Saturday, March 31, 2007
This is the first book I've read that references 9/11 in such a way that it is an element in every story. Each of these stories explore the way the events unsettled people, made already unsettled people worse, and how the subsequent wars didn't help. This isn't to say that the book leans on the events or that the storytelling only succeeds in this context. These stories, long though they are, succeed in their own right.
With the use of sometimes superfluous language derived from dramatic events or characters on the edge of sanity, Eisenberg crafts stories that are thoroughly modern. We are given modern situations and modern approaches to them, without relying on gimmicky or thoroughly comic storytelling. It is almost as if Eisenberg is giving us guidelines on how to write in these new and unsettled times.
Friday, March 30, 2007
Editor and Publisher: 'NY Times' Regrets Publishing Book Essay
But the most "striking resemblance" occurs in the opening lines of each essay, the editors' note revealed. Here is how it describes the problem.*
Schott's begins: "I have to admit I was flattered when, returning to my hotel room on the shores of Lake Como, a beautiful Italian chambermaid took my hand. . . . Escorting me to the edge of the crisply made bed, the chambermaid pointed to a book on my bedside table. 'Does this belong to you?' she asked. I looked down to see a dog-eared copy of Evelyn Waugh's 'Vile Bodies' open spread-eagle, its cracked spine facing out. 'Yes,' I replied. 'Sir, that is no way to treat a book!' she declared, stalking out of the room."
Fadiman's essay begins: "When I was 11 and my brother was 13, our parents took us to Europe. At the Hôtel d'Angleterre in Copenhagen, as he had done virtually every night of his literate life, Kim left a book facedown on the bedside table. The next afternoon, he returned to find the book closed, a piece of paper inserted to mark the page, and the following note, signed by the chambermaid, resting on its cover: "Sir, you must never do that to a book."
And, yes, NYTBR regrets the error and "would not have published" the essay if they knew about the other book. Too bad the readers of the NYTBR are more well-read than its editors.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
NEW YORK - Before Wednesday, few could have imagined the names "
Oprah Winfrey" and "Cormac McCarthy" appearing in the same sentence.
McCarthy, one of the country's most revered and press-shy authors — a man only slightly more accessible than J.D. Salinger — will give his first ever television interview, lured by the long arm of Winfrey, publishing's biggest hit-maker and a media superstar.
I have to say that I'm more than a little surprised by this. It's so ... dark. And he's really going to do her show.
It is good news for an author who deserves some attention and respect. I'm actually reading 'Blood Meridian' right now. And it's no lighter than 'The Road or 'Suttree' so far.
Friday, March 23, 2007
Titanic stars reunite to cross Revolutionary Road News Guardian Unlimited Books: "According to the Daily Variety, DiCaprio and Winslet, who earned respective Oscar nominations this year in Blood Diamond and Little Children, will star in the Revolutionary Road, based on Richard Yates's 1961 book about postwar disillusionment."
They're relentless, these guys. The sad fact is that there are only a few stories still floating around out there. I'd better ready a new batch.
So, yes, no love from even a local journal, Denver Quarterly, who have rejected my story, "A White Farmhouse."
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Tom Tancredo Wants Alberto Gonzales Deported - Wonkette
Saturday, March 17, 2007
I have just finished reading Toni Morrison's Beloved. This book has been on my to-be-read list for ages but has continually been put aside. I should note that I was debating reading Catch-22 at the same time, but I put it aside for this book. I suppose I shouldn't have been shocked that Beloved was such an amazing book. A Nobel and a Pulitzer should stand for something. I just didn't expect to be so compelled to read, to be so interested in the story, the human drama, that the subject matter, or the setting really, was only secondary.
I am not one to be turned off by unpleasant material (I tend to enjoy a little misery), but yet I shied away from particular books because I thought I wouldn't enjoy reading about the subject. I've learned now that if a book is good, the ancillary information, be it setting or the particular time period or whatever, is second to the actual story being told. A good book is a good book, no matter the subject matter.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
L.A. Times Book Prize nominees announced
Note: The article also has some good things to say about the future of the LA Times bookpages.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Friday, March 09, 2007
There's another debate about MFA programs going around that I'd love to weigh in on, because I myself go from ambivalent to adamant.
I'd also like to rant a little about that Libby trial, but you probably know what I'd say.
The good news is that I am currently reading Toni Morrison's Beloved and I am quite surprised by it.
So, just a little catch-up blogging at the end of the week.
Saturday, March 03, 2007
As for me I was brought up to treat books with respect, no leaving a book spreadeagle on the edge of the couch, no dogearing. Even making annotations in book has been difficult for me. Through two degrees I found it hard to write in books unless it was an already beat-up copy I found used.
I don't think books should just be left on a shelf, obviously, but there's a difference between an obviously loved and well-read book and one that has simply been abused. The reason, Mr. Book Trasher, that we treat books with respect and not put them in the washing machine is that we want to keep the book around to refer to, to read again, to share. That's hard to do if the book is holding up a table leg.
But then again, do what you want with your James Patterson books.
Friday, March 02, 2007
Think Progress » Coulter: I Would Talk About Edwards But “You Have To Go Into Rehab If You Use The Word ‘Faggot’”
While I'm not going to dismiss Munro's status as Canada's greatest-living-writer or Chekhov's heir or any of that, I don't think she deserves to have every little thing she writes published.
Much emphasis has been put on the fact that these are "stories." I understood that as being some way of differentiating them from being autobiography. Truthfully, they read like neither. They read like the stories you hear at a family reunion, or when your grandfather is on his third gin and tonic. They are interesting and often filled great detail, but often pointless.
I rank Munro up there among my favorite writers, but I was pretty disappointed by this. I wanted more. But that's what I get for having expectations.