Lena Dunham is shopping around a book proposal, and word has it that the manuscript isn’t going to go for any less than a cool million. According to a leaked email from her literary agent, the Girls creator is currently taking bids on the book, and will stop accepting publishing house suitors by the end of the day on Wednesday. The book is titledNot That Kind of Girl: Advice by Lena Dunham, and according to David Haglund at Slate, will include chapters on “losing her virginity, trying to eat well (detailed diet journal included), obsessing about death, and so on, along with tips about how to stay focused on work, how not to ruin a potential relationship, and . . . various ways in which older men continue to be condescending and sexist.”
Dinaw Mengestu, Junot Diaz, and journalist David Finkel are the three writers in this year’s class of MacArthur “genius grant” fellows. The $500,000 prize will be paid out to the twenty-three winners over the next five years with no strings attached. If you're not familiar with the winners, the Millions has a rundown of these new literary geniuses, and we highly recommend checking out Sam Anderson’s profile of Diaz in last week’s New York Times Magazine.
We’re deeply upset to learn that we missed Arnold Schwarzenegger’s surprise book signing at the McNally Jackson bookstore in Manhattan on Monday. The Terminator and former governor of California descended upon the store that afternoon to promote his autobiography, Total Recall, and by the end of the visit manager David Reeves told the Guardian that the store had sold out its entire stock.
Longtime New Yorker writer Calvin Trillin has won the Thurber Prize for American Humor for his book Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin: Forty Years of Funny Stuff. If you haven’t read Trillin before, an archive of his New Yorker writing is available here.
Paris Review editor Lorin Stein reflects on his early days climbing the ranks at Farar, Straus & Giroux: “I don’t think I distinguished myself, I think I just happened to be the secretary of the most powerful editor in the building.”
At Poetry Magazine, Abigail Deutsch wonders why people are so excited about Alien vs. Predator author Michael Robbins.
Tonight at 6:30pm at Art in General, Jill Magid reads from her new book Failed States, her meditation on "coincidence and poetics amid the barriers and bureaucracy of governmental power." The book was inspired, in part, by the artist's witnessing of a sniper attack in Texas.
Historian Eric J. Hobsbawm died at his home in London on Monday at the age of 95. A renowned historian, Hobsbawm was the author of several volumes on what he called “the long 19th century”: The Age of Revolution: 1789-1848, The Age of Capital: 1848-1875, and The Age of Empire: 1874-1914. Hobsbawm became a dedicated Communist while in Germany during the waning days of the Weimar Republic (he was kicked out of the country for passing out party fliers after Hitler’s rise to power) and went on to do academic work in 19th-century labor movements, as well as "what he called the ‘pre-political’ resistance of bandits, millenarians, and urban rioters in early capitalist societies." He also worked briefly as a jazz critic, and was a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books.
Is serialized fiction the future of the e-book? In the past month, Amazon has unveiled Kindle Serials, Byliner has begun serializing fiction, and now a former publisher of McSweeney’s is rolling out what may be the first iPhone and iPad-specific novel. The Silent History,which debuted this week, is a “serialized, exploratory” novel that features “interactive, user-generated elements” and is meant to be downloaded every day in installments. It tells the story of “a generation of unusual children.”
Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance: A look at the five stages of grief following the publication of one’s book.
Tonight at Artist Space, there’s a book launch and reading for Chris Kraus’s new novel, Summer of Hate. Kraus will be accompanied by actor Jim Fletcher and musician Jean-Jacques Meunier.
At the Atlantic, Ben Nugent argues for the music-world equivalent of the Iowa Writers' Workshop.
The indie press Two Dollar Radio has just put out the first issue of their new biannual literary journal, Frequencies, featuring author Joshua Cohen on the origins of open source, an essay on memory by Blake Butler with photographs by Morgan Kendall, an interview with Anne Carson, and more.
Arthur Ochs Sulzberger
Norton editor Matt Weiland has purchased Blake Bailey’s forthcoming biography of Philip Roth, which is tentatively titled Philip Roth: The Biography. Roth has granted Bailey full access to his archives and papers, and has already sat for a series of interviews. This isn’t the only project that Bailey is working on, either: Weiland recently purchased Bailey’s memoir, The Splendid Things We Planned, and it’s set to come out with Norton in 2014.
Last month, the New York Times called attention to the growing industry of pay-for-play book reviews (a phenomenon that’s also been called “sock puppetry”) and the explosion of fraud in online reviewing. In case you were wondering how these companies recruit, here’s theanswer in the form of a Craigslist ad, courtesy of Moby Lives. “Wanted — literate, artful writers who can post five-star reviews of some books on amazon.com. Pay is $15 firm for 50 to 100 words of high praise with some specifics about the book that will appeal to potential readers.”
Poet Gary Snyder has been awarded the $100,000 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. Snyder began his career as a West Coast beat poet, and most recently published Back on the Fire, a book of essays about the ecological effects of controlled fires in California. He’s currently a professor at University of California-Davis.
The Miami Book Fair International has announced the full line-up for the seven-day-long festival. With more than three hundred participants, we’re glad the Miami New Times has taken the time to alphabetize the list.
New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger died last weekend at the age of eighty-six. Sulzberger led the paper for thirty-four years, radically expanded its reach and influence, and has the final honor of earning the longest NYT obit we’ve ever seen.
David Foster Wallace’s drafts, scribblings and outlines for The Pale King are now available for public perusal at the Harry Ranson Center at the University of Texas, Austin.