A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism author Peter Mountford makes a well-reasoned (and predictably unpopular) call for publishing houses to cap advances for “artful literary” books at $50,000.
New Yorker book critic James Wood rounds up the highlights of 2012, which include Joshua Cohen’s Four New Messages, Zadie Smith’s NW, Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle, anthropologist Kirin Narayan’s Alive in the Writing: Crafting Ethnography in the Company of Chekhov.
Salman Rushdie was not the only member of the literary elite to be outraged by Mo Yan’s Nobel victory several weeks ago, but he was among the most vocal. Rushdie called Mo a “patsy” for his ties to China’s communist regime, and willingness to toe the party line. That comment was grounds for Pankaj Mishra to go after Rushdie in theGuardian this week. Mishra targets what he called an “unexamined assumption lurking in the western scorn for Mo Yan's proximity to the Chinese regime: that Anglo-American writers, naturally possessed of loftier virtue, stand along with their governments on the right side of history.” Rushdie responded to the article in characteristic fashion: by calling it “garbage” in a letter to the Guardian.
Thirty-four books by sci-fi legend Arthur C. Clarke—including his most famous title, 2001: A Space Odyssey—will soon be available as e-books.
The Dead Sea Scrolls are now available digitally.
Mother Jones maps out all of the mass shootings that have taken place in the U.S. since 1982, and reports that sales of kids’ body armor have “gone through the roof” since the Newton shootings. Meanwhile, the always excellent Jason Kottke turns his blog over to gun control coverage.