Two weeks ago, Philip Roth took Wikipedia to task in an open letter on the New Yorker’s website for not letting him correct an error in a entry about one of his novels. The alleged error was about the inspiration for The Human Stain, which Roth claims—contrary to Wikipedia—was not based on editor Anatole Broyard. But in another open letter posted on Facebook, Broyard’s daughter responded to Roth, noting that “there was a legitimate reason that many reviewers of the book and movie drew the comparison to my dad’s life.” She added, “I don’t think it’s reasonable that Roth gets to dictate what conclusions other people draw about his characters, which is effectively what he was trying to do with his objection to Wikipedia’s description of the book as ‘allegedly’ having been inspired by my dad.”
Monica Lewinsky has reportedly landed a $12 million deal for her forthcoming tell-all about her affair with Bill Clinton. The book is supposed to contain three things that an earlier book about the scandal didn’t: “more salacious details about Lewinsky and Clinton, ostensible complaints by Clinton about his wife,” and previously unpublished love letters from Lewinsky to Clinton. As if all that weren’t gross enough, Slate points out that Lewinsky is getting only $3 million less than Bill Clinton was paid for his memoir.
New York Times Book Review editor, Bookforum contributor, and critic extraordinaire Parul Seghal reflects on her life in reading.
Neil Young has quit drugs and alcohol to finish his forthcoming memoir, Waging Heavy Peace.
Meanwhile, at Tablet, Bookforum contributor Daphne Merkin remember how high holidays and Manishewitz wine first taught her how to drink.
“Today I visited the cenotaph to Baudelaire, who sleeps at the center of Paris—in the shade of maples, ash, laurels, and conifers—at the Montparnasse Cemetery. I think I would like to be more Baudelairean, which is to say unafraid of the grim.” Poet Henri Cole keeps a diary for the New Yorker.
In response to protests from writers, artists and scholars, the New York Public Library has altered plans on the $300 million renovation of the flagship Fifth Avenue branch. Rather than move millions of volumes into the library into off-site storage in New Jersey, an $8 million donation has made it possible to build enough storage space in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building to keep 3.3 of the library’s 4.5 million books in the building, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.
Film producer Scott Rudin, publishing veteran Frances Coady, and IAC chairman Barry Diller have formed a partnership with the startup company Atavist to form a new publishing venture. They will start off with a line of e-books.
Despite what British betting organization Ladbrooke’s thinks, literary insiders are guessing that Bob Dylan will probably not win the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Apropos of Michael Chabon’s new novel, Slate wonders whether white authors can write effectively about black characters.
Meanwhile, Carolyn Kellogg at the Los Angeles Times wonders whether writing improves when it’s done in the buff.
Four months before Amanda Knox’s memoir is expected to hit shelves, ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito has released his own book about the murder of British exchange student Meredith Kercher while the girls were studying abroad in Perugia, Italy. According to the Guardian, the book “makes a slew of new claims about what he says was sloppy police work leading up to his conviction and what actually happened that night,” including several that contradict Knox’s.
A new report by Gartner Research predicts that 10 to 15 percent of all ratings and reviews generated through social media will be fake by 2014—they’ll be written either by the author or somebody with a vested interest in the success of the product. So perhaps this is a good time to pay attention to Galleycat’s roundup of the top customer reviewers on Amazon.
Just in time for the publication of Salman Rushdie’s memoir, Joseph Anton, a radical Iranian organization has raised the bounty on Rushdie’s head from $500,000 to $3.3 million. When reached for comment, Rushdie seemed unperturbed: "I'm not inclined to magnify this ugly bit of headline-grabbing by paying it much attention," he told the Los Angeles Times through his publisher.
At the Los Angeles Review of Books, Maria Bustillos offers a “corrective” to Hannah Rosin’s The End of Men.
In response to the Mother Jones video in which Mitt Romney said 47 percent of Americans beleive they are “victims” who are “dependent upon government” and won’t ever vote for him, Roxanne Gay weighs in on the politics of entitlement.
“A therapist once told me I should stop dating writers and just be one. That was good advice”: Molly Ringwald talks to New York magazine about her new collection of short stories, which Choire Sicha reviewed in our new issue.
A previously unpublished essay by Agatha Christie that praises the virtues of British crime fiction has been dug out of the archives and published for the first time as the preface to a reissue of the 1933 novel Ask a Policeman.
Here's an interview with Lauren Cerand, identified by the Rumpus, Flavorwire, and The Millions as a “need-to-know freelance literary publicist.”
