Links: Sad State of Affairs

Happy Friday! Here’s a guide to depressing novels.

Jonathan Lethem recalls his longtime relationship with the works of Philip K. Dick (via i09).

NYRB Classics editor Edwin Frank talks with Washington City Paper about its reissue of Don Carpenter‘s excellent debut novel, Hard Rain Falling.

The Road director John Hillcoat is looking to film The Wettest County in the World, Matt Bondurant‘s bracing 2008 novel about Virginia bootleggers.

Newark, New Jersey, makes its pitch to be a “major cultural capital” by landing a major poetry conference. Jayne Anne Phillips approves.

Meanwhile in Newark, Amiri Baraka turns 75.

Flavorwire has a Q&A with Joyce Carol Oates, who reveals that she’s working on a memoir titled The Seige: A Widow’s First Six Months.

Liked the book? Buy the handbag.

Elmore Leonard will receive PEN USA’s lifetime achievement award.

Why Vladimir Nabokov‘s unfinished novel The Original of Laura won’t be available as an e-book.

The case for Alice McDermott as an important Catholic novelist.

James Ellroy: “I distrust people who do not err on the side of action. And there’s a distinction between being conflicted and being ambivalent. Ambivalence connotes wishy-washiness, being conflicted connotes a clash of dramatic choices. And so I despise the idea of shades of grey or ambiguity standing as ultimate moral value or literary value.

Roundup: High Fuel Costs

Larry McMurtry is “outta gas” when it comes to writing fiction, he told a Dallas crowd last night during a conversation with Diana Ossana, his Brokeback Mountain screenwriting partner.

In the Rake, Max Ross takes the all-star break as an opportunity to note a couple of new baseball novels, and revisit a couple of familiar ones, including Philip Roth‘s exasperating The Great American Novel.

For the past two years Wayne State University has been amassing an sizable collection of rare books and manuscripts by black writers with some connection to Detroit. Among the holdings are works by Amiri Baraka, Donald Goines, W.E.B. DuBois, and more.

Ted Gioia has launched a new feature at Blogcritics Magazine called “The New Canon,” addressing the best works of fiction published since 1985. Not a bad way to start.