paper trail

Jul 22, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

Franz Kafka

The Trial: On Monday a delegation of important-looking men representing powerful bureaucracies pried open safe-deposit boxes in Tel Aviv containing a trove of mysterious writings, while an heir laying claim to the boxes shouted, "It's mine, it's mine." Now there's a tangle of legal wrangling to be sorted through in court, and the materials, which happen to be a batch of unpublished Franz Kafka writings (reportedly containing letters, drawings, and manuscripts), may not see the light of day for many years. Apparently, there's only one word to describe the situation (beginning with "K" and ending in "esque"), but we'll refrain from echoing the cliche—we just hope that none of the litigants wake up to find themselves transformed into an insect.

At Salon, Laura Miller has interesting things to say about the complexities of recommending books, and points out a few places where you might find suggestions that are better, and more human, than Amazon's.

Not to beat a dead letter, but Christian Lorentzen offers a cool-headed analysis of the Paris Review's so-called poetry-rejection scandal at the Observer. Also, Blake Butler asks a pointed question: "as a writer do you feel entitled to careful handling?" A footnote: in all of the revisitations of the PR's history of celebrated poetry editors, no one has mentioned the charming and prolific Tom Clark.

With the help of its readers, GalleyCat is wading through the thousands of book publisher pages on Facebook and has started a valuable directory of the best ones. It's a work in progress, so if you think any publishers are missing (like Fantagraphics, Turtle Point Press, Akashic, Wave Books...), just add them to the comments box.

St. Marks Bookshop hosts its latest reading event at Bar 82 tonight, welcoming emerging authors Julia Holmes, Adam Golaski, and Kira Henehan, whose debut novel Orion You Came and You Took All My Marbles was reviewed in the spring issue of Bookforum. Henehan's novel of "disjointed prose" and eccentric atmospherics should make for an exciting, if disorienting, evening.