Junot Diaz and Maya Angelou were among the writers honored at the fifth annual Norman Mailer Center Benefit Gala this week. The awards celebrate authors at various stages of their career, not all of whom were particularly fond of the event’s namesake: “I am still at odds with Mr. Mailer,” said Angelou. “If we had talked together, we would not agree. But he writes so well.” And Junot Diaz, when asked what Mailer’s work means to him, said: “It depends on what Mailer we’re talking about.”
When the Leo Tolstoy State Museum put out a call for volunteers to proofread 46,800 pages of the master’s work, it got an overwhelming response: three thousand Russians volunteered their services. The readers finished in two weeks, and now, almost all of Tolstoy’s work, including “novels, diaries, letters, religious tracts, philosophical treatises, travelogues, and childhood memories,” will soon be available online.
On his blog, sci-fi writer Charlie Stross conducts a thought experiment: “what would be the consequences if a large internet corporation such as Google were to buy the entire publishing industry?” He considers that for around $10 billion a year, Apple or Google could “provide free public access to [about 300,000 commercial-quality e-books per year] in return for a royalty payment to authors based on a formula extrapolating from the known paper sales, or a flat fee per download; or they could even put the authors on payroll.” What would that do to the publishing industry?
Bloomsbury is launching a new imprint dedicated to popular science. Sigma will release fifteen books a year on topics from robotics to evolutionary biology, and will be edited by Jim Martin.
What does Alan Greenspan have in common with Michel Houellebecq? A book title.
Alice Munro is too sick to travel to Sweden to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, the Swedish Academy announced this week. “Her health is simply not good enough,” Academy head Peter Englund wrote in a blog post. “All involved, including Mrs. Munro herself, regret this.” At 82, Munro no longer writes but did say earlier this year that she’s “becoming more sociable.”