News & Notes is a weekly Saturday post featuring book- and publishing-related news, links to interesting articles and opinion pieces, and other cool stuff
By now you have probably heard that author Salman Rushdie was attacked and stabbed onstage at the Chautauqua Institution in New York state. (AP) According to the BBC, the attacker had only read two pages of The Satanic Verses, the novel for which Rushdie, became the target of a 1989 fatwa issued by the Ayatollah Kohmeini. That fatwa was never been reversed, even after Khomeini’s death. Since it was issued, he has lived under threat of death, even spending a number of years in hiding with his family. (Since 1989, threats to Salman Rushdie have sparked support and debate on free speech, NPR)
Following the attack, Rushdie spent several days on a ventilator in critical condition. He suffered multiple stab wounds but is now “awake and articulate,” although he may lose the sight in his right eye. (CNN). On Friday, writers gather in New York to read author’s works in solidarity, in an event organized by PEN America, the NY Public Library, and Penguin Random House, Rushdie’s publisher. (The Guardian)
More Bookish News
- Bookstore Romance Day is today! (Aug. 20, 2022) Check out their website, where you can find independent bookstores participating in the event. If you’re not near a participating bookstore (I’m not), order something via Bookshop.org. And read more about the event and its history from Publishers Weekly.
- The DOJ’s antitrust lawsuit against Penguin Random House’s planned purchase of Simon & Schuster continues, and Publishers Weekly has been covering it extensively (click the link for a list of all their articles, though some are behind a paywall.) If you’re wondering what’s up with all of this, the merger of two of the Big Five publishers would be bad for authors, because it potentially reduces competition and narrows the marketplace for authors to sell their works. One way that could occur is through bid cooperation between imprints owned by the same company. The DOJ’s contention is that the merger will result in agents will having a harder time negotiating hefty advances and favorable contracts for their author-clients. And it’s probably bad for readers, too, because while best-selling authors may be largely unaffected, or will have to make do with a $1 million advance instead of $1.25 million, it will likely make it more difficult for mid-list authors to earn enough to live on, which would result in fewer books being written.
- Margot Atwell believes The PRH Trial Has Revealed a Barely Hidden Scorn for Independent Publishers, with witnesses repeated referring to independent publishers as “farm teams.” It’s an analogy that is not only insulting but incorrect, since indie publishers compete directly with the Big Five, as Atwell points out. And independent publishers are also likely to be negatively affected if the PRH-SS union goes forward. (Literary Hub)
- Are literary festivals doomed? Why book events need to change (The Guardian)
- A Glossary of Book Binding Terms (Books Tell You Why) This brief dictionary of terms is helpful if you are starting to collect vintage, rare, or collectible books, and have no idea what the terms you see in a second-hand book’s description mean. What exactly is a folio, quarto, or octavo? When a book is bowed or spine cocked, what does that mean? It doesn’t cover every term used for older books (“foxed,” for example, is conspicuously absent), but it does cover a lot of the terms related to the book’s binding.
- The Current Outlook – The [Book] Collector’s Golden Age? (Quill & Brush) A look at the changes in the book-collecting world since the 1950s, particularly the impact of the Internet, and where today’s collectors find themselves.
- Most historical romance novels feature white characters. But authors are bringing color to the genre (WBUR) (read or listen)
For Writers & Bloggers
- Picture This: Collage as Prewriting and Inspiration (Jennifer Crusie, on her blog) I found this idea really intriguing!
Books, Movies, TV, and Games
- Swedish gaming giant buys Lord of the Rings and Hobbit rights (The Guardian) Not just the gaming rights; they bought Middle-Earth Enterprises, which holds the intellectual property rights for much of Tolkien’s work.
