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Top Book Blogs 02/2012

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Feb 1, 2012 @ 4:00:00 am
Barnes & Noble has refused to stock titles from Amazon's publishing imprint, According to a statement from B&N, the move "is based on Amazon's continued push for exclusivity with publishers, agents and the authors they represent," which the bookstore claims prevents them from "offering certain

[Guardian Books Blog] Edinburgh book festival chief wants authors, not celebrities
Some literature festivals focus on stars first and books second, says Nick Barley, director of the Edinburgh international book festivalA book festival is about books, and should not be driven by stars and celebrities, Scotland's leading literary festival director has said. Nick Barley, the director

[Baby Got Books] After Dark
I’ve never read anything by Haruki Murakami but I’ve seen his name a lot lately.  Looking him up at the library I found his novel After Dark.  Not having any clue about Mr. Murakami‘s style or the subject of the story, I inserted the audio book with much anticipation. I popped that CD right

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Reflections on writing history
A new form of political influence has exerted itself upon historians

[The Millions] Fame: A P&L
$500,000 annual home improvements? $125,000 allotted for annual “domestic salaries and expenses?” A $95,000 tutor for Gwyneth Paltrow’s 5-year old? New York Magazine‘s “Celebrity Economy” package is as thorough and informative as it is revolting.

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Continuing merits
I didn't want anything to do with this book

[The Millions] Edwin Frank Interview
Vince Manapat’s interview with NYRB Classics editor Edwin Frank provides an interesting (if slightly erroneous) history of how the publisher got started. If you come away from the interview wondering what Mr. Frank recommends reading, then, ta-da! and look no further.

[Bookslut] An Interview with Daniel S. Libman
In 1999, Daniel S. Libman won the Plimpton Prize from the Paris Review for "In the Belly of the Cat," the first story in Married but Looking. Elizabeth Gilbert and Julie Orringer won the same prize before him, and winners since have included Wells...

[NYT] Paul Auster Responds After Turkish Prime Minister Calls Him 'an Ignorant Man'
The novelist Paul Auster said in an interview that he would not visit Turkey because of its jailing of writers and journalists, which prompted a mocking response from the Turkish prime minister, Tayyip Erdogan.

[The Millions] On the Ladyblogosphere
“Behold the ladyblogosphere,” writes Molly Fischer for n+1, “for [Jezebel, The Hairpin, xojane, and Rookie] are not women’s blogs but ladyblogs, and ‘lady’ is their endemic verbal tic.” Emily Gould’s response is worth a read as well.

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Social contract theory for Occupiers
What lies behind the Occupy phenomenon

[The Millions] “It tasted like iron and foam was coming out of our mouths”
The VQR‘s last issue, “The Soviet Ghost,” was one of the most heart-wrenching reading experiences I’ve had in a long time. Now it’s got a series of video interviews with Chernobyl workers to seriously depress (and also greatly inform) you all over again.

[Bookslut] "Take a Life. Cut. Concentrate.": The Letters of William S. Burroughs
In many ways, Rub Out the Words: The Letters of William S. Burroughs 1959-1974 could be another name for some of the novels of William S. Burroughs. Oliver Harris, the premiere Burroughs scholar, has detailed in his excellent William Burroughs and the Secret of Fascination how much...

[The Millions] Two From The Atavist
The Atavist has been killing it lately. Last month, I was riveted by Joshuah Bearman’s outrageous (and completely true) story of one Brit’s attempt to bring a “Baghdad Country Club” to the city’s Green Zone. This month, “Mother, Stranger,” Cris Beam’s

[Salon Books] Can bells and whistles save the book?
Read this story at (link) Continue Reading...

