• Joshua Ferris
    April 22, 2010

    Apr 22, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    Tonight at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Joshua Ferris discusses his new novel The Unnamed with Daniel Menaker. Ferris, whose first novel, Then We Came to the End, won wide acclaim for its mix of office angst and first-person-plural laughs, takes a different tack with The Unnamed, a Beckett-esque fable about the perils of compulsive perambulation

    M. P. Shiel's 1901 work A Purple Cloud is puffy with purple prose, but oddly prescient.   

    Naked Launch: A frozen moment when you realize that the newly syndicated Barnes and Noble reviews on Salon might be a bit undercooked. Stefan Beck sends 

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  • April 21, 2010

    Apr 21, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

    "Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company," Mark Twain quipped; we wonder who he's hobnobbing with today, the centenary of his death. Twain, a high school dropout, draft-dodger, and rascal to the last, was not just any American, he was, as he liked to say, "the American.”

    From Collier's Weekly, a 1910 verse account of his last day, and from the New York Times, an absorbing display of his library, where you can peruse his acerbic marginalia. Equally cutting is Gary Indiana's take on recent books about Twain's last decade.

    Twain biographer Ron Powers writes of how a chance encounter

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  • This airborne toxic event is giving the London Book Fair the doldrums
    April 20, 2010

    Apr 20, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

    The "Airborne Toxic Event" has finally come to pass, just in time for Delillo fans to joke about it at the sparsely attended London Book Fair.

    Ask your barista for a triple grande Balzac: the author had a "horrible, rather brutal method" for overcoming writer's block—a coffee creation so sinister that he recommended it "only to men of excessive vigor" (it eventually killed him). Elsewhere in Lapham’s Quarterly, a visual guide to the stronger stuff writers imbibed. 

    Cory Doctorow asks, "can you survive a benevolent dictatorship?" You'd think he was talking about politics; but, alas, it's just

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  • Writing life in New York City
    April 19, 2010

    Apr 19, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

    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

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  • April 16, 2010

    Apr 16, 2010 @ 1:30:00 pm

    This weekend, delve into UbuWeb's recent addition to the William Burroughs sound archives, 1965's "Call me Burroughs," as well as the audio collection of his buddy Brion Gysin's work. Just be sure you have some time on your hands; this stuff is about as addictive as the smack Burroughs preferred.

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  • April 16, 2010

    Apr 16, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

    Don't make me come back there: When the New York Times's star columnists squabble, Clark Hoyt settles the score.

    Former FSG editor Lorin Stein takes the helm at the Paris Review's Spring Revel, and chats about his new gig.

    The Guardian has given the story an oddly Onion-esque headline, but don't let that stop you from reading about Eleanor Ross Taylor, and exploring her moving poetry.

    We'd love to curl up with Earth is a Blue Pearl, and the other classics created by author Douglas Coupland for his new project: to explain 2010 to someone in 1935, by inventing a classic Penguin book

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  • Untitled (Rimbaud in New York), by David Wojnarowicz, from the Fales Library.
    April 15, 2010

    Apr 15, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

    Why is good erotic writing so hard to pull off? It's icky, funny, or at best, boring. The Literary Review's Bad Sex in Fiction Award always gets a lot of play (see this year's winner), but Canadian novelist Russel Smith thinks it's "a mean-spirited exercise in playground mockery and repression." And speaking of bad sex: Granta, we need to talk about this cover.

    @bard @bieber #tragedy: “Romeo and Juliet” is being tweeted; meanwhile, the Library of Congress has announced it's preserving all public tweets forever.

    I like f'ing (filing, that is): New York University's Fales Library has started

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  • Deborah Eisenberg
    April 14, 2010

    Apr 14, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

    The Atlantic's fiction issue is out now, among the many must-reads is a conversation with Paul Theroux on "Fiction in the Age of E-books."

    What Cheever was to commuter country, Deborah Eisenberg is to Manhattan malaise. Her underrated short stories are a veritable taxonomy of urban dysfunction. Tonight, she reads from her new volume, Collected Stories, at Chelsea's 192 Books. Cult-celebrity spotters should scan the audience for her longtime partner, Wallace Shawn, who lately has been stealing scenes in contemporary drama's most gripping panorama of unhappy uptowners, Gossip Girl.

    It is National

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  • Pulitizer Prize winner Paul Harding is trying very hard not to say "I told you so."
    April 13, 2010

    Apr 13, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

    The giddy highs and woeful lows of a quarter-century of punk publishing, as seen by Jennifer Joseph of Manic D Press.

    How do you like your canon served, and how do you pick up the check? That's the central question behind Open Letter publisher Chad Post's peeved reaction to Newsweek writer Malcolm Jones's critique of the Library of America. Jones asks if the LOA has "jumped the shark," because they devote volumes to the likes of Philip K. Dick and (special Newsweek shudder of disapproval) Shirley Jackson. Does Jones think that those handsome volumes of Melville and Wharton arrive from

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  • Olga Grushin
    April 12, 2010

    Apr 12, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

    In a world full of bias, bunk, and super-sized opinion, these anonymous scribes find the facts, and save face, for the world's most trusted publications.

    Uh-Oprah: The notorious Kitty Kelley has penned an unauthorized biography of Winfrey, book publishing's most sought after sales-booster, who might host a book club show on her new network.

    A report from this weekend’s AWP conference, on indie publishers' electronic-book plans: Graywolf Press will have them this fall, Coffee House Press is also taking the plunge, while Melville House reports that its first Kindle title, Every Man

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