News & Notes is a weekly Saturday post featuring book- and publishing-related news, links to interesting articles and opinion pieces, and other cool stuff
- J. K. Rowling’s return to Harry Potter makes her world’s richest author in 2017. The article also lists the year’s top 10 earners. (The Guardian)
Sam Shepard, the actor and award-winning playwright, died Thursday, June 27, at the age of 73, from complications of ALS. As an actor, Shepard was best known for playing Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff, a role that earned him an Oscar nomination. More recently, he played the patriarch on the Netflix series Bloodline. As a playwright, Shepard explored “the disparity in American life between myth and reality, past and present, fathers and sons.” (R. Gilbey, Guardian) His more than 40 plays, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Buried Child, made him one of the most well-known and often performed American playwrights.
Judith Jones, Knopf’s influential editor for literary works and cookbooks, has died. Jones discovered The Diary of Anne Frank in a slush pile in Paris, and brought us Julia Child. She edited literary stars like John Updike and Ann Tyler. Jones died on Aug. 2, 2017.
- Do Readers Deserve Found Manuscripts? is as much (or more) about the photographer Vivian Maier, whose photographs were not discovered until after her death. But it’s also a thoughtful exploration of the pros and cons of posthumous publication. (Book Riot)
- Do Spies Turned Novelists Use Their Old Sources? explores the parallels between spy novels and reality, particularly in light of current events. (LitHub)
- E. B. White’s Maine farmhouse is up for sale. Yes, the one where he wrote Charlotte’s Web.
- In Defense of Buying Books While Traveling (Book Riot)
- Philip Pullman speaks out against discounting books (The Guardian) It’s an interesting dilemma. While authors deserve to be paid well for their work, and he may have a point that deep discounts could contribute to a sense of reading as not being worth much, increased prices could result in fewer books being sold overall, which would also hurt publishers and authors–especially debut and midlist authors, who struggle to get and stay published as it is.
- “Why Can’t I Write About _____?” Jim C. Hines talks about… well, it’s hard to sum up in a single phrase. Basically, it’s a well-reasoned response to the question, “Why can’t I write about whatever I want?” (with the implied subtext “regardless of whether other people find it hurtful or offensive.”)
Book & Movie Announcements
- PBS to Unveil America’s Favorite Books in New TV Series. The 8-part series, entitled The Great American Read and scheduled for summer 2008, will begin with a two-hour special that looks at Americans’ 100 favorite books. Later episodes will explore themes like “Heroes” and “Growing Up.” The last episode will feature a top-10 list and a vote to determine America’s most-loved book. (Publishers Weekly)
- Bernie Sanders is bringing out a YA guide to political revolution. (The Guardian)
- 11 Ways Being A Reader Is Super Useful For Your Career (Bustle)
- Ten Ways To Organize Your Bookshelf (The Millions)
Really Cool / Just for Fun
- Neil deGrasse Tyson Talks Joining Forces With George RR Martin On A Space Video Game. The game will incorporate and encourage the learning of science while you explore and colonize other planets. Bill Nye and Neil Gaiman are also associated with the project. Sounds awesome! (Daily Beast)
That’s it for this week!