Bookstore Sales Down in August, New York Public Library Acquires Arthur Miller’s Personal Library, and More

by Staff
10.19.20

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—publishing reports, literary dispatches, academic announcements, and more—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

The Census Bureau estimates that bookstore sales were down 30.7 percent in August, compared to the same period last year. The drop comes after sales figures appeared to be slowly recovering; sales were down 59.9 percent in May, 35.4 percent in June, and 24.7 percent in July. (Shelf Awareness)

The New York Public Library has acquired the personal library of playwright and essayist Arthur Miller. Donated by Miller’s family, the collection of 692 volumes includes personalized copies and translations of the writer’s work. “These are books which lived in the shelves lining Arthur’s study, and which he read and handled regularly in his life; they are books that have been loved,” said the Miller family. 

“I have been reading epic fantasies inspired by European settings since I was a child, and while I’m still a fan of many of these works, I longed to see something different.” Rebecca Roanhorse discusses the world-building process behind her latest novel, Black Sun. (NPR)

“Fiction can be an antidote to alienation—it can take experiences and visions otherwise alien to us and make them accessible if not familiar.” Kathleen Rooney talks to the Los Angeles Review of Books about writing from the perspective of a pigeon in her World War I novel, Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey

“The common names of trees, I quickly discovered, are like little stories, dense descriptive metaphors packed with history and life.” Jonny Diamond writes about reconnecting with the memory of his mother through the taxonomy of trees. (Guardian)

“The intent is for the novel to be as much about the cities as it is about the characters.” Bryan Washington on bringing Houston and Osaka to life in his first novel, Memorial. (New York Times

“Exiles of one kind or another have shaped the arc of my family tree as far back as I can tell, and the same can be said for millions of others.” André Naffis-Sahely reflects on the literature of exile. (Harriet)

“Glück is an impersonal poet, whose poems, assembling around you, feel blindingly personal.” Katy Waldman writes in praise of Louise Glück’s evocations of the seasons. (New Yorker)