“Two and a half years ago, the critic and editor John Freeman abruptly resigned his post as editor in chief of Granta, the tweedy British literary magazine that he’d spent several years remaking for a 21st-century readership. … Finally, last summer, Freeman announced the more long-term venture everyone was waiting for: Freeman’s, a Granta-like literary magazine-meets-anthology that he would publish regularly in partnership with Grove Atlantic.” The first issue arrives next week.
“Eight titles have been put together for the [six-week] promotion, each showcasing extracts from two Dahl books, including Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Families, with tasters of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Fantastic Mr Fox, and Roald Dahl’s Magical Mischief, extracting George’s Marvellous Medicine and Matilda.”
The fact that there is a specific author and editor, and that the SEP has become so important to philosophy, helps make all of this easier. Any errors reflect poorly on the contributors, and someone who spots a slip-up can talk to a real person about it—neither of which is true with Wikipedia. And if an author is slow or unwilling to respond, the editorial board will transfer his or her responsibilities to a brisker philosopher.
Laura Miller: “Much of a writer’s rep emerges informally, in the conversations that writers, readers, and critics have amongst themselves. Whether another writer is spoken of respectfully, whether you get the impression that ‘everyone’ is reading his or her new book enthusiastically, or how well people think he or she comes across in interviews – these and a dozen other imponderable factors constitute a reputation during a writer’s lifetime, particularly in the early part of a career. This stuff – let’s call it litchat – may be ephemeral, but it absolutely shapes the formal reception of a writer’s work.”
In an essay to make a reader pound the table in either relieved agreement (“Finally someone said it!”) or incredulous vexation, Roxana Robinson argues that the book “lacks a crucial component of great fiction: compassion. … The only real emotion in Lolita derives from Nabokov’s embitterment, and its expression lies in his interior laughter.”
“If I said, ‘Hey your syntax is a little ‘wonky,” they didn’t know what syntax was. And this makes it kind of hard to discuss writing if you don’t have the vocabulary of the very elements of your work – which is how the English language is put together, and what constitutes a sentence and a non-sentence and so on. And they were really afraid of semicolons! The semicolon struck terror into the hearts of many grown women.”
As opposed to the hard-bitten, urban lowlife milieu of male writers such as Raymond Chandler and Mickey Spillane, “the terror is lurking either in the home, or just outside of it, in the periphery. It makes everything seem unreliable … Even relationships that are supposed to be bedrocks, like marriage, like family, like friendship, or even in some degree, the workplace.”
“Three thousand’s not bad.”
“Pokryszka, 38, is a poet, painter, cartoonist and ceramicist. She also has a degree in sculpting. At home in Poland, she ran her own gallery, taught art and her work sold well. In 2008, aged 31, she moved to London, she says, to broaden her horizons and develop her art. But she also needed to earn a living. She had no relevant references, no English, ‘Just “hi” and “bye”,’ she smiles. ‘I was very happy I found a job.'”
And much more ebook data, including: “Some books glue readers to the page with completion rates at 70 to 90 percent—well above the norm — whereas, for other books, it might be 20 to 40 percent. Readers are generally more likely to finish a plot-driven genre novel than they are a literary one.”
The progenitor of this novel, its faux leather back cover attests in urine-yellow type (a hue and liquid one finds in the narrative as well), “is an independent author of idiosyncratic fiction. His work has been published under multiple pseudonyms. Including this one.” Adrian Jones Pearson. He is on Facebook, of course.
“The oldest Egyptian leather manuscript has been found in the shelves of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, where it was stored and forgotten for more than 70 years. Dating from the late Old Kingdom to the early Middle Kingdom (2300-2000 B.C.), the roll measures about 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) and is filled with texts and colorful drawings of the finest quality.”
From a family-placed obituary in Maine that dealt openly with the deceased’s heroin addiction and the closure of the state clinic that was treating her (it was noticed nationwide), to the news obituaries (now less strait-laced) that run in big-city papers, the genre is getting multiple makeovers.
“If garden-variety similes serve to equate two things, these lopsided comparisons force one term to exert twice the gravitational pull of the other. Call them subsumptive analogies. Condescension is usually baked right in.”
