Tom McCarthy's desktop.
Frank Miller, the author of numerous Marvel comic books and the director of “Sin City,” recently called participants in the OWS movement “a pack of louts” and “pond scum.” Some were outraged, but Rick Moody says it’s no surprise—Miller’s outburst is part of a long history of cinematic propaganda.
Eighteen dioceses of the Catholic Church are putting German publishing giant Weltbild up for sale after the revelation that it was selling "soft porn."
Edan Lepucki gives eight compelling reasons for why she doesn’t want to self-publish.
The New York Times has announced its 11th Arts & Leisure Weekend, which will take place January 5 through 8 and will feature authors Patricia Cornwell and Eroll Morris.
Historian Niall Ferguson has threatened to sue the London Review of Books for a scathing write-up by Pankaj Mishra accusing Ferguson of penning “white people’s histories” that betray “a mood, at once swaggering, frustrated, vengeful and despairing, among men of a certain age, class and education on the Upper East Side and the West End.”
The Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology has just added a hundred pages of poetry from all over the world.
Never mind his desk: Tom McCarthy takes The Guardian on a tour of his desktop. “I don't have a desktop image,” he explains. “It's best to write against nothing, rather than something. Just having white, pure white, is seductive. Anyone who's ever pissed on snow will understand this.”
The mysteriously successful Kindle Fire.
With the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible and the international success of Steig Larsson, the Guardian declares 2011 the “year of the translator,” and postulates that we’re closer than ever before to embarking upon a universal language.
According to Amazon, Kindle sales have quadrupled this year over last... but since the company won’t release any numbers, there’s no way of knowing how many were sold.
In other publications: Cartoonist Daniel Clowes makes (or more precisely, draws) the cover of the New Yorker; and The Nation’s Fall Books issue is out, with pieces by William Deresiewicz, Vivian Gornick, and Jennifer Szalai.
Both parts of PBS’s Woody Allen documentary are now available to watch online.
Tonight Dissent and the Jacobin are hosting a panel on the future of Occupy Wall Street:
"On the two-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, the 99 percent poured into the streets for a massive day of protest against glaring inequalities of wealth and political power. Following nationally coordinated police raids on protest camps, occupiers face new choices about the direction of OWS. What next? On Monday, November 28, we will discuss how social movements with diverse tactics, needs, and goals grow and gain power in the face of repression.
The conversation will feature Frances Fox Piven, an activist and scholar of social movements at The Graduate Center, City University of New York; Liza Featherstone, journalist and author of Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Workers’ Rights at Wal-Mart; Nikil Saval, associate editor of n+1 and labor activist; Michael Hirsch, labor journalist and editorial board member of New Politics; and Dorian Warren, a fellow at the Roosevelt institute and professor of political science at Columbia University."
Mark Z. Danielewski
Ewan McGregor will play the middle son in HBO’s forthcoming adaptation of Johnathan Franzen’s novel The Corrections.
In what Moby Lives reads as an “apparent slap at Amazon,” Penguin has annoucned that it will no longer release its new titles through OverDrive, “the major distributor of ebooks to most libraries... including the Kindle Lending Library.”
The Paris Review now sells onesies (as in, literary baby apparel).
The two-days-before-Thanksgiving hashtag of the moment is #literaryturducken, which mashes up “not one, not two, but three classic works into one, in the spirit of the turkey+duck+chicken creole classic,” Doubleday explains. Our favorite comes from UC Press Food and Wine: “The Savage Detectives Never Let Me Go To The Lighthouse.”
Mark Z. Danielewski has reportedly gotten a million-dollar advance from Pantheon for the first ten books of his planned twenty-seven volume serial novel, The Familiar. According to Danielewski’s contract, a new installment will be published every three months starting in 2014.
Sebald’s unpublished poetry sees the light of publication: “Preoccupied with memory, desire and the ghostliness of objects”, these poems “contain many of the themes that would obsess Sebald throughout his writing life.”
A rally at UC Davis
The UC Davis English Department has backed a statement calling for the chancellor’s resignation after last week’s pepper spraying and for "a policy that will end the practice of forcibly removing non-violent student, faculty, staff, and community protesters by police on the UC Davis campus."
A new issue of the Paris Review is out, featuring interviews with Jeff Eugenides and Alan Hollinghurst, and fiction by Clarence Lispector, Roberto Bolaņo, and Adam Wilson, among other goodies.
Errol Morris (who is currently filming a movie about the JFK assassination) talks with Stephen King (who just released a novel about the JFK assassination). For more on Morris (and another meeting of the minds), see the Millions’ “Battle of the Heavyweights: Errol Morris vs. Susan Sontag.”
Speaking of battles, at an event organized by Melville House called “Not-the-Booker,” members of the audience wondered if print reviews were becoming too “bland” to compete with the more “creative” and “controversial” books coverage found in blogs.
One of Julian Montague’s recent book cover selections.
Europeans are slow to jump on the e-reader bandwagon.
Norway’s crime writers consider how their attitudes towards crime fiction have changed in the wake of the Oslo massacre.
What would you read in an Occupy Wall Street reading group? We’re taking suggestions on our twitter feed with the hash-tag, #owsbookclub.
Tonight at the New York Public Library, Joan Didion talks to author Sloane Crosley about Didion’s latest memoir, Blue Nights.
Designer Julian Montague’s book cover a day website should be your new go-to procrastination page.
