Monday, 7 January 2013

News: Parnassus At Two, Sully Goes Indie, And Paying For Readings

"Anyone I mentioned this plan to was quick to remind me that books were dead, that in two years ... books would no longer exist, much less bookstores, and that I might as well be selling eight-track tapes and typewriters."

It's been two years since Ann Patchett and Karen Hayes's Parnassus Books opened, and it seems to be doing fine.

Patchett cites some reasons why this is, including just plain luck. "But this luck makes me believe that changing the course of the corporate world is possible," she adds. "Amazon doesn't get to make all the decisions; the people can make them, by choosing how and where they spend their money."

Andrew Sullivan to split from The Daily Beast to go indie - subscription-based, of course. He also spoke to Salon regarding this move.

This move has sparked quite a bit of chatter in cyberspace; it's been discussed or talked about in TIME, SmartPlanet, and AmericaBlog, to name a few. John Scalzi put his two cents in, and wonders if he should do the same for Whatever (the answer is no).

"Reading aloud is back in fashion"? How book readings may revive the storytelling traditions of yore. Plus, some advice on holding a fun readings. And from way back in 2011, some thoughts on writers and their brands, and whether bookstores holding readings should charge for admission.

Considering how glum things seem to be for bookstores, libraries, etc, maybe that's not such a bad idea. Paid admissions to readings imply a line-up so good, you have to pay to watch them live; people pay to watch artistes and musicians perform live, don't they? For the hosting venue, it's an additional income stream. And attendees, I think, would feel a little better supporting an event with their wallets than just showing up.

The most popular literary tweet of 2012 is:


  • The KL launch for Imran Ahmad's The Perfect Gentleman will be at MPH 1Utama on Saturday, 19 January at 3-4pm and Kinokuniya KLCC on Tuesday, 22 January at 6-7pm. This book is the US/international edition of Unimagined, which was published in 2007; here's a bit of background on that book. This edition will include more material and an extended ending.
  • Some rules for using hyphens. I found this useful as a reference and foundation for a personal style guide.
  • Jungleland, the search for the fabled ruins of a "white city" in Central America. The author talks about it here.
  • "In the name of the dead": Yang Jisheng's tombstone to victims of China's Great Famine. Meanwhile, Murong Xuecun (real name Hao Qun) asks, "What do Weibots think about China's Great Famine? " The 'answers' will shock.
  • A year in literary criticism: a chat with author and critic Daniel Mendelsohn.
  • Author JA Konrath has a long list of writer's resolutions for writerly folk, one of which is, "Get over yourself."
  • This essential guide to dim sum by Carolyn Phillips on Buzzfeed's Lucky Peach is a great dim sum primer for the heavily Anglicised Chinese person.
  • Girl power sweeps Costa Awards. O-kay.
  • Fifty Shades trilogy to be read deeper at American University. O~kay....


  1. In response to your comments on reading aloud, although it's a completely different skill, listening to an audio book by a skilled reader can be blissful, combining the artistry of the reader and the fabulous material provided by the author. Alan Rickman is currently reading Thomas Hardy's 'Return of the Native' to me (yes, specifically to me!) and it's a swoon-worthy experience. Thank you as always for this blog, and wishing you many superb books and even more superb cups of coffee in 2013...

    1. "...wishing you many superb books and even more superb cups of coffee in 2013..."

      Same to you, ma'am! Happy new year.


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