[Lit Saloon] Wisława Szymborska (1923-2012)
       The 1996 Nobel laureate, Polish poet Wisława Szymborska, has passed away; see, for example, Raymond H. Anderson's obituary in The New York Times.        For some of her poetry, click on the links on her pages at

[Lit Saloon] Amazon.com enters the Indian market
       The only surprise is that it took this long, but Amazon.com now also has an Indian presence -- Junglee.com -- which they describe as: an online shopping service by Amazon which enables customers to find and discover products from online and offline retailers

[Lit Saloon] February issues
       Among February issues of online periodicals now available is the February issue of Open Letters Monthly, and the new issue of Words without Borders -- 'International Graphic Novels: Volume VI'.

[Lit Saloon] The Fat Years review
       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Chan Koonchung's The Fat Years.        One can see why this was a much-discussed recent Chinese novel -- but unfortunately it falls rather far short as a

[Lit Saloon] Étonnants Voyageurs
       The literary festival Étonnants Voyageurs runs today through the 4th in Haiti. See also the preview in Haiti Libre.

[Lit Saloon] Oxford University Press India at 100
       Oxford University Press India turns 100 this year, and in Caravan Ramachandra Guha offers 'A personal history of the Oxford University Press India at 100', in Shelf Life.

[Lit Saloon] Reading in ... Indonesia
       In the Jakarta Globe Grace Susetyo finds Read a Good Book Lately ? Too Many Indonesians Answer 'No', as: Reading seems less than fashionable among Indonesians, especially when it comes to fine literature. People searching for a good book, often complain that

[Lit Saloon] Publishing in ... Burma
       Are things really moving in the right direction in Burma ? Among the many signals that the regime is lightening up: in The Myanmar Times Zon Pann Pwint reports that publishers and writers are Seeking freedom from fear of selling sensitive books -- and

[Lit Saloon] Writing in ... Tunisia
       At ahramonline Mary Mourad reports on three writers who: "discuss their novels portraying Tunisia's modern history and ponder the future of literature in the post-Ben Ali era at the Cairo Book Fair", in Tunisian novelists caught between sadness and

[Lit Saloon] Finalists for Iranian Book of the Year - foreign category
       IBNA reports that Nominees of Book of the Year Award announced -- not the domestic stuff, but in the 'other languages'-category, among others.        Among the finalists: Humboldt's Gift by Saul Bellow and The Plague by

[Book Forum] DAILY REVIEW: Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?
Isaiah Berlin split intellectuals into two groups: foxes, who know a great deal about many things, and hedgehogs, who know one big thing. But I wonder if there isn’t a third type, too, mysterious and misunderstood: the individual who knows a great deal about one thing—and that thing is

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Feb 2, 2012 @ 4:00:00 am
On Newt Gingrich's Amazon reviews; Bernard Schlink is taking the Weinstein Company to court over royalties (or lack thereof) from The Reader; The New Inquiry gets a facelift.

[The Millions] Illicit Pleasures: On Edward St Aubyn’s At Last
The pleasures of reading Edward St Aubyn’s Melrose novels can feel strangely illicit. From the Some Hope trilogy of novellas — comprising Never Mind, Bad News, and Some Hope – through 2006’s Mother’s Milk, St Aubyn has used the trials of Patrick Melrose and his family to explore

[Guardian Books Blog] The power of paper in a digital era | Robert McCrum
As more and more archives are digitised, with many benefits, it's worth being reminded of the value of traditional recordsThis was supposed to be the paper-free generation. But what do we find? Sometimes, it seems as if we are like Shakespeare's schoolmaster Holofernes (in Love's Labours Lost) who

[The Millions] Poet Szymborska Dies
The Polish poet and Nobel Laureate Wisława Szymborska, who contributed to samizdat magazines before the fall of the Iron Curtain, died yesterday. Among her more popular collections is View with a Grain of Sand.

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Technology becomes part of the plot
Why the singularity is not near, but hope springs eternal

[The Millions] James Franco + n+1
It’s time for another literary James Franco sighting. This time he’s popping up in the table of contents for the next issue of n+1.

[Salon Books] Illuminating the history of medicine
Read this story at (link) Continue Reading...

