Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Tuesday's news 

First, Michiko returns, and she's--what??--reviewing a thriller? Most unusual. Anyway, she mostly likes Colin Harrison's THE HAVANA ROOM. Must be the New Year's cheer or a resolution or something. It can't last.

Publishing's in a downturn, everyone's cutting back--so how to explain Canada's Firefly Books, now the largest trade publisher in Canada with profits of $30 million dollars in 2003? The Globe and Mail takes a look at this success story.

And speaking of success stories, Henry Ptah's hip-hop novel had an unusual road to publication. He wrote it, self-pubbed it, then went around on subways hawking the book for ten bucks. According to Ptah, he sold 10,000 copies this way. One of them reached the hands of an MTV books editor, who quickly swooped to pick the book up, and a follow-up novel.

Remember Time Life? They published all those reference books, some more spooky than others, and were a mainstay of cable and late-night TV? Well, Time Warner is selling the outfit off because it's not doing so well anymore.

Hodder Headline is searching for the newest Scottish literary star--a venture that should be more successful now that they've established an office in Scotland, following on the heels of last year's opening of a similar outpost in Ireland.

With her latest novel already getting mixed reviews, Anne Tyler is profiled in the Observer, although it's mostly rehash of other things since Tyler is rarely interviewed these days.

For the most part, it turned out to be a bumper year for Christmas sales in UK book-land. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for WH Smith, which has ended up sacking Beverly Hodson, its head of retail, over the poor performance.

Jonathan Yardley continues his trip down book memory lane with William Faulkner's THE REIVERS. I must admit I'm woefully ignorant of most of Faulkner's work--I waS forced to read his short story "A Rose for Emily" in high school and though it was well-written, I didn't care much for it. Tried "Sanctuary" and felt dirty afterwards.

And finally, Jessa found this before I did, but here's Salon's take on the "overrated mystery novel." As I have to rush out and can't read it very closely right now, my first impression is that it's from a bit of a curmudgeon, but believe me, I shall have more comments later.

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