“The nominated works, which were announced on Wednesday, tackle a diverse array of subjects, and include a book that explores the rich inner lives of octopuses; a deeply researched account of the outpouring of grief that followed the assassination of Abraham Lincoln; and a natural and cultural history of rain that, according to one critic, ‘will make a rain fanatic out of anyone.'”
Well, in America, we mean. “All told, 10 of his books have been published in the U.S. since the Nobel announcement last October. English translations of six more novels are due later this year and in 2016.” Here’s a Q&A with the 70-year-old French author.
Marlon James, Tom McCarthy, Chigozie Obioma, Sunjeev Sahota, Anne Tyler and Hanya Yanagihara are the six authors shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2015.
Overall, perhaps people aren’t visiting libraries as much because their relationship to the printed word, still a library’s core offering, is dramatically changing.
“In its first study on author income since 2009, the Authors Guild delivers some jarring, if unsurprising, data. The survey, which will be released next week, indicates, among other things, that the majority of authors would be living below the Federal Poverty Level if they relied solely on income from their writing.”
The National Book Award winner Lila didn’t make the finals. But Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life is there, as are titles by fellow American Anne Tyler, Britons Tom McCarthy and Sunjeev Sahota, Jamaican Marlon James, and Nigerian Chigozie Obioma.”
“The data paint a complex portrait of disruption and aspiration. There are relatively active constituents who hope libraries will maintain valuable legacy functions such as lending printed books. At the same time, there are those who support the idea that libraries should adapt to a world where more and more information lives in digital form, accessible anytime and anywhere.”
“The money it gets from the asset sale to Fox will give National Geographic a potentially more stable foundation. It will swell the society’s endowment to more than $1 billion and provide the cash flow for it to double its annual spending on philanthropic activities in research and exploration.”
Scott Timberg: “Since his lifetime achievement citation from the National Book Awards in 2003 – which saw some resistance from the literary world that is harder to imagine now – he … [is] now a solid citizen in the literary world, which seems to satisfy King and also make the literary establishment feel populist. It’s a transition that’s hard to imagine bestselling peers like Dean Koontz or Jackie Collins making.”
John McPhee: Words are too easy to play on. When I joined The New Yorker, in 1965, I left puns behind. Not that I have never suffered a relapse. In the nineteen-seventies, I turned in a manuscript containing a pun so fetid I can’t remember it. My editor then was Robert Bingham, who said, “We should take that out.”
“The 12 books they’ve chosen comprise the most intriguing and wonderfully unexpected list in the prize’s 22-year-history, an enticing mix of established names and emerging talent, and clear affirmation for the work being done by this country’s independent publishers.”
“We continue to be transfixed by upper-crust lifestyles in a primitive, almost unconscious way, equally covetous and condemning of all that glitters, just out of reach. What is absent, it seems to me, from our sense of the wealthy, is an understanding of their flesh-and-bloodness—of the fact that they, like Shylock, bleed when they are pricked and have miseries peculiar to them, against which immunity cannot be bought.”
“On one hand, Google has scanned an impressive thirty million volumes, putting it in a league with the world’s larger libraries (the library of Congress has around thirty-seven million books). That is a serious accomplishment. But while the corpus is impressive, most of it remains inaccessible.”
In response to the controversy over his decision to include “Yi-Fen Chou’s” poem in the Best American Poetry anthology even after discovering that Yi-Fen Chou was actually a pen name that a white poet named Michael Derrick Hudson used in order to get published, Alexie admitted that, to him, dumping the poem would have undermined his decision to use racial bias in his selection process. Excluding the poem, he said, “would have cast doubt on every poem I have chosen for BAP. It would have implied that I chose poems based only on identity.”
Hua Hsu on the Yi-Fen Chou/Best American Poetry affair (which he calls “Orientalist profiteering”): “It makes a mockery of whatever ‘life story of a Chinese American poet’ the name Chou might have stood in for. It ridicules the ambient self-doubt that trails most people from the margins who enter into spaces where they were never encouraged to belong. As though it were all just a game, meant to be gamed.”
The district paid Reading Horizons $1.2 million for a new reading curriculum for kindergarten through third grade. When teachers got the books, they found an illustration of an American Indian girl titled “Nieko the Hunting Girl,” and another with a black girl called “Lazy Lucy.” The books also referenced Christopher Columbus’ discovery of America, a historical milestone no longer taught in many schools.