Good gracious. First, a Harvard University freshman fucked up a two-book deal worth a cool half-mil. (For those living under a rock, Kaavya Viswanathan plagiarized a nice chunk of her YA novel, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life--just
your basic tween saga on ditching a super-scheduled, uptight
over-achiever persona for some juicy high school dramarama.
Not all birthday parties end with presents and a wrapping-paper tiara. Take Heidi Pitlor’s wrenching, Sue Miller–esque debut, The Birthdays.
On Joe Miller’s 75th, his children gather to celebrate, each of them
nursing wounds. One daughter is pregnant by a sperm donor whom her
husband’s infatuated with, another, the youngest, is about to have a
baby and doesn’t know who the father is.
It's nice to know I'm not the only one who is regularly disturbed by the New York Times' Modern Love
essays. This week, Theodora Stites takes us into the bone-chilling
world of the online social networking scene. Way to pick up
on the trend stories. People keep in touch via the Web?!!
Stites spends most of her word count here bragging about the many
online communities to which she belongs--it's an exhausting
laundry-list, and I'm wondering whether she's at
all embarrassed by the amount of thought she puts into not only
maintaining her personal pages, but her shameless
admission that she'd rather experience a well-connected
fake life on a machine than in reality.
Hooray for Small Beer Press. We came across the tiny Northampton publishing house when Kelly Link and her astounding, bizarre, genre-waltzing second collection of short stories Magic for Beginners crossed our path. Small Beer puts out work that’s more literary than typical sci-fi or fantasy. More fantastical than literary fiction.
T. Coraghessan Boyle — better known as T.C. — is back with his 11th novel, Talk Talk, an identity-theft
thriller that traces the framing of Dana Halter, a deaf woman who is in
danger of disappearing into the criminal-justice system. Her heroic
boyfriend, Bridges, is ready to risk it all for Dana’s love, and the
two set out on a road trip across the country to clear her name.
Writers are known to spend days in self-imposed, lonely isolation. So when they decide to unwind, they do it up right. Grub Street, Word Up's fave independent writing center, is hosting Grub Gone...Sweaty,
the second in a series of reading parties that are geared to get you
drunk and slam-dancing to Steve Almond's DJ stylings, or at least mix
and mingle a little with some other local scribes.
Not only did Al Gore invent this here Interweb, he also knows a shitload about why the world is going
to hell in a handbasket. It has less to do with blaming politicians,
more to do with everyone in sight ramming their gas guzzlers
across highways and sucking down natural resources faster than a
It’s not necessarily news in the new sense, but Word Up just got wind of Spike Jonze’s latest project: production begins this summer on an animated version of Maurice Sendak’s classic Where the Wild Things Are to be released in 2008. And who wrote the screenplay? None other than Dave Eggers.
Eggers, prince of a publishing empire, literary do-gooder, infamous author of the man-boy memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, told Salon last year that up till then, he’d avoided screenwriting, “but Spike is one of my favorite directors and "Malkovich" in particular is one of my very favorite movies.
I just Googled Heidi Pitlor for info so that I could write up a blurb about her upcoming reading at the Harvard Book Store. Got completely distracted by the top link, to this four-year old Village Voice literary supplement piece: Young, Gifted, and Workshopped.
Right now I've got a few friends who hate their jobs and are just deluded and brilliant enough to want
to go back to school for their MAs, but I don't know many who
think about going for an MFA as though it's a make you or break you
Over the long weekend, I spent some time hiding from the revel-makers on my minature balcony with Daphne Kalotay's linked collection, Calamity and Other Stories. She's a Grub St. alum, and we here at Word Up are pretty much obsessed with all things Grub. More on that soon.
A New Jersey native, Daphne got her Creative Writing MA at B.
For those of you too busy to catch up on your classics, this is phenomenal.
Crime and PunishmentFranny and ZooeyWuthering Heights
Oh, Heathecliff. You angry bastard.
Full disclosure: I didn't go to Updike's reading last night at the Unitarian Church. I wish I'd been able to, if only to see if observing the old man live would've changed my mind about him and his work. Because Sharon digs him bigtime and I'm one to respect her tastes and, I'll admit, when I heard her full-force endorsement the question glimmered across my mind: have I been missing something?
John Updike is totes one of the smiliest old dudes I’ve ever seen. He has this really nice countenance that doesn’t even betray the fact that he’s been an amazing taste-maker for my beloved New Yorker and kickass critic and short-story phenom and literary mega-star. And I’m pissed that critics have been shitting all over him.
Despite some terrible reviews, John Updike’s The Terrorist is selling better than any of his novels have in quite awhile. The Wall Street Journal reports that six reprints take The Terrorist to 118,000 copies, which puts Updike on at least seven bestseller lists. This, after an LA Times reviewer likened the book to "paint-by-numbers angst."