It is the time of year when we are awash in “Best of” lists, and many worthy publications have put forth their recommendations for the best books of the year that is about to pass us by. A friend of mine professed herself overwhelmed by the lists, and asked me if I would curate them for her. Here, for Julie and for the rest of you, is my “best of the best,” a list of books I think you should find a time and a place for in your busy schedule.
In the good old, bad old days of book publishing, screaming matches happened in public, not online; the boss' philandering was an open secret never leaked to the press, and authors actually had to turn in their manuscripts in order to get money out of their publisher. It is a testament to Boris Kachka that "Hothouse: The Art of Survival and the Survival of Art at America's Most Celebrated Publishing House, Farrar, Straus & Giroux" is as engrossing as a biography of any major cultural icon. Fresh out of the Navy, Roger Straus,
For Matthew Quick, author of The Silver Linings Playbook — the novel that became the Academy Award-winning film starring Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro — success as a fiction writer came slowly, then gradually and then all at once.
Quick (who, in the interest of full disclosure, is a friend and was a college roommate at La Salle University in the early 1990s) took some time in March to talk to Book Business about his whirlwind life since his book hit the silver screen.
On Nov. 18, 1941, a struggling Manhattan author wrote to a young woman in Toronto to tell her to look for a new piece of his in a coming issue of The New Yorker. This short story, he said, about “a prep school kid on his Christmas vacation,” had inspired his editor to ask for an entire series on the character, but the author himself was having misgivings. “I’ll try a couple more, anyway,” he wrote, “and if I begin to miss my mark I’ll quit.”
He ended the letter by asking for her reaction to “the first Holden story,”