This post was updated at 9:45 a.m. ET
The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.
The annual VIDA count tracking gender inequality in literary publications is out, and the numbers don't look good for women. VIDA counted the numbers of female authors reviewed and the number of female reviewers in 39 publications — including The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker and Harper's and found that some publications had better records than others. The New York Review of Books had 212 male book reviewers to a dismal 52 female book reviewers. The New Republic's numbers were even worse: 55 male reviewers to 4 female. By contrast, The Paris Review had 47 male and 48 female bylines. The New York Times Book Review showed an improvement from years past, with nearly equal numbers of male and female reviewers, and slightly more male authors reviewed. VIDA was founded in 2009 to "address the need for female writers of literature to engage in conversations regarding the critical reception of women's creative writing in our current culture," according to its website. One of the group's founders, poet Erin Belieu, told The New York Times, "Because the count frees our national literary community from the gut reactive, the anecdotal, we hope having the VIDA data will allow our community to find the will and means to change the gender bias you see at many of the top-tier publications."
Andrew O'Hagan says he was hired to ghostwrite Julian Assange's autobiography, but the project collapsed and the story was eventually published without Assange's permission. O'Hagan wrote about his experience working with Assange in an essay for the London Review of Books. He writes, "The man who put himself in charge of disclosing the world's secrets simply couldn't bear his own. The story of his life mortified him and sent him scurrying for excuses. He didn't want to do the book. He hadn't from the beginning." O'Hagan added that Assange "is thin-skinned, conspiratorial, untruthful, narcissistic, and he thinks he owns the material he conduits." Assange has not publically responded to O'Hagan's article.
According to The Sunday Times, "J.K. Rowling has mapped out a series of up to seven crime novels featuring her private investigator Cormoran Strike — in a repeat of the approach she took with her Harry Potter books."
The Best Books Coming Out This Week: