paper trail

Apr 19, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

Writing life in New York City

Was Proust "mentally defective"? (Evelyn Waugh thought so). Baudelaire called Voltaire "the king of nincompoops," and Nabokov once wrote of Hemingway: "I read him for the first time in the early 'forties, something about bells, balls and bulls, and loathed it." Compared to this compilation of writer-on-writer cracks, the press drubbing that Yann Martel has lately been enduring seems tame.

The long-vanquished Brits have a bit of fun at our first president's expense: "Founder of a nation, trouncer of the English, God-fearing family man: all in all, George Washington has enjoyed a pretty decent reputation. Until now, that is."

Publisher's Marketplace reports that Thomas Frank has just sold a book about 2010's Conservative resurgence (registration is required to read PM's brief). However, we're pretty sure the new book won't be called The Diagnosis of Small Pox, the most recently published "Thomas Frank" book available on, though that book's prognosis for the affected populace is probably alarmingly similar. 

Adam Gopnik (quoting Updike) once compared the writing world of New York to life aboard the "Raft of the Medusa," but it can't be that bad. Consider mid-April's PEN American Center World Voices Festival, a reason to love the city this spring, as it hosts the world's best literary scribblers. If you can manage to stop scrolling through PEN's free and engrossing iPhone App, you may just meet someone you love to read.