1) Ten years of essays interviews and remembrances—the NBCC kicks off its new series, dedicating one week of their blog, Critical Mass to original work on one of their former finalists or winners. Adam Kirsch has written an essay on Robert Lowell’s 1977 poetry winner “Day by Day,” and later this week they’ll have pieces by the poet Nic Christopher (and author of the recent book The Bestiary, to be featured here soon), translator Michael Hoffmann, a Q&A with Helen Vendler and more. GalleyCat says this may do something to lift the blog’s identity crisis, but wonders why they’re not focusing on contemporary writers who need attention too.
2) Instructions for American Servicemen in Iraq during World War II—including lessons in geography, history, people and etiquette (you can only refuse a 4th cup of coffee, for instance)—are on the offer in Lieutenant Colonel John A. Nagl’s 44-page, recently reissued pocket book, Braniac (Boston Globe) reports. He writes in the introduction: “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.” I wonder if he’d stand by that today.
3) Recycle that…book? The Book Standard reports on the study of the book industry’s impact and progress with environmental initiatives, and is seeking input from those in the biz. Fun (or not so fun) Fact: The book industry consumes about 1.2 million tons of paper per year.
4) More on political blog Truthdig.com‘s luring of former L.A. Times book editor Steve Wasserman back to book editing, in addition to his agenting work at Kneerim & Williams. “I don’t actually think of myself as ever having left the game,” Steve Wasserman said when GalleyCat asked him about it. Apparently he’s kept on matchmaking reviewers and books, at least in his mind, and now he’ll be able to do it in reality, come October. “One of the great betrayals in contemporary journalism,” he said, “has been the reluctance or outright refusal of many newspapers to carry book reviews worthy of the intelligence of their readers.”
5) In the mix: Borders invites employees to compete for a book contract; an unfinished book leads to 1.75 million in film rights and 3.75 million in publishing contracts for the unwritten vampire trilogy to come; in the Guardian Scottish author James Kelman recalls his early days as a writer, his determination to use an authentic voice and the prejudice he encountered as a result, and the reissuing of his first book An Old Pub Near the Angel; and Harper Collins teams up with iPhone to deliver new book excerpts online.
I do as well, Kanani, and so far I’m finding their new series interesting. I like Nic Christopher’s piece on Lowell, probably because I recently interviewed him about the Bestiary.
I learn so much when I read Critical Mass. I really enjoy it.