…to nonexistent for the next few days. Today I’m flying up to New York, where I plan to spend the remainder of the week sightseeing, catching up with colleagues, and taking in some of the various National Book Critics Circle awards week events. I suspect that a few of you who are here at this blog will likely be there at those festivities; if you’d like to say hi, drop me a line.
Stephanie Salter tries to get her head around Dashiell Hammett‘s The Maltese Falcon. My old place in San Francisco was just a couple of blocks from the apartment where Hammett wrote that novel; back in 2001 I wrote a story about the guy who lived (lives?) there.
Nicholson Baker writing “Wikipedia is just an incredible thing” is like Rick James saying “Cocaine is a hell of a drug”–the dude’s found the thing that’s going to reshape his life for years, for better or for worse. As he points out: “All big Internet successes—e-mail, AOL chat, Facebook, Gawker, Second Life, YouTube, Daily Kos, World of Warcraft—have a more or less addictive component—they hook you because they are solitary ways to be social: you keep checking in, peeking in, as you would to some noisy party going on downstairs in a house while you’re trying to sleep.”
A couple of DoSP notes. I have a brief review of Adrian Tomine‘s Shortcomings in Washington City Paper; Tomine is at Politics and Prose on Wednesday. My review of Richard Price‘s excellent new novel, Lush Life, is in today’s Minneapolis Star-Tribune. At the National Book Critics Circle blog, Critical Mass, I’ve been gathering up various materials related to Price’s Clockers; an extended version of the interview with Price that first appeared on City Paper’s Web site is running in three parts. Parts of that interview dedicated specifically to Lush Life are now up at the Chicago Sun-Times Web site. Many thanks to NBCC president John Freeman for proposing the idea, and to Price for giving up so much of his time to weather a fusillade of questions about something he did three books ago.
Curtis Sittenfeld‘s Prep, like every popular novel that’s about adolescents and speaks to adolescents about the things that concern adolescents, is deemed unfit for adolescents.
My brief review of Samantha Hunt‘s historical novel about the last days of Nikola Tesla, The Invention of Everything Else, is online at the Chicago Sun-Times site. I had high hopes for the book, but…
My interview at Tales From the Reading Room made a modest noise this week, getting some attention from Scott McLemee‘s Quick Study, the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, and my home at the Washington City Paper, where the standing rule is that you cannot publicly say nice things about your colleagues without digging up bad five-year-old photos of them. Thanks to Victoria Best for the invite and the great questions, and to all the new folks who arrived here from her site.
Also, I have brief reviews of books on Jack Nicholson and Woody Allen in Sunday’s Washington Post Book World.