Barnes & Noble to Launch Nook Press in the UK This Week – Barnes & Noble is using the Oxford Literary Festival to introduce its newest self-publishing platform to authors in the UK. Although the platform has been available in the US for almost a year now, self-published authors in the UK and the 30 other countries in which B&N sells books have not been able to access it. According to Nate Hoffelder, B&N has also reached out for beta testers in France, Italy, Germany, Spain, The Netherlands, and Belgium, although he does not anticipate that they will follow through on their request. Instead, Hoffelder anticipates that B&N will allow Microsoft to have the European digital book market.
Colin Eustace, general manager of Barnes & Noble, S.A.R.L said: “As Nook continues to grow in the UK we are proud to announce the upcoming launch of the Nook Press self-publishing platform and we invite authors and writers at the Oxford Literary Festival to speak to a representative for more information.” –The Digital Reader
Can the Great American Novel survive? – An interesting article for those of you who take the idea of the “Great American Novel” seriously, as Lawrence Buell does in his own book on the subject, The Dream of the Great American Novel. This was definite click bait for me after Teju Cole’s comments about the novel being “overrated.” Literary critic Elaine Showalter discusses Buell’s book, as well as the whole concept of the GAN, including the question of whether any fictional work can represent the whole of a nation (and, indeed, whether there is a central national culture to represent). Besides the fact that the way fiction is written and consumed in the US has drastically changed over the years (now so many novels are written and read each year), there is the question of whether anything like the GAN has ever really existed, or whether it’s a bit of a literary fantasy. It’s also interesting to see that one of the “templates” that Buell identifies for the GAN includes Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind.
He proposes four templates that have shaped the conception of American novels over the last 150 years. In the first group are novels which have achieved such fame that they have spawned a continuous “series of memorable imitations and reinventions.” Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, for example, has been the source of four novels, four plays, three operas, two musicals, three films, and two dance creations, since 1985 alone. The second group he calls “up-from” novels, which tell the life story of a representative figure—almost always male—who seeks to rise from “obscurity to prominence.” This group includes F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (the shortest novel to be accorded GAN status), Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, and Philip Roth’s “American trilogy.” In the third group are the “romances of the divide,” about divisions between races, ethnicities, or regions, a category featuring Huckleberry Finn, William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! and Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind (both published in 1936); and ending with Toni Morrison’s Beloved, which he credits with surpassing its precursors in the intensity of its portrayal of slavery. Template four produces the “impossible communities” of the meganovel, setting a diverse group of characters against the background of “epochdefining public events or crises.” Here we find Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, John Dos Passos’s USA, and Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow. –Prospect Magazine
Arundhati Roy, the Not-So-Reluctant Renegade – What a fascinating, provocative profile of Arundhati Roy, focused particularly on the way she has been unable to separate her fiction writing from her non-fiction writing. Roy’s own politics, which have evolved along with her writing, are ever-present in her artistic consciousness, and yet she is also very engaged and invested in the artistic process. Over the years, Roy has been used as and has become symbolic of different ideas, and of different national causes and perspectives, and yet there is a sense of independence in how she lives her life and how she approaches her work — all of it. An interesting piece, especially, when we think about how we do or don’t separate the author’s life and beliefs from his or her work.
“I was never interested in just being a professional writer where you wrote one book that did very well, you wrote another book, and so on,” Roy said, thinking of the ways in which “The God of Small Things” trapped her and freed her. “There’s a fear that I have, that because you’re famous, or because you’ve done something, everybody wants you to keep on doing the same thing, be the same person, freeze you in time.” Roy was talking of the point in her life when, tired of the images she saw of herself — the glamorous Indian icon turned glamorous Indian dissenter — she cut off her hair. But you could see how she might say the same of the position in which she now finds herself. –New York Times
#GirlsCan: Women Empowerment | COVERGIRL – Okay, I know this is Cover Girl, and that it’s advertising, and that they’re exploiting the self-empowerment message to promote the beauty message. Still, a good message, and one delivered in a way that could be pretty inspiring for young girls, especially. –YouTube