paper trail

Dec 14, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

George Saunders

The incomparable George Saunders, the poet laureate of theme parks, has a new short story, “Escape from Spiderhead,” and an interview on the New Yorker’s website.

The New York Times reports that The Atlantic is set to make a profit this year for the first time in at least a decade—how did they pull it off? The president of the Atlantic Media Company, Justin B. Smith, explains: “We imagined ourselves as a venture-capital-backed start-up in Silicon Valley whose mission was to attack and disrupt The Atlantic.”

(Via Biblioklept) Most writers will tell you that they don’t read reviews of their work—or, at the very least, that they’ve learned to shrug off criticism. But Robert Bolano didn’t perpetuate this ruse. He told an interviewer from Mexican Playboy how he really felt when critics attacked his work: “I begin to cry, I drag myself across the floor, I scratch myself, I stop writing indefinitely, I lose my appetite, I smoke less, I engage in sport, I go for walks on the edge of the sea . . . and I ask the seagulls, whose ancestors ate the fish who ate Ulysses: Why me? Why? I’ve done you no harm.”

Up to now, books have been blissfully free of commercial interruption, but this may soon change, as marketers anticipate the inevitable—placing advertisements (customized just for you!) in e-books.

The new issue of PEN America has just been published, and it's a stellar volume, featuring fiction by Don Delillo, a conversation about Rimbaud between newly minted National Book award winner Patti Smith and novelist Jonathan Lethem, a poem by John Ashbery (whose new translation of Rimbaud will be out in April), and much more.