• Steve Almond
    September 17, 2010

    Sep 17, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    It's official: Oprah Winfrey has chosen Jonathan Franzen's new novel for her book club.

    Here's a trailer for Chris Lehmann's Rich People Things, which hilariously uses a scene from Fellini's La Dolce Vita (watch for the cameo from Nico).

    Steve Almond takes writerly self-humiliation to glorious heights in a column for The Rumpus, in which he lampoons poems he wrote in his youth. Sample line: "The geese yank his pants with cheddar beaks."

    Futurebook offers a crash course on how to use—and not use—Twitter to promote books.

    The watchdog group Media Matters has examined how The Wall Street

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  • Elif Batuman
    September 16, 2010

    Sep 16, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    It has been almost nine years since Jonathan Franzen hemmed and hawed about Oprah Winfrey's selection of his novel The Corrections for her book club, but is that long enough for hurt feelings to heal? According to rumors, it is. Melville House publisher Dennis Johnson has reported that Oprah is going to make Franzen's Freedom her latest pick on Friday. Johnson has also posted a photo that seems to prove him right. That Oprah sticker might still make Franzen fairly itch with ambivalence, but he'll be scratching his all the way to the bank. Meanwhile, the Franzenfreude will surely increase,

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  • September 15, 2010

    Sep 15, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    Tonight at Brooklyn's 177 LivingstonTriple Canopy and Cabinet magazine are hosting "A Hearing on the Activities of the International Necronautical Society," where editors and audience members (as well as novelist Joshua Cohen and critic Christian Lorentzen) will debrief INS founder Tom McCarthy and Chief Philospher Simon Critchley on recent findings. What strides has the INS made toward their goal to "map, enter, colonise and, eventually, inhabit" death? McCarthy's new novelC, is his most emphatic answer to the question yet.

    Chuck Klosterman's essays are now available for the iTunes-like

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  • September 14, 2010

    Sep 14, 2010 @ 1:00:00 pm

    Last night, The Rumpus's "Summer Shakedown" event at Brooklyn's Death by Audio space (which comedian Michael Showalter described as, if we remember correctly, a "blown-out former dentist's office,") was everything we told you it would be and more—but also a little bit less. We saw Neal Pollack read about his adventures in yoga and then do the "alligator" pose onstage. We saw Sara Marcus read from her new history of Riot Grrrl, Girls to the Front, and actually sing some of the passages. We saw Nick Flynn read a chapter from his memoir The Ticking is the Bomb about Rumpus honcho and emcee Stephen

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  • Sunday's Brooklyn Book Festival, photo by Carolyn Kellogg.
    September 14, 2010

    Sep 14, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    Pictures and video from this weekend's soggy Brooklyn Book Festival, and critic David L. Ulin on the fest's "moral mysteries." At one of the marquee events, John Ashbery chatted with Paul Auster about the poet's first job in New York, at the Brooklyn Public Library: "I did so miserably at that job and was so unhappy at it—though loving Brooklyn of course. I had to punch a time clock and almost every day it was red because I was staying out late in New York." 

    Fall book picks from the Daily Beast, the LA Times, and Gawker, who offer this sage advice about Roland Barthes's Mourning Diary: "Read

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  • September 13, 2010

    Sep 13, 2010 @ 12:00:00 pm


    Chris Lehmann is a conspicuously over-employed editor and cultural critic. He’s a co-editor of Bookforum, a deputy editor for the Yahoo news blog The Upshot, a columnist for the Awl, a contributing editor for The Baffler, and a guitarist and singer for the band The Charm Offensive. He’s also just penned a book, Rich People Things, which will be published this fall by OR books. We recently caught up with Mr. Lehmann via email to discuss the how his blog column became a book, why he considers himself an economic populist, and what we talk about when

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  • Hilton Als
    September 13, 2010

    Sep 13, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    Tonight, the Rumpus ushers in autumn with a "Summer Shakedown" event. There's a stellar lineup of authors including Nick Flynn (The Ticking is the Bomb), Sara Marcus (Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution), and Hilton Als (Justin Bond/Jackie Curtis), as well as comedians Michael Showalter and Jessi Klein, performers Elissa Bassist and Corrina Bain, and music by Frankie Rose and the Outs.

    The new Paris Review is out, and we haven't been so excited about a literary magazine in ages. It's the first issue edited by Lorin Stein, and if it’s any indication, he's taking the

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  • John Ashbery
    September 10, 2010

    Sep 10, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    If you're in New York this weekend, you really must go to the Brooklyn Book Festival on Sunday. There are too many events to list, but here are just a few highlights: Joshua Cohen and Matthew Sharpe will talk about Kafka; poet John Ashbery will discuss his work with Paul Auster; and Bookforum  co-editor Albert Mobilio will talk about international noir with Mexican author Paco Ignacio Taibo II, French author Caryl Férey, and New York's Pete Hamill. Other participating authors include Mary Gaitskill, Colson Whitehead, Russell Banks, and Stephen Elliott. There are also a number of related events

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  • Lionel Shriver
    September 09, 2010

    Sep 9, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    Novelist Lionel Shriver details her experience of how "publishers are complicit in ghettoising not only women writers but women readers into [an] implicitly lesser cultural tier." Using her own novels as examples, such as the disturbing health care tale, So Much for That, Shriver writes that publishers’ insistence on "trussing up my novels as sweet, girly and soft is like stuffing a rottweiler in a dress." 

    Former Poet Laureate Billy Collins was recently quoted in the Wall Street Journal saying, "lyrics just don't hold up without the music . . . I assure [my students] that Jim Morrison is not

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  • Melissa Febos
    September 08, 2010

    Sep 8, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    The shortlist for the 2010 Man Booker Prize has been announced.

    Sure, we may have entered the age of wireless devices and ADD, but as The Millions points out, big, sprawling novels with lots of characters aren't dead yet. In fact, "the current profusion of long novels would seem to complicate the picture of the Incredible Shrinking Attention Span."

    OR Books, the new independent publisher who does not work with Amazon, has announced that it will publish Douglas Rushkoff's Program or Be Programmed, in which the novelist and countercultural essayist will attempt to help you swim, not sink, in

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  • September 07, 2010

    Sep 7, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    French novelist Michel Houellebecq's controversial work has been called racist and sexist (and sometimes brilliant). Now critics are crying "plagiarism," as the author apparently pasted portions of Wikipedia into his new novel, The Map and the Territory. Houellebecq has responded to the charge with his usual sangfroid: "When you use a big word like 'plagiarism,' even if the accusation is ridiculous, something (of the accusation) will always remain. . . . And if people really think that, then they haven't the first notion of what literature is." 

    At the New Republic G. W. Bowersock remembers 

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