Grace Krilanovich

At Publishing Perspectives, Chad W. Post reports on why Douglas Rushkoff, who will speak at the Frankfurt Book Fair, moved from Random House to the innovative start-up publisher OR Books: "With the traditional publishing system, there are too many middlemen, and too many people needing to justify their place in the food chain,” he says. “This ends up costing a lot of money, and ultimately costing a lot of time, too.”

Tonight, New York City's prose fetishists and fans of experimental fiction will likely be heading to a talk titled "On the Well-Tempered Sentence," featuring Gary Lutz, Ben Marcus, Christine Schutt, and John Haskell.

Although Lorin Stein has done an excellent job invigorating the Paris Review blog, he remains loyal to print. "There's no emotional connection between the reader and the computer screen," he tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The National Book Foundation has announced this year's "5 Under 35," a group of young authors selected by previous National Book Award finalists. The honorees include Tiphanie Yanique, author of How to Escape from a Leper Colony, and Grace Krilanovich, whose new novel is the hard-to-classify The Orange Eats Creeps.

Yesterday, it was widely reported that a thief stole Jonathan Franzen's glasses, grabbing the spectacles right off the author's face during a Monday-evening publication party for Freedom. The perp, who left a ransom note requesting $100,000, was allegedly chased by partygoers, police, and a helicopter, and gave up the specs shortly after the stunt. That's pretty exciting stuff for a book party, but don't take it too seriously: Our sources in London have told us to take the whole story with a "shovelful of salt."

Lorrie Moore

This morning, on the day before the Frankfurt Book Fair, former Soft Skull editor Richard Nash announced the Spring 2011 list for Red Lemonade, the first imprint of his "insurgent publishing start-up" Cursor. It's an exciting list, which includes Someday This Will Be Funny, a new story collection by Bookforum contributor and American Genius: A Comedy author Lynne Tillman.

Elissa Bassist publishes the excellent notes she took during Lorrie Moore's witty conversation with New Yorker fiction editor Deborah Treisman, in which she talked about humor, MFA programs, and her "ideal reader."

When the Nobel Prize for literature is announced on Thursday, the choice will probably be a "confounding one," says David L. Ulin at The Los Angeles Times.

Is anyone else bothered by the fact that Kathryn Harrison's New York Times review of the new edition of Madame Bovary says absolutely nothing insightful about the quality of Lydia Davis's translation? The author of The Kiss offers only four cliched sentences about Davis's new rendering, and here are two of them: "It is a shame Flaubert will never read Davis’s translation of Madame Bovary. Even he would have to agree his masterwork has been given the English translation it deserves." She does not mention any other translations, though there are many. Anyone looking for commentary on previous translators of Flaubert's classic can turn to Davis herself, who has written about her predecessors over at the Paris Review blog.

The latest from McSweeney's: Dave Eggers's animal renderings.

Lydia Davis

Tonight at the 92nd Street Y, Lydia Davis reads from her new translation of Flaubert's Madame Bovary. Davis's translations are as bracing and revelatory as her acclaimed short fiction, and her reflections on the process are always edifying (she's been blogging about translating Bovary at the Paris Review's Daily). Quick quiz: How would you translate the phrase, bouffées d’affadissement, from Bovary: 1. Gusts of revulsion 2. A kind of rancid staleness 3. Whiffs of sickliness? According to Davis, these are just some of the ways it has been rendered into English over the years. In a 2009 interview, she remarked, "Translating makes me much more acutely aware of shades of meaning. You have a set problem and you can’t get around it by avoiding it. You have to pick just the right word."

This weekend Jonathan Franzen revealed that the UK printer of his new novel, Freedom, accidentally opened the wrong file and printed the wrong version. HarperCollins UK is scrambling to recall the 80,000 copy print run, of which about 8,000 have already been sold. Franzen told The Guardian that the errors were, "a couple of hundred differences at the level of word and sentence and fact [and] small but significant changes to the characterisations of Jessica and Lalitha."

Alyson books, the small press that's published some of the best LGBT literature since it began in 1980, has been forced by financial problems to become an e-book only imprint. Alyson's difficulties have been public since earlier this year, when author Michael Musto's essay in the Voice detailed the delays and frustrations of waiting for his book to be published. Alyson Publisher Don Weise is leaving the imprint as part of the restructuring. Under Weise's tenure, Alyson has published many intriguing books, including David McConnell's recent novel, The Silver Hearted, and Weise was planning to publish Laurie Weeks's highly-anticipated novel Zipper Mouth. Weeks is among the twenty-four Alyson authors with contracts that are now in limbo.

English language readers can follow The Frankfurt Book Fair on this blog.

