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Comment from the book world in December 2006

December 2006

In praise of crime writing

18 December 2006

'I like reading thrillers and I don't know why the literary world is sometimes snobbish about them. It's a really flexible form because it lets you move across class and across a city. The elegant and ever-repeating form of noir fiction is that you find a dead body in the beginning, it disrupts the ordinariness of the place, the detective starts to investigate and then wants to find all the connections, and it usually ends up in some high-level cover-up. I like that approach a lot, just in the plain terms of constructing narrative. As a reader and writer, there's so much pleasure in being aligned with the detective and given all the clues.'

Vikram Chandra, author of Sacred Games in the Bookseller

Reading what you enjoy

11 December 2006

'I would never attempt to dissuade anyone from reading a book. But please, if you're reading a book that's killing you, put it down and read something else, just as you would reach for the remote if you weren't enjoying a television programme. Your failure to enjoy a highly rated novel doesn't mean you're dim - you may find that Graham Greene is more to your taste, or Stephen Hawking, or Iris Murdoch, or Ian Rankin. Dickens, Stephen King, whoever. It doesn't matter. All I know is that you can get very little from a book that is making you weep with the effort of reading it. You won't remember it, and you'll earn nothing from it, and you'll be less likely to choose a book over Big Brother next time you have a choice.

Nick Hornby in the Sunday Telegraph's Seven

'A wordwide brand'

4 December 2006

Academic publishing is poised awkwardly between the huge costs of the web and its enormous potential, and between the huge opportunities created by global English and the piracy that a single language facilitates. In such an environment a worldwide brand is greater than the sum of its parts, and if Wiley can build that, the deal will have been more than worthwhile. Others are thinking along similar lines: witness Springer's recent approach to Informa.

The world is awash with cheap cash and bullish private equity investors: 2006 is on track to be the biggest year for corporate deals in history, and it would be odd if publishing was to be immune from this frenzy. Academic publishing may not look particularly sexy, but in a richer, better-educated world it is no bad place to be.