Book publishing hums along on mythology. It may not be lucrative, but the noble job of bringing books into the world is enough of a cause for many former English majors to sign up perennially. In lieu of comfortable salaries, editorial assistants are paid in anecdotes about famous authors and legends about acquisitions. The dusty gentility of yesteryear, mostly absent from today’s fluorescent corporate culture, still holds sway over the imagination.
Few publishing houses can claim to be as revered as the authors they publish, but Farrar Straus & Giroux remains one of them, as Boris Kachka illustrates in Hothouse: The Art of Survival and the Survival of Art at America’s Most Celebrated Publishing House. FSG’s devotion to literature, which manages to straddle the line between art and commerce, is immortalized by Mr. Kachka, a New York magazine contributing editor who has covered the publishing industry for more than a decade. Read More