Department of Ridiculous News Story Premises: “After a summer of glowing reviews for Jonathan Franzen‘s new novel “Freedom,” in which the book was deemed a masterpiece and its author compared to great American novelists, publishing insiders say the literary lovefest may be about to end. According to those sources, Ruth Franklin, a senior editor at the New Republic, will pan “Freedom” in an issue out later this month. Judging by literary critics’ penchant for piling on, she probably won’t be the last reviewer looking to draw blood.”
Where are the novels about Hurricane Katrina?
Julia Alvarez: “I struggled early on because my first language was Spanish and when I came here I read all these great male writers whose voices sounded important, so I tried to model my own voice after them.”
According to a Bowker survey (PDF), there are many reasons why a person might purchase a book, but a book review isn’t one of them (see page 29). So, little has changed.
Jack Shafer despairs for the future of the book—though the book’s eroding cultural primacy, as he describes it, seems to apply mostly to nonfiction books, which have increasingly become lodes for data miners. As for novels, you still have to read those from start to finish.
Mystery novelist Bryan Gruley on the distinctions between writing news stories and writing fiction.
James Ellroy: “Well, sir, and this is on the record, I’ve blurbed a lot of books I haven’t read. Blurbed a lot of books I haven’t read, and have decided to drop the curtain on that.”
Inside Jennifer Egan‘s old-school day planner.
Things I’ve Overheard My Roommate Say to Her On-Again/Off-Again Boyfriend or Works by Joyce Carol Oates? (via; this gag also works for Bob Dylan and Dan Rather quotes)