Penguin Random House

It's not even cute-sounding.
July 15, 2013

News round-up for the week ending July 14, 2013:

Just one. One big one.

The merge of Penguin and Random House is official and they are now going by Penguin Random House. Which completely blows because… Penguin House? Random Penguin?? So much cute potential lost, IMHO. This merge is crazy. (via New York Times)

One positive thing I took away from the piece was this quote about how smaller imprints aim to hone in on their respective communities: “[The FSG] e-newsletter features author interviews, long editors’ notes and subscriber giveaways. One of its developers, Ryan Chapman (now at Atavist, a multimedia storytelling site), told me his model was independent record labels.”

Good call! We here at STET are operating our site based on the independent music blog model. The publishing and record label industries operate similarly in many ways, and hopefully this all works out well for everyone working in books and music.

Related post: Flavorwire's Indie Publishers and Their Indie Record Label Equivalents

P.S. The above image is taken from publiclibraries.com

New Jersey Is My Home

E-book shorts, New Adult Fiction, Amazon, and DOGS!!!!
July 7, 2013

Hope everyone had an a relaxing 4th of July Weekend full of fireworks, BBQ, pool parties, and ice-cold provisions! Ours also included listening to a LOT of Bruce in my hometown in New Jersey. Best ever.

News round-up for the week ending July 7, 2013:

E-book shorts, the longform-novella-magazine-feature-type hybrids (and generally around $3 a pop or less) are apparently hot pancakes in the e-pub biz. Pretty exciting stuff. (via The Wall Street Journal)

Yet again, more theories on what makes the New Adult Fiction genre successful… Galleycat wonders if “angst is the secret ingredient.” (via Galleycat, Bookish)

Amazon continues to control the publishing industry. What else is new. (via NYTimes)

In puppier news, here’s the new video for “Northline” brought to you by musician Julian Lynch and director Rich Law, also both NJ natives. We’ll leave you with this hypnotically meditative and breezy number!

Miranda July’s email project We Think Alone

Sign up to get Fwd's from Rodarte, Lena Dunham, Sheila Heti, Kirsten Dunst, and others.
June 27, 2013

There was a time when I used to think Miranda July was being quirky on purpose. Her projects tend to be humorous, dark, tender, and heartbreaking. Pretty digestible stuff. Also, entertaining. But after her last movie The Future, I left feeling that she’s just plain wacky. Not necessarily in any good way or bad way, but just plain wacky. Take her for what she is and what her art offers, you know? BUT! I do stand firm in the fact that Miranda July is a bona fide artist who can provoke people to question themselves and their immediate world. Personally speaking I’ve also found myself approaching self-realizations that usually haven’t been previously explored.

That said, I’m intrigued by her very next project called “We Think Alone.” It is a 20-week email program where you literally subscribe at this website to receive very “mundane” emails straight from the outboxes of participants that include Rodarte, Lena Dunham, Sheila Heti, and Kirsten Dunst. Be sure to sign up before the end of June because the first message is due to arrive July 1st. Needless to say, should be interesting!

Simon Rich sells half-hour pilot to FX

Based on his short story collection The Last Girlfriend on Earth.
June 21, 2013

Being a working creative writer is a tough life…unless you’re Simon Rich. In addition to selling his four-part New Yorker humor novella to Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, he also just sold a half-hour comedy pilot to FX based on his humorous collection The Last Girlfriend on Earth. My guess is that the show will be a series of vignettes, or each episode will be its own “New York City-based love story.”

Via Splitsider, Deadline

James Franco seeks crowdfunding for Palo Alto Stories

The goal of $500,000 to help produce three separate films based on Franco's high school experiences.
James Franco Palo Alto

Normally this kind of thing—celebrities turning to crowdfunding for their narcissistic projects—kind of irks me but somehow I’m always blinded by James Franco. And don’t get me wrong, he is pulling exactly the same thing as Zach Braff did for his sequel to The Garden State (albeit, Franco is asking for less money, also getting less backlash for it). Maybe because Franco’s so kooky and high-school-valedictorian-like when it comes to his massive overloading of interests, I find it encouraging.

I love the fact that he’s handing his pieces over to his favorite student filmmakers at NYU to direct. I love that it’s also a diverse group, too. I love that he believes in them as much as he believes in his own projects. I love how he is so open to collaboration. That’s all cool to me.

Find out more about Palo Alto Stories by James Franco on Indiegogo

“Beauty, truth, awesomeness. That’s all it is.”

