Getting Paid by the Joke — Roy Hattersley on Keith Waterhouse, author of Billy Liar, who died last week aged 80:
One of the great lines, spoken in the subsequent film version by Wilfred Pickles playing Billy’s father, combined fury and bewilderment. Why, he demanded to know, had his son told the neighbours that he had only one leg. Billy worked in a dismal office – an ironic tribute to Waterhouse’s first job as clerk to an undertaker. It seemed a step up for the son of a door-to-door vegetable salesmen and a cleaner who had left Osmondthorpe Council School at 15 with an interest in books but no qualifications and few prospects.
When’s That Book Coming Out? — A nice breakdown of the production process by Shelby Peak which explains why it seems to take a long time for books to be released after an author has turned in their final manuscript. Every time I read something like this, I wonder why we don’t hear from publishing professionals more often. It would be great to see publishers explain this kind of thing on their own blogs. (via blog.rightreading)
Spine Out — John Gall has started a blog. Holy fuck.
And — on a related note — there is a nice conversation on Vintage’s The Sun & Anchor blog between designer Peter Buchanan-Smith and photographer Todd Hido about the new Raymond Carver covers (commissioned by John Gall).
Doing the Work — A fascinating interview with Australian book designer Tony Palmer at Caustic Cover Critic:
Sometimes you hear the bigger book publishers described as being like factories – where the work is churned out in a mechanical and unthinking way. It’s never been like that for me at Penguin. The editors, production staff and designers all love their work. But love can be wild and unpredictable. So I’ve dreamt of being a plumber. I like the way water moves on surfaces. I like the fact that there are only four different ways to plumb a house. But book design? Gawd, maybe there’s about 120 right ways to do a good book cover, and there are probably millions of ways to make a bad one.
A Master of Reinvention — Brad Mackay, director and co-founder of the Doug Wright Awards, reviews David Mazzucchelli’s remarkable Asterios Polyp for The Globe & Mail. The Comics Reporter has a critical reading guide.