I Don't Care About Your Band author Julie Klausner
The Oscars were infinitely more bearable last night thanks to the peanut gallery of literary tweeters: Colson Whitehead, Edward Champion, and Julie Klausner. This from Bookforum's own Chris Lehmann: "If James Cameron ends the night drunk and sobbing, I'm happy."
Borders cuts workforce; employees call it "Black Thursday."
Barnes and Noble to offer discounted e-Books to print book buyers.
"I swear to God," David Shields tells Bookslut, "I can’t read a book unless it has miniature numbered sections. I exaggerate, but only slightly." A not-so-subtle plug for his new manifesto, Reality Hunger, to be sure, but also a bit of word sampling from Morrissey, neatly summing up our feelings on Shields’s over-hyped book: “I still love you/I still love you/ Only slightly, only slightly less than I used to.”
Scholar Jenny Woolf claims that newly unearthed evidence absolves Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll of pedophilia charges.
Literary Man of the Hour, Lorin Stein named editor of the Paris Review
FSG's Lorin Stein has been named as The Paris Review's new editor and will start in April. This is a wise hire: Stein not only has good taste, he's knowledgeable about the book market (Roberto Bolaño had a devoted following before FSG started publishing him, but Stein made the Chilean author into the phenomenon he is today). Stein is also well-connected, having worked with authors like Denis Johnson, Sam Lipstye, and Lydia Davis. Oh, and last but not least, he's fun at parties, which means that he will keep a spark of George Plimpton's legacy alive.
David Foster Wallace's work continues to inspire obsession, some of it quite worthwhile. Take, for instance, Ryan Walsh's exhaustive The David Foster Wallace Audio Project.
Sarah Palin is working on her next book: a "celebration of American virtues and strengths."
What Tina Brown is reading.
Author Barry Hannah
Writer Barry Hannah has died at age 67. Though pigeonholed as a "Southern author," his work (especially Airships and Ray) has had a wide influence. His admirers included Ben Marcus, Steve Almond, Gary Lutz, and Pavement's Stephen Malkmus. One admiring student learned of Hannah's death in a tweet, and reports: "Death told via Twitter hits like a fist."
Digital books are cheaper to make than the old-fashioned kind, but publishers agree; making e-books ain't free.
Ayn Rand and Susan Sontag "were both brave, both immensely persuasive to hordes of acolytes, and both incredibly deluded."
The City of New York announces new press rules—qualified bloggers are in.
A look at how Penguin plans to "reinvent" books.
Eating Animals author Jonathan Safran Foer
The Columbia Journalism Review's survey of magazine websites has found that online content is a mess.
FT.com reports that Eating Animals author Jonathan Safran Foer is no foodie: "I find people who devote their whole lives to taste a little strange."
After selling Library Journal and School Library Journal to Media Source, Reed Business Information has named a new publisher at Publishers Weekly.
Margaret Atwood foresees the end of the world.
Victorian publishers thought libraries would destroy the book industry. Now, publishers worry that e-book piracy will do the same.
Author Martin Amis
Gawker edits Knopf editor Carole Baron, and boy does she need it.
There is much chatter about David Shields's liberal use of quotations in Reality Hunger: A Manifesto (the Times calls him a "free appropriation writer"), but his own thoughts still appear in the book. For one, he calls James Frey a "terrible writer." Here's an excerpt of Shields cross-fading quips on hip-hop; can you spot his pithy musings among those by Picasso, Godard, Goethe, Emerson, and Borges?
Despite clunky novels like Yellow Dog, his views on Islam, and recent spats in the press with former friends, Martin Amis is still a "great novelist," according to The Independent. But in our opinion, he hasn't hit his stride since his memoir in which he wrote about his dad, his bad-boy persona, and his fake teeth.
The New York Review of Books explains how Philip Roth could call the anti-Semitic Louis-Ferdinand Céline "my Proust;" Roth had to "suspend [his] Jewish conscience."
Amazon buys Audible.
