• 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.


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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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  • Amin Maalouf
    June 10, 2010

    Jun 10, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    Are books the LPs of the future? "Of course, the book has been around a lot longer and is far more deeply entrenched in our vision of culture—both what it is and what we want it to be—than the LP, which turned out to be a disposable format, a means to an end. Yet what the digital revolution in the music industry shows us, I think, is that what people want is music: the format doesn’t matter nearly as much as the product." Do people, then, want nothing outside the text? Actually, long-playing records may be the literal future of books. And just like the passing of LPs signaled the end

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  • Brenda Wineapple
    June 09, 2010

    Jun 9, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    The New Yorker has anointed its twenty young writers under forty who "capture the inventiveness and the vitality of contemporary American fiction," and Farrar, Straus & Giroux has announced it will publish a paperback anthology of the chosen ones. How were they chosen? What are the stories about? Tainted love, mostly. What's the upside? Choire Sicha offers Ten Affirmations. The takeaway? Forty is still young when it comes to writing fiction.

    Brenda Wineapple writes that American literature in the 19th century "speaks in the 21st in terms we have not yet abandoned for all our sophistication,

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  • June 08, 2010

    Jun 8, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    The iBookstore is coming to the iPhone, expanding the e-book market to the pocket-sized device. If you put stock in Steve Job's iBook sales numbers, that's very good news for publishing. Yesterday's announcement of the iPhone 4 was measured in comparison to the frenzied hype that welcomed the iPad, since many of the phone's features have been known for a while—thanks to the checkbook journalism of Gizmodo, which purloined an early iPhone 4 prototype and produced the definitive guide to the gizmo. 

    Literary mixes: New York magazine has asked authors to recommend books for the summer: "the

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  • David Markson
    June 07, 2010

    Jun 7, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    This is Not an Obituary: David Markson has died at age eighty-two. Markson, who began his career writing off-kilter genre fiction, kept the unconventional novel alive long after '60s-era critics and readers had retreated to tamer stuff. In books like Wittgenstein’s Mistress (1988), Reader’s Block (1996), and The Is Not a Novel (2001), Markson achieved the grail so many American avant-garde novelists had sought: crafting radical experiments in form that were utterly compelling to read. His conversations about craft were almost as enthralling as his literary output, and proved inspirational for

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  • Michael Silverblatt
    June 04, 2010

    Jun 4, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    Shakespeare & Company, the bookstore whose lineage stretches back to Sylvia Beach's 1919 shop, which first published Ulysses, is starting a literary magazine and a prize.

    Twain saw being interviewed as torture, Hemingway found it akin to hand-to-hand combat, while Nabokov agreed only to be questioned via typewritten transcript (the better to polish his prose before it saw print). In Bookforum's pages, Albert Mobillio, introducing a section on interviewing the interviewers, wrote that interviews are a "high wire act for writers." Michael Silverblatt has been conversing with authors for twenty

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  • Maaza Mengiste. Photo by Miriam Berkley.
    June 03, 2010

    Jun 3, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    On Wednesday night, organizers of the Brooklyn Book Festival announced part of its 2010 line-up at a mingle that took place at stately Brooklyn Borough Hall. As publishing types mixed with writers such as Colson Whitehead, Chuck Klosterman, and others, Johnny Temple (the onetime Girls Against Boys bassist and editor of Akashic Books) introduced curators who named some of the writers confirmed for the fest. As always, it is a stellar bunch: Whitehead, Jonathan Lethem, Jennifer Egan, Mary Gaitskill, Joshua Clover, Rob Sheffield, Maaza Mengiste, Joyce Carol Oates, Dorothy Allison, Stephen Elliott

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  • Mark English's illustration for John Cheever's "The Geometry of Love."
    June 02, 2010

    Jun 2, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

    From the archives of American angst: The Saturday Evening Post has digitized and posted the 1966 John Cheever story "The Geometry of Love." Though the story appears in Cheever's Collected Stories, it is edifying to see a story by "the suburban squire" presented in its original context—a vividly illustrated Post spread, with its eyebrow-raising tag line: "How convenient to reduce your marital difficulties to a mathematical formula! How convenient—and how dangerous!" Though the Post jumped at the chance to publish the story, it was only after the New Yorker passed on it, with New Yorker editor

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  • June 01, 2010

    Jun 1, 2010 @ 12:47:00 pm

    Peter Beinart continues to assail Israel's leadership and its American supporters in an article condemning yesterday's flotilla raid, which killed nine people and resulted in the arrest of more than six hundred activists (including Swedish writer Henning Mankell). Israel and American Zionism are topics conspicuously absent from Beinart's new book The Icarus Syndrome: A History of American Hubris (reviewed in Bookforum by Jim Sleeper), but Beinart has had a lot to say about them recently.

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