Between the Covers 29/09/13

What's really going on in the world of books

Great news! All the panic over the future of book publishing in a digital age can stop, thanks to a brilliant new initiative from Faber and Faber. Sorry, that’s Faber & Faber.

Because, in the biggest revolution to hit the book world since Waterstones ditched its apostrophe, the publisher has formulated a new brand strategy to “future proof” it for a digital era. It involves replacing the “and” in its name with an ampersand and using a new, Art Deco-inspired font. Faber CEO Stephen Page, below, told The Bookseller that the change came as a result of “reviewing our brand design in the light of the new world of reading, with its emphasis on readers online and digital publishing”. You heard it here first: in the new world of reading, there is no “and” between “Faber” and “Faber”.

And lo, the 50 Shades Franchise grinds sexily on, now with two new 50 Shades of Grey-branded wines, left, produced in California with the endorsement of the author E L James. The red is a “decadent blend” with “flavors of black cherry, cocoa powder, creamy caramel and vanilla, leather and clove spice”, while the white offers “floral aromatics of lychee, honey and pear” as well as “lush pear” and “a faint hint of butterscotch”. So it’s sugary and spicey with leather, chocolate and two nice pears. Does it by any chance have a long finish? So long that most drinkers won’t be able to finish it at all? The website teases: “If you spill the wine, I will punish you, Miss Steele.”  So pour carefully or some sado-vintner might come round and make you struggle on to the end of the entire series.

What’s the best bit in the interview with the Giller-longlisted Canadian novelist David Gilmour in the online magazine of Random House Canada, Hazlitt? Is it: “I know how to talk to a camera, therefore I know how to talk to a room of students”? Or: “I haven’t encountered any Canadian writers yet that I love enough to teach”? Or: “I’m not interested in teaching books by women ... what I teach is guys. Serious heterosexual guys. F Scott Fitzgerald, Chekhov, Tolstoy. Real guy-guys. Henry Miller. Philip Roth”? And then he says: “Roth has the best understanding of middle-aged sexuality I’ve ever come across .... There’s an even dirtier one that I teach ... called The Dying Animal .... There are men eating menstrual pads ....” Err, is anyone going to tell him, some time soon?