paper trail

Jul 14, 2010 @ 9:30:00 am

Jon Thurber

Jon Thurber has been named the new Book Review editor at the Los Angeles Times. Thurber (no relations to James) is a thirty-eight year veteran of the paper, and will take charge of all aspects of book coverage, including the online book section, the Jacket Copy blog, and the print book reviews and features. He has filled many roles during his time at the paper and is perhaps best known for his recent tenure as obit editor, which lasted for 11 years and produced many hundreds of articles under Thurber's own byline. Here's hoping he isn't called on to pen one more . . . about the death of the print book review.

In a newly published Mark Twain essay, "Concerning the Interview," Twain takes the satiric stance that he was no fan of being interviewed (though we're pretty sure he actually loved it, being a born raconteur and all). Twain compares the interviewer to a cyclone, and quips "interviewers are courteous and gentle-mannered, even when they come to destroy." So what would he make of today's earnest, fan-boy/girl interviews thriving on blogs like Bookslut, which recently posted engaging chats with fiction writer Justin Taylor and 2010's Pulitzer Prize winning poet Rae Armantrout, among others? 

Mary Karr, who recently complained in the New York Times about the "humiliating" book trailer video she made for her new memoir, Lit, is meanwhile embracing the medium with "Poetry Fix" on YouTube, where she uploads videos of herself and friends reading poetry twice a week. 

At the Paris Review blog's, Elif Batuman, author of The Possessed: Adventures With Russian Books and the People Who Read Them, begins a five-part account of seeing the twelve-hour staging of Dostoyevsky's Demons last weekend on Governor's Island in New York. As the play begins, Batuman writes, director Peter Stein assures the audience that "he wants us to 'feel well,' so there are lots of breaks and two meals and 'quite nice toilets.' I think it’s an exaggeration to say that the toilets are quite nice."