Buying the paper version of the New York Times was an excellent decision, with “Book Lovers Ask, What’s Seattle’s Secret?” about Seattle’s supposed position as literary tastemaker:
In many ways, Ms. [Nancy] Pearl’s rise in the book world parallels Seattle’s rise in the publishing world. Though the big publishing houses are still ensconced in New York, the Seattle area is the home of Amazon, Starbucks and Costco, three companies that increasingly influence what America reads.
I’m not sure that I buy the premise of this article, though I do note that it implicitly argues that the success of the three companies might be harming what makes Seattle unusual in the first place:
Seattle’s literary seeds have been here for decades, with local authors, abundant writing courses and robust independent bookstores, according to J. A. Jance, the Seattle mystery author whose books have sold 15 million copies over the last 20 years. “Maybe it’s the rain, but Seattle has always been a reading town,” she said.
The flip side of the success of the big Seattle booksellers is the gradual decrease in the number of small independent stores, which have struggled as a result of a variety of factors.
“‘The Metamorphosis’ — purported to be the fictional account of a man who turns into a large cockroach — is actually non-fiction,” according to a statement released by Mr. Kafka’s editor, who spoke only on the condition that he be identified as E.
Mr. Kafka’s publishers are now reviewing all his works of fiction — stories about singing mice, “hunger artists” and men on trial for crimes they’re not aware of having committed — to determine whether they too are true.
We’ve come to the point of observing the absurdity of memoirs through the absurdity of such standards applied to absurd fiction.