Don't Mention Technology to Jennifer Egan; Salman Rushdie Goes Symphonic

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Today in publishing in literature: The Visit from the Goon Squad author explains why she hates her iPad but doesn't fear e-books, a video guide to book sizes, and a new Salman Rushdie story is available for download with a full orchestral score.

Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Egan weighed in on the topic of books vs. e-readers during a discussion with New Yorker fiction editor Willing Davidson at Columbia University last night. Rather than aligning herself in the print or digital camp, Egan is more curious about "fetishization of connection itself” and why tuning out now counts as some sort of moral stand. When it comes to how technology has impacted her as a writer, Egan confesses to being overwhelmed and slightly unimpressed by the technological firepower at her fingertips. A Visit from the Goon Squad had a chapter in the form PowerPoint presentation and various overlapping, possibly interconnected stories, but she credits that to the freedom offered by the novel itself, deeming it a "flexible, strong and swaggering form that could do all kinds of things that other forms couldn’t do." If technology can't replace the novel, it can certainly make the experience of writing one less enjoyable. She confesses that getting started on a new project is harder now "because I have to open this iPad and read it on there, and I don’t really like to." [Capital]

Those who prefer physical books over e-readers will certainly want to check out this video from Abe Books about the various sizes of books and how they're made. You can't get the full elephant folio experience on a Kindle, that much we know. [AbeBooks]

We told you several weeks ago about all the reasons (mainly financial) publishers are hesitant to include real music on e-books, but that hasn't stopped the folks at Booktrack -- which promises no less than "soundtracks for books" -- from releasing a new Salman Rushdie story called "In the South" as an eBook accompanied by an original score performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. The process is exactly the same as scoring a film, but the basic concept just doesn't make sense to us when stretched over the entire length of a story. At a certain point, reading requires quietude, if not from the surrounding environment, than at least from the text you're trying to read. [GalleyCat]

Recommended Reading

Writing a book under pseudonym is a prudent idea, right up until the moment your text becomes a breakout hit and everyone begins relentlessly hunting for clues to your true identity. It happened to Joe Klein when he wrote Primary Colors, and he didn't even attempt to come up with a pen name. Publishing's hottest pseudonym is still Philip Carter, author of the Dan Brown-esque thriller Altar of Bones, which came out in the U.S. last year. According to publisher Simon & Schuster, the real author is a "bestselling international author," which helps explain why the manuscript sold at auction for seven-figures as part of a two-book deal. Simon & Schuster's editorial director claims to be in the dark about Carter's identity as well, insisting that they've only corresponded via email. Harlan Coban's name pops up frequently whenever the subject turns to likely Carters, but The Independent is more interested in how long, realistically, a high-profile author in the age of Twitter and book blogs can keep a prominent pen name under wraps. [The Independent]

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.