The past few weeks in books 2/10/17

by | Feb 10, 2017 | Uncategorized | 3 comments

We’ve had some weather. I’m on Instagram @NathanBransford

Well, it’s certainly been an interesting few weeks, and I have accordingly collected some interesting articles and blog posts that caught my eye. It wouldn’t be fair to hoard them myself, so here they are!

Oh, publishing industry assistants. Underpaid, overqualified, rejecting everything in sight. Jessica Faust has an ode to you.

Congrats to the Edgar Award nominees! (That’s the one for the mysteries).

Want to hire a freelance editor? Here are 5 things you should do first.

One of the best ways to find an agent is via a referral. But how do you get one? Agent Wendy Lawton has great advice on the key: invest in other writers over a long period of time.

Agent Jessica Faust has some advice on writing in difficult times (as nearly everyone finds our current era).

How does one become as prolific as Isaac Asmiov? Charles Chu plundered his autobiography for tips on never running out of ideas, including one great idea: don’t fight getting stuck, work on something else for a while.

The NY Times had some great interviews with interesting authors lately, including John Edgar Wideman and Roxane Gay.

And this publishing industry article by Mike Shatzkin is super wonky as always, but it has an important central thesis: ebook sales probably aren’t slowing down, and Amazon is still gobbling everything.

In politics and books news, Philip Roth had some thoughts on the parallels between his 2004 book The Plot Against America, which imagined FDR losing the 1940 to surprise populist/Nazi sympathizer Charles Lindbergh, and our current surprise populist president. Roth thought it was more comprehensible that Lindbergh could have won in 1940 than Trump today.

And the NY Times took a fresh look at the parallels between our present time and Sinclair Lewis’ novel It Can’t Happen Here, which imagined a populist president coming to power in the 1930s.

Both of these books, incidentally, are selling like hotcakes on Amazon at the moment.

And in politics and culture news, is Netflix and the niche-ificaiton of media (I made up that phrase) deepening our cultural echo chambers?

Editor Joy Peskin bravely slammed Simon & Schuster for giving Milo Yiannopoulos a book deal, a rare example of on-the-record intra-publishing criticism.

Slate had a look at how reality TV narratives (including my beloved The Bachelor) help explain Donald Tump.

And in quite the sign of the times, the New Yorker wants you to know it has a way to submit tips completely securely.

Comment! of! the! week! goes to David, whose brevity in response to “How are you doing?” is a great example of doing a lot with a few words:

No longer unspeakably depressed. Just grimly resigned.

And finally, if you need some inspiration for the weekend, my friend Maya Neria has an awesome post on Medium about the power of believing in change.

Have a great weekend!


  1. Anonymous

    Of course I understand why S&S gave Milo Y a book deal, but it's always such a shame when a clown and court jester like Milo Y gets more attention than an author with talent.

  2. Neil Larkins

    Hey, I got a new reply. My old one was "I'm doing OK but I'm sure I'll get over it." Thanks, David.


    Charles Lindberg joined the USAAF during WW2 and distinguished himself flying P38 Lightnings against the Japanese in the Pacific. He also advised on warplane construction, as outlined in the excellent book THE ARSENAL OF DEMOCRACY. The Donald is a bit old for such a turnaround of course!


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Hi, I’m Nathan. I’m the author of How to Write a Novel and the Jacob Wonderbar series, which was published by Penguin. I used to be a literary agent at Curtis Brown Ltd. and I’m dedicated to helping authors chase their dreams. Let me help you with your book!

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