Reluctant Habits

Molly Ivins is Gone

Posted by in Obits

Molly Ivins has passed away. I’m speechless. I can’t imagine a world without a Molly Ivins newspaper column. Hopefully, I can serve up some kind of tribute once I digest this terrible news.

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This Explains Everything About Hemingway

Posted by in Uncategorized

A list of authors who wrote nude. (via Quiddity)

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Silverblatt’s Scripted Pathos?

Posted by in Uncategorized

Escapegrace: “Anyway…at one point, Silverblatt recounted the interviews he had conducted earlier in the week – Mailer on The Castle in the Forest and Dave Eggers on What is the What – and seemed unexpectedly overcome with emotion at the state of the world depicted in the three novels. I don’t think the pathos was necessarily scripted and I was sort of touched.”

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Speculating Upon Gasps

Posted by in Ames, Jonathan

Jonathan Ames: “On the oral-sex front, I then made a concerted effort to lick the labia, which was something I’ve been guilty of neglecting in the past, and again the results were quite good. I also plunged my middle digit in about two inches, counting off the distance with my finger along the inside of the young lady’s vagina the way you march out the steps between your car and a fire-hydrant. I may have actually located the G-spot, if I’m to judge by the gasps of pleasure that were…read more

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DFW Rewritten

Posted by in Wallace, David Foster

Here is the first paragraph of David Foster Wallace’s “Good People” rewritten: Lane A. Dean, Jr. and his girlfriend sat at a picnic table. They’d gone to different high schools but attended the same junior college. Now it was springtime and they were near a lake. The air was suffused with honeysuckle and lilacs, almost too much for them to take in. The recent storms had downed trees. One tree had collapsed near the shallows of the lake where Lane and his girlfriend were now sitting. Lane liked his girlfriend…read more

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Perseus Seduces Indie Publishers

Posted by in AMS Bankruptcy

This morning, Jim Milliot reports that Perseus has received signed agreements from “more than 10″ ex-PGW publishers. Presumably, this is the 70 cents on the dollar reimbursement in exchange for four years of distribution deal that was bandied about like a tainted carrot to the PGW publishers left in the lurch. This does not mean that Perseus has acquired PGW, but Perseus’s goal is to grab 65% of the PGW clients before the February 12 hearing date. Under the deal, the publishers will retain ownership of their inventory, if not…read more

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Roundup

Posted by in Roundup

Hitch on One Hundred Years: “For this reader, the most arresting episode in the Macondo saga was the epidemic of insomnia that afflicted the tribe.” The Esquire Napkin Project features contributions by A.M. Homes, Jonathan Ames, Aimee Bender, Andrew Sean Greer, and many more authors. James Gibbons on Paul Auster: “Novelists, of course, are not obliged to occupy themselves with a fine-grained depiction of external reality, so in remarking on the abstract terrain of Auster’s books I mean primarily to underscore how anomalous his success is. Simply put, neither American…read more

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The Latest on Perseus, PGW & AMS

Posted by in AMS Bankruptcy

A former Perseus employee has emailed me, observing the following: Perseus is more concerned with the distribution end of the business rather than the publishing end. This reader also suggests that Barnes & Noble, which sometimes excludes particular titles that aren’t distributed by Sterling, is a shadier example of vertical integration than a prospective PGW/Perseus merger. (As an anonymous publisher reported to Holt Uncensored back in 2003, Sterling began to cut orders from 500 or more down to 100 or less for publishers who weren’t “team players.”) Because B&N has…read more

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The Death and Life of a Great American City?

Posted by in New York

Robert Sullivan: “For the past two decades, New York has been an inspiration to other American cities looking to revive themselves. Yes, New York had a lot of crime, but somehow it also still had neighborhoods, and a core that had never been completely abandoned to the car. Lately, though, as far as pedestrian issues go, New York is acting more like the rest of America, and the rest of America is acting more like the once-inspiring New York.”

