper, Jonathan Franzen opens up about the fallout from his Corrections Oprah incident (for which he blames “the prevailing mood of philistinism”; being reviled set him back a year), the gap between men and women when it comes to books (calling it “a very destructive disconnect between the critical establishment and the predominantly female readership”), and his process, including earplugs, “pink noise” headphones, and blindfolds.
Since the run-up to the publication of Freedom (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), and the Time magazine cover, Franzen-mania has taken on a blob-like character, growing ever bigger and devouring smaller books and writers in its path (something Franzen himself has done in the past). It shows no signs of slowing anytime soon, and the military hasn’t been called in to straif the creature yet. Of course frequent profiles, articles (like this one), and interviews help to feed the beast. But in the current climate (“Publishing’s dead! Run, Forrest, run!!”), a beast of a novel isn’t such a bad thing.
The Guardian’s Ed Pilkington sat down with Franzen in his “spartan writing studio in New York’s Upper East Side. The tiny room, furnished with a battered old desk and greasy-looking mattress, resembles a monastic cell. The walls are bare except for a single decorative plate. There is a tiny kitchen with one small saucepan.”
Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom will be the next Oprah’s Book Club pick, according to the AP, which got its info from three booksellers who have asked to remain unnamed–Oprah doesn’t officially announce the pick until Friday.
Here’s more from the story:
Winfrey’s decision tells a story she loves well, redemption, and cites a book that itself redeems a troubled Minnesota-based family. Released in late August, “Freedom” was virtually canonized by critics before publication and has been topping best-seller lists even without Oprah’s approval.
Apparently she has forgiven Franzen, who lost the Oprah seal on The Corrections after making some less-than-happy remarks about his inclusion in the Club for that book. And, surely, FSG will forgive Franzen, too–they must not have been too happy to lose all those sales last time. Freedom just keeps getting bigger and bigger…
In Slatethis week, Meghan O’Rourke published an already-controversial piece responding, in some ways, to the frenzy over Franzen’s Freedom and what it says about the ways male and female authors are viewed differently. She has no problem with Franzen’s book itself–she’s enjoying it, she says–but has big concerns about the ways Franzen is being almost automatically accorded a kind of authority that female novelists of the same kind of ambition and scope rarely get.
Here’s more from the article:
There is, I think, and we might call it not the problem with no name but the problem we can’t define: the problem of unconscious gender bias and how it affects the ways we think about accomplishment and authority. It hardly seems like a coincidence that when a generation of celebrated novelists dies out (Bellow, Mailer, Updike), the new ones anointed are typically white men. (When Zadie Smith—whose work occupies a similar literary space to Franzen’s, at once engaged by the domestic and the social—is on the cover of the Times and Time, perhaps women writers can start to feel differently.) Myriad studies show that women and men alike unconsciously ascribe more authority to a male candidate than a female candidate with the same qualifications. In many circumstances, we also simply assume men are more talented…
O’Rourke makes an extremely strong and measured case, but a fierce argument is already raging in the comments beneath her article. What do you think?