inkwell.vue.106 : Laura Miller - Salon.com Reader's Guide to Contemporary Authors
permalink #26 of 30: Susannah Indigo (sindigo) Sun 18 Mar 01 10:01
    

I think that the Salon "Reader's Guide" does an
excellent job of turning readers on to new authors -
as I was reading it, it often reminded me of browsing
a conference system like the WELL, where you might
find interesting rants and raves on favorite authors,
honestly written, with titles to be noted for
future reading.

I picked up Jim Crace's book, "Being Dead," and read
it over the weekend, and have to confess that I neither
loved nor hated it, but found it entirely and
quickly forgettable, and not something I'd tend to
recommend.

I like your comment about how nobody ever goes into
a bookstore and says "Is this all you've got?" I use
something like that in writing workshops, borrowed
from a forgotten source -- "Of course you can write a
book -- just stand in the middle of any bookstore and
look around you at all the crap that gets published --
of course you can be part of that!"

So what's new and  exciting in Books at Salon? Any more
books planned? I've thoroughly enjoyed all 3 of the
Salon books (Mothers Who Think, Wanderlust, and
the Reader's Guide), with "Wanderlust" being one of
my favorite books of the last quarter or so. And
I've heard  that you're working on the new
Salon Radio program -- can you tell us a bit about
what that will be?
  
inkwell.vue.106 : Laura Miller - Salon.com Reader's Guide to Contemporary Authors
permalink #27 of 30: Laura Miller (lauram) Wed 21 Mar 01 17:24
    
Hey everyone. Sorry again for disappearing, but it was the usual last
minute deadline, on a big philosophy book piece that took much longer
to research than I anticipated.

Anyway, back to the negative review thing -- I've been thinking about
why people like them so much, because no matter what namby-pamby thing
they might say otherwise, it's like people asking for more "positive
news," but actually tuning into the station or buying the newspapers
that have the scandal and the gory murders; we like to see blood.

But only, I think, if it's a writer big enough to represent something
to people. I'm sure everyone who had a Margaret Atwood novel urged on
them by an old girlfriend, or had to read one for a class, loved my
friend's harsh review. They feel vindicated. It's funny, but nothing
feels as oppressive as the book you read that you don't like. I still
recall just *hating* "Sons and Lovers" in college and to this day I get
a little thrill everytime someone bad-mouths Lawrence. But I really
like Atwood, and thought the book my friend trashed deserved better.
Does it bum other people out when someone disses the writers/books they
love? That happens so often on line.
  
inkwell.vue.106 : Laura Miller - Salon.com Reader's Guide to Contemporary Authors
permalink #28 of 30: Laura Miller (lauram) Wed 21 Mar 01 17:26
    
As for Salon's future plans, the radio show is backburners while we
ride out this recession, and so are other projects, like more books.
They actually aren't that profitable. Or at least, the Reader's Guide
wasn't.

I think that's the other bad news every writing teacher has to break
to her students: there ain't much dough in this line of work.
  
inkwell.vue.106 : Laura Miller - Salon.com Reader's Guide to Contemporary Authors
permalink #29 of 30: Susannah Indigo (sindigo) Thu 22 Mar 01 09:41
    

I believe that's the second beginning-writer's
maxim -- "Do what you love, the money won't follow."

And, yes, it bummed me out, for example,  that
Jeannette Winterson got dissed for "Written
on the Body" in the Reader's Guide, because
I remember being completely taken with that
book when I read it many years ago. But that
entry was written by you, of course, and your
writing on Winterson was really quite interesting,
since I'd never paid much attention to her since
then. And then there was that Oscar Hijuelos
(who I adore) comment about the "search for
the spine" in his entry -- but that's the fun of
the Reader's Guide, isn't it? -- following
along with the passions of the writers and
agreeing and disagreeing, and learning
a few things in the process.

The Inkwell hosts have asked me to wrap
things up here, Laura. We appreciate your
taking the time from your busy schedule to
chat with us, and we all hope that the
future is bright for Salon, and that we
get to see more interesting projects
from you.
  
inkwell.vue.106 : Laura Miller - Salon.com Reader's Guide to Contemporary Authors
permalink #30 of 30: Gail Williams (gail) Thu 22 Mar 01 10:02
    
This was fun!  Any hints as to cool stuff upcoming in Salon's books
coverage...?
  



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