Pinsky's Rules for Reviewers, Catch-22 Turns Fifty, and More

Evan Smith Rakoff

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

The Association of American Publishers has released sales figures for the first half of 2011. Hardcover sales fell 23 percent and paperback sales dropped 18 percent. E-book sales, however, climbed steadily. (GalleyCat)

Deep in debt while struggling to write your first novel? Flavorwire, who doesn't want you to feel alone, offers a compendium of literature of extraordinary debt to mark the release of Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber.

Former United States poet laureate Robert Pinsky illuminates the cruelest reviews of Keats's poetry—which outmatch any modern reviewers in snarkiness and snobbery—while offering three golden rules all reviewers should follow. (Slate)

More Borders aftermath: A website has launched to aid ex-Borders employees in finding new work. And perhaps a hopeful sign of what will happen to the 399 Borders stores that are closing: It's likely the one in the Raleigh-Durham International Airport will be replaced with another bookstore. (News & Observer)

The fiftieth anniversary of the release of Joseph Heller's Catch-22 is this year. The August issue of Vanity Fair describes the run-up to the famous anti-war novel's publication, replete with publishing world personalities, such as editor Robert Gottlieb and agent Candida Donadio. (Drexel University's the Smart Set also examines Heller's most celebrated book.)

Every summer young people fresh out of college move to New York City with the goal of finding work in the publishing industry. Despite hard times all around, they are still coming. It is on this occasion that a writer for the Associated Press goes inside New York University's Summer Publishing Institute. (San Francisco Chronicle)