American Short Fiction’s managing editor Jess Stoner is reading local newspapers from one state a week and reporting on the big headlines in a better attempt to understand America. As she puts it, “Not to snark, not to make fun of people from unincorporated towns who write letters to the editor, but to share with you a more complicated, less yell-y look at where we are, with the hopes of better understanding where we might be headed.” The first state is Alabama.
"I asked myself - why don’t I state the race of my characters? And am I doing something wrong by not explicitly including a diverse cast of characters? Could I be doing something better? The short answer is yes." An argument in favor of race bent fanfiction and resisting assumedly white characters from The Missouri Review blog.
As Kevin Jackson notes in Prospect Magazine, Edgar Allan Poe differs from many of his contemporary American authors in that he's often treated with "a hint of condescension and a splash of pity somewhere in the mix" by modern English students. And yet his influence perseveres. He is, after all, the only author with an NFL namesake. And he's apparently huge in France. So what gives?
"The literary type of burlesque also peels off layers ... They are bolder and more coarsely humorous pieces that go beyond silly copies, like turbo-charged parodies. Jane Austen’s burlesques were full-on irreverent, turning a thing on its head, forcing us to peek underneath to see its naked absurdities." On the proto-feminist snark of a young Jane Austen.
"Well, continuing with my policy of baring my soul, Dwight Garner said something like, the book was like one of those satellite photos of North Korea when I talked about the second marriage. I obviously had very little access to Updike from ‘77 on, really. And I cheated a bit by using Ian McEwan as my spy in the Updike household. First of all, Updike definitely did pull up the drawbridge and retire into his castle and I thought, in a sense, that this should be respected. He had decided on his persona, at that point—the highly professional man of letters. And I thought, why not let him go out with that persona intact?” At The Awl, Elon Green talks with Adam Begley about his new biography of John Updike.
Colson Whitehead says "Wow, Fiction Works!"The LA Times has a clip from the movie version of David Foster Wallace's Brief Interviews With Hideous Men, directed by The Office star John Krasinski. (via)Carolyn writes about the real-life connection between Walker Percy and Bruce Springsteen.The Village Voice shows off the final results of its highly scientific system of determining New Yorker cartoonists' batting averages.Cambridge Information Group, which owns Bowker, AquaBrowser, ProQuest, Serials Solutions and RefWorks makes an investment in LibraryThing.Vote in The 2009 Tournament of Books Zombie Poll.A book that has turned out to be so wrong it has become a collectors item (check out the prices): The Bush Boom: How a Misunderestimated President Fixed a Broken Economy
Among the better tidbits from Gary Shteyngart’s diary of his book tour for Little Failure is the fact that he’s apparently had fellow Russian immigrants ask him to sign books for “a failed paralegal” and “a worse failure than even you.” If, after reading that, you'd like another dose of Shteyngart, you could do worse than his Year in Reading entry.