Archive for July, 2008

Thursday Quote of the Night

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

“I am not one of those weak-spirited, sappy Americans who want to be liked by all the people around them. I don’t care if people hate my guts; I assume most of them do. The important question is whether they are in a position to do anything about it. My affections, being concentrated over a few people, are not spread all over Hell in a vile attempt to placate sulky, worthless shits.”

- William S. Burroughs

Thursday Evening Book Reviews

Thursday, July 31st, 2008


This review is thorough enough, but I’m at a loss to condense it in a pithy sentence, so I’ll let then title fend for itself: BROCCOLI AND OTHER TALES OF FOOD AND LOVE.

Set in South Africa, Damon Galut’s, THE IMPOSTER, gets raves at The Economist – which is always better than a poke in the eye.

Who would imagine that heavy metal music could be the bridge between American culture and the Muslims in the Middle East? Ask Mark LeVine.

A city of ghosts (no seriously, there everywhere) inhabit Doug Dorst’s literary newest, ALIVE IN NECROPOLIS.

Afternoon Viewing: Placebo

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

The band’s excellent video for the song “Blue American”:

I wrote this novel just for you
It sounds pretentious but it’s true
I wrote this novel just for you
That’s why it’s vulgar
That’s why it’s blue
And I say, thank you
And I say, thank you

I wrote this novel just for Mom
For all the mommy things she’s done
For all the times she showed me wrong
For all the time she sang god’s song
And I say thank you Mom
Hello Mom
Thank you Mom
Hi Mom

I read a book about Uncle Tom
Where a whitey bastard made a bomb
But now Ebonics rule our song
Those motherfuckers got it wrong
And I ask
Who is uncle Tom?
Who is uncle Tom?
Who is uncle Tom?
You are

I read a book about the self
Said I should get expensive help
Go fix my head
Create some wealth
Put my neurosis on the shelf
But I don’t care for myself
I don’t care for myself
I don’t care for myself
I don’t care

I wrote this novel just for you
I’m so pretentious, yes it’s true
I wrote this novel just for you
Just for you
Just for you

Thursday Morning LitLinks

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

David Jenkins on David Jenkins: the trials and tribulations of sharing a name with another writer.

Irishman’s “great American novel” an early Booker favorite.

Bookslut takes a look at the strange guises and trendy wrappers of the Bible in the 21st Century.

Will David Carr redeem the sullied reputation of the memoir?

R.I.P. Lee Cheong-jun

R.I.P. Alejandro Aura

Wednesday Quote of the Night

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

. “The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.”

- Dorothy Parker



Wednesday Evening Book Reviews

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

James Patterson is back again (already?) and with his new co-author, Michael Ledwidge, has crafted a YA Alex Cross novel with THE DANGEROUS DAYS OF DANIEL X.

The Charleston City Paper has an hilarious review of George MacDonald Fraser’s, THE REAVERS. I doubt Mr. Fraser found it as funny as I did.

The Olympian looks at a book that, in turn, looks at the early Bible from a woman’s point of view. There’s also a website review on the page, but I’m sure you’ll do fine.

As the Tour de France wraps up, The Hampstead and Highgate Express logs its view on a timely book on the history of the race.


Afternoon Viewing: Andrew Davidson

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

The author discusses his new work, The Gargoyle:

Wednesday Morning LitLinks

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

The Times Literary Supplement has announced its 2008 poetry competition (open to poets worldwide).

James Woods (not that one) gets the Village Voice treatment for his new book, How Fiction Works.

Here’s a new twist: instead of scamming readers in a memoir, Lee Israel is cashing in with a memoir about a scam already committed—forging letters and passing them off as the correspondence of famous writers.

If you’re going to vandalize a library with a line from a famous poem, at least get the damn thing right.

José Garcia Villa’s poetry becomes part of Penguin Classics.

The Booker longlist features five first-time novelists…

…the Guardian blogs the Booker here.

Tuesday Quote of the Night

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

“Art is not, as the metaphysicians say, the manifestation of some mysterious Idea of beauty or God; it is not, as the aesthetical physiologists say, a game in which one releases surplus energy, …not the production of pleasing objects, and is above all, not pleasure itself, but it is the means of union among mankind, joining them in the same feelings, and necessary for the life and progress toward the good of the individual and of humanity.”

- Leo Tolstoy

Tuesday Evening Book Reviews

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

America takes a poke and there’s a boogeyman crisis in a looming food shortage in two reviews from The International Herald Tribune.

Yesterday, Publisher’s Weekly.  Today, Library Journal with some fiction and non.

A debut poetry book earns a major review and accolades for poet, Mimi White.

