Arts + Life
7:15 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Book News: Barnes & Noble's CEO Quits

  • Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch Jr. resigned Monday following several grim earnings reports and the company's recent announcement that it would stop manufacturing its own Nook tablets. A new chief executive wasn't named, but Michael P. Huseby has been named president of Barnes & Noble and chief executive of the Nook division. New York Times reporter Julie Bosman suggests the changes may be "a step toward separating the digital and retail divisions, as the company has indicated it might do. Barnes & Noble has been in talks over a potential sale of its digital assets, as well as its 675 bookstores."
  • Queen Elizabeth II is looking for a librarian (not, alas, the affable owner of a library van parked outside Buckingham Palace, à la Alan Bennett). The Royal Collection is advertising for "an exceptional scholar and bibliophile" to run the Royal Library at Windsor Castle. The job, which was first spotted by The Telegraph, pays £53,000 (about $80,000) a year, and the librarian would be expected to work a civilized 37.5 hours a week managing the "unique collection of 125,000 books, manuscripts, coins, medals and insignia."
  • A12-foot fiberglass statue of Colin Firth has been planted, half-submerged in a lake in London's Hyde Park, recreating that memorable scene in the BBC's Pride and Prejudice miniseries in which Firth's Mr. Darcy emerges dripping and tousle-headed from a pond. Of course, Jane Austen's original novel did not include Mr. Darcy's entry into the Pemberley wet T-shirt contest.
  • Open Culture highlights a letter from Charles Bukowski, the poet that Pico Iyer once called the "laureate of American lowlife." The letter, a response to an invitation to do a poetry reading, begins by demanding airfare, a hotel and $200. ("Auden gets $2,000 a reading, Ginsberg $1,000, so you see I'm cheap. A real whore.") It ends cheerfully: "They say it's 101 degrees today. Fine then, I'm drinking coffee and rolling cigarettes and looking out at the hot baked street and a lady just walked by wiggling it in tight white pants, and we are not dead yet."
  • On Wednesday, President Obama will present the 2012 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal to honorees including writers Joan Didion ("for her mastery of style in writing") and Marilynne Robinson ("for her grace and intelligence in writing"). The editor of The New York Review of Books, Robert Silver, will also be honored, because he "elevated the book review to a literary art form." The medals are awarded annually by the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
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