July 8, 2016

Our fearless leader speaks


Dennis_Johnson_jpg_250x300_q85In case you missed it, Kirkus recently sat down with none other than Dennis Loy Johnson, Melville House’s co-founder and co-director (the “co-” indicating, in both cases, his collaboration with the equally redoubtable Valerie Merians). There’d be no point in pretending to impartiality (founding MobyLives, the very blog that you’re reading, is among Johnson’s many achievements), but let us say, in full, partisan candor, that it’s awesome:

What topic don’t you ever want to see again?

Adult coloring books. They make me despair for humanity. I equate their purveyors right up there with climate change deniers. And by the way, on that last topic, there may actually be more books by deniers than believers, shockingly, even though deniers are such a minuscule minority of pick-your-population (scientists, climatologists, people with opposable thumbs). Which is why we were happy that our biggest seller last year turned out to be our edition of Pope Francis’ Encyclical on Climate Change and Inequality. We’re a secular press but it was deeply satisfying to be able to move so many copies of such a thoughtful, intelligent, and important piece of thinking.

If thoughtful, intelligent, important stuff is kind of your thing, you can read the whole interview here.

This is far from the first time someone has asked Johnson, who has so much to say on the subject of books that he actually started a publishing house, where the book business may be headed:

And it won’t be the last. But it’s good for now.