paper trail

Aug 23, 2013 @ 12:59:00 am

William Vollman: Not the Unabomber.

In the recent issue of Harper’s, William Vollmann talks about getting ahold of his FBI file through a Freedom of Information Act request, and learning that he was suspected both of being the Unabomber and the anthrax mailer. Vollmann was dubbed "Unabomber Suspect Number S-2047" after an anonymous tipster sent his name to the FBI, telling the Bureau that the author "owns many guns and a flame-thrower." And that wasn’t the only thing the feds found suspicious: "UNABOMBER, not unlike VOLLMANN has pride of authorship and insists his book be published without editing," the file states, also noting that "anti-growth and anti-progress themes persist throughout each VOLLMANN work." Judge for yourself by reading Vollmann’s essay on whether it’s possible to go off the grid in the summer issue of Bookforum.

The Atlantic pokes fun at Playboy’s profile of Junot Diaz, which reads like “a bromantic love letter.”

After getting called out by VIDA for failing to publish enough pieces by women, the New York Review of Books courted even more controversy by responding with a letter that simply named all the recent female contributors. As VIDA spokeswoman Erin Belieu notes, the letter is strange partly because it reads "as if we didn't already have this information.” In the past year, the NYRB published forty pieces by women, and 215 by men.

n+1 introduces “The Help Desk”: A new advice column by Kristen Dombek. (If you’re into advice columns, you should read the one Bookforum columnist Heather Havrilesky writes for The Awl.

Dustin Hoffman and Judi Dench will star in an upcoming BBC adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s novel, Esio Trot. According to the Guardian, Hoffman “will play the role of Mr Hoppy, a retired bachelor who has a secret passion for his neighbour Mrs Silver, played by Dench.”

The New York Daily News does a “cultural analysis” of the New York Times bestseller list, and offers some thoughts about what the bestselling books would suggest to somebody who’s been stranded on a desert island.