Patrick DeWitt

Odds are on Julian Barnes to win the Man Booker Prize this year for his novel, The Sense of an Ending. But we’re betting on dark horse candidate Patrick DeWitt; though he’s facing steep 8-to-1 odds, we thought his neo-Western The Sisters Brothers was dark, hilarious, and oddly heartfelt.

Note to novelists: Don’t pitch your book this week.

Former Slate media critic Jack Shafer has found a new home at Reuters, where he’ll join Felix Salmon in the Opinion section. Salmon, meanwhile, just launched Counterparties, a curated news site that lets readers consume Salmon’s news diet by culling the best articles from his Twitter and Google reader feeds.

For those curious about the path that Chad Harbach’s debut novel, The Art of Fielding (which comes out today), took from MFA classroom, to splashy six-figure book deal, to breathlessly positive review in the New York Times, fellow n+1 editor Keith Gessen (who received similar treatment when his debut novel was published in 2008) has all the details in a new Vanity Fair e-book, How a Book Is Born. Not surprisingly, the press release reports that “at each step of the way several vivid characters fought tooth and nail to ensure the book’s survival,” including a “passionate” agent, a “renowned” editor, and a “tireless” designer. All in all, just a bunch of swell guys, but we wonder if the book’s early praise and hype will elicit a Franzenfreude-style backlash or just high-fives all around.

At the Rumpus, Brian Spears tries to make sense of the “death and resurrection” of BlazeVox, and the debate over the indie press’s business practices.

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