The Book-a-Decade Treadmill

There’s been a bit of discussion lately about writers whose publishers pressure them to write a new book each and every year (“Top writers feel heat from publishers’ presses,” by David Mehegan, Boston Globe). And, no doubt about it, the author-as-brand-name is a growing trend. In some instances, it feels like we’re seeing a new book each and every month.

But, in the Guardian‘s theblogbooks (“The Great American Pause“), John Freeman reminds us that Americans, despite the widely predicted imminent death of our attention spans, still have a soft spot for books whose gestation periods are in the double digits: Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Jeffrey Eugenides’s Middlesex, Edward P. Jones’s The Known World, Shirley Hazzard’s The Great Fire, and Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead.

Of course, once Marilynne Robinson’s publisher learns about James Patterson, he’s going to demand that she step up her productivity–to one book per decade at least.



About the Author:

Keir Graff is Executive Editor of Booklist Publications and the author of five books. His most recent is the middle-grade novel, The Other Felix (2011). Follow him on Twitter at @Booklist_Keir.

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