• Henry Roth
    June 22, 2010

    Jun 22, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    An American gripe: We've asked Henry Roth biographer Steven Kellman to comment on the recent articles in Slate and Harper's that object to the posthumous edits exacted by Willing Davidson on Roth's trove of archived manuscript pages (known as “Batch II”). In an email interview, Kellman, who reviewed An American Type for Bookforum, writes: 

    “At Slate, Judith Shulevitz complains that An American Type reads too much like a New Yorker writer . . . The truth is that Roth was a New Yorker writer, not simply because two sections from Batch II appeared in the magazine in 2006 or because Willing

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  • June 21, 2010

    Jun 21, 2010 @ 5:00:00 pm

    The New York Times has been granted access to John Updike's archives. Among its many revelations is a letter that the nineteen-year-old Updike wrote to his parents: “We do not need men like Proust and Joyce; men like this are a luxury, an added fillip that an abundant culture can produce only after the more basic literary need has been filled. . . . We need great artists who are willing to accept restrictions, and who love their environments with such vitality that they can produce an epic out of the Protestant ethic.” The Times fawningly characterizes it as “a prescient formulation of what he

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  • Gerbrand Bakker
    June 21, 2010

    Jun 21, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    Dutch writer Gerbrand Bakker has won the 2010 IMPAC prize for his debut novel, The Twin, published in the US by Brooklyn's Archipelago Books. Now that this season's awarding of literary laurels has concluded, catch up on all the winners at The Millions, who have updated their list of prizewinners.

    Atlas Shrugged is coming soon to a theater near you, as it has finally begun shooting, but the question remains: Will it Be Worse Than the Book

    In "An Author's Redemption from Ignorance," professor and author Barbara J. King sets out to explain what writers don't understand about publishing.

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  • José Saramago
    June 18, 2010

    Jun 18, 2010 @ 3:00:00 pm

    Hearing the news of José Saramago's passing today at the age of 87, we couldn't help but think of the author's playful parrying with death and immortality in his recent novel, Death With Interruptions, in which the reaper takes a vacation and causes people to live too long. As Jason Weiss wrote in his 2009 review for Bookforum, "the implications of life everlasting become evident, and the blessing begins to resemble a curse . . . [Saramago] refreshes the old trope of immortality by treating it as fertile ground for playing out his incisive variations, exploring not only our fear of death but

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  • June 18, 2010

    Jun 18, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    Implementing an RSS reader can be an aggressive step towards organizing the glut of online information, but as the unread count grows, so does the anxiety—and culling feeds can be just as painful as discarding a book.

    David L. Ulin, the LA Times book editor for the last five years, is moving from editor to critic.

    Slow readers of the world unite! As we spend much of our time skimming websites, text messages, and emails, an English professor at the University of New Hampshire is making the case for slowing down to get more meaning and pleasure out of the written word. 

    In the New Statesman,

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  • June 17, 2010

    Jun 17, 2010 @ 12:00:00 pm

    When Henry Roth died in 1995, he left thousands of manuscript pages behind. The New Yorker published two pieces drawn from the trove, “God the Novelist,” and “Freight,” and a young fiction editor at the magazine, Willing Davidson, shaped the pages into the novel An American TypeAt Slate, Judith Shulevitz questions the posthumous edits, writing "the saddest ending of all would be if Roth's amorphous, neurotic . . . 'sense of life' was precisely what got polished out of his work." Meanwhile, at The National, Sam Munson calls Davidson's sculpting of the novel "heroic," while in Harper's (

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  • Elizabeth Streb's Breakthru, 1997
    June 17, 2010

    Jun 17, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    As if the Paris Review's defeat at the hands of n+1 in softball this week wasn't bad enough, the Review blog's recap of the game is being called for a balk, as the Awl takes issue with their blog's "transgression of English."

    A. M. Homes chats with the death-defying feminist artist Elizabeth Streb (including a video of Streb behind the scenes), whose "extreme action events" keep audiences wondering when they should duck; author Danielle Dutton reads from her forthcoming novel S P R A W L, and much more from the summer issue of BOMB. 

    Tonight, blogger Maud Newton interviews novelist Sarah

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  • June 16, 2010

    Jun 16, 2010 @ 3:00:00 pm

    To celebrate Bloomsday, Paris-based blogger Lauren Elkin chats with Keri Walsh, editor of the Letters of Sylvia Beach, and Sylvia Beach Whitman, heir to both Beach's name and (now in a new location on the Left Bank) her bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, which first published Joyce's magnum opus in 1922.

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  • June 16, 2010

    Jun 16, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    When Ulysses were first published in the 1920's, it was confiscated for being obscene. Ninety years later, Apple seemed to take the same tack, asking developers of an illustrated iPad Ulysses app to remove pages that contained nudity, before backing down, just in time for Bloomsday. Today is indeed the day to celebrate all things Ulysses, with Tablet sponsoring a reading featuring Joshua Cohen and Ben Greenman (among others), "putting the Bloom in Bloomsday," and Symphony Space is hosting Bloomsday on Broadway.

    What Americans used to read: the Top 10 lists for the years 1990, 1980, 1970, etc.,

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  • Clark Hoyt
    June 15, 2010

    Jun 15, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    Reading the New York Times can be a soporific (#12) experience, but not when the paper mines its data for the fifty Most Frequently Looked-up Words of 2010. Philip B. Corbett, who is charged with pointing out slips of style, grammar, and usage in the Times with alacrity (#36), muses on some of the "fancy words" that appear in the paper, wondering if its readers know what the heck jejune (#25) means. Meanwhile Clark Hoyt, the Times public editor, departs with praise for the paper, despite having to settle solipsistic (#9) internecine (#11) squabbles between the paper's op-ed polemicists (#42)

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  • Katherine Dunn, photo by Thomas Boyd for  The Oregonian
    June 14, 2010

    Jun 14, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    Still a Contender: Katherine Dunn has a new story in the summer Paris Review, her first fiction since her Geek Love was nominated for a 1989 National Book Award. (There is also an interview at the blog.) Dunn has spent the past two decades immersed in the boxing world, researching for a follow-up book called Cut Man and reporting on the sweet science for various boxing magazines (collected in the volume One Ring Circus)When she's isn't slugging would-be purse snatchers or reviewing boxing books, Dunn is still at work on her follow-up novel, which she reports will soon be finished.

    Stieg

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  • Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington, D.C.
    June 11, 2010

    Jun 10, 2010 @ 11:59:00 pm

    The World Cup begins today in South Africa, and the New Republic has enlisted novelists, such as Aleksandar Hemon, authors like Tom Vanderbilt, as well as critics and TNR staff to detail all the action at their blog Goal Post. Of course there's more to life in South Africa than soccer, as novelist André Brink writes: "There's so much constantly to react to in the world in which we live, and in a country like South Africa, that can become a full-time occupation;" from Bookforum's pages, Jennifer Egan reviews Brink's 2008 novel Other Lives

    The Wall Street Journal investigates how digital

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