All We Are Is Dust in the Wind

By Neal Comment

  • BoingBoing points out an essay by Teresa Nielsen Hayden, an editor at Tor Books, that reminds us “falling out of print is a book’s natural fate” and that what we consider eternal classics can also be seen as “gross statistical anomalies.”
  • Speaking of the natural half-life of literature, Jeffrey Trachtenberg (WSJ) wonders if there’s still some juice left in The Da Vinci Code: “Can a three-year-old best seller that has already been endlessly milked for profits yield one more windfall for the industry?” The short answer: Everybody certainly seems to think so.
  • Certainly Putnam’s hoping there’s some life left in the “plucky social scientist stumbles onto an ancient conspiracy” genre, having just brought out Kate Mosse’s Labyrinth. Having won a spot on Richard & Judy, the novel’s British future is secured, but will Americans embrace the tale of an archaelogist who gets mixed up in a plot that goes back to the medieval purge of the Cathars? (And for all you people protesting that an archaeologist isn’t a social scientist, you can just shush now, thanks, or I’ll point out that Harvard doesn’t even have a “symbology” department—take that, Dan Brown!) Anyway, the sprawling adventure yarn is quite a change of pace for Mosse, who’s better known as the host of the Readers’ and Writers’ Roadshow radio programme (as they call ’em on BBC4) and as the co-founder of the Orange Prize, a prominent award for English-language fiction by women writers like Andrea Levy and Lionel Shriver