Oh, the indignity of being an old-school journalist afloat in the digital sea. The Atlantic writer James Fallows recently complained on the site that the redesign "drains [the blogs] of variety and individuality, not to mention making them much less convenient to read." Indeed, his misgivings were chopped by the new, guillotine-like landing page, so he had to move his critique to the lede of another post.
A leaked list of books that might be available on the epoch-shattering iPad, from The Unofficial Apple Weblog. What's the deal with the lack of McGraw-Hill books? More leaks, speculation, and denials; will the intrigue ever end?
The Daily Beast's list of the most popular books in 16 cities contains few surprises (Dan Brown dominates), though we were shocked to see that Going Rogue tops Seattle’s bestsellers. Has “the real America” annexed another province? (New Yorkers, don't feel too superior: Sarah Pallin's book is No. 5 in the Big Apple.)
As big publishers fret over the future of the book business, The Millions offers a tour of online fiction.
Novelist Colson Whitehead
Skip grad school and get all the writerly advice you need at Flavorwire, which has collected mantras for writers: Zadie Smith's grand, "Avoid cliques, gangs, groups," Jonathan Franzen's techie, "Never use the word 'then' as a conjunction," and Richard Ford's sage, "Don't write letters to the editor." That's good counsel from Ford, who is famous for spitting on Colson Whitehead, who panned Ford's A Multitude of Sins; why write a lowly letter when you can log a direct complaint?
The Awl's Maria Bustillos writes "Dave Eggers is the most detested man in American haute-literary circles," and explains why you shouldn't hate the guy.
At the Tools of Change conference, Arianna Huffington tried to calm fears about the end of publishing, but still expounded on the virtues of free content.
The 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction finalists have been announced. Much hasty Googling of "Lorraine Lopez" has ensued; her Homicide Survivors Picnic and Other Stories, published by BkMk books, is an unlikely candidate against literary brand names like Sherman Alexie, Lorrie Moore, Barbara Kingsolver, and Colson Whitehead. And yeah, we're pulling for Whitehead (He's brushed off Ford's Pulitzer-winning spittle), deserving for his deft and funny novel and his endlessly diverting tweets.
The Ask Author Sam Lipsyte
To see how publishers are advertising in the digital age, subscribe to FSG's newsletter The LipSite, which promotes Sam Lipsyte's book The Ask (pub date: 3/2) by sending readers doses of the novel's acidic wit (and author interviews) "precisely at the most depressing point of your workweek." Perhaps it is better than those trailers that publishers use to promote books, which Salon's Laura Miller calls "silly," but if you're going to do a trailer, do it like this clever one for John Wray's Lowboy.
Polish up your love stories, readers: the editors at htmlgiant are holding a writing contest, to be judged by Rick Moody. The winner will receive a library's worth of books from the venerable Dalkey Archive Press.
Tony Judt's Ill Fares the Land, based on a lecture on social democracy he gave at NYU this fall, is being rushed to print on March 15.
Magnificent obsession: Flickr user John Bertram has collected more than one hundred Lolita covers.
Generation Geek: At a time when comic book culture has never been more mainstream—or more lucrative—where’s the line between wannabe and true believer?
The online journal Significant Objects collects junk, writes stories about it, then sells it on eBay—transformed into literary junk. Hear Objects co-founder Joshua Glenn explain. The latest post is by Padgett Powell on a Mickey Mouse patch. He's hoping to ignite a bidding war with a tale featuring the patch and a young Edgar Winter. Our Favorite? Sheila Heti's story about the Cape Cod Shoe.
Among the blurbs on David Shields's new book Reality Hunger is one by Patricia Hampl: "I've just finished (for the first of what I know will not be the only time) Reality Hunger." A glance through the endnotes reveals that Hampl is quoted in Hungry three times. So, in short, she's eager to reread a book that references her—but that's OK, we're all a little hungry for attention. Jonathan Raban, Ben Marcus, Philip Lopate, and Geoff Dyer all submitted rave quotes, and all are cited in the text.