Stephen Elliott

Martin Amis's State of England: Lionel Asbo, Lotto Lout, David Bowie's Object, Kiran Desai's The Loneliness of Sonia and Sunny, Naomi Wood's The Godless Boys. Agents reveal some of the big titles they'll bring to this year's Frankfurt Book Fair.

Actor and author James Franco has bought the rights to Stephen Elliott's excellent The Adderall Diaries, which blends memoir, true-crime reportage, and meditations on the trickiness of storytelling. If all goes according to plan, Franco will write the script, direct, and star in the film. Elliott, who founded The Rumpus, seemed happy about the news, though he joked about Franco on Twitter: "Is he handsome enough?"

Flavorwire has assembled a diagram of Infinite Jest.

We can't get enough of Alex Ross's Listen to This. The book—which collects the New Yorker critic's pieces on musicians ranging from Mozart to Bjork—delivers fascinating and complex ideas in crystal-clear prose. Ross clearly really wants you to listen—evidenced by his amazing audio guide. If you're in New York, you can catch the author at two promising New Yorker Festival events this weekend: He'll talk with Yo-Yo Ma on Saturday, and he'll give a presentation on his chapter "Chacona, Lamento, Walking Blues" on Sunday.

Snooki of MTV's Jersey Shore is publishing a novel. Title: The Shore Thing. Book Case blog expects the book to do well.

Hugo Lindgren, the former editorial director of New York magazine and more recently the executive editor of Businessweek, has just been hired to be the new editor of the New York Times Magazine, a title long held by his onetime colleague, New York's Adam Moss. Bill Keller has been looking to the NYTM's biggest competitors to make the replacement: As the Observer recently reported, he first offered the job to the New Yorker's Daniel Zalewski, who turned him down.

Ted Berrigan

Tonight, we'll be at Poets House, where Douglas A. Martin and Eileen Myles will read their work. Myles's new book is Inferno, an autobiographical novel about becoming a poet in New York. Like most good autobiographical novels about writers, this one is gossipy (watch for stories about Ted Berrigan) (and even Richard Hell), sometimes cutting (a passage about Kathy Acker comes to mind), but never quite spiteful.

Jonathan Lethem, best known for his novels about Brooklyn (though he's also written about Manhattan) (and about black holes), will set his next book in Queens. Will the Bronx or Staten Island ever make the cut?

Michelle Kerns urges book reviewers—particularly the ones who don't live in New York City—"to take this opportunity to rise up against the oppressive power of the Publishing Dictators of the East." She offers her own Martin Luther-esque "95 Theses; Or, Things to Nail on the Door of Random House." A lot of them complain about New York City, so we're guessing Kerns is immune to novelist and Columbia professor Janette Turner Hospital's celebration of the city's literary supremacy.

Salman Rushdie says that writers who challenge official doctrines are "in more danger perhaps than they've ever been."

Last May, Laura Miller speculated on the generalization that men don't read as much as women do (and on the fact that the book industry is a world with more women than men). Now, Publishers Weekly revisits the issue, wondering: "Does the lack of men in publishing hurt the industry?"

Yiyun Li

The 2010 MacArthur Fellows have been announced, with three authors among the twenty-three winners. Journalist and television-guru David Simon, fiction writer Yiyun Li, and historian Annette Gordon-Reed now all have license to affix the word genius to their name.

Barnes and Noble chairman Leonard Riggio and his group of board of director candidates have withstood a strong challenge from Los Angeles investor Ron Burkle, as shareholders have voted to re-elect Riggio and his supporters. As shareholder Howard Tannenbaum put it: "Riggio and his brother built up the company. What does Burkle know about book selling?" 

In The Guardian, Jonathan Franzen talks about Oprah, being called a Great American Novelist ("It paints a big bullseye on the back of my head,") and writing Freedom, and says that David Foster Wallace's suicide in 2008 angered him into finishing the book: "I was mad. I got motivated by anger at him. 'Well, goddamn it, Dave! I've got one advantage over you, and that's that I'm still alive, and I'm going to show what I can do.'" 

 Tonight at McNally Jackson Books, Darin Strauss reads from his memoir Half a Life.


Sara Marcus’s Girls to the Front, an engaging chronicle of the early-’90s punk feminist movement known as Riot Grrrl, is being published today by Harper Perennial. Writing in Bookforum’s music issue, musician and author Johanna Fateman called the book an “ambitious and convincing book that makes narrative sense out of events that had so far been recorded only in mythic, unverified, and fragmentary form.” We recently sat down with Marcus, who is a freelancer at our sister publication Artforum, to discuss her writing process, feminism’s fate in mainstream culture, gender bias in book criticism, and the feminist future.

