Thursday is all about: Literary Curmudgeonry and Bloggers

TURNING TRICKS?: Fishbowl vs. Cutler

It's been awhile since we checked in with the crew at Off the Shelf, the Boston Globe's lit blog. Yesterday, publishing reporter and all-around smarty guy David Mehegan posted a very funny rant about author's acknowledgment pages in fiction novels. He addressed it to the Department of Curmudgeon. Here's an excerpt:

I can't imagine Mark Twain writing, in "Huckleberry Finn," "I'd like to thank the Hannibal, Missouri, public library, which helped me refresh my memory on the technology of Mississippi steamboats," or George Eliot writing, at the end of "Middlemarch," "special thanks to Professor So-and-So, whose assistance was invaluable to me in my researches into the Reform Bill of 1832," or Fyodor Dostoevski writing, at the end of "Crime and Punishment," "my profuse thanks to Superintendent M-- of the St. Petersburg department of police for his generous advice on my treatment of investigatory methods." Or Dante: "I'd like to thank Virgil, for agreeing to be in my poem, and the various Islamic scholars who preserved the ancient writings that we in Europe now enjoy...."

Authors, I beg you to write your books and don't make me listen to your pencil-sharpening and page-turning and the "chunk" of the checkout machine at the library.

Mehegan, you're like the publishing industry's Andy Rooney! So adorable. Somebody should give you your own cable-access show. Which reminds us, that Andy Rooney event at the Brattle, originally scheduled for Dec 12, was canceled until further notice. We'll keep you updated.

For what it's worth: we actually enjoy reading author acknowledgment pages. Writers work HARD on their books -- fiction and non -- and it's their right to give thanks to whomever they please on the one page of their tome that didn't have to go through thirty revisions.

And here's another thing that's been amusing us on this utterly delightful Thursday morning. You guys ever heard of Jessica Cutler? Well, she's yet another blogger-turned-author. She writes about sex, and she did a VERY, VERY naughty thing. We LURVE it when the industry throws a tantrum over a scandal as juicy as a lecture cancellation.

The Book Standard reports:

MediaBistro’s catty attack on blogger-turned-author Jessica Cutler -- for backing out of its “From Blogger to Author” event next week (an attack which did garner the site some publicity on the New York Post’s Page Six and Gawker) -- forces us to once again consider the issue of what makes bloggers successful as authors -- or whether, in fact, one can translate into the other. Survey says: yes, sort of.

Cutler's book, The Washingtonienne, isn't breaking any Book Scan sales records (especially considering the hefty advance -- typical). Gawker called her a "smart whore," and Page Six made their usual dirty headline puns.

MediaBistro definitely didn't spare Cutler. They write whine:

Still, we're shocked -- shocked -- that someone known for exchanging sex for money would behave this way.

OUCH. We think you hurt her feelings, Fishbowl.

Perhaps Cutler just forgot to thank MediaBistro in her acknowledgements page and was too ashamed to show her face at the course. Which is still happening without her. Obvs.


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