In a tell-all that will be published this week, Joyce Johnson, one of Jack Kerouac’s exes, reminisces about what it was like to date the famously drunk, famously prolific author of On the Road. Among the juicier details to emerge from the book is that, contrary to Kerouac’s claim that he wrote On the Road in a “blast of energy during three weeks in 1951,” the writer actually spent years working on and revising the novel.
Salon excerpts David Byrne’s How Music Works, which Simon Reynolds reviewed in our Fall issue. As Reynolds writes, “Byrne’s book tells a version of the musical life that is deliberately less dramatic and heroic that first person accounts by musicians usually are. . . . Overall, Byrne’s clear and calm approach serves him well.”
Here is a slideshow of famous writers in their undies.
“You cannot tell from a man’s demeanor how much chutzpah he may have,” Kathryn Schulz writes of novelist Michael Chabon in New York magazine, positing that Chabon may be the ideal writer for the age of Obama.
Last year, editor and novelist Keith Gessen was arrested at an Occupy Wall Street protest and spent some time in jail. Today, as protests marking OWS's one-year anniversary roil Wall Street (so far, more than 100 people have been arrested), a concerned citizen asks Gessen how much the arrest cost him. Turns out he paid a $120 fine, got a parking ticket, and his bike was stolen. All told, that cost him about $250—kind of a lot if you're living on a writer's wages.
A San Francisco literary agent says she plans to be more careful about her use of social media—and especially about how much she announces her location—after she was violently attacked last week by an author whose manuscript she rejected.
n+1 editor Marco Roth talks to the Observer about his forthcoming memoir, and about how an investigation into his father’s death led him back through the canon of classic novels that his father made him read as a teenager.
For the next 135 days, a star-studded cast that includes Tilda Swinton, Will Self, and David Cameron will be reading chapters of Moby Dick and posting the recordings online as part of the Moby Dick Big Read. Artists Anish Kapoor and Antony Gormley are also contributing to the project.
Speaking of audiobooks, readers planning very, very long road trips might consider taking the new 120-disc set of Remembrance of Things Past along with them. The 153-hour reading of Proust’s classic replaces the only previously existing version: an abridged, 36-disc set.
A Columbia graduate student has unearthed a lost novel by Harlem Renaissance author Claude McKay titled Amiable With Big Teeth: A Novel of the Love Affair Between the Communists and the Poor Black Sheep of Harlem. Jean-Christophe Cloutier discovered the novel while working in a rare book archive, and its authenticity was verified by his dissertation advisor (and Bookforum contributor) Brent Hayes Edwards. The find is being described as a “major discovery” and “scholarly gold” by Harlem Renaissance authorities, and Edwards told the New York Times that it will likely be recognized “as the key political novel of the black intellectual life in New York in the late 1930s.”
“Recently, there’s been pressure to be more aggressive on fact-checking and truth-squading,” says New York Times’s political editor Richard Stevenson. “It’s one of the most positive trends in journalism that I can remember.” Relatedly, if you haven’t read Michael Lewis’s 13,000-word profile of President Obama in the latest Vanity Fair, we recommend it.
The Nervous Breakdown conducts a six question sex interview with Junot Diaz.
We enjoyed this profile of poet and critic Stephen Burt (Close Calls with Nonsense), who is not only "heir to the intellectual mantle long held by giants like Harold Bloom and Helen Vendler" but an "unabashed cross-dresser."
Monica Lewinski is "shopping a top-secret book project," the New York Press reports.
The Observer wonders who’s sick of Naomi Wolf's Vagina and responds: everybody. Wolf’s latest opus has been taken down by the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, Slate, and the Observer (and by Natasha Vargas-Cooper in our fall issue). Meanwhile, readers attempting to buy the e-book in the Apple iTunes store are encountering a different problem. Apple has deemed the title too explicit, and changed it to Va.
In honor of Roald Dahl’s birthday today, Puffin is making his classics James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, Danny, Champion of the World, George’s Marvelous Medicine, Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and The Twits available as e-books.
O/R Books has acquired four previously unpublished interviews with Gore Vidal conducted by Jon Wiener. The interviews will be published in November under the title I Told You So: Gore Vidal Talks Politics.
Also in O/R Books news, the publisher is offering to send readers free copies of their satire Fifty Shades of Louisa May to anybody who sends in a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey. They assure readers that their version is not only better than the original, but also illustrated with “X-rated woodcuts.”
NPR is teaming up with the Paris Review to launch their three-minute fiction contest this weekend on the radio show All Things Considered. The Paris Review staff will choose the finalists, and the winner will be published in the magazine. On September 18, Alexander Chee, Paula Bomer, Christopher Beha, Elissa Schappell, and others will read their three-minute stories at Brooklyn's Public Assembly.
For your amusement: the David Foster Wallace endnote generator.