The jig is up, Barrino. We've never been all that fond of you, but this stuff isn't helping your rep:
1. The AI winner confessed to Kim Green, who ghost-wrote Barrino's biography, Life is Not a Fairy Tale (Simon & Schuster), that she couldn't read or write (or review Green's chapters in progress for accuracy, etc.
We’ve never catered to the publishing industry’s mentality that short-story collections are the poor man’s novel. In fact, we often prefer them to bulky bestselling hardcovers, and KELLY LINK’s Magic for Beginners is proof that sometimes a brief glimpse can say more than a 200-page staring contest. Link’s nine tales are a tongue-in-cheek twist on sci-fi genre fiction, and even the New Yorker’s on board with how she skillfully weaves in fantastical snapshots of middle-class America.
Mark Z. Danielewski’s debut House of Leaves – with its unsettling text patterns (scrunched letters, upside-down words, sentences that ran diagonal, blank pages, black pages), its unsettling narrator interaction, and, most of all its unsettling – no, terrifying -- image of an ever-expanding blackness -- ranks as one of the most psychically haunting books I’ve read.
Yeah, yeah, we know that White Oleander was totally an Oprah’s Book Club read. Can we help loving it? No, we cannot. Not even Oprah can tarnish Janet Fitch's descriptive magic, although this interview with Ms. Winfrey makes us want to hurl. But doesn't Fitch look sort of regal sitting in that high-backed medieval chair?
Pink is the new Bitch
Chuck Klosterman: We want to punch you in the Sasquatch
Oh you! Go do what the Harvard Book Store says:
I. You can throw:
1. Shiny beads 2. Dusty post-feminist texts 3. Prescription-only coke bottle glasses
II. You can go:
1. The Ultimate Indie-Yuppie is in town, and what a nasty piece of work he is:
Fenway Recordings, Brookline Booksmith, Houghton Mifflin, and the Phoenix are teaming up to present the Phoenix Author Series, which kicks off next Saturday, September 30, at Great Scott in Allston at 7:30 pm. Southie native Michael Patrick MacDonald, author of All Souls: A Family Story from Southie, and the forthcoming Easter Rising: An Irish American Coming Up from Under, will be the first featured writer.
Relax, Tim Gunn, it's just fashion!
Holler! Pardon the semi-sporadic postings up in here. Now that it's fall and Boston is a city again, there's ohsomuch more to do. Of late, we've been buried underneath an imposing stack of press releases that doesn't ever seem to get smaller -- though it does include some delicious upcoming author appearances that we'll obvs let you know about asap.
Washington Post reporter John Pomfret was one of the first American exchange students to attend Nanjiing University in 1981, and he returned to China eight years later as a journalist, which led him to witness first-hand the blood shed at Tiananmen Square eight years later. His Chinese Lessons: A Journey Between Past and Present is a readable account of modern Chinese history.
"Without speculation there is no good and original observation."
When Rhodes Scholar David Quammen realized he couldn’t cut it as a fiction writer (he did his graduate work on William Faulkner), he got into biology. And by “got into,” we mean he wrote a 702-page prize-winning book called The Song of the Dodo about remote-island biology.
Iron Man: Where are the chapter outlines at?
We love it when this sort of thing is regulated to a mere blip in Publisher's Lunch. Way to bury the lead, guys:
"Ghostface Killah may be out $50,000 after he apparently got spooked by a deadline for his memoir. A Manhattan judge has ordered the Wu-Tang Clan member to return his advance when he repeatedly failed to give HarperCollins a manuscript, due in January 2002, The News' Jose Martinez reports.
Below, an opportunity to work with local author Pagan Kennedy in helping promote her latest book -- a piece of non-fiction about the first person to get a male-to-female sex change. I interviewed Pagan about her most recent novel, Confessions of a Memory Eater, and can easily say that this would be an extremely cool gig.
Four out of fourteen of the stories in All Aunt Hagar’s Children have already been published in The New Yorker; and no wonder given that Edward P. Jones won a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for his first novel, The Known World. That one was set in antebellum Virginia; this collection of short fiction takes place in modern Washington, DC, where his characters struggle to adapt from the routines of the rural south to city life.
Grub Street announced its fall schedule recently -- classes start beginning October 10 -- and the classic wisdom from college about picking classes based on the professor as opposed to the subject applies here, too. We'll gush about Grub every chance we get, and it's fair to say that any course or seminar will have a top-notch teacher.
Nora Ephron: Rocking the '80s 'do
Q: Can they be friends? A: NO.
We have no idea how many times we’ve seen . . . When Harry Met Sally. Seven? Fifty? Does it matter? Woody Allen may have perfected the romantic comedy, but Nora Ephron revamped the genre into chick-flick status — and there are a million single girls who love her for it.
Read This Now
In Jennifer Egan's first novel, Look at Me, it was difficult to identify with 35-year-old Charlotte Swenson, a bitchy, beautiful Manhattan model who’d been disfigured in a car accident, and whose unnerving sense of entitlement was outdone only by her unmendable emotional fractures. That didn’t stop it from being short-listed for the 2001 National Book Award: Egan has a knack for keeping your rapt attention even with the most unlikable of narrators.