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: The sham and shame
Imagining the consequences

[The Millions] Bad Review Bingo
Print out your playing cards and start sifting through the comment sections of negative book reviews. It’s a new game called “bad review bingo.” (inspired in part by the frothy commenters to our own Janet Potter’s blistering review of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium

[The Millions] Nevermind Nostalgia: Twenty Years After Nirvana
Nostalgia is a funny thing. The idea of sentimentality attaching meaning to objects, places, and people is as natural as anything human can be, but ultimately the form it takes depends largely on context. Michael Chabon once poignantly suggested that, for teenagers, imagination is about all you

[Bookslut] An Interview with David Lazar
I'm starting an interview series entitled "Constructive Nonfiction," which will focus on individuals expanding present conceptions of creative nonfiction. As writers, these interviewees have introduced a variety of hybrid forms most often associated with the lyric essay and documentary...

[NYT] Does Siri Speak the Language of Love? A New Book Investigates
Blue Rider Press has acquired "Siri & Me," a new work of fiction by David Milgrim, about a 29-year-old writer and blogger who falls in love with the woman living inside his iPhone.

[The Millions] DeLillo and Trance States
Charles Baxter notes, “If you have read several books by Don DeLillo, sooner or later you will have a Don DeLillo moment.” For Baxter, these are often “trance states,” of which DeLillo’s newest collection, The Angel Esmeralda, contains many.

[Bookslut] I Am Trying to Say Something But I Have Not Said It: Reading Ida
I’ve been thinking about obstacles. In the bookstore, I flip open a book and it talks about a moment when suddenly, 84,000 doors open, and you can see everything you’ve been looking for your whole life. That would be...

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: The impossible Asian Union
Competition for allies within Asia Pacific could be an opportunity

[Salon Books] The men who died to reach the North Pole
Read this story at (link) Continue Reading...

[Lit Saloon] Q and A: Susan Bernofsky
       At the Daily American PEN weblog, Betsy Ribble has Journey of the Sentence: A Conversation with Susan Bernofsky.        Susan Bernofsky's most recent translation is Berlin Stories by Robert Walser; see the New York Review

[Lit Saloon] Q and A: Vikram Seth
       The Telegraph (Calcutta) has a Q & A with Vikram Seth.        Among his responses: Do you ever get tired of answering questions on A Suitable Boy ? Ha ha ha ha ha ! Well, it's been 20 years since I wrote that thing.

[Lit Saloon] Le prix Soroptimist
       Here's an interesting idea for a literary prize: Le prix Soroptimist de la Romancière Francophone -- restricted to women authors who write in French but aren't French nationals; see this year's finalists.

[Lit Saloon] Fermina Márquez review
       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Valery Larbaud's 1911 novel, Fermina Márquez.

[Lit Saloon] In conversation with ... Monika Fagerholm
       On Tuesday, 7 February, at 18:30 I'll be in conversation with Swedish-writing Finnish author Monika Fagerholm at Scandinavia House in New York.

[Book Forum] DAILY REVIEW: The Book of Emotions by João Almino
Brazil's capital city, Brasilia, conceived by modernist architect Lucio Costa, was built in the late 1950s on what had been an unpopulated desert. Costa envisioned a city in which urban design enabled the existence of an ideal society, a utopian notion that deflated when confronted with reality.

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Feb 3, 2012 @ 4:00:00 am
A former Harper's Bazaar intern has filed suit against the magazine for allegedly forcing her to work forty to fifty-five hours a week without pay; The full transcript of Sheila Heti's interview with Joan Didion is now online; Tumblr gets a newspaper.

[The Millions] Dashboard? More Like Bookshelf: Your Guide to Literary Tumblrs
About two months ago, The Millions joined the Tumblr community. So far, the going has been great. The platform is perfectly suited for dynamic storytelling, and as a direct result, it is home to some of the friendliest book lovers around. However, the site’s SEO (or lack thereof) is regrettably


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