Polarizing French author Michel Houellebecq has won the Prix Goncourt for his fifth novel, La carte et le territoire, though the book was denounced earlier this year by Goncourt Academy member Tahar Ben Jelloun. In an interview in the most recent Paris Review, Houellebecq says of his critics: "They hate me more than I hate them. What I do reproach them for isn’t bad reviews. It is that they talk about things having nothing to do with my books . . . they caricature me so that I’ve become a symbol of so many unpleasant things—cynicism, nihilism, misogyny."
This year, the words staycation and microblogging were added to the Oxford English Dictionary, but what about the words that are on their way out? The Guardian tallies some of the terms that have fallen out of favor (aeipathy and welmish), and profiles the "lexicographical social workers" that try to rescue them.
Tech guru David Pogue diagnoses the trouble with e-readers (finally!), and offers some reassuring words: "Television didn’t kill radio as everyone expected. E-mail didn’t wipe out paper mail, either; the paperless office may never arrive. For the same reason, e-books won’t kill paper books." Do we hear a collective sigh of relief? For those who haven't heard the good news, Pogue offers some tips for more satisfying e-reading.
When Paul Harding's debut novel, Tinkers, won the Pulitzer Prize this spring, it became an indie-publishing success story: The book was published by the indie imprint Bellevue Literary Press for a reported advance of $1,000, and was the first small-press book to win the Pulitzer since 1981's A Confederacy of Dunces. If you're in Brooklyn tonight, you can see Harding read his work at BookCourt.