Inkwell: Authors and Artists
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?
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.
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.
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.
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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