Other than the Bad Sex Awards, our other favorite annual prize is the Hatchet Job of the Year award, which is given out by the England-based aggregation site The Omnivore. (Not to be confused with our own Omnivore). The award celebrates the most negative review of the year, and this year’s shortlist features Ron Charles on Martin Amis’s Lionel Asbo and Suzanne Moore on Naomi Wolf’s Vagina. We hope the award goes to Zoe Heller, who took aim at Salman Rushdie’s memoir Joseph Anton in The New York Review of Books. A sample: “Hindsight, alas, has had no sobering effect on Rushdie’s magisterial amour propre. An unembarrassed sense of what he is owed as an embattled, literary immortal-in-waiting pervades his book.”
Nobel Prize-winning author Imre Kertész is one of Hungary’s most well-regarded novelists, so it came as somewhat of a surprise this week when he announced his plans to house his archive in Germany—particularly since much of Kertész’s writing has focused on his own history as a witness to the Holocaust. At the New Yorker’s Page Turner blog, Hari Kunzru notes that the decision might not be, as some have claimed, “a profound gesture of reconciliation,” but rather an indicator of something more sinister. A Hungarian friend tells Kunzru that the author has “good reasons to believe that in Hungary his legacy wouldn’t be treated with as much respect as in Germany, as he is regarded by the current political elite as an 'unHungarian.'”
Turkey has lifted a ban on more than 23,000 books.
For his latest Digested Read column, John Crace synthesizes all 880 pages of the fourth volume of T.S. Eliot’s letters into a far more manageable 500 words.