New digital printing technology that will be unveiled at Düsseldorf, Germany’s drupa exhibition (a quadrennial affair known as “the Olympics of printing") is said to as capable of high-quality printing as any tablet reader, and could herald a "second digital revolution in printing."
After Orwell, what happened to depictions of poverty in fiction? Roger Crum argues that despite the global recession, “writers show no sign of exploring deprivation or exigency.” One commenter suggests the reason is because “taking a holiday in other people's misery is no longer as easy a route to literary fame as it once was,” while another recommends Barbara Demmick's Nothing to Envy and Dave Eggers's What is the What as contemporary examples.
Time, Bloomberg Business Week, and The New Yorker win big at the National Magazine awards. Longreads links to all the nominees. For more insight into the gender disparity surrounding the nominations in the categories of Reporting, Features, Profiles, Essays, or Columns—and by disparity, we mean that no women were nominated at all—two editors at Mother Jones sat down to chat with American Society of Magazine Editors' chief Sid Holt.
Courtesy of LitReactor, here’s a quick and dirty guide to philosophy’s role in popular literature.
Bestselling Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho has convinced his HarperCollins to let him sell electronic versions of his books for ninety-nine cents in the U.S. and Canada. The move to make his books cost “less than a cup of coffee” is something Coelho says he’s been advocating for years.
Based on W.G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn, Grant Gee’s feature documentary Patience (After Sebald) is an appropriately meandering reflection on one of the 20th century’s most influential writers. Patterned on a walk through East Anglia, the film opens in New York on May 9.
"Electronic author cooperatives" read self-published e-books so you don’t have to: Do Authors Dream of Electric Books?, Awesome Indies and Rock*It Reads are three collectives that wade through the muck to find books that could go mainstream. Blogger Andrew Crofts speculates that this "hugely encouraging and inspiring model” could provide a solution to “to the great marketing dilemma – how do you get your book talked about and heard about when there is so much competitive din going on all around?"
After observing that of “most of the writers I have friendships with... we met online, interact online, and I know very very little about who they are, what they do everyday, what they care about aside from what they post online”, HMTL Giant’s Lily Hoang puts together a spreadsheet to break down the online vs. real time interactions with her writer friends.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is changing the wall text for its exhibition “The Steins Collect,” about Gertrude and her brothers’ role as art patrons, to reflect the family’s sympathy with and possible ties to France’s Vichy government.
After ordering a pilot episode, HBO has passed on a TV series based on The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen’s 2001 novel about a midwestern couple and their adult children. According to Variety, the one episode that was shot was directed by Noah Baumbach and starred Ewan McGregor, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Chris Cooper.
Borrowing a model that’s commonly used in virtual MFA workshops, Mediabistro is gearing up to host its first online literary festival. The festival will take place between July 16 and August 1, and will feature writing workshops, “manuscript critique[s]” and a series of online video addresses and Q&A sessions. Here’s the catch: it costs $425 to participate.
The Atlantic’s roundup of literary feuds suggests that it might be wise to stay on Richard Ford’s good side.
And speaking of expensive literary endeavors, it costs roughly $2,500 per stop to send a writer on a book tour. Publishing Perspectives wonders if it’s worth it.
Bill Clinton’s thoughts on the fourth installment of Robert Caro’s LBJ biography.
Ben Lerner’s excellent novel Leaving the Atocha Station has won the Believer Book Award.
A federal judge in Montana has cleared author Greg Mortenson of fraud and racketeering charges surrounding the publication of Three Cups of Tea, Mortenson’s book about building schools in Central Asia. Mortenson was sued last year after journalist Jon Krakauer accused him of exaggerating the story and of using donations from his charity to promote the book. The judge did not rule on whether the accusations were true—only that they were too “flimsy” to form the basis of a lawsuit.
Bioeconomics of Fisheries Management and Succeeding with Technology are two of the very few Western titles permitted at the ten-day-long Tehran Book Fair, which opens in the Iranian capital today, and is expected to draw up to 550,000 people a day. In previous years, the Fair has been an excuse for Iranian authors to censor books and publishers, though the Los Angeles Times writes that this doesn’t mean that the books disappear entirely: “Despite the firm dictates of religious and cultural ministers, a vibrant underground market for banned books and movies exists in Tehran.” One Tehran man even bragged to the paper, “Give me any banned or illegal book. I can copy it exactly like the original one in less than a week and market it in the network across the country.”
Steven King really, really wants to pay more taxes.
Charles Felix’s The Notting Hill Mystery, believed to be the world’s first detective novel, is back in print after one hundred and fifty years. According to the Guardian, the novel is about kidnapping, hypnotism, and crimes "in their nature and execution too horrible to contemplate"
Erika Anderson offers some observations on author photos: While fiction writers are typically photographed outdoors—usually in front of a bench, tree, or brick wall—poets tend to stay inside, and are “the only ones who wear hats or leather jackets with nothing underneath.” Regardless of genre, chunky sweaters, scarves, and “anything black” are always acceptable. (We personally long for a return of the author photo that also includes animals: See Jane Bowles and Barbara Pym.)
Johanna Kamradt has created an infographic charting the themes of this year’s Booker Prize-nominated novels.