1. Soft Skull, probably the best alternative/independent publisher in the USA right now, is being sold and merged into a large holding company managed by Charlie Winton, who has also acquired Shoemaker & Hoard and Counterpoint.
Once again, I'm disappointed that not many of my fellow bloggers seem to be paying attention to stories like these, because the Soft Skull news has not made much of a ripple. Are literary bloggers afraid to write about finance? Can it be that nobody thinks this is relevant news? Google Blog Search turned up only one blog post following GalleyCat's story, and I just don't understand this.
In sounding alarmed about the news, I'm not trying to cast negativity on the business decision Richard Nash and Soft Skull's management team have made. I think very highly of this team, and if any executive can continue to squeeze greatness out of Soft Skull under the watchful eye of a corporate finance overseer, Richard Nash is that executive. But I have to say that I'm worried, and I'm skeptical. Even if Nash succeeds for a while, don't corporate mergers always end at the same sad cul-de-sac, when eventually the winds change?
I wish this team good luck, but ... thank god City Lights and Akashic are still independent.
2. This is hilarious. I've noticed (and been annoyed by) this quirk for years. Limn this, Michiko.
3. I love it when I'm not the only one ga-ga over Cormac. Frank Wilson of Books Inq. has also been talking about the feeling of loneliness we McCarthy nay-sayers suffer from lately. But it's nice to hear some words of sanity from James Wood:
McCarthy's work has always been interested in theodicy, and somewhat shallowly. Here the comparisons to Melville and Hardy are rather inexact. McCarthy likes to stage bloody fights between good and evil, and his commentary tends toward the easily fatalistic.
In this respect, to compare McCarthy to Beckett, as some reviewers have done, is to flatter McCarthy.
Ha ha ... tell them, Wood.
4. Ron Hogan's got a big scoop: apparently Donald Rumsfeld is shopping around a book proposal (once again, the news comes via The Cat). I'd like to deliver this message to any publishers who are considering buying this book, and I think most of America stands with me. The only thing we want to give Donald Rumsfeld is a kick in the ass, not $27.95. I'd just as soon buy a book by O. J. Simpson. Donald Rumsfeld, won't you please go home.
5. Here's an interesting angle, from Booksquare.