Footnotes, February 2020: Book links from around the web
At The Reading List, we’re trainspotters when it comes to interesting book links, and here are a number that caught our eye over past several. Browse and enjoy!
- First, eish, yet another example of a bookseller learning the hard way to stay in its lane. (Booksellers regularly forget that they shouldn’t change lanes under any circumstances and dabble, for example, in publishing, invariably with disastrous results, but this chronic amnesia at least makes for juicy stories like this one). Namely, the US bookselling chain Barnes & Noble – now under the watchful eye of Waterstones’ James Daunt – decided to publish something called ‘Diverse Editions’, which comprised out-of-copyright classics re-jacketed with covers featuring a range of skin colours, modern ‘cultural’ clothing and so on. Well, B&N got burned pretty quick and beat an even quicker retreat. Total defeat. And, booksellers, it will always be like this, ok?
- But hey, publishers stuff things up, too – like that time (just two weeks ago!) that they thought it would be a good idea to celebrate Nancy Drew’s 90th birthday by killing her and having a couple of blokes – that would be the Hardy Boys – investigate her murder. Um, no!
- There remain, however, pockets of decency in the books world: for example, Paolo Coehlo deleting the draft of the children’s book he was writing with the basketball star Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash. It feels like the right thing to do.
- Oh goodness, Marlon James is hosting a new literary podcast.
- Back to scandal! There’s this new novel, American Dirt, which deals with migrancy across Mexico and the USA, and which Oprah selected for her book club, and which… was blown up completely on the internets in drama that has yet to fully play out, and that has seen the book’s author, Jeanine Cummins, have her book tour cancelled. Good, however, has come of this: Cummins’ publisher, Macmillan / Flatiron, has agreed to make substantial changes toward inclusivity in its business and the voices it publishes. Nice.
- Oh hey, Lee Child has decided not to kill off Jack Reacher, but rather hand him over to his brother for further thrilling misadventures. Those who stan Reacher are no doubt rejoicing at the news.