Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

The Provincetown, Mass., Public Library has become a publisher of e-books.  The library did a test run last April with Laura Shabott, a local author. The title of her e-book is Confessions of an E-Book Virgin.

Library director Cheryl Napsha told PW, “Laura’s book is a self-published book about how to self-publish a book. What better way to begin our endeavor than with a work close to our hearts?”

The software, iBooks Author and Adobe Creative Suite, cost about $3,000. The library has bought 100 ISBNs and 21 barcodes for $1,415. Other costs are in staff time. The graphic design department at Cape Cod Tech helps with the cover designs.

LONG CAREER: Robert Stone’s first book was A Hall of Mirrors, published in 1967. His eighth novel, Death of the Black-Haired Girl, will be published in November.

Stone told PW, “I always give my characters some vision out of the corner of their eyes, the possibility of hope, of other resistance to despair. There’s always something of a religious perspective in my work.”

Stone was asked why he thinks he has outlasted so many once-feted authors. He said, “I think maybe because I worked harder. . . . What I was after was maybe more important—at least it seemed that way to me, and maybe it seemed that way to a lot of other people in the world.”

TRIBUTE: Roxana Robinson’s new novel is Sparta.  She is a council member of The Authors Guild, and she wrote a tribute to Nobel winner Alice Munro for the Center for Fiction.

Robinson said, “What we all lead are ordinary lives with extraordinary passages. It’s Munro who reminds us of this, and that the extraordinary is experienced by women as often as men, and it needn’t take place on a whaling ship.

“Insignificant people lead lives of enormous drama. Women lead lives of enormous drama. She has made that into fact.”

SANTA BEATER: One person was unhappy with the awarding of the Nobel to Alice Munro. The Guardian reported that Bret Easton Ellis, author of American Psycho (1991), twittered: “Alice Munro was always an overrated writer and now that she’s won the Nobel she always will be.”

Reaction was immediate and so anti-Ellis that he retreated with, “The sentimental hatred for me has made me want to re-read Munro, who I never really got, because now I feel like I’ve beaten up Santa Claus.”

L.I. STORY: Beverly Gologorsky’s new novel is Stop Here, and PW said it was about “the impact of the war in Iraq on blue collar families in Long Island N.Y.”

The author said, “Women who come from my background are not given voices in much of literature. And I have always felt that when I write I want the world to hear them.”

TWO OF THEM: Joyce Carol Oates interviewed herself for The Washington Post. She admitted that when a woman recognized her while grocery shopping, Oates denied that she was the writer.  Oates insisted that writers only wrote, and a different, private person named Joyce Carol Smith did her shopping.

One Post reader reacted with “actually, Ms. Oates stalks the aisles [of her grocery] decked in scarves, sunglasses and clanking jewelry, obviously dying to be stopped by passersby, who generally sidle away, fast, clearly wondering why the ghost of Gloria Swanson is hanging out in the dairy case in Central, N.J.”

THE SOURCE: Many books begin with a quote from another writer displayed up front, all by itself—a brief note on a right-hand page.

Phyllis Rose chose the following by Roland Barthes for her Parallel Lives: Five Victorian Marriages (1983):

“Marriage affords great collective excitations: if we managed to suppress the Oedipus complex and marriage, what would be left for us to tell?”

WITH CLOTHES: A new Club Monaco store in Manhattan’s Flatiron District includes a mini outlet of the venerable Strand, with more than 700 titles for sale, and a coffee shop to boot. A spokesman for the New York-based retailer told The New York Times, “We wanted to reinforce our status as a true lifestyle destination.”

WINNER: Eleanor Catton, 28, was the youngest writer ever to win the Man Booker Prize of $80,000. Her 832-page novel is entitled The Luminaries. It is set in 19th century New Zealand where she was raised.

The Guardian called the book a gold rush murder mystery—a thriller.

Next year, for the first time, American authors will be allowed to enter the Man Booker competition.  “Catton’s talent is already too bright for that to be a problem for her,” The Guardian said.

HOT TITLE: Kristin Battista-Frazee is the daughter of the man who distributed the movie Deep Throat.  Her memoir, The Pornographer’s Daughter, will be published by Skyhorse in 2014.

In an article for The Daily Beast, Battista-Frazee said that “Deep Throat did give way to the creation of women’s erotic porn and novels including the bestselling 50 Shades of Gray series and leadership roles in the porn industry.”

PW said the book had been optioned for a Hollywood movie.

HEALED: Tamara Mellon, the co-founder of Jimmy Choo, has written a memoir titled In My Shoes.  The book has lines like “I was still juggling a small baby, an impaired ex-husband, and an asshole of a CEO that I couldn’t get rid of.”

Mellon told The New Yorker, “I wanted to write it for women, because I came up against so many things that I was not expecting.” Writing the book, she said, “was very healing.”

FETE: Uptown Lit, a new literary festival in Manhattan’s Washington Heights, had its debut last weekend, raising the flag for an underappreciated cultural hot spot. The neighborhood lies at the opposite end of the A train from Brooklyn, and The New York Times described it as “thick with writers, editors, professors and book agents.”

Uptown Lit had workshops, children’s programs, readings and talks by local writers and poets. The setting was United Palace, a former vaudeville theater and one of its organizers was Word Up, a unique community bookshop run by volunteers.

Brenda Copeland, an editor at St. Martin’s Press, said, “Brooklyn has its thing and has its fabulous wealth of authors and great book culture.  It’s just—enough already.”

AIMING HIGH: The new film All Is Lost, starring Robert Redford in a sea adventure, was reviewed in The New York Times by A.O. Scott. The review concluded with a quote from Joseph Conrad about his goals in writing: “If I succeed, you shall find there according to your desserts: encouragement, consolation, fear, charm—all you demand—and, perhaps, also that glimpse of truth for which you have forgotten to ask.”

THE BEST PART: Donna Tartt’s new novel is The Goldfinch.  She was asked by The New York Times Book Review (Oct. 20): what is the best thing about writing a novel?

Tartt said, “I love having an alternate life to retreat into and to lose myself in. I love being away from the world so long—so far out from shore. Eleven years.”

Comments: 0