Hothouse provides an insider’s glimpse into the publishing world, following independent publishing house Farrar, Straus, & Giroux from its inception to the present-day. Focusing largely on Roger Straus and his role, it is the tale of a literary Mad Men, full of gossip, sex, betrayal, maneuvering, schmoozing, smoking and drinking. And then there is Giroux, quiet, head-down, working to get things done. Two opposites that created one of the most celebrated and successful independent publishers. There is nothing glamorous in this publishing house other than the impressive list of authors and works that came through their doors.
Overall, the book told a fascinating story, well-researched and informational, full of the conflict between art and commercial success and what happens long before a book ever reaches the shelves. Unfortunately, there were times when it became bogged down in the details – too many names and too many dates and too many deals that added little to the overall narrative. Occasional jumps throughout the timeline were also a bit confusing and required the re-reading of a section. In spite of these minor annoyances, for a bibliophile like me it was an intriguing look into the industry that makes it all happen.
Title: Hothouse: The Art of Survival and Survival of Art at America’s Most Celebrated Publishing House, Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Author: Boris Kachka
Genre: Non-Fiction, Publishing, History, Business
Publication: Simon & Schuster , August 2013