Philip Roth has won the 2011 Man Booker International Prize. One of the prize's judges, Carmen Callil, was so underwhelmed by Roth’s work that she quit the judges' panel after the award was announced, saying that the novelist “goes on and on and on about the same subject in almost every single book. It's as though he's sitting on your face and you can't breathe."
Chris Adrian, photo by Gus Elliott.
Newt Gingrich has become a prolific book critic, penning more than one-hundred-and-fifty reviews in the past decade or so, but you won’t find them in the mainstream papers: He has opted to post his opinions at Amazon.com. At Slate, Dave Weigel attempts to divine Gingrich’s politics from these Amazon reviews. As Weigel writes, the 2012 presidential candidate’s taste for thriller fiction and pop-science is more revealing than the unsurprising party-line political books he likes: “It might not make sense when you hear Gingrich warning of the danger of electro-magnetic pulse attacks or making analogies between World War II and multiple current conflicts. It makes more sense when you see what fiction he reads.”
This year, Apple is exhibiting at BookExpo America for the first time.
The Who’s guitarist Pete Townshend is writing a memoir, to be published by Harper. Townshend says that writing is far more enjoyable for him than playing music is (which may explain all that guitar smashing), adding: “The year ahead spent writing will . . . trigger the last vital bit of ‘growing up’ required by the now pensionable fellow who once wrote I hope I die before I get old. I want to write a book that is enjoyable to read, but above all, I want it to be honest.”
Tonight at the Russian Samovar, the FSG reading series continues with novelist Chris Adrian, author of the new novel The Great Night, and short story writer Amelia Gray, who recently signed a deal with the publisher.
We’ve been consistently impressed by the White Review, a new journal of politics, literature, and the arts, which recently published its first print issue and publishes great web-only articles. One must-read from their online issue: Filmmaker Alison Klayman, who is working on a documentary called Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry, talks about the Chinese artist’s work and his recent arrest.