Effect of negative previews, more

Do negative reviews before a book’s official release date–such as Fischer’s diatribe about Amis’ Yellow Dogpoison the well and kill future sales?

John O’Farrell mocks the reactions of the literary community to the Booker short list:

Writers are particularly egocentric creatures. If some poor woman is interviewed weeping on the news about how her husband’s been kidnapped by Colombian bandits, any normal person would watch with sympathy and listen to what she is saying. But an author would be feverishly scanning the spines on the bookcase behind her thinking: “Typical! Not one of my books on her shelves! Look, she’s got bloody Hornby and Parsons all right, but where is my hilarious account of the problems of having a second home in Gloucestershire?”

(Via Moorish Girl.)

The changing Booker predictions of Robert McCrum.

Beckham’s novel far outsells the Booker nominees:

On paper, it should be a rather one-sided battle between six of the most critically acclaimed books of the year and the work of a novice writer not known for his ability with words.

But the six works nominated for the Man Booker prize, which have been in the shops for several months, have, so far, mustered combined sales of less than 65,000 copies – 21,000 fewer than David Beckham’s My Side notched up in its first two days on the shelves.

Last night at the KGB Bar, Vendela Vida chuckled over some questions that her Japanese translator recently emailed to her. Vida announced that The Believer soon will begin featuring odd questions from translators to authors on its site.

Jonathan Rosen contemplates the mystery and fragility of books:

“Of the making of books there is no end,” the author of Ecclesiastes laments, but there is also no end to the unmaking of books….

It is part of the work of a culture to figure out what endures and what is consumed, though the calculations can never be completed, not least because we ourselves are part of the equation. Books and people keep whispering secrets to each other and this relationship, so full of flaws, is perhaps the best we can do.

“55 years after a group of scholars began composing the authoritative dictionary of Sanskrit, the long-dead language of India’s ancient glory, they are almost done – with the first letter.” (Via Kitabkhana.)

Visit Arts Journal for some great publishing-related links I missed late last Thursday.

About Last Night will be adding a regular guest blogger to the roster on Fridays. Trust me: you won’t be disappointed.

This may be wishful thinking, but I believe Ms. Jessa Crispin returns to Bookslut this week, live from her new digs in Chicago.


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