Cheever: A Life author Blake Bailey
The National Book Critics Circle awards have been announced. Three of the winners were all too predictable: Hillary Mantel won in fiction for Wolf Hall, Richard Holmes scored the non-fiction prize with The Age of Wonder, and Blake Bailey took home the biography prize for Cheever: A Life. But if there are people who bet on the NBCC Awards (and we hope there are), the big winnings went to those who put their money on Eula Biss, whose hard-to-categorize Notes from No Man's Land came out of nowhere to take the prize for criticism.
Novelist Sam Lipsyte and Giancarlo Ditrapano talk vices over at Vice: "What if I just said the word DRUGS. What would you say?" Their conversation ranges over Lorin Stein's pre-Paris Review editing style ("He didn’t come at me with an ax. . . .It was more like a textbook prison shanking"), Salinger ("We mostly talked sports"), and the Lish/Carver controversy ("Lish’s edits made those Carver stories. Only a moron or somebody with a financial interest wouldn’t agree to that"). It makes other Lipsyte interviews look tame.
David Foster Wallace scrawled "Rabbit Mourns Himself," inside his copy of Rabbit, Run. In his trusty dictionary, he circled words like abulia, jacal, and uxorious. But the most interesting bit of his archives released so far—aside from his childhood Viking poem—is his battered copy of The Cinema Book by Pete Smith, surely an inspiration for Infinite Jest.
There's a "spoofs & satire" piece over at The Morning News, in which Tyler Stoddard Smith churns out some fake quotes by escorts supposedly employed by onetime brothel dweller Gabriel Garcia Marquez. What's next, a humor piece about courting his wife Mercedes when she was only nine years old?
Gary Indiana's new book, Andy Warhol and the Can that Sold America, is in bookstores now. We'd advise you to run out and buy it, but the author himself doesn't recommend it: "anybody who knows anything about the subject will dismiss it as boilerplate tripe about Warhol, stuff you've heard and read a million times—that's what it was turned into."
Author Ariana Reines
Tonight, the National Book Critics Circle awards will be announced. Catch up on all the nominees with thirty books in thirty days.
HarperCollins has nabbed Senator Scott Brown's memoir, set for publication in early 2011.
The winners of the 2010 Best Translated Book Award were just announced. Gail Hareven’s The Confessions of Noa Weber, translated from the Hebrew by Dalya Bilu and published by Melville House Press, captured the award for fiction (beating out Robert Walser's The Tanners [!]), while Elena Fanailova’s The Russian Version, translated from the Russian by Genya Turovskaya and Stephanie Sandler and published by Ugly Duckling Presse, took the honor for poetry.
Ariana Reines, author of The Cow and a Baudelaire translator, has a new project: working with trauma victims in Haiti. All she needs is a little help paying for "malaria medication, mosquito netting, art supplies (for the children we will work with), and feminine hygiene + contraceptive items (for the grown people).” Not even Jezebel can laugh at that.
There are more books than games in the iPhone app store.
PowerHouse Books—the Brooklyn-based photo-book publisher, store, gallery, and events space—is joining Random House. Does this mean the independent arts press will become corporate? Not according to PowerHouse CEO Daniel Power: "We might be doing more trade-like items—might—but more likely, we will be teaching our corporate compatriots how to hand-sell and hand-promote compelling visual books like ours, and in turn learn from them how to best position and leverage these beautiful books’ publication for the widest possible exposure to trade, academic, non-trade, and niche markets in ways we may never have known possible." "Position and leverage"? Let the corporate-speak begin!
Whip Smart author Melissa Febos
Tonight at the New School, the finalists for this year's National Book Critics Circle award, which will be announced tomorrow night, will read their work. It's the book world's answer to the Academy Awards' red-carpet ceremony. Well, kind of. Unlike the Oscars, the NBCC event is free and open to the public.
Want middlebrow? There will be an app for that.
Proving that there is nothing in the world that can't be bought and shipped to Texas, David Foster Wallace's papers have landed in Austin. The Harry Ransom Center, with its Lone Star State-sized acquisitions budget, has scored many of literature's most-coveted treasures. Browse their holdings, plan your research, and we'll meet you in the reading room.
S&M & MFA: A conversation with Melissa Febos, author of Whip Smart, a memoir about being a dominatrix in mid-town Manhattan while whipping her writing into shape. Alas, Terry Gross never asks the most pressing question: "Which was more harrowing, the dungeon or the seminar room?"
We can't move without stubbing our toe on David Shields (to paraphrase Wodehouse). The Rumpus has an essay on Reality Hunger that has elicited a surprisingly civil, intelligent discussion in the comments section.
Must read of the week: Sunday's Times Book Review profile of nearly forgotten New Yorker editor and writer St. Clair McKelway. McKelway had bipolar disorder, like George W.S. Trow, another obscure New Yorker staffer (who once quipped that he was "bipolar light.") What is it about that place?
From Galleycat, the best book editors on Twitter.
Director James Cameron
Ayn Rand swooned over serial killer William Hickman, calling him "the amazing picture of a man with no regard whatsoever for all that a society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. A man who really stands alone, in action and in soul." That’s funny, we thought she was talking about Alan Greenspan.
11 more of the world's Coolest Bookcases.
Karl Rove's Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight goes on sale today. Hey, boy genius, "consequences," is not a concept that you want readers to brood about. Politico offers a few choice quotes. We're trying to move on.
Eager to see Galleycat's new book review section, we thought it might herald a promising future for our troubled industry. But future is the last word that comes to mind when you read lines like, "Women love to read about other women." Little ones, we hear.
Director James Cameron defends Charles Pellegrino, the author of The Last Train to Hiroshima, a book so compromised by inaccuracies that Henry Holt has halted publication.
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.