Morrissey’s Autobiography – the singer’s self-explanatory memoir, released with some degree of fanfare by Penguin Classics in the UK in October – has already met with great success on these shores, despite (or, given the devotion of his fanbase, perhaps because of) the fact that the book was seemingly largely unedited from his original manuscript, a brief acknowledgement given to Penguin’s Helen Conford for being ‘a steady scrutineer’ the only suggestion that anyone at the publisher was even allowed to read the book before it went to press. Several sources, however, are now reporting that that is emphatically not the case for the book’s American release through Penguin imprint G.P. Putnam’s Sons, with all details of Morrissey’s relationship with photographer Jake Owen Walters apparently removed from the text. A photo of Walters as a young boy present in the UK edition is also nowhere to be found.
Though foundational indie rock heroes Pixies have seemingly been doing everything in their power of late to alienate long-term fans – parting ways with iconic, indispensable bassist Kim Deal in a Welsh branch of Caffè Nero, finding a somewhat agreeable replacement in The Muffs’ Kim Shattuck only to drop her unceremoniously after a couple of months, releasing their first new material in 22 years only for it to turn out pretty depressingly bad – acolytes of their still untouchable brand of weirdo sci-fi surf-rock pop-candy assault may perk up at the news that frontman Black Francis is working on a graphic novel that sounds very him.
As part of Book Week Scotland – which ran throughout last week from 25 November to 1 December – the Scottish Book Trust has revealed the final result of its public vote on the 10 best Scottish novels of the past 50 years, drawn from a previously released longlist. Whether due to the current resurgence of interest in all things Irvine Welsh or simply because of its indelible mark on the Scottish cultural landscape these past 20 years, Trainspotting claims the top spot, a triumph made no less welcome by its predictability and one that presumably prompts another sigh of relief for Rebel Inc.
The Galley Club – the not for profit London-based social organisation for those who work in publishing – holds its last event of the year this coming Wednesday, 4 December, in its usual venue of The George in Strand, with proceedings kicking off at 6.30pm. Its speaker this time round will be Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller, giving a talk entitled “That Was The Year That Was – 2013 in retrospect and 2014 contemplated”. Entry is £5 for non-members, and a buffet and wine are included in the price.
Sceptre has announced that David Mitchell will publish his new novel on 4 September 2014. The Bone Clocks is Mitchell’s sixth novel, his first since 2010′s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. A Dutch interview with Mitchell from earlier this year contained the assertion that The Sunken Garden – his 2013 collaboration with English National Opera – acts as ‘a kind of prologue’ to the novel.
Following another successful run at this year’s Edinburgh Festival, ever-popular essayist David Sedaris has announced a 2014 tour of England with his show An Evening With David Sedaris (sadly not, as reported by some, the UK as a whole, with his only non-English date a night in Dublin). Beginning in Manchester on 25 March, the tour encompasses dates in Leamington Spa, Dublin, Cheltenham, Brighton, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Newcastle and a four night run at London’s Cadogan Hall before finishing up in Oxford on 12 April. If his Edinburgh engagements are anything to go by, Sedaris will read from his essays and stories, along with unpublished diary entries, and take questions from the audience.
Once again firmly in the zeitgeist following the huge success of Filth, the cinematic adaptation of his 1998 novel of the same name, Irvine Welsh has revealed that he has revisited one of his most infamous characters for charity this festive season. “He Ain’t Lager” – a short story Welsh has written for the International Network of Street Papers (whose output includes The Big Issue) – sees the return of Francis (“Franco”) Begbie, the frequently violent, perpetually terrifying psychopath who first appeared in Welsh’s own debut, 1993′s Trainspotting, and was last seen (chronologically) emerging from a coma at the end of its 2002 sequel, Porno (although his most recent appearance in print was in Welsh’s 2012 Trainspotting prequel, Skagboys).
Alex Ferguson’s record-breaking memoir has had its tenure at the top of the bestseller list ended by the latest entry in Jeff Kinney’s ever popular Wimpy Kid series. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck – Kinney’s eighth book in the series since 2007, having published at the rate of one a year since its inception with an additional title in 2009 – recorded first week sales of 82,999. As noted by The Bookseller, that’s over 10% of its initial print run of 800,000.
One of the more common complaints of those who have held out against eBooks thus far is the comparative difficulty (and subsequent lack of charm) of presenting a book as a gift digitally rather than physically. Gift an eBook, however, launched this past week, is a venture that aims to level the playing field between the two.
Following on from last year’s unexpected partnership with Waterstones that saw Kindles sold in the chain’s brick and mortar stores, Amazon has now announced that it will make its e-readers available for sale in independent bookshops in the USA. Amazon Source offers two different packages for physical retailers: a ‘general retail program’ aimed at consumer electronics shops (i.e. markets more interested in hardware than software) that offers Kindle devices at a 9% discount from their suggested retail price and accessories at a 35% discount, and a ‘bookseller program’, which only offers a 6% discount on the price of hardware but keeps the 35% discount on accessories and adds 10% commission on every e-book bought by customers from Kindles bought at the bookseller’s shop.