A website called Fiction Circus is leaning on YouTube to create a “fiction” category for its videos. From their site: “You will note that while Google has made serious, extremely well-organized attempts to purchase and control all out-of-print literature and create a massive online digital library, they have not bothered to create a ‘literature’ category for YouTube, revealing once again that they would be terrible shepherds for the human inheritance of written knowledge.”
Keith Gessen getting arrested.
Readers! Our Dec/Jan issue is now online. Check out the table of contents, then rush out and buy an issue!
Jenny Diski does not care about crime writer Lindsay Ashford's claim that Jane Austen may have died of arsenic poisoning.
Jesmyn Ward, Stephen Greenblatt, and Nikky Finney won National Book awards for fiction, non-fiction and poetry, respectively. Samples of their books are available here.
What can you learn about a small, turn-of-the-century town from library ledgers? At Slate, John Plotz writes about a surprisingly comprehensive database that tracks the borrowing records of the Muncie Public Library between 1891 and 1902.
Twenty-three journalists have been arrested while covering the Occupy Wall Street protests, including reporters from Vanity Fair, the New York Daily News, the Associated Press and NPR. (A complete list is being compiled online by Josh Stearns). Dozens of others were also arrested while attempting to delay the opening of the Stock Exchange on Thursday, as well as Sarah Leonard and n+1 editor Keith Gessen, who recently wrote about the movement for the London Review of Books.
“All abuse and tyranny on the part of the employers must stop; Employees must be permitted the use of sufficient electric light,” and electric fans must be installed in warm weather: three of the demands from the first publishing strike in America, which took place in 1934 at the Macaulay Company publishing house.
Last week, Jonathan Lethem, who recently likened the literary world to high school, posted a piece in the Los Angeles Review of Books detailing his frustration over James Woods’s mixed review of The Fortress of Solitude. Now, The Millions has published a brief history of author dust-ups—and lower down, in the comments section, Woods responds to Lethem’s accusations.
Ford's Theater, in Washington, D.C.
The National Book Awards took place last night at Cipriani Wall Street, just a few blocks from one of today's protests.
Despite inaccuracies with names, places, and events (not to mention one big conflict of interest) Bill O’Reilly’s book Killing Lincoln is for sale in the Ford’s Theater Society gift shop.
Spotted in the Twitterverse: “So it turns out that Shakespeare’s stage direction 'Exit, pursued by a bear' was written for a real polar bear.”
Over at the Believer, Claire Hamilton and Jon Cotner, co-author of Ten Walks/Two Talks, have assembled a slide show that documents their eight-mile walk across Fire Island. Cotner, a connoisseur of both walking tours and books, proves to be funny, chatty, and deeply aware of his surroundings.
Author Ann Patchett opens Parnassus Books, Nashville’s newest indie bookstore.
For anywhere from $99 to $549 a pop, Penguin’s “genre-fiction community” Book Country, will allow writers to self-publish through Penguin.
An eerily empty Zuccotti Park on Tuesday morning.
Did New York City police destroy some of the People’s Library when they raided Zuccotti Park early Tuesday morning? Protesters think so; but the city insists that the 5,554 books (at least some of them) are safely being stored at the 57th Street Sanitation Garage. Meanwhile, writers are planning to convene in the park at 6 p.m. tonight to rebuild the library.
Novelist Ben Ehrenreich compiles a Spotify playlist of the songs he listened to while writing his novel Ether.
Salman Rushdie gripes on Twitter about Facebook deactivating his account for using the name on his passport: Ahmed Rushdie.
The Los Angeles Times publishes its first e-book, an expanded version of staffer Christopher Goffard's story about a controversial assault case involving a Las Vegas banker.
Bloomberg makes the case that Borders didn’t go bankrupt because it lost customers at a local level; it went bankrupt because at the corporate level, “for the past decade and a half, Borders seems to have been in the business of making mistakes.”
HarperCollins employees are holding a rally tomorrow to align themselves with Occupy Wall Street and fight cuts from parent company News Corp. According to a flier spotted in New York: "Management wants to eliminate guaranteed wage increases, double the cost of health benefits and eviscerate layoff and seniority protection."
Editor and critic Parul Seghal has left Publishers Weekly to become an associate editor for NPR.
"If you’re going to hit somebody, hit a professor”—poet Geoffery G. O'Brien defends Occupy Cal during a confrontation between police and UC Berkeley students. As O'Brien reports: "The cop said, ‘you want some?’ It was a rhetorical question, and I was hit viciously in the ribs and went to the ground.”
Tonight at The Tank in Manhattan, author Jeff Sharlet will be joined by performance artist Reverend Billy (Bill Talen) to discuss Occupy Wall Street, Talen’s new book The Reverend Billy Project, and Sharlet’s latest book, Sweet Heaven When I Die.
In an interview with the Browser, New Yorker music critic Alex Ross calls music writing a “very inexact and idiosyncratic science.” He is working on his third book, Wagnerism, about the famous composer, so it is not surprising that he includes Nietzsche’s late work The Case of Wagner among his top five books about music. A more surprising favorite: Wilfred Mellers’s Music in a New Found Land.
Chinua Achebe has turned down a Nigerian national honor for the second time in eight years, saying that the government remains too corrupt for him to accept the award.
FSG Originals and BOMB Magazine are teaming up for something called Something Out of Something, a design contest that invites participants to come up with images inspired by Israeli short story writer and filmmaker Etgar Keret. The winner will get $500 and will be featured in one of Keret’s stories or films.