Lorelai Gilmore, Kanye, Salinger, and a moving high school graduation speech.
June 17, 2013

News round-up for the week ending June 16, 2013:

Kanye‘s newest album Yeezus is out, which means there is a whole lot of Kanye required reading to do! His interview with Jon Caramanica of the New York Times is not to be missed.
“Beauty, truth, awesomeness. That’s all it is.” -Kanye
“I am so credible and so influential and so relevant that I will change things.” -Kanye
“It was the first, like, black new wave album.” -Kanye
“I don’t know if this is statistically right, but I’m assuming I have the most Grammys of anyone my age, but I haven’t won one against a white person.” -Kanye

Here is the full transcript of “Standing On The Sun” by Mitch Anderson, the speech by Texas’ Belton High School 2013 Salutatorian who took that opportunity to come out to his graduating class. You know he’s gay when he’s peppered references like Madonna, Luna Lovegood, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, and Zachary Quinto into the mix. So cute! So good!

A feature-length documentary about J.D. Salinger is soon to hit theaters and Slate had some spot-on funny words to say about the flick’s very confusing trailer! Read, watch, and discuss here.

We still love Gilmore Girls to this day which is why anything related to Lauren Graham (aka Lorelai Gilmore) is, of course, relevant. She recently closed a deal with Ellen DeGeneres’ production company who will be adapting Lorelai’s debut novel Someday, Someday, Maybe for Warner Bros TV. (via Deadline)

A slice of Pussy-cake

Jonah Lehrer's comeback, Readmill's free e-books, Leonardo DiCaprio, Archie Comics IRL, and dot com job openings.
June 9, 2013

News round-up for the week ending June 9, 2013:

Jonah Lehrer, good-looking plagiarist and liar, sold his next book anyway! [I support this… he’s still a great writer.] His next book about love will be published by Simon & Schuster.
(via New York Times)

Readmill launched a new Explore program where you can read e-books for free, but only for 24 hours. Check it out here. I personally have my eye on Meghan Daum’s collection of essays Misspent Youth.

This is pretty neat. Check out the BookExpo America 2013: Map of the Houses.

Here is Flavorwire‘s 20 Highbrow Books to Read on the Beach This Summer.

I am a huge fan of Gary Shteyngart and I tend to recommend his written works to anyone who asks. Here is his piece “From the Diaries of Pussy-Cake” from this week’s New Yorker Fiction issue.

Leonardo DiCaprio‘s Appian Way Productions and Media Rights Capital acquired the rights to Lauren Beukes’ novel The Shining Girls (which I haven’t read yet but sounds like a spooky thriller!) for a TV series adaptation. I mean, if Leo endorses it then….
(via The Hollywood Reporter)

“Warner Bros. Pictures will produce a live-action adaptation of the Archie comics. This will be the first feature film about the Riverdale High teens.” But most importantly, who is going to play Jughead Jones, my all-time favorite asexual teenage cartoon character???
(via GalleyCat)

Websites are hiring!

The Awl is looking for a (paid) Editor in Chief.

Food Riot is looking for (paid) contributing writers.

The Muse is looking for an (unpaid) part-time columnist.

“This is water.”

Memorial Day Weekend! David Foster Wallace, Parquet Courts, a film adaptation of a dating book, and Tumblr.
May 26, 2013

News round-up for the week ending May 26, 2013:

Yahoo!, the internet’s most irrelevant and outdated corporation, bought Tumblr for $1.1 billion in cash. (via NYTimes)

It’s college graduation season and a very moving short film which illustrated David Foster Wallace‘s 2005 Kenyon College commencement speech called “This Is Water” made the viral rounds. Unfortunately the video has already been taken down by the request of the David Foster Wallace Literary Trust but you can still listen to his entire speech or read the transcript. As someone who’s now been a college graduate for five years now, this is all very inspiring stuff and the sentiments ring truer than ever.

Lately I’ve been feeling The Talkhouse, where musicians write about bands and albums they admire. It’s tight! Earlier this week Austin Brown of Parquet Courts wrote this great piece on the Baptist Generals’ Jackleg Devotional to the Heart. One part in particular really stood out to me, when Austin recounts an intense drive through a dangerous blizzard to a show they were supposed to play. He writes, “All four of us [in the band Parquet Courts] in the van had resigned ourselves to certain death, and I’m still not sure to this day that I didn’t actually die on that trip and everything else afterwards has been just a dream.” And I thought to myself how perfectly he worded that whole passage, about this specific out-of-body experience that people during their teens and 20s come to realize, that moment when invincibility is challenged and the frailty of life is rudely awakened. It’s really good, give it a read.

“Looking to transform Hollywood’s pile of unproduced scripts into publishable e-books, James West, a motion-picture industry entrepreneur, has launched Script Lit. The company licenses optioned, but never produced, scripts, to turn them into commercial fiction.” (via Publishers Weekly)

Amazon is launching an innovative licensing and publishing program targeting the flourishing world of online fan fiction—unauthorized amateur works created by fans and based on popular copyrighted franchises.” (also via Publishers Weekly)

“MGM has acquired screen rights to Things I’ve Learned From Women Who’ve Dumped Me, the best-selling humor anthology edited by Ben Karlin.” (via Deadline)