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In preparation for the upcoming election: How Fox News created a new culture of idiots. I couldn’t resist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, Elie Wiesel to write book with Barack Obama. Just sayin’.

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PureWow Releases Books & Authors Edition

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In response to that New Yorker post from last week, here’s one against “genre” – the classification, not the writing.

Krystal’s argument to box genre and elevate literary fiction is like some demented, literary version of heteronormativity. While of course we can and likely should divide novels into commercial and noncommercial, that dividing line, because the actual book marketplace is drowning in silly, wand-waving, superpowered teenage trampires, is certainly not to be painted down between “genre” at large and the whiny, alienated, modernist rehash that is considered the “quality novel.”

Still not finished arguing about genre? There’s more from the Ploughshares archive here and further arguments against pigeonholing Ursula Le Guin and others.

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The truth behind Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer beating out Catch 22, Revolutionary Road, and Franny and Zooey for the 1962 National Book Award.

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I’m embarrassed to admit that Black Swan Green has been sitting on my shelf – on different shelves at different times – since it first came out in paperback; I think I was in college then? I still haven’t read it. I guess I’ll have to read it to understand why we skipped over The Perks of Being a Wallflower as the (once-)new Catcher in the Rye. Scoff if you must what with the TPoBaW overkill happening right now, but that book has been phenomenal since 1999, seven years before BSG.

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Her version of “Psalm 52” uses rhyme— that barbarous, jangly departure from classical dignity—as part of an angry, urgent music. Interestingly, “Psalm 52” denounces those who are great and prominent, but false: a phenomenon that the Countess of Pembroke was well placed to observe.

A fascinating look at Mary Sidney Herbert’s translation of “Psalm 52.”

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On my to-read list for the week is “The Missing Bride,” a short story completed by the writers of The Morning News.

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AM: You have a better attitude here in the UK I think. Serious women writers have a better time – and they can be funny. I seem to have got into trouble in the US for writing a big book, a funny book, a violent book. A book about sex. And race. A book about politics.
JW: You shouldn’t have thrown it all in together. The Great American Novel has to be by Tom Wolfe or Philip Roth doesn’t it?

A charming interview conducted by Jeanette Winterson with A.M. Homes.

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This thing about not being able to use “hobbit” is the worst since the whole Faulkner/Sony thing.

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As the prize formerly known as the Orange continues its hunt for a headline sponsor, it’s interesting to see that Canada and Australia have both just launched women-only literary prizes.

But how many “special” prizes does one gender need? I fear the possibility of getting WAY too carried away with this.

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I think Full Stop‘s Reading a Book by its Cover series is adorable, and this one is by far my favorite (so far): in honor of Halloween, style yourself using inspiration from your favorite Stephen King book.

Carrie is my favorite.

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Leslie Absher’s heart-wrenching story of coming to terms with, of all things, Richard Yates.

Each time Yates shuffled into Roads that summer, I avoided making eye contact. Why didn’t he get help, join AA? My aversion may have been due to a grandparent who seemed to drink too much. Or maybe it came from my teen years when I watched my mother suffer protracted chemotherapy and radiation treatments: she too had entered rooms haggard and weary. Maybe it was just too painful to witness Yates in decay. Whatever the reason, I judged him.

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What exactly is meant when a book is described as “haunting”? Also from the Ploughshares archive, Andrew Ladd makes a startling observation:

What is it about book critics and the heebie-jeebies? Show most reviewers a pulpy horror story and they’ll turn up their noses with a sniff about genre fiction; “scary” is a dirty word in literature. But show those same critics a book about teenage girls discovering sexuality, and suddenly they’re falling all over themselves to call it “haunting.”

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Funny author responses to the film adaptations of their work.

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After more than twenty years of searching, a Navy archaeologist believes he has found the cave on San Nicolas Island occupied by The Lone Woman—better known to many as the protagonist of Scott O’Dell’s 1960 classic, Island of the Blue Dolphins. The Newberry Medal–winner was based on the true story of a Native American woman left behind when the rest of the Nicoleño tribe was evacuated from the channel islands by missionaries after the population was decimated by Russian fur traders; one story has it she returned to the island to search for her missing child.

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The next book I put out is basically going to be a collection of short stories. I knew I had a kid coming along and my time was going to be fragmented. So I had to break it to my publisher—it’s not a graphic novel, it’s not an issue-oriented memoir, there’s no connective tissue to sell this whole collection with. Sorry! But as I started working on it, my present concerns and circumstances started to find their way in. In a totally subconcious way, it seems like it’s headed toward being a book about parental anxiety.

A Paris Review interview with Adrian Tomine on his comics as well as his illustrations – awesome!

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Also awesome:

Michael Fassbender and Colin Firth go together like Thomas Wolfe and Max Perkins? Apparently so, as the two beloved thespians will play those roles, respectively, in “Genius,” a new drama about the famed author and his equally famed editor.

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Joyce Carol Oates is a genius on Twitter, too.

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An amusing post in which Liam Callanan, author of The Cloud Atlas, discusses the impact the film adaptation of Cloud Atlas has had on him.

5. Many people write to say that they liked my novel better, and not just because I tacked a definite article on the front of the title.
6. Other people write to say they like Cloud Atlas better, which kills me because I knew I should have cut that The, but it looked so pretty.