Morning Roundup

  • Does the apple fall far from the tree? Owen King would prefer that nobody knew about the apple at all. Owen is Stephen King’s son and has a new book out called We’re All In This Together. Whatever We’re All‘s literary merits, we’re absolutely confident that nepotism and King’s connections had NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with the book getting published. Perhaps like other sons of famous authors, Mr. King’s talent will be separate from his father’s and we’ll see him pen a small chapbook called Invasion from the World of Warcraft.
  • As widely reported in the blogosphere this morning, the Washington Post has issued a retraction for Marianne Wiggins’ review of John Irving’s Until I Find You. It seems that Wiggins was married to Salman Rushdie, who in turn is a longtime friend of Irving’s. Ron, David Montgomery and Sarah have posted their thoughts on this issue. The question here is where the line is drawn. If a reviewer has exchanged emails with an author (which appears to be the Post policy), it seems preposterous to me that this will sully one’s critical perspective. (And in fact, I’ve struck up a few unexpected and amicable email volleys with authors whose books I’ve ruthlessly panned.) If the publishing industry can swing between art and commerce swifter than a disco king, than surely the reviewer can negotiate the much simpler divide between the parquet floor of the books and the authors who dance on it. We’re adults here, not junior high school students. Apparently, the Post doesn’t seem to believe that an adult is capable of disagreeing with someone while remaining cordial in person.
  • Poet Laureate Ted Kooser gets up at 4:30 AM each morning to write his poetry and wants to bring poetry to the people.
  • Benjamin Kunkel plunges into Balzac’s Lost Illusions.
  • The Gentleman of San Francisco, one of the first works of Russian poet Ivan Alekseyevich Bunin has been translated and published. It only took ninety years to get around to it.
  • Richard Herring and Stewart Lee have returned to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival after 18 years. They are determined not to turn into Ben Elton.
  • And while there may be more memoirs right now than ever, Andrew O’Hagan says there’s reason to celebrate over this.

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