Dog-Eared and Dispatched: October 6, 2013It’s been a week of transitions in the wild world of book culture. Sherman Alexie makes the first leap by renegotiating his stance on e-books. Then, Portland, OR joins the lit crawl sensation that’s bar-hopping the nation with the premiere of LitHop PDX. Meanwhile, popular fiction fans say goodbye to the author whose name has become synonymous with espionage writing. Finally, several literary societies—including the American Booksellers Association—take a moment to offer some rhetorical clarity on the health-care reform responsible for shutting down the U.S. federal government.
Once an outspoken critic of e-books, author Sherman Alexie surprised the literary world by announcing his partnership with digital publisher Open Road Integrated Media on Monday, September 30. Alexie explained his change of heart in a video currently available on Open Road’s website, stating, “I still have serious issues with the politics and economic philosophies involved in much of the electronic book world, but I’m also vitally interested in reaching more of my readers and reaching a younger generation of readers who are more technologically savvy and tech addicted; and in order to reach them, I have to do this. But I’m also very excited about the aesthetic and artistic possibilities. I have an iPad—I love my iPad. I love the idea of being a part of current culture.” With Open Road’s assistance, Alexie plans to publish digital versions of his entire backlist of fiction. This list—scheduled for re-release on October 15—includes such notable works as The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, The Toughest Indian in the World, Flight, Reservation Blues, Indian Killer, Ten Little Indians, and War Dances. [MediaBistro, Open Road Media]
A few weeks ago, we discussed the emergence of ” lit crawls“—i.e., pub crawls with an influx of books and bookish people—in such cities as San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and London. Now, Portland, OR has joined the mix with a brand new bar-hopping reading series know as LitHop PDX. Launched on the eve of Wednesday, October 2, this three-hour series opener included 52 readers and numerous venues situated along a 10 block radius. Arming their attendees with maps outlining the participating bars, LitHop PDX’s premiere event included such hosts as Bad Blood, If Not For Kidnap, Nows Ours, Sister Spit, Tin House, and YesYes Books. [GalleyCat, LitHop PDX]
Bestselling author Tom Clancy died this week at 66 years old. Clancy’s career skyrocketed in 1984 with the success of his novel The Hunt for Red October, a military thriller that earned him praise due to its intricate technological descriptions and the way in which Clancy seemed to predict certain events that actually took place during the Cold War. Clancy went on to sell over 50 million books during the three decades of his career. In a previous interview, Clancy attributed his success to the persistent search for perfection: “You learn to write the same way you learn to play golf: you do it and keep doing it until you get it right. Writing isn’t divinely inspired – it’s hard work.” Penguin Group (USA)’s executive David Shanks—a man who has been personally involved with every Clancy book published through Penguin—stated, “I’m deeply saddened by Tom’s passing. He was a consummate author, creating the modern-day thriller, and was one of the most visionary storytellers of our time. I will miss him dearly and he will be missed by tens of millions of readers worldwide.” The cause of Mr. Clancy’s death has yet to be disclosed. [Publisher’s Weekly, The Guardian, GalleyCat]
Social issues often span across the various communities of a culture, and such is the case with the recent federal government shutdown. On Tuesday, October 1, The American Booksellers Association collaborated with the Small Business Majority—a non-profit research and advocacy organization—to conduct informational sessions on health-care reform, attempting to deconstruct the complicated rhetoric of the bill. The ABA has also posted reform fact sheets for all 50 states on their website. In addition to this, GalleyCat reporter Jason Boog posted a blog on Tuesday entitled ” What Writers Need To Know About the Affordable Care Act,” linking self-employed writers to the options now available to them through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Perhaps not surprisingly, The Huffington Post took a less veiled approach at calling out the GOP, compiling snippets of criticism leveled against the Republican party by the ten most widely-read newspapers in America and noting the lack of support from even the more conservatively inclined of these publications. [Shelf Awareness, The American Booksellers Association, GalleyCat, The Huffington Post]