The other day at the Occupy Wall Street demonstration in Zuccotti Park, I picked up a tract produced by the group prole.info that makes a punchy, graphically illustrated case for working-class revolution: “At work,” write the anonymous authors, “we are under the control of our bosses .
TO START WITH, shouldn’t it be called the “better-seller list”? I suppose that doesn’t quite sing, but how can you have more than one best seller at a time? However you refer to it, the list is a disaster for literary and general culture. This isn’t to say that good books don’t become best
During the Second War, poet Boris Pasternak wrote prose about the First—about the Russian Revolution. Doctor Zhivago concerns Pasternak’s alter ego, physician-poet Yuri Zhivago: his youth and early marriage, abduction by the Red Partisans, and enduring love for “Lara,” Larissa Feodorovna. The
The story in the book begins with an explosion. The story of the book threatened to end with an assassination. In between, slipping and sliding along the five hundred pages of The Satanic Verses, are puns, neologisms, Bollywood songs, Indian names, Arabic names, English distortions of Indian and
I. IN MAKING THE LIST, his 2001 book about best sellers, former Simon & Schuster editor in chief Michael Korda recalls that the publishing house once commissioned a study of which books made the most money. After a detailed presentation, the consultant said to the editors, "Do you guys realize
I MADE MY ENTRANCE into this world in the wee hours of September 9, 1950, a future bookworm and editor, the American reading public whose taste and custom I would later have designs on was caught up in the machinations of the Catholic Church and the criminal-justice system, the convulsions of the
THAT SIR WALTER SCOTT was the first best-selling author is indisputable. His first major poem was so successful that the publisher offered the world’s first advance for the rights to his next work, sight unseen. Waverley (1814), his anonymously published debut novel, had sold more than fifty thousand
A chip-on-his shoulder, silver-spooned jock falls for a self-aware, straight-shooting Italiana. I’d never read Love Story or seen the movie, so my reading was firmly stationed in 2011, and I can’t speak about the pleasure first-timers felt when they made the book 1970’s big hit. I thought I’d
It’s hard to pin down a signal moment when reality in America, as Philip Roth first claimed, became too unruly a beast—too repellent in its pieties, too cheap in its tastes, too nakedly consumed with its own advancement—for the novelist to try and capture it without the extreme risk of badness.
That The Road was both a hardcover best seller and a paperback best seller cannot be entirely attributed to its being a pick of Oprah’s Book Club or to its winning McCarthy the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2007. You can lead a horse to the apocalypse, but you can’t make him stand around in it