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BSS #92: Christopher Moore

Posted by in Bat Segundo

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Contemplating his vampiristic sensibilities. Author: Christopher Moore Subjects Discussed: WordStar word processors, using the nouns “monkey love” and “guy,” Midwestern vernacular, trying to figure out the ten year interval between Bloodsucking Fiends and You Suck, San Francisco topography, George Romero, Bullitt, the 42-Downtown bus loop, invented references vs. real references, Abby Normal’s perspective, Lautréamont’s Maldoror, Goth kids, Near Dark, vampire violence, dialogue vs. description, deadlines, narrative pace, the “book a year” demands of publishers, writing big books vs. little books, research, living up to Lamb, the…read more

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Lawrence Welk Meets Velvet Underground

Posted by in Uncategorized

(via Sarah)

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Reason #4,582 Why the Internet is Cool

Posted by in Uncategorized

Neighbor receives aggressive notes from crazy neighbor; high school teacher discovers story and has his students read the letters set to music, as well as write respectful letters back to the neighbor as an exercise in reading comprehension. (via MeFi)

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Roundup

Posted by in Roundup

It’s Stephen Graham Jones Week at the LBC. Look for copious discussion, prolific guest posts from the author and a podcast interview conducted by the divine Ms. Kellogg. Speaking of which, Pinky’s Paperhaus uncovers this remarkable blog, which tells of an MFA student who suffered a stroke in her early thirties and had to drop out. The blog is a fascinating portrayal of someone trying to read and write (in short, operate in this grand realm of literature that many of us take for granted) with short-term memory problems, among…read more

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Jonathan Ames Alert

Posted by in Ames, Jonathan

Long-time readers know that I once made a deal with a daemon. An evil eidolen answering to the name of Bee promised that if I continuously reported Jonathan Ames’ activity, I would be given a great salad recipe that would allow me to win friends and influence people. The salad recipe has yet to materialize, but being a man who lives up to his end of the bargain, I would be remiss if I didn’t report that The Jonathan Ames Show is going down at Mo Pitkins on January 30…read more

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World’s Oldest Conjoined Twins

Posted by in Uncategorized

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In Which I’m Threatened With “Legal Action” by Alice Hutchison for Something I Didn’t Even Write

Posted by in Plagiarism

Back in October, a commenter by the name of Daniel Dagan posted a comment here pointing to textual similarities between Alice Hutchison’s Kenneth Anger and a thesis written by Miriam Dagan. While catching up on my email backlog, I received the following email from Alice Hutchison: To Edward Champion / host of edrants.com, It has come to my attention that your website has posted damaging and incorrect information about me as an author and my book on Kenneth Anger as solicited to you by a Mr Dagan of Berlin, whose…read more

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Markson to Naysayers

Posted by in Markson, David

From The Last Novel: “Reviewers who have accused Novelist of inventing some of his anecdotes and/or quotations — without the elemental responsibility to do the checking that would verify every one of them.” (69)

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Could It Be That This Claim Comes from a Humorless Writer Incapable of Recognizing Extremely Clear Satire?

Posted by in Uncategorized

Babble: “Like surprisingly many people, I have always held a vague abhorrence for Neal Pollack. Could it be his claim to be the ‘Greatest Living American Writer’? His penchant for putting his name in his book titles? Or his jokey, sexist piggishness — supposedly the ironic mantle of a true feminist, but I really have my doubts? I think it’s just him.”

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BSS #91: Valerie Trueblood & Anne Fernald

Posted by in Bat Segundo

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Fleeing from disco. Guests: Anne Fernald and Valerie Trueblood Subjects Discussed: Weaknesses for beautiful books, life as “structured anarchy,” the definition of plot, David Markson, narrative flow, cause and effect in narrative, unexpected events, Seven Loves‘ “eventless” perception, on being “anti-plot,” the beginnings of May Nilsson, family characteristics, the relationship between unpredictable life and fiction, compartmentalized American novels vs. compartmentalized British novels, Edward P. Jones, MFA workshops, the short story form, the paucity of older protagonists in fiction and how older people are underestimated, Faulkner and…read more

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BSS #90: Richard Ford

Posted by in Bat Segundo

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Trying to get the lay of the land. Author: Richard Ford Subjects Discussed: Bill Buford’s “dirty realism,” inland vs. coastal territory in the Frank Bascombe books, nautical motifs, Joshua Slocum’s Sailing Alone Around the World, the development of Haddam, recurring supporting characters, crafting long, information-heavy sentences, Ford’s dismissal of cyclical metaphors as “a bunch of baloney,” religion and irony, the politics of the Bascombe books, arranging Frank Bascombe’s days, Ford’s violent reactions to reviews, Colson Whitehead, Bascombe’s culinary habits, quotidian details, street names, evading the influence…read more

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Who Wrote This?

