Friday, December 11, 2009

Kirkus closes and other stray thoughts

I received an e-mail yesterday that said Kirkus Reviews and Editor & Publisher would cease production.

The subject line read, “Can’t imagine anything more symbolic.”

It is Friday. More importantly, it is the Friday after the Browns beat the Steelers. Welcome to the melange.

The LA Times book blog weighed in on Kirkus’s closing.

The most interesting quote comes from Nick Kaufmann’s Live Journal:
One, it was purportedly read by every Hollywood exec--or more likely their underlings--looking for literary properties to option for film (at its height, I’m told Kirkus was used for this purpose even more than PW was). And two, their reviewers were impossible to please. I mean, impossible. If your book got a good review from Kirkus, that really meant something because they pretty much hated everything.

(I’d link directly to Kaufmann’s Live Journal instead of the LA Times; but, then, you’d have to watch an annoying Best Buy commercial before reading.)

Meanwhile, New York Times notes the obvious. Publishers have pushed back their e-book release dates to stick it to Amazon. MobyLives reminds us that they’ve been talking about publishing and Amazon’s cold war for weeks.

Finally, there has been a lot of criticism for Rick Moody’s tweeted tale, “Some Contemporary Characters.”

Most of the detractors hit on the same themes I did. The plot is too familiar and Moody misuses his medium. However, I would stop short of calling it a failure, though other critics did not. (In Moody’s defense, his story included all the right themes for the digital age — romance, voyeurism and masturbatory self-promotion.)

Peter Ginna says if Moody failed, we need more failure.

-Jason Lea,

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