Robert Lowell

The New Yorker’s Book Bench has posted a translation of “King Goldenlocks,” one of the almost 500 Bavarian fairy tales recently found in Germany.

No book deal, no problem: With financial support from their parents, “hundreds of children and teenagers” are writing and self-publishing their own books, reports the The New York Times.

Soon, we’ll be able to roll e-readers up like newspapers.

The American Society of Magazine Editors has named its finalists for the 2012 National Magazine Awards. While there are some great picks—David Grann, Aleksander Hemon, and John Jeremiah Sullivan all got well-deserved nods—women are conspicuously absent from the Reporting, Features, Profiles, Essays, and Columns categories. As in, they’re missing completely. Women are, however, well represented in the Public Interest category, nabbing four out of five of the nominations. At ThinkProgress, Alyssa Rosenberg wonders why. In other ASME news, Vice and Fader both received their first-ever nominations.

After fifty weeks and four hundred essays and reviews, The Los Angeles Review of Books announces plans to launch its new website on April 18.

ABEBooks has set up a dating service for book readers—or, ahem, “lonely lovers of literature.” According to the site, the new matchmaking feature, called BiblioCupid, uses a “specially designed love algorithm that matches bibliophiles according to their purchases on AbeBooks.” During its six-month trial period, it has, according to promotional materials, produced two marriages.

Robert Lowell’s former Upper West Side apartment is on the market for 5,000.


Last night, at a standing-room-only launch party for the revived Baffler, we heard its new editor in chief John Summers talk about how he inherited the magazine from founder Thomas Frank, and how he really, really will end the magazine’s history of fading in and out of print (with some help from its new distributor, MIT Press). Chris Lehmann, an old Baffler hand and current contributing editor (also an editor of Bookforum), talked about the evolution of the magazine from its Chicago days in the ’90s, noting how the Baffler’s trademark salvos against the status quo are still relevant, because complacent Washington thinkers often write with a mind to “move the debate one millimeter to the right or to the left, or more likely, towards the center, or else they’ll be considered ‘out of the debate.’” Anthropologist and OWS-architect David Graeber wondered why we have yet to invent flying cars and robot housecleaners, concluding that bureaucracy is a great hindrance to technological innovation—and that true technological breakthroughs are anti-capitalist (he ended his talk by calling for a Leftist mission to Mars). And Barbara Ehrenreich dispelled the notion that animals are Man’s Best Friend (though she’s an advocate of animal rights), detailing a horrific, and at times hilarious, catalog of unprovoked animal on human attacks—“12,000 years of human dominance has not gone unnoticed,” she quipped. To read the details, you’ll have to subscribe. In the meantime, read Thomas Franks’s “Too Smart to Fail: Notes on an Age of Folly.”

According to Reuters, the Justice Department is nearing a settlement with Apple and five of the six big publishers who have been accused of “colluding to push up electronic book prices.” The decision, according to one source, will benefit companies that want to buy e-books on the “wholesale model” and then sell them for whatever price they like. In other words, it will benefit Amazon.

Variety reports that Ashton Kutcher will play Steve Jobs in the biopic Jobs, which will portray his transformation “from wayward hippie to co-founder of Apple.”

The Awl has an entertaining guide to writing the “great American novel,” although its most persuasive advice concerns what not to do. For instance, “Move out of Brooklyn.” And: “Stop drinking and doing so much coke.”

Lynne Tillman, the author of Someday This Will Be Funny, has stepped down from her position as Fence’s fiction editor. According to the literary magazine’s editor, Rebecca Wolff, the fiction in future issues will be overseen by a series of guest editors, starting with Atmospheric Disturbances author Rivka Galchen.

Wayne Koestenbaum reviews Eduard Leve’s visionary self-portrait.


Small Demons, the new website that obsessively maps out cultural allusions found in books, has completed its most challenging project yet: David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest. The cataloging is extensive, charting the book’s references to hundreds of people (from Benedict Arnold to Carl Sagan to the Brady Bunch’s Eve Plumb), tobacco and drugs, TV shows (Hawaii Five-O), food and drinks (the Big Mac), cars, weapons, etc. Our favorite category is "Everything Else," which features Visine, Frisbees, Depends, and Hefty Bags. What makes Small Demons addictive is that you can click on any of these items and find out what other authors have mentioned them. Click on Krazy Glue, for instance, and learn that Sue Grafton mentioned that product in E is for Evidence. Vermeer is mentioned in many books, including Peter Carey’s Parrot and Olivier in America and Alice Munro’s The Love of a Good Woman; Joni Mitchell appears not just in Infinite Jest but also in Chuck Klosterman IV and Edmund White’s The Beautiful Room Is Empty. And so on and so on...