Gridlock as life metaphor in Tom Vanderbilt’s, TRAFFIC.

Afternoon Viewing: T.S. Eliot

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

The poet reads his seminal work “The Waste Land”:

Tuesday Morning LitLinks

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Gwenda Bond looks back at Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” with lots of insights and interesting links.

Tony Kushner, on being labeled a “Jewish writer”.

Trudie Styler (aka Ms. Sting) has acquired film rights for the upcoming graphic novel “American Reaper”.

Louis R. Carlozo on the fine art of read-walking.

Psychology Today takes on the F-word

Monday Quote of the Night

Monday, July 28th, 2008

“It is imagination that has taught man the moral sense of color, of contour, of sound and of scent. It created, in the beginning of the world, analogy and metaphor. It disassembles creation, and with materials gathered and arranged by rules whose origin is only to be found in the very depths of the soul, it creates a new world, it produces the sensation of the new. As it has created the world (this can be said, I believe, even in the religious sense), it is just that it should govern it.”

- Charles Baudelaire


Monday Evening Book Reviews

Monday, July 28th, 2008

I like efficiency and in this article at, you get multi-angled reviews of at least two books on www culture and phenomenon, some social commentary, and a look at Sarah Lacy, author and, apparently, lightning rod.

Hurray! Time for the Publisher’s Weekly lists:

Children’s Books




for today.

Two audio books on the Kennedys get reviewed by Alan Rosenberg.

And a new review page tells us what’s hot in Iceland.

Afternoon Viewing: Ken Kesey

Monday, July 28th, 2008

A 2001 news report showing the writer at home and at work in Pleasant Hill, Oregon:

Monday Morning LitLinks

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Ray Bradbury chats it up with Steve Wasserman on literature and love (includes video and transcript).

Iran’s Ministry of Science, Research and Technology has issued a license to permit the founding of the Iran Literary Critics Association.

A South African teacher was fired from Catholic school for writing a “steamy novel”.

The L.A. Times profiles August Kleinzahler, the “bad boy of American poetry”.

Dean Koontz spills the beans at Comic-Con, announcing that a film based on Odd Thomas is in the works.

Sunday Quote of the Night

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

“It’s hard for writers to get on with their work if they are convinced that they owe a concrete debt to experience and cannot allow themselves the privilege of ranging freely through social classes and professional specialties. A certain pride in their own experience, perhaps a sense of the property rights of others in their experience, holds them back.”

- Saul Bellow

Sunday Evening Book Reviews

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

We’ve two novels in print and one in audio by way of the Detroit Free Press.

The OpEdNews features a look a Pat Tillman’s death, as recounted by his mother in BOOTS ON THE GROUND BY DUSK.

Two from the Telegraph is more fun to say than it is to type, but the books sound quite good!

The Guardian’s Observer has a wonderful review and article on David Carr, journalist and crack addict, who used the first skill set to dissect the ruin of the latter problem in THE NIGHT OF THE GUN.

And the Oregon Register-Guard has a few to round out a full bushel here.

A Reader’s Manifesto

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

Patrick Appel, filling in at Andrew Sullivan’s The Daily Dish, has dusted off an excellent column from the July/August 2001 Atlantic—B.R. Myers’ A Reader’s Manifesto.

A taste:

For years now editors, critics, and prize jurors, not to mention novelists themselves, have been telling the rest of us how lucky we are to be alive and reading in these exciting times. The absence of a dominant school of criticism, we are told, has given rise to an extraordinary variety of styles, a smorgasbord with something for every palate. As the novelist and critic David Lodge has remarked, in summing up a lecture about the coexistence of fabulation, minimalism, and other movements, “Everything is in and nothing is out.” Coming from insiders to whom a term like “fabulation” actually means something, this hyperbole is excusable, even endearing; it’s as if a team of hotel chefs were getting excited about their assortment of cabbages. From a reader’s standpoint, however, “variety” is the last word that comes to mind, and more appears to be “out” than ever before. More than half a century ago popular storytellers like Christopher Isherwood and Somerset Maugham were ranked among the finest novelists of their time, and were considered no less literary, in their own way, than Virginia Woolf and James Joyce. Today any accessible, fast-moving story written in unaffected prose is deemed to be “genre fiction”—at best an excellent “read” or a “page turner,” but never literature with a capital L. An author with a track record of blockbusters may find the publication of a new work treated like a pop-culture event, but most “genre” novels are lucky to get an inch in the back pages of The New York Times Book Review.

Check out the full article here.

Afternoon Viewing: Daniel Defoe

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

A compelling short documentary on how the plague and the Great Fire of London shaped the life of the celebrated writer of Robinson Crusoe, Moll Flanders and other major classics: