This is a post about books and publishing, so naturally I’m kicking it off with… GQ? There’s been a lot of backlash over GQ’s recent list of 21 Books You Don’t Have To Read, which included The Holy Bible. Frankly I’m just a little scared because I never even realized there are books I do have to read. I’ve been assuming all those voicemails about the local police coming to arrest me were spam calls, but now I’m not so sure. Does anyone have an extra copy of the required reading list I can borrow?
Whether or not you believe there are books you have to read, there may be a loophole: you may not be required to actually finish the whole book. The Reading Agency has diagnosed a widespread case of “Book Block” and encourages readers to “quit-lit” instead: toss aside a book you’re not enjoying in favor of trying a new one. They found that 22% of readers surveyed felt you should never give up on a book; meanwhile 54% of them also reported struggling with a book for up to three months before finally throwing in the towel.
More good news for the quitters among us: If you’re thinking of quitting your book club, Google’s new Talk To Books tool can help us pretend we have a real live book-loving friend to chat with, all without leaving the comforts of home. In theory, the tool uses “word vectors” to identify relationships between words and concepts, rather than simple keyword matching. As Lifehacker explains, “Phrase your questions conversationally, as if you were about to ask a friend why they thought Frodo didn’t throw the ring into Mount Doom.” Google doesn’t sound particularly confident about the answers you’ll get back, though: “Sometimes it finds responses that miss the mark or are taken completely out of context.”
Speaking of missing the mark, a #MisandryInPublishing Twitter hashtag early this month got mercilessly skewered; Bustle already rounded up some of the best clapbacks but here are a few more of our favorites:
Every time I get a query from a man, I print it out, fold into a paper (male) crane, and set fire to it. The warmth heats my home; I pay no utilities. This is real. Put me on the news you cowards #misandryinpublishing
— Print Run Podcast (@printrunpodcast) April 5, 2018
Hey guys if you need me I’ll be over here doing my very best to contribute to furthering the #misandryinpublishing agenda. Henchperson sign-ups from 7-9pm CST. Women/femmes only. Must know basics of grammar, syntax, Twitter threading, conspiracy bunkers, and ancient alien theory.
— E. Kristin Anderson (@ek_anderson) April 5, 2018
She leaned back and took a long drag of her cigarette. “Men,” she said, “always trying to get their cute little stories published.” She stubbed out the cigarette and crossed her shapely legs before folding her arms across her ample breasts. “Not today.” #misandryinpublishing
— Justina Ireland (@justinaireland) April 5, 2018
I miss Andy in publishing, too. He was the best. Always had the best gossip at the watercooler, and tictacs in his desk. Oh, wait, you said #Misandryinpublishing. Never mind. That doesn’t exist.
— Farah Heron (@FarahHeron) April 5, 2018
Meanwhile, Fast Company was probably already hard at work on their recently published article Want to earn more as a book author? A male name will help.
Lastly (because if you’re anything like me this is going to send you straight down the rabbit hole of Buzzfeed quizzes), it’s time to play The Hardest Game of “Would You Rather” for Book Nerds. The first question wasn’t too hard for me though: If you dog-ear my book, you might as well lose it too because I don’t want it back. #DogEarsAreForDogsNotBooks #SorryNotSorry