Reluctant Habits

Who Knew That Typing “Noooooooooo!!!!!!” Was So Stressful?

Posted by in Writing

Matthew Stover, author of the Revenge of the Sith novelization: “I was shaking, and I practically burst into tears — but that probably had a lot to do with the book being about six weeks over deadline.” (via Rarely Likable)

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Is This What They Mean by Gray Lady?

Posted by in New York Times

Most Hilarious. NYT Correction. Ever.

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This Week in the New Yorker

Posted by in Literary Magazines

A new story from Alice Munro.

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Never Write Blog Posts

Posted by in Publishing Industry, Silliness

Not the public variety. The ones where you utter foolish statements ragging on people close to you and broadcast it to the public at large. The best reason not to do this is because you will always come across as an assclown. On Friday my literary agent called me. I was surprised to hear from him as it was a long weekend and neither of us were on a first name basis with each other. In fact, my agent hadn’t returned my voicemails and was quite surprised to find that…read more

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2005 — The Year of the Bad Boys

Posted by in Awards, Sorrentino, Gilbert

Banville, Vollmann and now…Gilbert Sorrentino winning the Lannan Literary Lifetime Achievement Award. If 2005 isn’t the year for literary underdogs, I don’t know what is. (Thanks, Molly!)

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Perhaps It’s Because Today’s Films Need More Dancing

Posted by in Film

James Tata says that Catherine Hardwicke’s Lords of Dogtown is well worth seeing. But more intriguingly, there is this description: “There is a scene where Adams seduces away Peralta’s girlfriend that is amazing. There is a party. Peralta leaves her behind at the party (last time he’ll make the mistake of leaving his girlfriend unattended at a party, I’ll bet) lying on the grassy meridian of the sidewalk, and Adams, who has had a crush on her all along, leaps down from a high wall, landing, cat-like, next to her,…read more

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Indie Bookstores: Not Unlike a Bedside Manner

Posted by in Bookstores, Economics

Bookdwarf, who is apparently more quick on the draw with my hometown newspaper than I am, points to this interesting claim by A Clean Well-Lighted Place President Neal Sofman. Sofman discovered a study of Chicago merchants illustrating that local retailers recirculate more of their sales dollars into the local economy than do chains. The study in question can be found here. If this is indeed the case, then why are the big publishers spending a substantial chunk of their promotion money placing authors into large corporate venues like Borders (and,…read more

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It’s Good to Be a Schizophrenic Artist

Posted by in Sex

The Guardian: “A survey comparing mental health and the number of sexual partners among the general population, artists and schizophrenics found that artists are more likely to share key behavioural traits with schizophrenics, and that they have on average twice as many sexual partners as the rest of the population.”

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Get Rich or Die Writin’

Posted by in Odd Ventures

New York Times: “Now the rapper and actor 50 Cent, in conjunction with MTV, has announced the start of his own publishing imprint, G-Unit Books, which according to advance publicity will ‘tell the truth about the Life; the sex, guns, and cash.’”

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Lies, Damned Lies and Freakanomics

Posted by in Economics, Journalism

Freakanomics. Like every sophisticated American looking for a conversational entry point at a cocktail party, you’ve read it and been astounded by the conclusions. Yes indeed, Virginia, economics can be applied to everything! As per the free associative argumentative style that seems to run rampant and unchecked in today’s popular nonfiction titles. (Thank you, Malcolm Gladwell, for opening that Pandora’s box.) Well, as it turns out, the two Steves got the economics wrong. Two economists (both of them, strangely enough, named Chris, proving an economic equation I’ve always found true:…read more

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DFW/Moody

Posted by in Wallace, David Foster

On Monday night, I attended the David Foster Wallace/Rick Moody reading at the Herbst Theatre. But I do not offer a report here, predominantly because (a) I had essentially travailed from plane to apartment to evening entertainment in a remarkably short period of time as considerable rain hit my hatless head, (b) I forgot to bring my notepad, (c) my parietal lobe is presently overburdened and (d) I had decided to actually enjoy this particular event rather than chronicle it. However, for those who are curious, Mr. Tito Perez has…read more

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Television is Unprofitable

Posted by in Television

The pictures tell the story.

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Brevity is the Soul of Litcrit

Posted by in Literary Motifs

The Ten Word Literary Supplement (via Jenny D) [UPDATE: And speaking of helpful abridgements, the immortal Jimmy Beck has digested the Bad Sex nominees.]

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You Don’t Need Game Theory to Unearth the Real Answers

Posted by in Sex

In light of newfound mathetmatical formulas unearthed by certain folks, we offer the following easy-to-understand corollary: β = (L – P) X 500,000 Where L = last time drinker got laid and P = present time.

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Another Day, Another Childhood Icon Gone

Posted by in Obits

RIP Stan Berenstain (via Galleycat)

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Ethical Nightmares from Tanenhaus’s Dream Factory

Posted by in Book Reviewing, New York Times

Sam Tanenhaus apparently has no problem violating the New York Times’ Ethical Journalism Guidebook. So opines Ariana Huffington, who notes that assigning Kathryn Harrison, who had been slammed in two previous Dowd columns, to review Maureen Dowd’s Are Men Necessary? is a violation of the Times‘ credo to avoid “the slightest whiff of favoritism” (Rule 134 in the EJG). Huffington suggests that hiring Harrison swings the favoritism in the opposite direction. To play the devil’s advocate here, if we momentarily consider the Times to hold any stock outside of the…read more

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Movin’ On Up

Posted by in San Francisco

2004: San Francisco is the 10th most literate city. 2005: San Francisco is the 5th most literate city. New York City, the publishing capital of the nation, is nowhere to be found either year. Watch your ass, Seattle.

