Admit it designers, you’re a bunch of playbabies. Witness:
Month: March 2009
I received this unusual e-mail recently (subject line: “you ruined my life, sorta / an offer for karmic balancing”). I have edited it somewhat to conceal the identity of the author. I have no memory of the incident the writer describes. I will say that I think I have generally been courteous in rejecting manuscripts. I’m sure there were exceptions.
Hello, I think you are someone I met years ago, and you had a big (negative) impact on my life. I’m writing today to say hi, and to offer you a chance at karmic balancing.
According to a survey conducted by Spread the Word, a UK book advocacy group, two-thirds of respondents admitting lying about having read certain books. Which books do people most often lie about having read? Following are the ten top claimed-to-have-read titles. Orwell is the runaway winner — why?
1. 1984 by George Orwell (42%)
2. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (31%)
3. Ulysses by James Joyce (25%)
4. The Bible (24%)
5. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (16%)
6. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking (15%)
7. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (14%)
8. In Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust (9%)
9. Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama (6%)
10. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins (6%)
I’ve read all but 7, 9, and 10 (no. 2 in translation).
The mysterious thing about this list is why anyone would lie about having read Richard Dawkins. It must be a UK thing.
The picks of this litter, BTW, are 3, 4, 5, and 8.
There will be a reading from the Mutanabbi Street anthology that Red Hen Press recently published, tomorrow, March 11, at 7:30 at Overland Books in San Francisco. The book (which I haven’t seen yet) collects writing that commemorates the bombing of Baghdad’s booksellers’ row and celebrates freedom of expression. I have an essay in the anthology. Tomorrow’s reading, however, will be entirely of works by the Iraqi authors who are in the book, and I will be the proxy reader for “Escape from al-Mutanabbi Street” by Muhammad al-Hamrani.
Broadside “Make Books Not War” by Sarah Bodman. Text translated into Arabic by Nejat Chalabi and handwritten by Nadia Chalabi. More info here.
Right Reading received this e-mail from Olivia Sears, president of the Center for the Art of Translation.
I hope you are all enjoying The Best of Contemporary Mexican Fiction. I wanted to send along some of the press the book has received. Martin Riker at Dalkey Archive Press has done a tremendous job of promoting the book.
Tim O’Reilly makes some points in its favor.
Ten Speed Press, a mainstay of Bay Area Book Publishing for nearly forty years, has been sold to Random House, which means it is now part of the Germany-based megacorporation Bertelsmann AG, which is the world’s single largest owner of book publishing companies. This continues the long trend of independents getting swallowed by international entertainment conglomerates.
Ten Speed’s most popular titles include What Color Is Your Parachute and The Moosewood Cookbook. According to a report in the NYT, Ten Speed will retain its editorial staff — Phil Wood will be publisher emeritus — but there will be layoffs in the warehousing and distribution operations. If past experience with such sales is any predictor, for a while the company’s editorial program may seem little changed, but sooner or later it will lose its distinctive character.
Phil Wood says, “I am confident Ten Speed Press, the Company I founded and have owned for almost four decades, will thrive under Random House, whose highly professional people are committed to, and fully understand, publishing.”
John Gall, book designer for B&N, shares some thoughts about book cover design.