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Posts Tagged ‘Boris Kachka’

Boris Kachka on His Book’s Perilous Publishing Path

Few writers ever speak frankly about their book deals for nonfiction books. In a candid interview at The AwlNew York magazine journalist and author Boris Kachka shared the story behind his nonfiction book.

As he wrote the manuscript for Hothouse: The Art of Survival and the Survival of Art at America’s Most Celebrated Publishing House, Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, Kachka’s book a perilous journey between publishing houses. Kachka explained in the interview:

A small house picked up the book for $30,000. It was not an easy sell, and in fact [the eventual editor] Jofie Ferrari-Adler was one of the editors who declined to take it on the original proposal. He was at Grove/Atlantic then. Things didn’t work out with Thomas Dunne Books, my original publisher … We parted ways with Dunne, returned the half-advance I’d gotten, and went out to others. It was easier to do that with a completed book, but it was a risky thing of course. Jofie eventually sent me a note: “This book is marvelous, baby.” He had lots of suggestions and there was some rewriting involved. He matched that first advance.

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Jon Stewart Exposes the Problem with Literary Readings

9780446579223_154x233.jpgAt a BookExpo America speech yesterday, author and television host Jon Stewart exposed a common problem that plagues literary readings: long-winded questions from the audience.

New York magazine reporter Boris Kachka wrote about the event, capturing the key moment: “‘Do you have a question,’ Stewart slowly groaned into the mike at one long-winded guest. ‘You’re killing us.’ After a few more questions, he said, ‘Does anyone have a question where we don’t end up having to help you people? Is anyone here okay with what’s going on at this point in their careers, and maybe just curious about the s*** we do?’”

This GalleyCat editor can think of plenty of readings ruined by painful questions. Share your worst long-winded reading question in the comments–we’ll round them up in a future post.

Remembering Howard Zinn, Louis Auchincloss, and J.D. Salinger

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It was a sad week for the literary world as we lost scholar Howard Zinn, author Louis Auchincloss, and the great J.D. Salinger.

Various writers and journalists around the web have memorialized these great writers. At New York, Boris Kachka wrote a tribute to Auchincloss: “He was–because of long life and his Whartonian style–a living anachronism. But his lament was less for a vanished class than for a bygone sense of shame. He understood that, whether in a feudal world or a meritocracy, power means nothing without responsibility.”

Editor Chris Kubica told us about the thousands of fans who have written letters to Salinger over the years.

Over at Classics Rock, Larry Hughes collected all the rock songs that reference the work of Zinn. He also compiled a list of all the songs inspired by The Catcher in the Rye.

Finally, cartoonist Jeffrey Koterba sent in that lovely cartoon to celebrate Salinger’s legacy in the 21st Century. Click here to see his tribute to John Updike.

The Book Review is Debut-Happy



Boris Kachka‘s piece in this week’s New York Magazine
has some fun with the New York Times Book Review’s recent mini-trend of putting debut novels on the cover of its publication (most recently, Joshua Ferris‘s THEN WE CAME TO THE END.) Going back deep into the Chip McGrath years for how various newbie novelists like Zadie Smith, Jonathan Safran Foer, Bruce Robinson and Monica Ali are faring today does show that the NYTBR has a reasonably good eye for picking talent (or parroting pre-pub buzz.) But did we really need Sam Tanenhaus saying “if you can put a paperback original first novel on the cover, that is like orgasm time for us.” Wow, not only is the Book Review growing increasingly irrelevant, it’s going straight into TMI territory…