Six pages of Truman Capote’s unfinished novel Answered Prayers, which consists partly of stories published in Esquire in 1975 and 1976, has been discovered among his papers in the New York Public Library. The story, “Yachts and Things,” features characters loosely modeled on Capote and former Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham, and has been described as “vintage Truman.” “Yachts” will be published in the December issue of Vanity Fair.
“You have to be a terrible monster to write,” Colm Toibin recalls telling a class of aspiring novelists. “I said, ‘Someone might have told you something they shouldn’t have told you, and you have to be prepared to use it because it will make a great story. You have to use it even though the person is identifiable. If you can’t do it then writing isn’t for you. You’ve no right to be here. If there is any way I can help you get into law school then I will. Your morality will be more useful in a courtroom.’”
On a possibly related note, the first meeting of the David Foster Wallace Appreciation Society has convened in Brooklyn.
After his offer of $1.6 billion for Penguin was rebuffed, Rupert Murdoch took to Twitter to share his thoughts on the company’s merger with Random House: “Bertelsmann-Penguin faux merger disaster. Two publishers trying to contract while saying opposite. Let’s hear from authors and agents!” At Moby Lives, Kelly Burdick notes that while the merger might produce layoffs, “it’s hard to see how a News Corp takeover of Penguin would have been any different.”
July was a strong month for book sales. According to new figures, hardback sales rose 18.2 percent, trade paperback sales jumped nearly 50 percent, and e-book sales were up by more than 47 percent. Despite this, July wasn’t the best month for quality book sales: most of the uptick was driven by the Fifty Shades of Gray trilogy.
Poetry Magazine flags a bizarre profile of Taylor Swift that begins, with all things, of a meditation on Pablo Neruda.