Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Monday, December 15, 2008

And The Award For ‘Most Endearing Blind Optimism’ Goes To …!

“The conventional wisdom in publishing holds that tough economic times are good for books, because books provide more hours of entertainment per dollar, more life-enhancing education and more grist for post-materialistic soul-searching than any other form of purchasable culture …
  “There’s no doubt that escapism pays, especially when there’s plenty to escape from, but great books continue to be published and read, and many of these also provide welcome respite for jittery readers. Remember what it was like to slow down, take the phone off the hook and immerse yourself in a story, true or invented, that made the world around you disappear for hours on end? Or to give yourself the time to understand some important aspect of this world in a deeper and more comprehensive way than any newspaper or magazine can offer?”
  For the rest, clickety-click here


John McFetridge said...

"...James Patterson’s unnervingly productive thriller-industrial complex..."

Patterson is getting close to my idea of a series of novels like a TV series. If there can be a demand for 13 or 22 episodes of a collectively written TV show a year, why not 10 or 12 novel "episodes?"

And who's going to start paying us?

seanag said...

As a bookseller, having watched the local economic downturn a few years ago with the Silicon Valley bubble collapse, and having heard the same economic utterances about the cheapness of books, I am quite skeptical of this proclamation. Once upon a time, maybe, people turned to books for solace, not now.

The most optimistic recent news for books is that our super-cool President-elect is a reader. I am amazed how many people wanted to read that fat tome Team of Rivals just because Obama was reading it prior to selecting his cabinet.

People don't read books because times are bad. There's TV, movies, the internet for that. But they do read books because someone they trust/admire/seek to emulate has recommended them.

Actually, I think that's a good and endearing thing about human beings. It just behooves all of us to recommend a hell of a lot more.

Ali Karim said...

Very wise words Seansag -

You hit the augment on the head like a hammer on a nail.

With all this economic cack flying around, many people just are too anxious to escape reality in case they lose their job while away...


Peter Rozovsky said...

What a curiously weightless article, saying nothing, taking no stand, an excuse to fill space as introduction to the author's list of favorite books. Read her first paragraph, then her second. Then tell me what argument she's trying to make and what relevance those paragraphs have to her list.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Declan Burke said...

Kind of sceptical myself, I have to say ... no facts or stats from the last recession / downturn / market correction to back up the statement. I wonder what book sales were like during the Great Depression, and what kind of books were selling well. Anyone any ideas?

Cheers, Dec

John McFetridge said...

I don't know anything about... well, that's a straight line, isn't it?... books sales during the depression, but the business model changed. That's when the book business became essentially consignment with returns of unsold books.

I expect that this depression will also cause some changes to the businss end of things - and that's good because the business is still operating in that 1930's model.

Peter Rozovsky said...

John, I feel a fierce surge of that typically boastful Canadian chauvinism that you and Sandra Ruttan are two of the bolder thinkers about books and publishing.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"