Most Anticipated Books of 2014, Rebecca Mead Profiles Jennifer Weiner, 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:

Smashwords founder Mark Coker reported that the self-published e-book distributor added around 25,000 authors last year, and over 85,000 titles, for a total of 276,100 e-books. (Publishers Weekly)

The Millions previews the most anticipated books of 2014, including new titles by Chang-rae Lee, Karen Russell, Chad Harbach, Elizabeth McCracken, Walter Kirn, Emma Straub, and many more.

In the New Yorker, Rebecca Mead profiles bestselling author Jennifer Weiner: “Through her blog and her Twitter account, Weiner has stoked a lively public discussion about the reception and consumption of fiction written by women.”

Meanwhile, Roxane Gay mines the troubling notion that female protagonists must be likable: “Writers are often told a character isn’t likable as literary criticism, as if a character’s likability is directly proportional to the quality of a novel’s writing. This is particularly true for women in fiction.” (BuzzFeed)

The New York Times speaks with author Russell Banks, who reveals his guilty pleasure is reading travel books.

On a New Year’s cruise to the Galápagos Islands, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos experienced kidney-stone pain and was transported by Ecuadorian naval helicopter to his private jet, which brought him back to the United States for treatment. (Yahoo! News)

The Telegraph makes the case that Charlotte Brontë’s most remarkable novel is not Jane Eyre, but rather Brontë’s last published and lesser-known book, Villette.