paper trail

Sep 11, 2012 @ 12:01:00 am

To coincide with the release of his David Foster Wallace biography, Every Love Story is a Ghost Story, author D.T. Max is blogging for the New Yorker about the best DFW documents he unearthed while researching the book. A recent post, on a pointedly arrogant pitch letter that a 23-year-old Wallace sent cold to a literary agency, is especially good. Despite lying about his publication history and having Marilynne Robinson as his thesis advisor (“I’m at a bit of a loss about this. I never met David Wallace, and I was not his thesis advisor”) the young Mr. Wallace not only managed to land an agent, but also sold his novel The Broom of the System to Penguin for twenty grand.

Former Harper's editor Roger Hodge has been appointed the new editor of The Oxford American.

Zadie Smith profiled him for the Times’ style mag, and now Longform rounds up the best serious considerations of Jay-Z, literary and otherwise.

Jeff Eugenides talks porn, self-promotion, and getting the most out of college in a recent interview.

Stanford neurobiologists scan students’ brains while they read Jane Austen novels in order to gauge whether readers' attention spans have shifted in the age of distraction.

The Fall issue of the Paris Review is out, featuring interviews with Robert Calasso and James Fenton, fiction by Peter Orner, and poetry by Bernadette Mayer, August Kleinzahler, and others. And speaking of literary magazines, the latest Portland/Brooklyn themed issue of Tin House comes with a custom mixtape.

The adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s 1981 novel Midnight’s Children was praised at the Toronto Film Festival this weekend, but that didn’t help it win over an Indian audience. The Guardian reports that Indian distributors are staying away from the film, in part because it includes “unflattering portrayals of top Indian political figures.” "[In India] we are very wary of any film that even is political, let alone politically sensitive,” film writer Shubhra Gupta told the paper. “Any resemblance to a politician could be a problem.” Also on the Rushdie front, the New Yorker excerpts a section on life under fatwa from his forthcoming memoir.

Finally, we encourage you to sign this petition to have fact-checkers at the presidential and vice-presidential debates.