In a company-wide memo sent to Random House staff this afternoon—labeled "a very different memo" by company spokesman Stuart Applebaum when he forwarded it to media—Markus Dohle turned a spotlight upon Random House’s strong presence on year-end book lists published this week by The Toronto Globe and Mail and The New York Times Book Review.
Mr. Dohle delighted in the fact that fully nine of the ten books on the NYTBR list had been published by Random House. Those nine, for the record: Dangerous Laughter by Steven Millhauser; A Mercy by Toni Morrison; Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri; The Forever War by Dexter Filkins; Nothing to Be Frightened Of by Julian Barnes; The Republic of Suffering by Drew Gilpin Faust; The World Is What It Is by Patrick French; Netherland by Joseph O’Neill; and The Dark Side by Jane Mayer.
Under Random House’s old structure, eight of those nine would count as Knopf books, but after yesterday’s reorganization, which stripped Jane Mayer’s publisher, Doubleday, of its divisional status and placed it under the jurisdiction of Sonny Mehta, it is all nine. Mr. Dohle did not draw attention to this fact, presumably in the interest of fostering in-house harmony.
"In these times, it is especially important to remember how highly the literary and cultural community worldwide regards Random House’s imprints and books," Mr. Dohle wrote. "What a powerful testimonial to the brilliance of our authors and the creativity of our imprint editors and publishers these year-end accolades are. Congratulations to all of you and to our authors!"
Mr. Applebaum said in a phone interview that to characterize Mr. Dohle’s note as an attempt to cheer up Random House’s staff "would be glib."
Below, the full memo, which also notes that Random House racked up 31 of the New York Times’ 100 "Notable Books of the Year":
CHAIRMAN AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
MEMBER OF THE EXECUTIVE BOARD OF BERTELSMANN AG
December 4, 2008
TO EVERYONE AT RANDOM HOUSE NORTH AMERICA
In these times, it is especially important to remember how highly the literary and cultural community worldwide regards Random House’s imprints and books. But even by the high standards the critics set for our works, the recognition our 2008 titles have just received from North America’s two most influential and widely read newspaper book-review sections is truly something for Random House to cheer about.
New York Times Book Review
Nine of the “Ten Best Books of the Year” selected by the editors of the New York Times Book Review are ours! They are:
DANGEROUS LAUGHTER by Steven Millhauser (Knopf)
A MERCY by Toni Morrison (Knopf)
UNACCUSTOMED EARTH by Jhumpa Lahiri (Knopf)
THE FOREVER WAR by Dexter Filkins (Knopf)
NOTHING TO BE FRIGHTENED OF by Julian Barnes (Knopf)
THIS REPUBLIC OF SUFFERING by Drew Gilpin Faust (Knopf)
THE WORLD IS WHAT IT IS by Patrick French (Knopf)
NETHERLAND by Joseph O’Neill (Pantheon)
THE DARK SIDE by Jane Mayer (Doubleday)
This is the first time in anyone’s memory here one single publishing company has so many of its titles appear as the “Best” in the same year. The complete list now is available online at the New York Times Website and will be printed in the Sunday, December 14 edition of The Book Review.
The Sunday, December 7 issue of The Book Review presents its annual “100 Notable Books of 2008,” and thirty-one of them are Random House, Inc. titles—nearly twice the number of the nearest competing publishing group. They range from AMERICAN WIFE by Curtis Sittenfeld (Random House) and THE GOOD THIEF by Hannah Tinti (Dial Press) to FACTORY GIRLS: From Village to City in a Changing China by Leslie T. Chang (Spiegel & Grau) and AMERICAN LION: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham (Random House). The entire list can be viewed by clicking: www.nytimes.com/2008/12/07/books/review/100Notable-t.html
Last month in The Book Review, PALE MALE: Citizen Hawk of New York City by Janet Schulman and Illustrated by Meilo So was cited as one of the ten “New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2008.”
Toronto Globe and Mail
Canada’s largest national daily annually selects the “Globe 100,” their book-review editors’ choices for the year’s best. For the 2008 list published last weekend, Random House of Canada is the publisher of twenty-two of them, leading their industry. Ten of the thirty-eight fiction titles, including THE CELLIST OF SARAJEVO by Steven Galloway (Knopf Canada) and THE GREAT KAROO by Fred Stenson (Doubleday Canada), and twelve of the fifty-nine nonfiction, among them, WHAT IS AMERICA? by Ronald Wright (Knopf Canada) and A PLACE WITHIN by M.G. Vassanji (Doubleday Canada) are our honorees. The list of our titles can be viewed by clicking: http://www.randomhouse.ca/news/top100.html
These critical accolades are more than just words of praise. Our sales and marketing colleagues are working with our accounts across North America to enable our booksellers to enjoy the greatest of sales advantages from these selections, both immediately during this holiday season, and most importantly as future backlist. The Times also will be promoting their “Ten Best” list in national media interviews and via their forthcoming specially-created microsite.
What a powerful testimonial to the brilliance of our authors and the creativity of our imprint editors and publishers these year-end accolades are. Congratulations to all of you and to our authors!