Although Eric did a great job rounding up last week (I admit this grudgingly), I pined for you all, and hated that Eric forgot to leave a note in your lunch that said, "You're special! XOXO." Because you are special and deserve both Xs and Os. Also, surprisingly, the world keeps turning even when I'm not around, so there is a ton to round on up. So let us get right down to it.
But first, a quick digression. Happy last night of Chanukah, readers of all stripes! This is important partly because I lived through a menorah fire that almost burned my apartment down last night, which was a Chanukah miracle (the living, not the fire), and you should always share good fortune (and, tips: don't let me light candles). However, this is mostly important because I like celebrations. So whether you light 'em up or not, have a happy beginning to the national American holiday of "time off work because it is cold."
And now rounding-up. E-books: they make people mad. A number of publishers are delaying e-books until after hardcovers, and we have to ask: should they delay? And how will we remember these folk? MediaBistro held an e-book summit and rounded up some good quotes, including Steve Wasserman's "I suppose we could sum up this entire two-day conference under the headline 'too early to tell.'"
Things got shady in e-book-ville this week, when Random House asserted e-rights to old titles, which the Writer's Guild didn't appreciate, and hackers broke open B&N's Nook (and made it even cooler. I WANT). Not to leave Borders in the shade, the dinosaur has finally learned about the Internet and bought a stake in Kobo Books, which will be "device agnostic" and compatible with almost everyone. Also, Google Books is handing out free holiday e-books like candy canes from carolers.
That kind of hippie friendliness will not go over in the digital price wars and in a world in which authors skip publishing houses and go straight to Amazon. In this competitive time, you have to go for what's the best. Here we can find the best Gen X books of all time, the best (hilarious British) words this decade, the best author recommendations (and more), and the Christmas hits and misses.
Reality is a hard place to live, my friends, especially when magical realism is forced upon us and literary food seems fake. Writers try to cross borders and get the smackdown and some men don't like ladies who write memoirs. Reality has awful truths about publishing, which are depressing, and even unicorns can't save us. We are not pure!
There's a lot of hullabaloo because Kirkus is dead, and the other review standby, Publisher's Weekly, is getting a ton of flack for the Afro Picks cover, which PW tried to apologize for and explain. Maybe they could use a good dose of Thucydides, the original spin doctor. Hey, just because it's old doesn't mean it's not good.
On that note, shenanimen and women, I'm off to appreciate an old, old tradition I like to call "the weekend." Feel free to participate with me, or to celebrate in your own special way. And remember: if you have to light any fires, do not put me in charge.