Q: I imagine that early on in writing Girls to the Front you were confronted with the challenging realization that Riot Grrrl resists definition. How did you deal with this?

A: I figured out pretty quickly that the only way to tell the “story of Riot Grrrl” would be to tell stories of individual people and stories of context, and that through a kind of triangulation, this would yield a sense of Riot Grrrl as a whole while hopefully steering clear of any reductionism. But it’s not true that there’s no common thread, and I parse this in the book: The girls were really careful to say there’s no there there, but there were specificities to the experiences, and to the networks, that are important.

Jason Schwartzman

This week's New Yorker is available in a new iPad version, with a nifty animated cover by David Hockney. In a note to readers, the New Yorker editors write nostalgically about the magazine’s early days, noting the scarcity of pencils, and marveling that founder Harold Ross "could not have imagined a day when the magazine would be available as quickly to a reader in Manchester or Madrid as to one in Manhattan." They assure readers that "print remains, by miles, our most popular form," before telling us how they really feel. "We’re at once delighted and a little bewildered about this latest digital development and our place in it: delighted because of the quality of what the tablet provides and the speed with which the magazine can be distributed, but bewildered, too, because we’d be liars if we said we knew precisely where technology will lead." Readers need not be bewildered, however, as the New Yorker has enlisted tousled actor Jason Schwartzman to explain how to use the new app.

Music writer Nitsuh Abebe is leaving the indie-rock review website Pitchfork to become New York magazine's pop music critic. While you wait to read Abebe's work at his new gig, check out some of his greatest hits from Pitchfork: Reviews of The CureYoko OneDaniel JohnstonStereolab, an essay on "The Decade in Indie," the "Why We Fight" column, as well as his tumblr page, a grammar, which contains this memorable post on female fandom, among other gems.

At Slate, Emily Bazelon offers new details on the suicide of the Virginia Quarterly Review's managing editor Kevin Morrissey this summer, including emails to staff from editor Ted Genoways, who has been accused of workplace bullying. Bazelon writes: “A closer look at what happened at VQR, informed by conversations with Genoways and most of his colleagues and by examining internal e-mails sent in the run-up to Morrissey's death, suggests that while the VQR staff was unhappy with their boss, bullying may not be the right label for his behavior. The accusation that Genoways is to blame for Morrissey's suicide is even more questionable.”

Tonight, the Word in Brooklyn is hosting Indie Press Night.

Don Delillo

This weekend, we witnessed the maiden voyage of the Wall Street Journal's new stand-alone Books section; Publisher's Weekly chats with editor Robert Messenger.

Farenheit 451, 2010: The Pentagon held a book burning on September 20th, destroying 9,500 hundred copies of Operation Dark Heart. The book's author, Anthony Shaffer, told CNN: "The whole premise smacks of retaliation. . . . Someone buying 10,000 books to suppress a story in this digital age is ludicrous." And if you can't burn 'em, ban them: September 25th marks the beginning of banned books week; did someone really think it was a good idea to ban Webster's Dictionary from a school library?

The 2010 PEN Literary Awards Winners have been announced. Paul Harding continues his winning streak by taking home the PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship for Writers for his debut and Pulitzer prize-winning novel, Tinkers. Don Delillo won the Saul Bellow award for Achievement in American Fiction, and granted a rare interview. When asked about digital books and social media, Delillo answered: "The question is whether the enormous force of technology, and its insistence on speeding up time and compacting space, will reduce the human need for narrative—narrative in the traditional sense. Novels will become user-generated. An individual will not only tap a button that gives him a novel designed to his particular tastes, needs, and moods, but he’ll also be able to design his own novel, very possibly with him as main character."

Tonight at Opening Ceremony in New York, film director Spike Jonze will be appearing to sign his book, There Are Many of Us, a companion to his new short film, I'm Here.

Even critics who are lukewarm about the film version of Howl are praising James Franco's portrayal of the Beat icon Allen Ginsberg. It can't be easy to portray a man who was not only a poet but also a "grand guru of the counterculture—chief spokesman of the Beat Generation, shaggy incarnation of flower power, tireless crusader against the war in Vietnam," as John Palattella wrote in Bookforum in 2006. Franco has been preparing for his turn as a real-life writer, too: His book of stories, Palo Alto, will be published on October 19, and has blurbs from the likes of Amy Hempel and Ben Marcus.

Danielle Steel: not a romance novelist.

Vanity presses. Non-traditional publishing. DIY publishers. Publishing solutions. Indie publishers. Edward Nawotka looks at the evolving vocabulary of the book-making profession.