• Jaron Lanier
    March 18, 2010

    Mar 18, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

    Move over David Remnick, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Bob Woodward—there's a new presidential historian in town. Porn-peddler Larry Flynt is writing a book about US presidents' (and first ladies') sex lives. According to the proposal, he will answer questions like: "How did a gay-love affair aid the secession movement?" And: "How did one of Wilson's affairs result in the first Jew on the Supreme Court?" We can't wait to find out.

    Though he resembles a disgruntled bar bouncer, Jaron Lanier is a virtual reality pioneer. He's playing the contrarian at the SXSWi Festival, delivering an unpopular

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  • March 17, 2010

    Mar 17, 2010 @ 11:42:00 am

    Job-juggling Bookforum co-editor Chris Lehmann has become managing editor of Yahoo!'s news blogs, but will continue to edit Bookforum. As the Observer explains: “The initial headline on this post suggested that Mr. Lehmann was leaving Bookforum. In fact, he will be continuing on as an editor at Bookforum in addition to his new role at Yahoo.”

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  • Tony Judt
    March 17, 2010

    Mar 17, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

    Scholar Tony Judt's book Ill Fares the Land goes on sale tomorrow. It was rushed to print by The Penguin Press (and rushed to review in the Times), presumably because Judt is suffering from ALS, which he has eloquently chronicled in the New York Review of Books. He's also been blogging his memoirs lately, including this intriguing piece about sexual politics in academia, Girls! Girls! Girls!

    The Book Examiner Michelle Kerns lists the 20 most annoying book reviewer clichés. Learn them by heart and you, too, could lead the “compelling” and “poignant” life of a literary critic, and host

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  • Editor Gordon Lish, photo by Bill Hayward
    March 16, 2010

    Mar 16, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

    OR Books will publish Gordon Lish’s Collected Fictions on April 30th. Lish, best known as Raymond Carver’s Svengali, was an editor at Knopf and Esquire, a writing workshop drill sergeant, and a merciless pruner of purple prose. His stories are sure to attract intense scrutiny; we can already hear slighted authors sharpening their red pencils in anticipation.

    People still buy books! To celebrate, Publishers Weekly has named San Francisco shop City Lights Books the Bookseller of the Year.

    The New Yorker's recent profile of Mayor Richard M. Daley gets the Second City wrong, writes Chicago

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  • New York Times columnist David Carr
    March 15, 2010

    Mar 15, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

    A video interview with New York Times columnist David Carr after Saturday's SXSW panel "Media Armageddon: What Happens When the New York Times Dies." Speaking of media Armageddon, Gawker quotes Carr saying they scoop him “all the time.”

    Will Walter Kirn be at the 92nd Street Y next Monday, when critic James Wood will discuss Brief Interviews with Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace? When Wallace died in 2008, Wood wrote a finely parsed remembrance of Wallace's work on Edward Champion's blog tribute page, and tried to refute Kirn's assertion that Wallace was one of the few "

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  • Cheever: A Life author Blake Bailey
    March 12, 2010

    Mar 12, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

    The National Book Critics Circle awards have been announced. Three of the winners were all too predictable: Hillary Mantel won in fiction for Wolf Hall, Richard Holmes scored the non-fiction prize with The Age of Wonder, and Blake Bailey took home the biography prize for Cheever: A Life. But if there are people who bet on the NBCC Awards (and we hope there are), the big winnings went to those who put their money on Eula Biss, whose hard-to-categorize Notes from No Man's Land came out of nowhere to take the prize for criticism.

    Novelist Sam Lipsyte and Giancarlo Ditrapano talk vices over at

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  • Author Ariana Reines
    March 11, 2010

    Mar 11, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

    Tonight, the National Book Critics Circle awards will be announced. Catch up on all the nominees with thirty books in thirty days

    HarperCollins has nabbed Senator Scott Brown's memoir, set for publication in early 2011.

    The winners of the 2010 Best Translated Book Award were just announced. Gail Hareven’s The Confessions of Noa Weber, translated from the Hebrew by Dalya Bilu and published by Melville House Press, captured the award for fiction (beating out Robert Walser's The Tanners [!]), while Elena Fanailova’s The Russian Version, translated from the Russian by Genya Turovskaya and

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  • Whip Smart author Melissa Febos
    March 10, 2010

    Mar 10, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

    Tonight at the New School, the finalists for this year's National Book Critics Circle award, which will be announced tomorrow night, will read their work. It's the book world's answer to the Academy Awards' red-carpet ceremony. Well, kind of. Unlike the Oscars, the NBCC event is free and open to the public.

    Want middlebrow? There will be an app for that.

    Proving that there is nothing in the world that can't be bought and shipped to Texas, David Foster Wallace's papers have landed in Austin. The Harry Ransom Center, with its Lone Star State-sized acquisitions budget, has scored many of

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  • Director James Cameron
    March 09, 2010

    Mar 9, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

    Ayn Rand swooned over serial killer William Hickman, calling him "the amazing picture of a man with no regard whatsoever for all that a society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. A man who really stands alone, in action and in soul." That’s funny, we thought she was talking about Alan Greenspan.

    11 more of the world's Coolest Bookcases.

    Karl Rove's Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight goes on sale today. Hey, boy genius, "consequences," is not a concept that you want readers to brood about. Politico offers a few choice quotes. We're trying

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  • I Don't Care About Your Band author Julie Klausner
    March 08, 2010

    Mar 8, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

    The Oscars were infinitely more bearable last night thanks to the peanut gallery of literary tweeters: Colson Whitehead, Edward Champion, and Julie Klausner. This from Bookforum's own Chris Lehmann: "If James Cameron ends the night drunk and sobbing, I'm happy."

    Borders cuts workforce; employees call it "Black Thursday."

    Barnes and Noble to offer discounted e-Books to print book buyers.

    "I swear to God," David Shields tells Bookslut, "I can’t read a book unless it has miniature numbered sections. I exaggerate, but only slightly." A not-so-subtle plug for his new manifesto, Reality Hunger,

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  • Literary Man of the Hour, Lorin Stein named editor of the Paris Review
    March 05, 2010

    Mar 5, 2010 @ 5:59:00 am

    FSG's Lorin Stein has been named as The Paris Review's new editor and will start in April. This is a wise hire: Stein not only has good taste, he's knowledgeable about the book market (Roberto Bolaño had a devoted following before FSG started publishing him, but Stein made the Chilean author into the phenomenon he is today). Stein is also well-connected, having worked with authors like Denis Johnson, Sam Lipstye, and Lydia Davis. Oh, and last but not least, he's fun at parties, which means that he will keep a spark of George Plimpton's legacy alive.

    David Foster Wallace's work continues to

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  • Author Barry Hannah
    March 04, 2010

    Mar 4, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

    Writer Barry Hannah has died at age 67. Though pigeonholed as a "Southern author," his work (especially Airships and Ray) has had a wide influence. His admirers included Ben Marcus, Steve Almond, Gary Lutz, and Pavement's Stephen Malkmus. One admiring student learned of Hannah's death in a tweet, and reports: "Death told via Twitter hits like a fist."

    Digital books are cheaper to make than the old-fashioned kind, but publishers agree; making e-books ain't free.

    Ayn Rand and Susan Sontag "were both brave, both immensely persuasive to hordes of acolytes, and both incredibly deluded."

    The City

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