The National Book Festival will be held tomorrow on the National Mall in Washington, DC. It’s always a good time, though unfortunately I won’t be able to make it this year. I wrote up a preview of the fest for TBD, a new-ish local news and arts site.
Leon Wieseltier: “Anger at the false and the fake—as long as the labor of persuasion is done: a curse is not an act of criticism—is an admirable anger, because it is the heat of a cause, and our causes are the spurs of our culture. No culture, no literature, ever advanced by niceness.” (via)
Related: “Writers would prefer to believe that critics are separate, and that their separation means they’re the enemy, and out to get them. The irony is that writers are generally meaner to other writers than critics are.”
I recognize that there’s a fraught situation in Missouri regarding a local school board’s banning of a Sherman Alexie novel, but we’re in an awful mess when book reviews have to come with disclaimers from the editor.
Remembering Maxwell Perkins.
No self-respecting op-ed columnist would write that he or she wished the paper would publish more good news. But apparently it’s OK to publicly wish for more happy novels. (Moe Tkacik has much, much more.)
Gary Shteyngart: “I have a very boring kind of Media Diet, in the sense that I read what people would expect me to read, nothing special. Most of the things I read have New York in the title.”
Jonathan Lethem says goodbye to New York.
Whatever you do, do not read the promotional patter on the back cover of the paperback of John Cheever‘s Bullet Park.