Amelia Gray and Etgar Keret at the Los Angeles Times Festival of the Book
The New York state education commission scrapped a question on their middle school standardized English exam last week after widespread complaints that the question—a fable about a talking pineapple that challenged a hare to a race—made no sense. This week, the story's author, writer Daniel Pinkwater took to the Daily News to respond to the incident. "You bet I sold out," Pinkwater wrote an eighth grader who emailed him to complain. "Not to the Department of Education, but to the publisher of tests, useless programmed reading materials, and similar junk... You'd do the same thing if you were a writer, and didn't know where your next pineapple was coming from."
When David Markson died, his personal library was (in)famously donated to the Strand bookstore, where it was sold off in pieces. Now, bits of it are being reassembled in Reading Markson, a new blog dedicated to recording and interpreting the marginalia in Markson's books.
The AP Stylebook has yielded and accepted the modern usage of "hopefully" as correct. Prior to this, the only accepted meaning of the word was "in a hopeful manner."
It takes fifty-six hours to listen to the entire Infinite Jest audiobook, and that's not including footnotes. To resolve the issue of how to deal with the 388 footnotes, Hachette decided to use a different actor's voice to indicate when a note was included within the text. "It was the hardest book I ever had to narrate... it was maddening, engaging, enlightening, frustrating and entertaining," narrator Sean Pratt said of the experience.
In honor of the two hundredth anniversary of the publication of Grimm's Fairy Tales, Germany is re-tooling a scenic tourist route from Frankfurt to Bremen as Fairy Tale Road: "Along its route, visitors can stay (in some style) in the very room from which Rapunzel was depicted as letting her hair down, and sleep in the tower where Sleeping Beauty supposedly pricked her finger."
Over four hundred writers participated in the Los Angeles Times's Festival of Books this weekend, which featured dozens of panels and sessions across the USC campus. Chad Harbach, Mona Simpson, Etgar Keret and others addressed everything from dealing with a successful novel to playfulness in fiction to crime and food writing. Full coverage of the events is up at the LAT's books blog.