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Likely Stories

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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Thursday, October 30, 2008 1:52 pm
More Books–both Good and Bad–for Bad Times
Posted by: Keir Graff

Speaking of good books for bad times, Gawker looks at authors’ stock-market speculations–speculative fiction, to be more precise–asking, “What have our finest authors found to redeem us from this depression?”

Speculative fiction often refrains from defining the terms of an economic collapse, but it’s always forced to either solve the problem or make things considerably worse in the end.

The execution of this premise is flawed–last time I looked, L. Neil Smith and James Wesley Rawles were not among our “finest authors”–but it’s worth a glance. I for one, was completely unaware of Paul Auster’s In the Country of Last Things (1987), which would have been a good fit for my Core Collection: Before and After The Road.

Update: On Salon (“Stephen King’s God Trip“), John Marks notes the thirtieth anniversary of The Stand, a book I did put on that list, by speaking to Stephen King about “the novel 30 years on, his new collection of short stories, religious faith, presidential politics and the possibilities of the afterlife.” Marks also notes, as I did, the book’s influence on The Road–and even manages to tie it into the Wall Street bailout, something I am as yet unable to do. (Thanks, Dan.)

Update to the Update: From Spiegel Online (“German Libraries Hold Thousands of Looted Volumes,” by Michael Sontheimer), a sobering story about what happened to the books during one of the worst times ever.

And, to stretch the theme just a little bit further and end on a slightly upbeat note, GOOD’s Anne Trubek suggests a method for socially responsible book-buying to help small publishers survive the bad times. Worth a ponder, but frankly, the whole book business (J. K. Rowling, James Patterson, and Dan Brown excepted) needs money to keep going, so I’d just say: buy books, lots of them, whatever kind you like. (Thanks, Gus.)


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