Today in books and publishing: People under 30 most likely to read; who keeps buying O'Reilly's books?; Nick Hornby finds Virginia Woolf snobby; Jackie Collins recaps Revenge.
Kids these days, am I right? Everyone concerned about whether or not young people are reading enough might want to retrain their sights on adults. Eighty percent of Americans under the age of 30 read a book last year, while for those older than 30, the figure was just 70 percent. The statistics come from the Pew Research Center's just-released Internet and American Life Project report. Not only are young people more likely to read, they also frequent their local library more often than adults. Another unexpected finding, considering all the talk we're hearing about e-books being the future of publishing, is that Generation Y is more likely to prefer physical books. E-readers are popular with those over 30, but not so much with teens and 20-somethings. "We haven't seen for younger readers that e-books are massively replacing print books," says lead researcher Kathryn Zickuhr. "That might happen in the future, but right now we're just seeing them sort of as a more convenient supplement." [NPR]
Bill O'Reilly perched atop bestseller lists again, smirking. "BILL O’REILLY DOMINATES NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER LIST WITH THREE SIMULTANEOUS NONFICTION HARDCOVERS IN THE TOP FIVE SPOTS," publisher Henry Holt and Co. recently screamed at everyone on their press release listserv. The style of the message might have been wrong (definitely NOT the right way to use caps lock, you guys), but the content is correct. O'Reilly's third book about presidential assassinations, Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot is his hat trick, currently sitting at No. 1 on the Hardcover Nonfiction list. His previous releases, Killing Lincoln and Lincoln's Last Days, are also at No. 5 on Hardcover Nonfiction and No. 1 for Children's Chapter Books, respectively. Killing Kennedy has sold two million copies since its October 2nd release. [Los Angeles Times]
Nick Hornby didn't care for Mrs. Dalloway. The author of Fever Pitch and High Fidelity probably never would have picked up Virginia Woolf's novel if readers of The Believer hadn't voted it into his hands. In a discussion at 92Y in New York, Nick Hornby said that he found Woolf's prose "quite beautiful," but was put off by the snobbery he perceived in the book. One of the "moments of condescension" that Hornby couldn't stomach included a description of someone Mrs. Dalloway encounters as "nondescript," implying that he wasn't even worth the effort of describing. Sure, that might imply snobbery. But is that a fault on Woolf's part? Or is it an accurate rendering of how Clarissa Dalloway—an upper crust Londoner in the 1920s—would've viewed many of the people surrounding her? The rest of Hornby's points took similar swipes at literary fiction. "You know what type of book is going to qualify for that prize," he said, taking issue with the Man Booker prize. "And that’s fine. The only thing that bugs me is them telling me it’s the best book of the year." He also put down long books about difficult subjects. "I think if you want to write a 900 page novel about some abstruse subject, well good luck, but there are a lot of people who aren’t going to get through it," he said. "My own remit is to entertain and move and make people laugh. That’s it." [New York Daily News]
Let Jackie Collins summarize episodes of Revenge for you. "I, Jackie Collins, have often been called the Queen of Guilty Pleasures ... So, when Parade asked me to write about one of my favorite TV shows, I immediately thought of Revenge." Who writes about themselves like that? I, David Wagner, declare it's absurd. Anyways, mega-bestselling British novelist and "major TV addict" Jackie Collins is guest blogging for Parade now, recapping episodes of Revenge. Collins describes the ABC show as "a story of love, lust and betrayal" pitting lead character Emily Thorn against her nemesis Victoria Grayson, "the perfect bitch—the kind you love to hate." Collins' first post is best read by scanning for the feverish, exclamatory outbursts:
- "Unrequited love. Brilliant! Keeps the viewer glued!"
- "Oh my, the dramas of the rich, set in the Hamptons, are irresistible. Fun stuff!"
- "Hidden cameras are everywhere!! Technology rules!"
- "Drama! Drama! Jack to the rescue."
- "Can't wait! More guilty pleasure please!"
You get the point. [Parade]
Anyone want to buy a lock of Edgar Allen Poe's hair? Profiles in History will be auctioning a clipping this December in Los Angeles. [Lit Reactor]