A photo by John Simpson, inspired by Etgar Keret's story "Cheesus Christ"

The Millions is introducing a new monthly feature called “Post-40 Bloomers,” which “will highlight authors—living and deceased, new-on-the-scene and now long-established—whose first books debuted when they were 40 or older.” (Consider it a counterweight against the New Yorker's youth-focused 20 under 40.) A tentative list of writers the Millions plans to cover includes Isak Dinesen, Helen DeWitt, and Walker Percy.

John Simpson’s photo of a decaying Big Mac billboard has won FSG and Bomb magazine’s “Something Out of Something” contest, which invited participants to submit visual art inspired by the work of Israeli short-story writer Etgar Keret. Simpson’s winning image was a riff on Keret’s story of fast food and mayhem “Cheesus Christ,” which appears in the recently released A Knock at the Door.

Riverhead has acquired the rights to former Sleater-Kinner guitarist and "Portlandia" creator Carrie Brownstein's forthcoming "indie-rock memoir" about her life in music, the New York Times reported today. Brownstein is currently on tour with her new band, Wild Flag, and has yet to announce a title or publication date for her book.

A roundup of the best obituaries and selected writings of the hard-living Southern writer Harry Crews, who died last week at the age of 77.

In honor of small press month, which concluded on Saturday, Flavorwire asks literary insiders—i.e., editors at Graywolf, Dalkey Archive, and Two Dollar Radio, among others—to choose the twelve best indie press books.

From Apartment Therapy, fifteen writers’ bedrooms. (Virginia Woolf’s is the nicest).


Clarice Lispector

The five year dispute over the estate of philanthropist and author Brooke Astor has been settled, according to the Wall Street Journal. Among the beneficiaries will be the New York Public Library (NYPL), who will recieve about $15 million.

The New York Times calls on readers to complete one of the suggested exercises in Draw It With Your Eyes Closed, Paper Monument’s new book on the art of the art assignment, which Jerry Saltz calls “a catheter to the creative self. An instant indispensable classic. An art-school in a book; and a lot cheaper.” n+1 takes on an assignemnt, hurling books and apples—among other things—out of their office window.

In the New York Times, Joel Stein has harsh words for adults who read YA lit: “The only thing more embarrassing than catching a guy on the plane looking at pornography on his computer is seeing a guy on the plane reading The Hunger Games.”

Nick Flynn talks with Guernica about the process of adapting his memoir, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, for the big screen. The first thing they adapted is the title itself: The movie version is called Being Flynn.

At the TLS blog, David Horspool identifies one of the big book cover trends of 2012—legs—and tries to figure out what these legs mean. “Most of the legs belong to girls, and it has been suggested that if the feet are turned in, that means pathos, if not downright misery. One foot kicked up, and you can expect laughs, or at least some bitter-sweetness.”

In the name of public health, Argentine customs authorities are now required to intercept all foreign books and magazines coming into the country in order to check the lead levels in their ink.

We really enjoyed this video of translator, art critic, and literary biographer Benjamin Moser talking about "the great Clarice Lispector—the sphinx of Rio de Janeiro."


Adrienne Rich

Poet and essayist Adrienne Rich has died at at her home in Santa Cruz of complications from long-term rheumatoid arthritis. Here is a 2002 profile of Rich, and a full bibliography at the Poetry Foundation.

Less than a month after Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes bought The New Republic, the nearly century-old magazine has brought down its online paywall.

David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King is about to be released as a paperback—with four previously unpublished scenes. PWxyz reveals what the new material is about, and what it adds to the posthumous book.

An argument over the relative merits of J. R. Tolkien versus C. S. Lewis recently erupted into a full-fledged brawl when two Ann Arbor, Michigan, men were unable to agree on which Oxford don was the better writer.

