Tag Archives: salinger

An [Imagined] Oral History of Oral Histories

Annie Coreno -- September 3rd, 2013

To mark today’s publication of the much-anticipated Salinger biography by David Shields and Shane Salerno and the release of the accompanying documentary later this week, I decided it was time to further explore the book’s format and the “oral history” book fad.

As those who have taken on the topic before know, it begs to stay true to form. So here is how I imagine a written oral history of oral history books might sound–errr–read.

PW EDITOR: It was the summer of 2011 that I really started to see this trend emerge. At first we were all a little confused by it. An oral history in written format? Is that even possible—it sounds like an oxymoron. But as it turns out, it can be done and actually has been around for a while—more so in magazines and eventually the blogosphere. But it wasn’t until 2011 that it really started to pick up in the book publishing world. First came the the ESPN book, then I Want My MTV the following year.

REVIEWER: It seemed to be especially popular for music and television related books. Please Kill Me and Live From New York being the books that really lead the way for the ESPN, MTV and Nickelodeon histories. They often take on a gossipy, behind-the-scenes feel.

READER: I’ve read several of them. Live from New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, as Told By Its Stars, Writers and Guests is definitely one of my favorites. They are always entertaining though sometimes a bit long. Usually pretty easy to get through—because you’ve got all those different voices in there.

HISTORIAN: Good history books usually incorporate multiple first-person account—and in a more authoritative fashion. These so called oral histories aren’t exactly books in my opinion! They are more like a bunch of transcripts copied and pasted together, no coherent voice, not enough analysis. If you want to read a history book, read one of Robert Caro’s book–now there’s a man who can write history.

CULTURAL CRITIC: I personally love the format. It feels very fitting for the times. The internet provides an avenue for anyone and everyone to have a voice.

POST-STRUCTURALIST: It’s easy to forget that the interviews are taken out of context and woven together. Every response is directed by an answer that is not always made obvious in the narrative. Remember there is no truth. Everything is a social construct…

HISTORIAN: Sighs Here we go again…

REVIEWER: They definitely tend to cater toward trade publication, less academically focused. The author is not defining history as much sewing together a narrative. It’s up to reader to assess story along with the credibility of its sources.

READER: I plan on reading the biography and seeing the documentary and then comparing the two!

Of course, this is all heavily based in my imagination, but who knows with the publication of Salinger and Slimed! An Oral History of Nickelodeon’s Golden Age among others in the upcoming weeks, there may be some REAL voices to form this narrative.

The PW Morning Report: Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011

Craig Morgan Teicher -- February 1st, 2011

Welcome to February!

Apple Rejects Sony Reader iOS App And…: CNN / Fortune examines the fallout and implications of Apple’s rejection of Sony’s Reader app.

LibreDigital Raises $4 Million: The digital warehousing company has raised another $4 million in funding, according to the Statesman.

From B&N to Borders: The closing of an Encino, CA B&N has been a boon for a Sherman Oaks Borders, according to EncinoPatch.

The End of Ownership: Are e-books changing how we view book ownership? asks Good E-Reader.

31 Books in 31 Days: The National Book Critics Circle is blogging about each of its finalists between now and its awards ceremony in March.  The series starts today with poetry finalist Terrance Hayes.

Double Fallon: Jimmy Fallon will publish two books based on his Thank You Notes bit.  From WSJ.

Literary Profiling: Here’s a fun story from last week’s NYT about how and why we like the books we like, or why we say we like them on Facebook.

Seeking Salinger: A writer for the Millions goes in search of two lost Salinger stories.

The PW Morning Report: Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010

Craig Morgan Teicher -- October 21st, 2010

Book news you can use…

The Authorized, Unauthorized Catcher in the Rye: Here’s the story from the AP of the audio version of Salinger’s classic, which is only legally available to the blind but not for commercial release, because the author never granted audio rights.

T.S. Eliot Longlist Announced: The longlist for one of the UK’s top poetry prizes has been announced, and it features some big names, including two Nobel winners. From the Bookseller.

Bears Find God: The once-agnostic Berenstain Bears have a series of explicitly Christian e-book apps, which offends some people, and inspires others. From USA Today.

Expensive Rotten Book: Former Sex Pistols lead singer John Lydon is publishing a very pricey scrapbook for fans. From the Telegraph.

Students, Would You Give Up Paper Books?: The NYT wants to hear from you.

Yesterday’s Apple Event: Nothing about books, but in case you want to know what cool new toys Apple unveiled, here’s a writeup from Engadget.

The PW Morning Report: Thursday, Aug. 19, 2010

Craig Morgan Teicher -- August 19th, 2010

Today’s links are our best yet!

Modern Times Bookstore in Crisis: San Francisco’s beloved indie bookseller Modern Times is in urgent need of a cash influx, reports Mission Local.

Ads in Books: The WSJ asks readers to get ready for ads in books, comparing them to the product placement in movies and other media. Ugh.

A Man’s Guide to Eat, Pray, Love: C’mon guys, you know you need some help with this one. From the Daily Beast.

Remembering David Markson: The Millions looks back at the strange career of the recently deceased experimental novelist.

Writers, Get Blurbed Quick and Cheap: A Rumpus writer is offering to blurb anyone’s book in 24 hours.  Seems like it’s free, too!

Salinger’s Toilet for Sale: Really.  You can bid on it.  They’re asking a million bucks.  Ugh.  From Galleycat.

Arguing with Shatzkin: The Seattle Post Intelligencer argues with the publishing futurist.