December 30, 2014

Forward names 2014 the year of Soviet-born writers, with books by Lev Golinkin (A Backpack, A Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka), Yelena Akhtiorskaya (Panic in a Suitcase), Anya Ulinich (Lena Finkel’s Magic Barrel), David Bezmozgis (The Betrayers), Gary Shteyngart (Little Failure), Lara Vapnyar (The Scent of Pine), and Ellen Litman (Mannequin Girl). Bookforum interviewed Akhtiorskaya over the summer and reviewed her novel as well.

The Guardian previews fiction and nonfiction to be published in the coming year, including Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant, Kate Atkinson’s A God in Ruins, and Anne Enright’s The Green Road. The newspaper is also eager for a book already seen on this side of the Atlantic, Ben Lerner’s second novel, 10:04.

At the Times, David Carr says that “certain new realities” in media “are beyond argument.” In a nutshell, “clutter is up—more ads, more channels, more content—advertising rates continue to drop, and audiences are programming their own universe in text, video and audio.” Carr identifies a  handful of media companies and executives that he thinks face especially difficult jobs in 2015, among them the president of MSNBC; the CEO of Viacom; the CEO of the New York Times company; and  “anyone running a movie studio.”

Bob Mankoff

Bob Mankoff

NPR interviews the New Yorker’s cartoon editor, Bob Mankoff, the person behind one of the magazine’s more famous cartoons, which shows a guy pointing at a desk calendar while talking on the phone: “No, Thursday’s out. How about never—is never good for you?”

The Washington Post plans to support itself in part by selling its content-management system to smaller newspapers. The software is already in use by a handful of student papers at Columbia, Yale, and the University of Maryland.

Mainland China has Gmail again after an unexplained four-day outage. Google has no explanation for what happened: “We’ve checked and everything is working on our end.” China’s “Great Firewall” blocks access to Twitter and Facebook.

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