Book News: Male Authors Still Get Far More Coverage, Survey Shows

NPR icon by Annalisa Quinn
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Evan Agostini

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

  • The results of the annual VIDA Women in Literary Arts survey, which compares the number of female and male authors featured in major literary publications, were released yesterday. The study found a strong preference for male authors in 2012, as in recent years. The New York Review of Books (89 reviews of female authors in 2012 to 316 of male authors), the London Review of Books (74 female authors to 203 male) and the Times Literary Supplement (314 female authors to 924 male authors) fared especially ill. (NPR wasn't included in the survey, but has been criticized for gender bias in author coverage in the past.) Major female authors like Jennifer Weiner and Jodi Picoult have been vocal in recent years about the sometimes rapturous media coverage of white male authors like Jonathan Franzen.
  • Alice B. Toklas, on her 1932 recipe for "hashish fudge": "In Morocco it is thought to be good for warding off the common cold in damp winter weather and is, indeed, more effective if taken with large quantities of hot mint tea." (We recommend substituting walnuts for hashish.)
  • A signed, asbestos-bound copy of Ray Bradbury's dystopian classic Fahrenheit 451 is for sale for $20,000.
  • Listen to E.E. Cummings read his poem "anyone lived in a pretty how town" in this 1953 recording dug up by Open Culture.
  • Milton scholar Amy Boesky on why she became a Sweet Valley High ghostwriter: "I wanted, as long as I thought I could risk it, to stay in the pastel, exclamatory world of the light and the popular, the world of fast cars and faster verbs, the world where difference was traded for sameness and the blondes triumphed and the eyes sparkled and the parents stayed married and the brother stayed away 'at college' and the paralysis was curable and anything and everything could be resolved by the final chapter."
  • If March madness bores you and the "Sweet Sistine" bracket challenge leaves you cold, try the Morning News' Tournament of Books. The Tournament, which began on Monday, pits 2012's best works of fiction against each other.
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