Yesterday was the first anniversary of journalist and art critic Steven Vincent’s murder by the people who are still causing trouble in Baghdad. His publisher, Spence Publishing, has maintained his blog and posts links to three articles about him and his work.
The rumor was true. Random House announced it has purchased Multnomah Publishers and will merge it with WaterBrook Press in Colorado Springs, CO. WaterBrook and Multnomah with remain separate imprints of Doubleday Broadway, a division of Random House, and in control of their respective editorial destinies though the WaterBrook president with preside over Multnomah. Random House is the world’s largest English-language trade book publisher.
How many copies does the average American book sell? Everything is on the table, so don’t think of fiction only (which is probably why the number is so low). Common Grounds has some statistics.
Think Christian points out a Michael Novak piece which asks, “Is belief the key to a comfortable life?”
Mr. Bertrand talks about some pitfalls with that oft-discussed question of Christian artistic excellence.
Fiction has been called “a lie that tells the truth,” a paradox that goes to the heart of the difficulty — and explains why, historically, evangelicals have been suspicious of art and its makers. Many evangelical artists have internalized their community’s critique of art, which has led them to seek ways of doing art that evade the ‘evils’ their fellow believers have articulated. This desire not to be tainted by the criticism has, I think, contributed to the mediocrity problem. Some have been quick to dismiss what they didn’t understand, just to remain in solidarity with other evangelical critics.
At a charity reading in New York, Authors John Irving and Stephen King urge J.K. Rowling to avoid doffing Potter.
King said, “I don’t want him to go over the Reichenbach Falls.”
Rowling said she has worked out the ending to her series, and no doubt someone will not like it.
A picture is worth a thousand words unless you don’t have the right words to match it. Take the photos coming out of Lebanon and Israel these days. What are the right words? As shown here, the words given them by some news editors are so wrong you have to wonder why that particular news was unfit to print. And here’s another example from the same site.
Canadian Author Margaret Atwood is quoted by Bill Moyers on his “Faith & Reason” site: “If a god showed up every time you put a quarter in the prayer slot it wouldn’t be God, it would be a puppet that you could control by doing that…that would make the deity subservient to you. So it wouldn’t be a deity would it?”
That’s good. It points a problem many Christians have, because we kick around a lot of bad theology on prayer. God never announced that he would pardon us for specific sins after we repeat a memorized prayer nor does he wait for us to use specific phrases from the Bible in our prayers before acting with power. He is the Lord of all creation and everyone in it. No one can stop him from doing what he wants and no one can make him act.
For more on this idea, I recommend a book by J.B. Phillips called, Your God Is Too Small.
John Miller writes about the Soviet “Brave New World” written before Aldous Huxley’s. It is We by the shunned Russian novelist Yevgeny Zamyatin, completed in 1921 and release in a new English transation this month. It wasn’t published in Russia until 1988 because it harshly criticized the Evil Empire. Mr. Miller describes it:
We is also the product of a powerful imagination. It describes a futuristic world dominated by the One State, which is devoted to “mathematically infallible happiness.” Because freedom is supposedly the enemy of happiness, the One State strives to eradicate all marks of individuality. “To be original means to somehow stand out from others,” says one character. “Consequently, being original is to violate equality.”
Lit-bloggers are declaring their reading preferences. Scott of Converational Reading started the ball rolling. Dan of the Emerging Writers Network and Ed Champion of Return of the Reluctant pick it up.
I’d love to blog about this, but I am utterly unqualified. I still feel a strong urge to read whatever-it-is because I’m supposed to, even when I know I’m not. You won’t get preferences from me in an easy-to-read list. I could play the postmodern card and say no definite list exists, but the truth is I’m weak in the head. I’ve even read a couple Harry Potter books. Perhaps you would like to follow the lead of these lit-bloggers and declare your preferences.
It’s a Crime! has been blogging on the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival. One point I note:
On Saturday afternoon Frances Fyfield conducted an excellent interview with P D James. She was sure to emphasise at the start that P D James is not just a prolific author, but also someone whose life in public service should be recognised and remembered. She brought out all the best in P D James, as an author, and as a woman whose life has inspired and motivated her writing career. P D James was wonderfully open and direct and left the room with a well deserved and respectful standing ovation.
Sherry points out Emily Bronte’s birthday today. She writes: “Some critics insisted that Emily’s novel, Wuthering Heights, must have been written by a man because no woman could have written such a passionate story. Emily Bronte died of tuberculosis one year after the publication of her only novel. She was 30 years old.”
Why do critics argue stupid points like this? I guess it was a different era, when women were not considered valuable members of society or at least literary culture. Our era has its own stupid ideas, such as a constitutional right to privacy and global warming.
This just came across our Friends of Fascism desk from Tehran. “Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has ordered government and cultural bodies to use modified Persian words to replace foreign words that have [insidiously] crept into the language, such as ‘pizzas’ which will now be known as ‘elastic loaves,’ state media reported Saturday.” According the report, “short talk” will replace “chat” and “small room” will replace “cabin.”
Unmentioned in this report is the president’s frequent promise to annihilate Israel.
Rumors suggest Ahmadinejad is writing a memoir called “Hitler’s Mistakes and How I Will Correct Them.” It will be a bestseller by presidential degree.