Kurt Vonnegut died last night in Manhattan. He was 84. The New York Times does him justice here.
I'm number one!
Philip Roth wins his 3rd PEN/FAULKNER award for Everyman. Finalists included Edward P. Jones (All Aunt Hagar's Children), Amy Hempel (The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel), Deborah Eisenberg (Twilight of the Superheroes), and Charles D'Ambrosio (The Dead Fish Museum).
Dig on this: J.K. Rowling's final installment for the HP series, titled Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is set to be published on July 21, 2007! Also, the new film will open July 13. Translation: July is Harry Mania. From the NYT:
Millions of fans around the world are fiercely anticipating this latest installment.
Sharon, the more active half of Word Up, sent me an email this afternoon about literary hot shit Marisha Pessl, author of Special Topics in Calamity Physics, and her latest appearance in the New York Times, looking super-sultry in a photo accompanying a piece about, ummm, I guess the paint set her hedge fund manager husband gave her?
Today's New York Times books section led with another piece about the slow death of indie book stores. This one, entitled "A Princeton Maverick Succumbs to a Cultural Shift," profiled Logan Fox. He's the owner of Micawber Books in Princeton, NJ, and even though he randomly looks like he's flirting with you in that posed photo, he's actually completely devastated that his store has been forced to shut itself down.
BUH BYE: So totally fired
The big news in the publishing world today is Rupert Murdoch's firing ReganBooks publisher Judith Regan for some nasty comments she made about Jewish people. And probably for just being an all-around nutcase. Nice work, Judy! We're rivited by your psychotic literary misadventures.
In the spirit of politics and exhaustion, today's Publisher's Lunch newsletter threw another hissy over this brief New York Times piece on Barack Obama's "surprise best seller," entitled The Audacity of Hope.
Says the Times:
"But its rapid rise to the No. 1 spot on the New York Times nonfiction list next Sunday, placing the author, the freshman Democratic senator from Illinois, ahead of heavyweight authors like John Grisham, Bill O’Reilly and even Bob Woodward, is something of a publishing stunner."