In Praise of Page-Turners + Pixel-Swipers
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because we love books. And you love books. Here are two old beloveds to revisit, and some new reads to savor.
This is the book Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both love — and, more than four decades after it was first published, Gates says it is still incredibly relevant when it comes to business today. “[The book] is as much about the strengths and weaknesses of leaders in challenging circumstances as it is about the particulars of one business or another. In that sense, it is still relevant not despite its age but because of it. [The author’s work] is really about human nature, which is why it has stood the test of time.” Gates describes in his own words what the book means to him. Read the story here.
Foreigners have published English-language literature about Haiti for decades. And the immigrant experience has long been fertile ground for American stories. Haiti itself is home to a vibrant storytelling culture and standout fiction writers, too. And for such a tiny country, its diaspora is huge. Despite all that, most Haitian-American novelists haven’t had much luck getting published — until now. Though all the books in this crop of debut fiction deal with Haiti, they vary widely in tone, theme and concern. Read the story here.
In China, it doesn’t look like the Internet’s killing literature at all. In fact, your popular blog can land you in the lap of literary luxury. Print publishers scramble to sign contracts with the next great online star. What’s more, the Internet seems to trumpet the writings of talented autodidacts. The quality of these online authors varies, of course, from major literary prize winners and pop cultural “voices of their generations” to a vast majority of speedy fantasy and erotic writers. But the fact remains: Demand for online Chinese prose and fiction is big enough that top e-publishing sites can raises millions, rank among Alexa’s top 100 most visited sites on earth and offer star Internet online novelists upwards of $4 million a year in pay. Read the story here.
Harper Lee received one unforgettable gift that changed her life, and all of ours, forever. More than half a century after its publication, Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird still sells over 750,000 copies per year, yet it might never have happened. In 1956 Lee was a rather taciturn 30-year-old ticket agent for the British Overseas Airways Company, who, like many aspiring writers, had come to New York City to pursue her dream. But after seven years of struggle, it seemed beyond her grasp. Luckily, Lee had made two very good friends in New York: a Broadway composer named Michael Brown and his wife, Joy, a Balanchine dancer. This generous couple provided Lee with a gift that made all the difference. Read the story here.