Best Books 2012

Best Books of 2012 : The New Yorker: "We asked some of our contributors for their favorite books from 2012. (In the interests of eclecticism, they could list up to three.) Here’s what they said. Ann Beattie “The Constant Heart,” by Craig Nova: One of our most original, brilliant, disturbing writers, who’s so fierce he’ll take on anything. Here—dark energy: of love, of the cosmos, and of the interrelationship "

On Amazon, Cooking Up Friendly Reviews - "Surprisingly, Amazon says it is completely legitimate to do this. “We do not require people to have experienced the product in order to review,” Craig Berman, an Amazon spokeman, said. “Some people write reviews on why they decided not to buy, or write a review as a gift giver rather than the product owner.” Perhaps, but I see a future where we have virtual enthusiasm for virtual books. Reviews are crucial to online commerce in a way they never were to offline sales. If Amazon can devise a system that is transparent and fair to all involved — author, reviewer and customer — it will be a greater achievement than same-day delivery."

Ian Rankin, author – portrait of the artist | Books | The Guardian: " . . . How difficult is it to get noticed? I think writers have to be proactive: they've got to use new technology and social media. Yes, it's hard to get noticed by traditional publishers, but there's a great deal of opportunity out there if you've got the right story. How do you know a novel is finished? When the deadline is approaching. I finish a first, second and third draft, then my wife reads it and suggests changes. The next draft goes to my editor and agent, who suggest more changes. I'm often still tweaking after it's been typeset – so it's finished only when it's published and you can't make any more changes. If you take it down off the shelf again, you'll always see things you'd have done differently. That's one of the things that keeps writers writing: the fact that there's always more you can do. What's the biggest myth about being a novelist? That we're introspective, sensitive souls and have arcane knowledge. I used to think that: whenever I heard that someone had taken 10 years to write a novel, I'd think it must be a big, serious book. Now I think, "No – it took you one year to write, and nine years to sit around eating Kit Kats." Is it true that art is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration? More or less. You need a great idea, but then you've got to carry it through. If you get it right, you're going to be a critical success. But not everyone who works hard gets it right, or has the success they deserve: there's an element of luck. That's why publishers are always surprised when some runaway success comes along, like Twilight or Fifty Shades of Grey. No one can see it coming. . . . "

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