Zadie Smith’s novel On Beauty has been optioned for a movie, which will be directed by “actress turned writer slash director Kasi Lemmons.” Smith’s next novel, NW, about five residents of a Northwest London housing estate, will hit American bookstores in September.

The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation is releasing a batch of letters between Ernest Hemingway and confidant Gianfranco Ivancich. The letters were written between 1953 and 1960 during Hemingway’s travels across Cuba, Idaho, Kilimanjaro, Nairobi, Paris, and Madrid; twelve of them have never before been published. In one letter, written in Cuba in 1953, Hemingway describes having to shoot his beloved cat after he had been hit by a car, when all of a sudden, a group of tourists drove up: “I still had the rifle and I explained to them they had come at a bad time and to please understand and go away. But the rich Cadillac psycho said, ‘We have come at a most interesting time. Just in time to see the great Hemingway cry because he has to kill a cat.’” Hemingway then writes, “I humiliated him as he should be humiliated, omit details.”

With its greatest hits laid out year-by-year, The New Yorker’s new Facebook timeline is an entertaining way to browse the magazine’s history. Some favorites from the archives: George Trow’s 1978 series on record-industry mogul Ahmet Ertegun; Mark Danner’s 1993 investigation into a massacre in a Salvadoran town; and, going back to 1948, Berton Roueché’s first "Annals of Medicine" column and J.D. Salinger’s story “A Perfect Day for Bananafish.”


Karl Lagerfeld's library, via Bookriot

The Observer's Rozalia Jovanovic writes up Choire Sicha's inaugural column for Bookforum—an investigation into the life and tweets of "cultural truffle hound" and MoMA curator Klaus Biesenbach. "While Mr. Biesenbach’s celebrity obsession is not exactly news," Jovanovic writes, "Mr. Sicha does remind us that it does still make us a tad uncomfortable to see the curator at one of the world’s top institutions getting into the pit with the rest of us."

Paris Review editor Sadie Stein has become the editor of the magazine's Daily blog. Stein is replacing senior editor Deirdre Foley-Mendelssohn, who’s off to edit the books section at Harper’s. (Speaking of the Paris Review, Emma Straub is on tour with the Magnetic Fields and blogging about it for Daily.)

Has J. K. Rowling revolutionized digital bookselling? Starting this week, Harry Potter e-books will sold exclusively at Rowling’s Pottermore website—not on iTunes, or in the Amazon store. The digital books are compatible with any tablet or e-reader.

At Poetry Magazine, Ben Lerner, a poet whose novel Leaving the Atocha Station was one of our favorites of 2011, interviews Peter Gizzi about his fifth book, Threshhold Songs.

Author Maura Kelly makes a plea in The Atlantic for a return to “slow books”—books that “took some time to write and will take some time to read, but will also stay with us longer than anything else.” When she asked people on Twitter to name their favorite slow reads, Infinite Jest and Anna Karenina came out on top.

Photos of libraries of the rich and famous. (We’re surprised to find that we’re very jealous of Karl Lagerfeld’s personal library.)

New Yorkers looking for a Thursday night activity are advised to check out the musical stylings of Call Me Ishmael, a Moby Dick-inspired band that will play this week at Pianos bar in the Lower East Side. Founder Patrick Shea has written 136 songs—one for each chapter of Moby Dick—and he recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to publish a book featuring the lyrics alongside the original text.


Chuck Palahniuk

After eight years at the helm of Vice, former editor Jesse Pearson left the magazine in 2010 with relatively little fanfare. But come September, Pearson is preparing to return to the magazine world with Exploded View Quarterly, a new publication aiming to fall somewhere in the “center of the lit-mag spectrum—neither a twee indie journal tailored to precious 20-somethings nor a highbrow M.F.A.-department circular.” The quarterly is co-founded by hardcore musician and writer Sam McPheeters, who just published his first novel, The Loom of Ruin.

Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk is doing fine after a freak car accident in Washington State last weekend. According to UPI, Palahniuk was parked in a driveway when the driver of a semi-trailer took a turn too quickly, and went rolling off the highway into Palahniuk’s car. Both the trailer and Palahniuk’s car were totalled, but neither Palahniuk nor the driver were injured.

