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Top Book Blogs 04/2012

[Salon Books] “The Zone”: The life of a prison guard
Rare is the novel in which the narrator halts his story to address his prospective publisher, but such a technique recurs throughout Sergei Dovlatov's "The Zone," a 1982 work -- reissued earlier this year by Counterpoint -- that seems to dare you to classify it."For three years now I have been

[Bookslut] An Interview with Genevieve Valentine
When Genevieve Valentine, the kind of blogger who can make everyone want to see a bad movie by celebrating its badness, began publishing short stories, plenty of people noticed. Mostly because dozens came out in a few years and then...

[The Millions] Let’s Get 1,000 Feet on War And Peace
Jason Novak, brilliant penman behind last month’s brilliant Panorama of Middlemarch, has followed up that effort with an equally impressive Panorama of “Bartleby, the Scrivener.”

[Bookslut] A Conversation Between Joseph Harrington and Kathleen Ossip
“I think we all agree, the past is over,” declaimed George W. Bush, but Joseph Harrington and Kathleen Ossip beg to differ. In 2011, they both published books of poetry that explore history’s dark rich legacy: Harrington’s Things Come...

[The Millions] The Beat Drops And Rises Again
Scott Plagenhoef tracks electronica’s Phoenix-like trajectory from its overhyped beginning in the 90′s through its contemporary influence on folks like Skrillex.

[Bookslut] An Interview with Lauren Elkin
Set in Venice, Lauren Elkin's first novel tells the story of Catherine, an American grad student who has left New York to spend nine months studying early printed manuscripts. Almost immediately, she begins to feel estranged from her American life,...

[The Millions] The Millions Top Ten: March 2012
We spend plenty of time here on The Millions telling all of you what we’ve been reading, but we are also quite interested in hearing about what you’ve been reading. By looking at our Amazon stats, we can see what books Millions readers have been buying, and we decided it would be fun to use

[Bookslut] Hermit America: The Photography of Alec Soth
Combining an indefatigable commitment to derelict byways with a magpie instinct for cultural bric-a-brac, Alec Soth might be America’s foremost domestic explorer. Born in Minneapolis in 1969, over the past decade he has emerged as one of the most acclaimed...

[The Millions] Unsustainable Sustainability
Brian Nitz wants environmentalists and writers to seriously consider whether the word “sustainable” is, well, sustainable. (Related: this XKCD comic)

[Bookslut] The Poet as Ambassador
I don't know who should be more insulted: Jorge Carrera Andrade because I've waited to get to Ecuador to read him or Ecuador for my number one concern being Jorge Carrera Andrade. Yes, I came to Quito ready to ask,...

[Bookslut] Star-Crossed: William Shakespeare and Vladimir Nabokov
Each issue the Star-Crossed column chooses two or more writers who were born during a particular month and talks about their work.  April Birthdays:  William Shakespeare – born April 23, 1564, Stratford-upon-Avon, England Vladimir Nabokov – born April 22, 1899,...

[The Millions] Highly Recommended
Some kind soul has put the title story from Alvin Levin’s under-appreciated collection Love Is Like Park Avenue online for all to enjoy. That means you.

[Bookslut] The Art of Voyeurism in Mumbai's Underworld: Mary Ellen Mark, Sonia Faleiro, and Katherine Boo
One of the most beautiful and disturbing books I own is the photographer Mary Ellen Mark's Falkland Road: Prostitutes of Bombay (1981). Mark's portraits of prostitutes, transvestites, madams, customers, boyfriends, and children, shot in an impoverished red-light district in India's largest...

[Bookslut] Notturno by Gabriele d'Annunzio, translated by Stephen Sartarelli
d'annunzio gabriele notturno

[Lit Saloon] April issues
       Among April issues of online periodicals now available is Words without Borders' Sex-issue, as well as the new issue of Open Letters Monthly.

[Lit Saloon] Return of the Calabash
       Good to hear that, as Sadeke Brooks reports in The Sunday Gleaner, the Calabash International Literary Festival will be held again this year, on 25 to 27 May (it wasn't in 2011 -- and its future remains uncertain). The theme is 'Jubilation! 50' (to go with

[Lit Saloon] Public Enemies review
       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Michel Houellebecq and Bernard-Henri Lévy exchange, Public Enemies: Dueling Writers Take On Each Other and the World.

[The Millions] Keep An Open Mind About It
From the annals of Wikipedia: would you rather have Witzelsucht or Foerster’s syndrome? Whichever you decide, it looks like neuron your own with this one.

[Salon Books] “The Queen and the Maid”: Joan of Arc’s secret backer
Attention, "Game of Thrones" fans: The most enjoyably sensational aspects of medieval politics -- double-crosses, ambushes, bizarre personal obsessions, lunacy and naked self-interest -- are in abundant evidence in Nancy Goldstone's "The Maid and the Queen: The Secret History of Joan of Arc."

[Salon Books] “The Angst-Ridden Executive”: Cerebral meets noir
The Catalan poet, playwright and essayist Manuel Vázquez Montalbán (1939–2003) was also a crime novelist who was acquainted with crime: political and recreational. Jailed for four years under Spain's fascist Franco regime, the leftist writer cultivated an understandably -- and exquisitely --

[Book Forum] IN PRINT: Apr/May 2012

[Book Forum] IN PRINT: Greater Expectations
Susan Sontag's journals find her striving for a place in the pantheon

[Book Forum] DAILY REVIEW: Past Forward
Joe Brainard made his memories yours

[Book Forum] IN PRINT: The Mommy Trap
A French theorist traces the death of feminism to the womb

[Book Forum] DAILY REVIEW: The Second Shelf
If The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides, had been written by a woman yet still had the same title and wedding ring on its cover, would it have received a great deal of serious literary attention? Or would this novel (which I loved) have been relegated to "Women's Fiction," that close-quartered

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Apr 1, 2012 @ 10:46:00 pm
A new report finds that the average American high schooler reads at a fifth grade level; The Millions launches a new monthly feature highlighting writers whose first books came out when they were over forty; Flavorwire asks literary insiders to name their favorite small press books.

