What foreigners might read to better understand the “American character.”
An author gives up on writing criticism: “I know intimately that the worst novels ever written took more fearlessness, will and soul than the best book reviews ever written.”
To buy the time work on a play or another book, Richard Price is working on a screenplay for Lush Life.
Raymond Carver biographer Carol Sklenicka: “It boggles the mind how someone who is said to be gentle can hit his wife over the head with a wine bottle and sever her artery.” I have a review of Sklenicka’s book in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
A visit to the graves of Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau. And the guy who played Coach on Cheers.
The publication of Vladimir Nabokov‘s The Original of Laura is an opportunity to dump on living authors: “Richard Powers drones on in high, wooden prose about love, Philip Roth engages in bottomless carnal rumination, Foerian pornographers of tragedy eagerly show us their wares—and Nabokov’s fragments … reveal how hollow so much serious (a synonym, these days, for self-serious) contemporary literature is.”
The publication of The Original of Laura is an opportunity for Roger Ebert to write about the film version of Lolita for Playboy. [NSFW]
The publication of The Original of Laura is an opportunity to come up with some new covers for Nabokov’s backlist.
Jonathan Yardley likes Ben Yagoda‘s book on memoirs, though he’s not much for the recent spate of memoirs themselves.
Jonathan Lethem on the Kindle: “I like old, crapped-out books. For me, it’s an unapologetic fetish, and my house is loaded with them and I’ll always be in love with these things. I worked in used bookstores for a long time. But again, in the cause of not being the cranky old man, even though I can feel all kinds of intense sensory resistance to this thing I choose not to believe it’s the enemy. I’m just going to decide that the world has enough room for this innocuous little guy, too. Why not?”