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Bad Sex Award Longlist

Posted by in Sex, Updike, John

The Bad Sex Award longlist has been announced. And it looks like John Updike, ever the fey pervert, has finally made it into the mix. About damn time, if you ask me. I love Updike to death, but I cannot read any of his novels without that inevitable WTF moment, where an introspective sexual description comes out of left field. (Immediate example that comes to mind: early moment in The Witches of Eastwick where character is preparing salad and suddenly starts comparing cherry tomatoes to testicles without any particular impetus.)

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More Literary Networks

Posted by in Blogging

The ever-resourceful Bud Parr has launched MetaxuCafe.

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End of the Year Fiction Lists

Posted by in Best of Lists

It’s not even December yet, but the fiction lists keep rolling on. For the record, we won’t reveal our lists until the end of the year. The Modesto Bee Christian Science Monitor The Globe and Mail Sunday Herald Greatest Reads of 2005: includes thoughts from David Mitchell Baltimore Sun: Best books of the holiday season. The Guardian: Best book thoughts from various authors. About Contemporary Literature: Top 10 Literary Works of 2005. (Thanks, Richard Nash, for some of these.)

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Vollmann Gets the Critical Treatment

Posted by in Vollmann, William

Several people have emailed me this Michael Wood NYRB article on Vollmann. But since Mr. Esposito was first, he gets the prize. Good readin’, yo.

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But He Doesn’t Look Anything Like Campbell Scott

Posted by in Literary Magazines

Harper’s has named a new editor. His name is Roger D. Hodge. He is 38 and was once turned down as an intern, only to be called back later, eventually becoming a deputy editor. What’s particularly amusing about the Times article is that Jack Shafer, perhaps the silliest man ever employed by Slate, seems slightly miffed at being passed over, noting, “Who wouldn’t want to edit a magazine that had a seemingly bottomless philanthropic fund to finance it? If they called me and asked me to take the job, I’d…read more

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The Goldberg Variations

Posted by in Uncategorized

I have been informed that the Goldberg Brothers have taken Pinky’s Paperhaus by storm!

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Notes on Vegas

Posted by in Uncategorized

The fundamental difference between Las Vegas and Reno is that, in Vegas, people disguise their loneliness through lust. In Reno, people are merely lonely. Which itself is a sad thing. But at least Reno’s rudimentary loneliness is a pure form. It isn’t an emotion occluded by the most ridiculous (yet invisible to the participants) of masks, with all of this blunt kabuki theatre aided and abetted by the casinos’ perplexing labyrinths, atavistic pit bosses and false incentives. (Sign up for the One Card and you’ll get comped! Maybe. But only…read more

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More Random Observations

Posted by in Uncategorized

1. The people in Riverside gather together for an annual ceremony that essentially involves some random guy hitting a light switch. That and a few fireworks. Was actually quieted by a suburban mother when I mentioned that the North Pole had recently signed GATT and had been employing elves as slave labor. Her two year old scion, who could not have been cognizant enough to understand me, was apparently risking being “corrupted” in her words. Sometimes I have a big mouth. 2. Never underestimate the incredible devices that can be…read more

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Next Up: Dr. Seuss’s “The Gender-Neutral Cat in the Hat”

Posted by in Censorship

As a kid grew up reading Richard Scarry, I find this PC revisionism offensive and utterly outrageous. (via MeFi)

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While There’s Still Battery Power Left!

Posted by in Uncategorized

Chapters Bookstore is in trouble and the Happy Booker (and several authors) are on the case. There’s apparently another book named White Teeth. Harry Potter? Notable Book of the Year? No Brownie for You, Tanenhaus! Looks like someone is fucked existentially. Somehow, this makes perfect sense to me right now. Wrong on multiple levels. Stop encouraging the woman’s ego! Please.

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A Few Random Observations on Reno

Posted by in Uncategorized

I am a bit thrown back by the question: “Smoking or nonsmoking.” The Cal-Neva casino has the following message on its marquee: “Dog and draft: $1.50.” I am a bit bemused by the fact that there are no articles whatsoever before these two nouns. However, another sign did in fact refer to “A Bud.” What this suggests to me is that if a beer has a brand name, it is worth referring to by an indefinite article. My notes are all packed away, but I believe the historical shrine in…read more

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Notes from a Reno Blackjack Table

Posted by in Uncategorized

I put a Jackson on the blackjack table. It is a $3 table, but I play $5 hands so as not to be completely declasse. There’s only one other player at the table – a guy to my right. He’s polishing down Corona Number 12 and he is quick to announce this to me, although his speech is very slurred. His large meaty hands paw a tower of $25 coins. He wears a baseball cap and the brim covers the top third of his head. It appears that the cap…read more

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All Signs Point to Lunatic

Posted by in Film, Podcasting

The Cool as Hell Theatre Podcast talks with a man named “Rex Reginald” who claims to be the author of a book called The Party Crashers. Apparently, Mr. Reginald claims that the producers of the film The Wedding Crashers ripped off his book. But here’s the interesting thing: There’s no trace of any book authored by Rex Reginald at either the Library of Congress or ISBN. In fact, the only book named The Party Crashers is a novel written by Stephanie Bond. Reginald claims in Rice’s podcast that he’s involved…read more

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