What a loss. That's the thought that kept running through my head as I flagged one inspired rhyme after another in David Rakoff's risky (though hardly risqué) posthumous first novel. Why risky? For starters, Rakoff, who died of cancer last summer, at 47, chose to write this last book in verse — albeit an accessible, delightful iambic tetrameter that is more akin to Dr. Seuss than T.S. Eliot.
I don't remember when I first realized that books could go away, that they could — and did — pass into obscurity or out of print. Myra Breckinridge by Gore Vidal, AllAbout H. Hatterr by G.V. Desani, Speedboat by Renata Adler, the sublime An Armful of Warm Girl by W.M. Spackman. Each of them, snuffed out. It seemed a scandal. But I vividly recall becoming aware that particular books were prone. To take chances with language or form was to court extinction.
There's been a frenzy of excitement since last year when Disney bought Lucasfilm, creator of the Star Wars franchise, and announced it would make more Star Wars movies. Fans are eagerly awaiting hints of what might happen next in the story, and one way the franchise keeps fans interested is through a pantheon of Star Wars books, the latest of which is Troy Denning's Star Wars: Crucible.
It's a detective story — about a detective story. The book in question is The Cuckoo's Calling, a debut novel released earlier this year by a former British military man named Robert Galbraith.
The reviews were excellent — especially for a first novel. There was just one hitch: The Cuckoo's Calling wasn't a debut at all. Nor was it by Robert Galbraith. As The Sunday Times revealed this weekend, Galbraith is a pseudonym for one of the best-known writers working today: Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling.
Chances are you have had contact with Scholastic Publishing at some point in your life: You might have read their magazines in school, or bought a book at one of their book fairs, or perhaps you've read Harry Potter or The Hunger Games? From its humble beginning as publisher of a magazine for high schoolers, Scholastic has become a $2 billion business and one of the biggest children's book publishers in the world.