Cool, Fun, or Just Plain Awesome
- Miss Marple book covers coloring sheets to download and print, from the official Agatha Christie website
How cute are these miniature books? Darcy shows you how to make them in this excellent tutorial: Honey, I Shrunk the Books: A DIY Guide to Making Miniature Book Replicas (Autostraddle)
Tanya @ Girl Plus Books
That was shocking news about the attack on Salman Rushdie. So horrible. Interesting article about the future of book festivals. I know that Book Bonanza nd Apollycon has just recently taken place in the U.S. but I’m nowhere near ready to return to events with such large attendance.
Tanya @ Girl Plus Books recently posted…Review: Baden by Sawyer Bennett
I was horrified by the attack on Rushdie, and shocked and appalled. But I was not entirely surprised, given the threat he has been under since 1989, plus the degree to which we have seen fanatacism (of all kinds) increasingly turn to violence in recent decades. The attacker has apparently pled not guilty, which is kind of mind-boggling since he was caught in the act and there are multiple witnesses.
I’ve wondered about the future of book festivals and conventions. I’m not comfortable attending large-scale events, either at this point, either. Before the pandemic, I sometimes attended the National Book Festival in DC. I was thinking about saving up to go to BEA (BookExpo/BookCon) sometime, and maybe getting back to SFF conventions or attending a romance or mystery convention. Now, well….
I have not been keeping up with the Penguin Random House’s planned purchase of Simon & Schuster and the lawsuit so I appreciate these updates.
Such a tragic attack on Salman Rushdie, I’m pleased he’s getting better, but horrified that such an attack occurred in the first place.
Wendy recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #54!
The attack on Rushdie was indeed horrific. He wasn’t the only person injured, but fortunately the other person (who I think was one of those who tried to stop the attacker) was not injured as severely. I hope that Rushdie recovers well (and the other injured man also), not only physically but emotionally as well.
I hadn’t heard of the attack, that’s terrifying! Glad he’s recovering. Thanks for these interesting links. I wonder about the future of festivals in general now with the pandemic. A few of our favorite outdoor events here continue to be cancelled since 2020 due to staffing and cost issues. Happy reading this week.
Bookworm recently posted…Sunday Post/Mailbox Monday 8/21: Bookish Updates
I think smaller outdoor events are more likely to survive, and maybe some of the larger ones, but overall, I think there will be fewer festivals until and unless the pandemic ends. A lot of people (myself included) are still leery of crowds, and with good reason.
La La in the Library
I was shocked by the attack on Salman Rushdie. I thought that fatwa was a thing of the past. I’m happy to hear he’s getting better. I hope he doesn’t lose the sight in his eye. 😔
I thought the Random House/S&S merger was a done deal. I’m happy to hear it’s not. Hopefully it can be stopped. 👏👏👏
I’m going to bookmark this post and come back for some of the links. 😊
La La in the Library recently posted…STUFFING THE E-READER #StackingTheShelves #KindleBooks #Ebooks #AmReading
It was a horrific attack. I wish Mr. Rushdie the best. I was aware that the fatwa was still in force, and I’m kind of surprised there wasn’t better security at the event.
I agree re the PRH-SS merger. I don’t think it’s healthy for publishing to keep consolidating – not for readers, not for authors, not for publishing employees, and probably not for the publishing houses themselves, in the long run.
Nicole @ BookWyrm Knits
Thank you for the news posts — I had heard about the attack on Mr. Rushdie, of course, but hadn’t looked up any of the details. So sad that it was still an issue al these years later, though I 100% agree with you that the lax security was surprising.
Between the PRH / SS merger and the B&N news about midlist hardbacks, publishing is looking at some dark times in the immediate future. I’m confident that we’ll come out of it okay eventually, but I don’t know how long it will take to get back to okay if everything goes badly now.
Nicole @ BookWyrm Knits recently posted…Tag Sunday ~ Afternoon Tea Book Tag
I had not heard of the attack on Rushdie. How terrifying! I’m glad to hear he is alert and responding and hopefully the sight in his right eye won’t be completely lost.
On a much brighter note – the Miss Marple coloring sheets are fantastic and I had missed them! Thanks for sharing.