paper trail

Jan 31, 2013 @ 12:02:00 am

James Joyce, sensation in China.

Forget sock puppet reviews—writers are now actively soliciting bad Amazon reviews. After his novel Short Bus got an especially excoriating Amazon write-up, Brian Allen Carr decided that rather than getting angry, he’d run with the bad press. The author has announced his “Lone Star” contest, inviting readers to submit their own one-star reviews of his work.

Reports that Islamist insurgents had destroyed thousands of 14th-, 15th-, and 16th-century manuscripts in the Malian city of Timbuktu may have been exaggerated. Although Timbuktu mayor Hallé Ousmane Cissé told the media earlier this week that roughly 40,000 rare manuscripts in the city’s Ahmed Baba Institute had been burned, TIME magazine reports that “a large-scale rescue operation” was undertaken early last year in anticipation of violence in the city. “The documents which had been there are safe, they were not burned,” Mali’s presidential aide on Islamic affairs told TIME. “They were put in a very safe place. I can guarantee you. The manuscripts are in total security.”

"Ask yourself: Is Tom Bissell an objective journalist, or a propagandist?" King Wenclas posts another attack against the literary establishment.

At Dissent, Jeffrey J. Williams weighs in on the neoliberal novel: “Since around 1990, a new wave of American fiction has emerged that focuses on the dominance of finance, the political power of the super-rich, and the decline of the middle class.”

Finnegans Wake is a bestseller in China.