Commentary assesses the state of the “literary canon” by determining which authors are being written about the most. According to the MLA International Bibliography, since 1947, Henry James and William Faulkner have inspired the most academic writing, with Eliot, Melville, and Nabokov as runners up. Of the top twenty-five most written-about writers, only five are women, and only one—Toni Morrison—is still alive.

Facebook makes a questionable trademark claim on the word book.

The American Academy of Arts and Letters has awarded English novelist David Mitchell the $20,000 E.M. Forster prize. The money is designed to help “a young writer from the United Kingdom or Ireland for a stay in the United States.”

Librarians at the New York Public Library films a trailer for an imaginary thriller.


Antonio Tabucci

Renowned Italian novelist Antonio Tabucchi died last night of cancer at his home in Lisbon at the age of 68. Tabucchi, who has been in the running several times as a possible Nobel Prize contender, is the author of more than two dozen books, seven of which have been translated into English. His most famous novel is 1994’s Pereira Declares, about the struggle against fascism in Portugal. Read an excerpt of Tabucchi's 1997 novel The Missing Head here.

Jeanettte Winterson explains what she calls the “asymmetrical” literary judgment between men and women: “If Henry Miller writes Tropic of Cancer and calls the hero ‘Henry Miller,’ he’s still allowed to say these are novels, and none of the guys question it. Because a man is allowed to be bigger. A woman isn’t. She can only possibly talk about herself.”

An experimental theater collective in Queens is staging a tribute to David Foster Wallace entited “A (radically condensed and expanded) SUPPOSEDLY FUN THING I’LL NEVER DO AGAIN.”

New Yorkers: If you’re free tonight, go hear Susanne Kippenberger discuss her brother, German artist Martin Kippenberger, and her acclaimed biography about him, Kippenberger: The Artist and His Families (2012), at the Goethe Institut.

Brent Easton Ellis is planning his next micro-budget movie about "youth, glamour, sex and Los Angeles, circa 2012,” largely through Facebook. With the help of screenwriter Paul Shraeder (who worked on Taxi Driver and The Comfort of Strangers), producers are casting the two male and two female leads exclusively through online searches, which has led to “unexpected interpretations of the characters,” Shraeder wrote in a Facebook post. The Canyons is set to start shooting in early July in Los Angeles.

And in other Brent Easton Ellis news, the American Psycho author calls Jeff Ragsdale’s One Lonely Guy “the most powerful reading experience I've had in the last year,” describing it as “a new art form.”

When Steve Almond was in his twenties and depressed, he didn’t go to therapy—instead, he got an MFA in writing. Decades later, he suggests that many writers are doing the same, and “that literary endeavor has supplanted therapy as our dominant mode of personal investigation.”

The New York Times Style section profiles the nightlife and times of Salman Rushdie.


The Occupy Wall Street Library, Zuccotti Park, 2011

Brian McGreevy’s eccentric mystery novel Hemlock Grove—which will be published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux later this month—is going to be adapted into a Netflix original series.

In Lapham’s Quarterly, Simon Winchester details the mysterious origins and long gestation of the Dictionary of American Regional English, which was started in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1965 and only recently was fully completed.

New York City police confiscated a brand-new Occupy Wall Street Library in Union Square on Wednesday. Activists had rebuilt the library by 7pm, and police took it down by 10pm, prompting a new protest chant: “People got sold out, Books got thrown out!”

Mike Daisey has everybody asking: If you’re a writer, can you make stuff up? Slate addresses the question with a rather funny chart that ranges from fantasy writer (yes) to journalist (no).

Should Amazon be taxed to safeguard local book stores? France thinks so, and it’s safe to guess that Melville House publisher Dennis Loy Johnson would agree.

New York Times Op-Ed columnist Nicholas D. Kristof responds to the Village Voice’s response to his Sunday column about Backpage, a Voice-owned site on which, Kristoff says, pimps have run ads for underage prostitutes.

The party never got started at St. Martin’s Press after San Diego police seized two packages containing over eleven pounds of marijuana addressed to “Karen Wright” at the New York publishing house. Turns out, neither Wright nor ABTBooks—the company named on the return address—actually exist. The Smoking Gun website estimates that the pot was valued at upwards of $70,000. The incident has spawned the Twitter hashtag #potlit and inspired at least one pot-themed literary list.

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