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Apr 2, 2012 @ 00:04:00 pm
A new report finds that the average American high schooler reads at a fifth grade level; The Millions launches a new monthly feature highlighting writers whose first books came out when they were over forty; Flavorwire asks literary insiders to name their favorite small press books.

[The Millions] The Berenstain Bears and the Tyranny of Timeliness
This is an old story already, more than three weeks old and no longer newsworthy; but as you’ll see, I’m fastening on an old story to make a point. On February 28th, Jan Berenstain, co-author of the Berenstain Bears books, died, and the news of her death was greeted a few hours later by this

[Baby Got Books] Book Time with Meg
I’m excited to kick off what I hope will become a regular feature here at BGB – The Book Time with Meg podcast.  Each episode will feature an interview with my daughter Meghan about a book that she’s read.  Meghan turns 8 tomorrow and is in second grade. In this inaugural

[Guardian Books Blog] A rag-and-bone man's horse? Or a motorbike-van?
Jill Robinson, the Guardian Northerner's monthly chronicler of life in Yorkshire's Calderdale, looks to local legend Billy Holt for ways of selling her new bookThe new programme of Heritage Walks organised by Calderdale council has just been issued, and very good it looks. Among the many guided

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: The maps we wandered into
Obsessive responses to maps

[Guardian Books Blog] Why I hate the myth of the suffering artist
It is absurd and insulting to assume artists are assisted by despair or hunger in a way that, say, plumbers are notSuffering. Now there's an artistic word. Or so you'd think.Let me first break off to apologise again for irregular filing. The long gap in communications has been caused by excessive

[The Millions] Underground Poetry
Three cheers, NYC commuters, for the return of Poetry in Motion, the project which pairs poems with artwork on subway trains.

[The Millions] “This Book is Delicious!”
The German design firm Korefe partnered up with Gerstenberg Publishing to release a special edition cookbook that’s edible. The recipes have been imprinted on fresh pasta pages which can be baked into a lasagna. (via)

[Book Forum] PAPER TRAIL: Apr 2, 2012 @ 11:07:00 am
Small Demons website maps out Infinite Jest

[Bookslut] Old Hat: Reading Toward a Philosophy of the Act
It’s strange too-hot weather for the end of winter. I walk the thirty blocks north to Bryant Park. The books I want to read, according to the New York Public Library website, are kept in a “locked cage.” I...

[The Millions] New from Jess Walter
The Financial Lives of the Poets author Jess Walter has a new short story out in the Kindle Single format: “Don’t Eat Cat“.

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: The most recent example
They need to understand what it is

[The Millions] I Doubt The Authors Would’ve Been Thrilled With This
Deep South Magazine‘s Hunter Murphy compiled a list of “The Greatest Bromances in Southern Literature.”

[The Millions] Fifty Shades of Fan Fiction
The trilogy currently sitting atop the New York Times bestseller list is in many ways a fascinating one, the sort of Cinderella story that gives journalists a chance to make wild guesses about the future of publishing. E L James’ Fifty Shades of Grey and its sequels began on the Internet, evolved

[Book Forum] SYLLABI: Michael Sandlin: Hobo Lit

[Bookslut] The Art of the Heist: Valuing Art through Its Theft
In November 2010, a Chinese porcelain vase that had been languishing for decades in a suburban London "bungalow" sold for an astonishing 69 million dollars. It catapulted into the ranks of established brand names like Picasso, Van Gogh, and...

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Hope for this Supreme Court
The intellectual and political struggle over the Constitution

[The Millions] Race In The Hunger Games
Anna Holmes takes a good look at Hunger Games Tweets, the Tumblr dedicated to rounding up the astonishing number of racist and culturally careless fans of Suzanne Collins’ books. Later on, she mentions a University of Wisconsin study which found that “only 9% of the 3,400 children’s

[Lit Saloon] Bookselling in: India
       In The Hindu Vijay Nair wonders about the Deathknell for the bookstore ? as: Back home in India, large retail chains are a comparatively recent phenomenon for books and their patrons. Some of them like Landmark from Chennai and Oxford from Kolkata started

[Lit Saloon] Bookselling in: Hungary
       hlo reports the disturbing numbers that Hungarian book market: 26 per cent loss in three years.        Among the few bright spots: Fiction has also preserved its position in the market. The 20 per cent share of literary

[Lit Saloon] Bookselling in: the US
       Amy Martinez's story on how trying to wring deep discounts from publishers in the Seattle Times is worth a look -- and quite disturbing.

[Lit Saloon] The Fear Index review
       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Robert Harris' hedge fund thriller, The Fear Index. (Well, there's a hedge fund setting .....)

[The Millions] It’s Hip to be Square
Maybe the Mayans were right about 2012. In a sign that the end times are surely nigh, MTV2 has decided to bring back Hollywood Squares “but with a modern twist.” The unfortunately-named Hip Hop Squares will feature Nick Cannon, Ghostface Killah, DJ Khaled, Lamarr Woodley and… Bam

[Book Forum] DAILY REVIEW: The Prince of Parataxis
Édouard Levé's visionary book of unrelated ideas

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