I’ve learned from a few people that there are falsehoods now circulating about things that I purportedly did at the National Book Awards. Look, folks, if you think I did something, email me and I’ll be happy to clarify and tell you the truth. (For example, since I learned that Joan Didion did not want to be interviewed, I left her alone. And I was sure to ask everyone I taped if they had a few minutes before talking with them.) Frankly, I was too busy working my ass off to do much of anything else besides journalism.
Lee Goldberg observes that the AMPTP has been smearing the WGA with attack ads in newspapers, and notes WGA President Patric Verrone’s response.
There’s a new Bookforum up, with lots of good stuff, including John Banville on the pulp age, pointing out that the worlds portrayed in The Big Book of Pulps — alas, its hefty thud has not yet landed in my mailbox — “where men were men and women loved them for it, where crooks were crooks and easily identified by the scars on their faces and the gats in their mitts, where policemen were dull but honest and never used four-letter words, where a good man was feared by the lawless and respected by the law-abiding.”
James Marcus has his National Book Awards report up, and he is right to observe that Didion’s voice “was like hearing somebody play a piano with only two keys–C and C-sharp.” And here’s Levi’s report. Jason has begun posting several videos, where he’s asked many writers what their first job was. He even got Hitch on tape, who I understand told Jason that he hadn’t been asked that question in a very long time.
Granta 20 author Adam Thirlwell has, at long last, followed up Politics with a new volume, Miss Herbert. But another Granta 20 Phillip Hensher doesn’t care for it, calling it “a rambling and highly egocentric work of criticism, about a bunch of unconnected writers whom Thirlwell happens to have read, and with whom he wants to associate himself.” Actually, he’s made me more curious about the book. Is it possible that Thirlwell has styled a Nicholson Baker’s U and I for this decade? We’ll see.
USA Today now has a voluntary buyout offer for 45 staffers. Presumably, this means later firings. I hope that Bob Minzesheimer, the amicable staffer who sat with us at the bloggers’ table on Wednesday, isn’t one of the casualties when the blade comes down.
There are currently some excited rumblings for Robert Williams, a Manchester bookseller who recently enticed Faber for a partially completed first novel for teenagers.
No kvetching from you, Wheeler. This blog’s reading level is elementary school, likely due to the rudimentary crudity of recent live-blogging reports. Or perhaps the truth has finally come out that I’m actually a nine years old prodigy who has been grounded to his bedroom for the past four years and is regularly beaten on the schoolyard for his recurrent use of “jejune” in everyday conversation.