Book News Roundup: Never go full Franzen

  • Shelf Awareness is hiring a publishing assistant to help coordinate review copies, produce the email newsletter, and other administrative tasks. If you'd like to work in the publishing industry, here's your chance.

  • The Establishment shut down yesterday. The intersectional feminist publication co-founded, in part, by Seattle writer Ijeoma Oluo, was drawing over a million readers a month, but it couldn't monetize those readers.

  • Let me repeat: publishers can't turn a million readers a month into any kind of sustainable business model. The internet is deeply broken.

  • You have already heard that yesterday, the Pulitzer Prize for fiction was awarded to Richard Powers for his novel The Overstory. Powers is a great, very smart novelist and The Overstory is a very good book. But I do wish that Tommy Orange's novel, There There, had been named the winner of the Pulitzer rather than the runner-up. Powers is in no need of a higher profile, and bestowing the Pulitzer to a debut novelist would have been a powerful statement. Still, the other literary awards — particularly Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom and The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke — seem very on-point. And it's good to see a book from Milkweed Editions on the runner-up list for the Pulitzer for Poetry — Milkweed is consistently one of the best publishers in the US, and they deserve greater attention.

  • Sci-fi writer Gene Wolfe died yesterday. Cory Doctorow wrote a brief but loving tribute at BoingBoing.

  • Did you see Ian McEwan's Guardian interview? Seems the poor fellow Franzened all over himself by blabbing about things he doesn't understand:

There could be an opening of a mental space for novelists to explore this future, not in terms of travelling at 10 times the speed of light in anti-gravity boots, but in actually looking at the human dilemmas of being close up to something that you know to be artificial but which thinks like you. If a machine seems like a human or you can’t tell the difference, then you’d jolly well better start thinking about whether it has responsibilities and rights and all the rest.
  • Why is it that when so-called serious white men deign to pay attention to a genre, they have to act like they've discovered it?