The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.
Former President George W. Bush plans to take a break from painting to publish a biography of his father, former President George H. W. Bush. The book, which will be published by Crown on Nov. 11, "covers the entire scope of the elder President Bush's life and career, including his service in the Pacific during World War II, his pioneering work in the Texas oil business, and his political rise as a Congressman, U.S. Representative to China and the United Nations, CIA Director, Vice President, and President," according to a press release. The Associated Press reports that Bush wrote the book himself, though he "had assistance with research."
A novel by Oscar Hijuelos, the first Latino author to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, will be published posthumously. Hijuelos died last year. The New York Times describes the novel, Twain and Stanley Enter Paradise, as "an intensively researched 859-page historical novel about the friendship between Mark Twain and the Welsh explorer Henry Morton Stanley." The book will come out from Grand Central Publishing in fall 2015.
Michelle Huneven writes about the shock of discovering you've been used as inspiration for a character in a story: "The laws of literature, like the laws of gossip, usually demand exaggeration, decontextualization, a heightened or minimalized reality, and a lot more shape and order and impact than everyday life. 'You've been fictionalized' actually means, 'You've been exaggerated!' (Or downplayed!) You've been snipped and shaped and built on, face-lifted, aged and/or repainted for maximum artistic impact."
Stephen Marche considers the inevitability of literary failure: "Three hundred thousand books are published in the United States every year. A few hundred, at most, could be called financial or creative successes. The majority of books by successful writers are failures. The majority of writers are failures. And then there are the would-be writers, those who have failed to be writers in the first place, a category which, if you believe what people tell you at parties, constitutes the bulk of the species."
Nathan Filer on the hyperbole of blurbs on book jackets: "Nothing can be interesting; it must be fascinating. Good isn't good enough; it must be great."
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