- Nanny Harder: Seven years after The Nanny Diaries became a bestselling phenomenon, the authors have finally written a sequel. The result, Nanny Returns, is available now — but, according to the authors, it's not just fun and games.
"When we wrote 'Nanny Diaries,' there were many things that we considered red flags waving. That didn't get through the hullabaloo about 'Nanny.' So we were like, 'We need to go back and underscore that if you let these kids grow up like this, they will someday be in charge of your health care,'" McLaughlin says.
"And they won't care," adds Kraus.
Publishing houses had very specific visions for a sequel: either Nanny becomes a mother herself and hires her own nanny, only to learn how wrong she was to be so critical, or Nanny opens nanny agencies across the country and learns how wrong she was to be so critical. McLaughlin and Kraus, both now 35, rejected both approaches.
Early reviews are encouraging. Publishers Weekly hails, "McLaughlin and Kraus leave no dry eyes as they once again wield a razor-sharp wit that cuts down the most uppity mortals even as it lifts up their vulnerable children."
Lame-duck Kirkus Reviews groans that it "never delivers the juicy satisfaction of its precursor," but Library Journal insists that "the story's contrast between shallowness and compassion is fascinating."
- Authors Revolt: The Guardian offers reactions to the news (mentioned yesterday) that bestselling author Stephen Covey has sold exclusive eBook rights to Amazon.
Seems it all began with a simple letter:
Random House startled many in the book world this week by sending a letter to agents informing them that, in its view, the publishing house holds the exclusive rights to digital editions of the "vast majority" of its backlist titles. That made authors and their agents see red. They pointed to a ruling by the New York courts as far back as 2002 in which Random House itself failed in an attempt to block on ebook firm from publishing works by the late William Styron, author of Sophie's Choice, and Kurt Vonnegut. The ruling, upheld on appeal, found that copyright for books that were written before digital publishing existed, remained with the author.
As the New York Times notes, the Authors Guild is disputing Random House's claim. Covey has already weighed in with his opinion on the matter. And something tells me this is going to get much, much uglier before it's all over.
- The Next Waterloo: French President Nicolas Sarkozy has pledged to spend about $1.1 billion on digitizing French books, apparently hoping to head off the Google Books advance that will sweep the globe like Napolean's armies.
The French National Library announced in August that it was engaged in discussions with Google over the digitization of its collections, part of a global effort by Google to digitize the world's literary works. This provoked an uproar among French officials and the publishing community here, and the discussions were suspended.
"We won't let ourselves be stripped of our heritage to the benefit of a big company, no matter how friendly, big or American it is," Mr. Sarkozy said last week, apparently in a reference to Google.
A French ambassador was dispatched to Google's headquarters to slap everyone across the face with a white glove. No word yet on whether Google will accept a duel at ten paces.
Book News Round-up:
- Lost returns for its final season on Groundhog Day. Looking ahead, NPR's Monkey See blog anticipates that no solution can possibly satisfy viewers, but applauds the show for trying.
I wish I could announce that J. Wood will be returning to blog the final season for Powells.com, but as of this writing, that's as much a mystery as that four-toed statue in the water.
- NPR sounds off on the year's best memoirs, which include one of our favorites, Stitches by David Small, as well as Camus, A Romance by Elizabeth Hawes, and others.
- Borders gets into the eBook act.
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Brockman is the head writer for the daily Book News posts on the Powells.com blog. In his free time he's hard at work on his fictional memoir, which changes titles daily.
The views and commentary posted by Brockman are entirely his own, and are not representative of the whole of Powell's Books, its employees, or any sane human being.
Books mentioned in this post