Posted by in Dubya

“The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he…read more

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If By “Save Marriages,” You Mean “Avoid Speaking to Spouse for Long Periods of Time,” Sure!

Posted by in Video Games

Arianna Huffington: “Why not experiment? I think Second Life will save marriages.”

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RIP Lester Borchardt

Posted by in Obits

Pioneer Press: “A physicist and lifelong tinkerer, Borchardt revolutionized the breakfast cereal industry. He had a big hand in developing the technologies that allow cereal companies — in his case, General Mills — to turn grain into cereals such as Cheerios and Kix, and he also played a key role in coming up with the process used to fortify milk with vitamin D.”

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Smart or Stoopid?

Posted by in Uncategorized

My score is 27, but I think this test is a load of phooey. Any test that declares me this intelligent based on a fucking beer question is ridiculous.

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The Skinny on Sarvas

Posted by in Uncategorized

Jewish Journal: “But to really understand why people still come to Hollywood, and why they continue to pitch and write on spec, or still write literary novels and/or start blogs — and continue to do so in the face of the changing industry — you have but to turn to Sarvas’s favorite novel, ‘Gatsby’ (and let’s not forget that Fitzgerald himself ended his days here). Is there a better explanation for the essential optimism that animates our lives and that inspires Sarvas and ‘The Elegant Variation’ than how Fitzgerald concludes…read more

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This Week in Media Convergence

Posted by in Journalism

Editor & Publisher: “Speaking to hundreds of Los Angeles Times journalists in the newspaper’s Harry Chandler auditorium this morning, editor James O’Shea outlined a bold plan to increase traffic and revenue from LATimes.com in the face of an increasingly difficult economic climate for newspaper publishers, and urged journalists to think of the Web site as the newspaper’s primary vehicle for news.”

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Not Even Blowjobs Can Save Your Reading

Posted by in Uncategorized

Bookish Love: “Doctorow gave the longest reading I’ve ever attended, clocking in at about 40 minutes. Although the writing was captivating and he included a felatio scene [sic], describing the neck of one of the participants as swan-like, forty minutes might be too long for anyone to read at one clip.”

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Problem Solved, If Some Vegetarians Stopped Being Self-Righteous Douchebags

Posted by in Food

Laura Miller: “We’re so used to linking masculinity with carnivorousness that we seldom stop to recognize how illogical it is. Just because vegetarianism is correlated with pacifism — people who draw the line at killing animals are probably loath to kill human beings, too — it doesn’t follow that eating flesh, and especially the flesh of mammals, causes the battery of aggressive behaviors we choose to call manly. Yet even today, insulting vegetarians is presented as a display of bold, defiant machismo, a way of saying, ‘I understand and embrace…read more

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But He Also Forgot Core Areas of Math, Geography and Where to Get the Best Tapas in His Neighborhood

Posted by in Uncategorized

Scientific American: “A patient who damaged his left insula, a region of the brain located deep within the cortex on either lateral side, may have opened the door to kick the habit without even trying. The day after suffering a stroke the 38-year-old man, who had a 40-cigarette-a-day addiction, reported to doctors that his ‘body forgot the urge to smoke.’ This revelation prompted a study that found the insula is intimately linked to smoking addiction.”

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The Case Against Malcolm Jones

Posted by in Uncategorized

There’s one other thing I should note about Malcolm Jones’ laziness. I was contacted by the book’s publicist to interview Vikram Chandra. I offered profuse apologies to the very nice publicist, pointing out that, as good as this sounded, I simply did not have the time in my schedule to read the 900-page book. You see, I wanted to give Chandra the same respect that I give to all the authors I talk with, which involves reading the book from start to finish and actively thinking about it. I have…read more

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