In college, I had a friend named Kurt. A lot of people know someone like Kurt in college. In fact, an old college buddy named Kurt is always a good excuse to avoid talking about a book. So let’s talk about Kurt. Because I love Kurt more than this book. And my therapist insists that talking about Kurt instead of a book is fair game. Particularly because it prevents me from another night with a pint of bourbon and youthful memories that cause bitter tears. (via a guy named Mark, who now inhabits the first paragraph of the first draft of any essay I turn in)
I understand from the StorySouth people that there is now a Battle Royale-style showdown for the Top Ten Stories of 2007. The writers left on the island will begin shooting each other, and all this will be arranged by Jason Sanford. The winner’s blood-soaked visage will emerge from the melee, only to fight Takeshi Kitano.
I would like to see Glenn Beck’s purported bravado tested in a dive bar. If he learned so much from “books for boys,” then let us see if he rises to the challenge when he gets into a brawl with three roughnecks and gets the shit beaten out of him. More at Guys Lit Wire.
Ideas on a DIY literary scene, and it apparently involves sitting around in living rooms. Having some personal experience in the matter, as artistic innovation goes, this actually gets more accomplished than you might expect.
So the NEA has awarded $2.8 million for this Big Read nonsense. And there are few books here that you won’t find on a high school curriculum. Getting more people to read The Call of the Wild or To Kill a Mockingbird is a noble endeavor. But how exactly does this prescriptive approach to reading get people excited about books? How exactly does this help to support contemporary writers or those who are attempting to encourage others? How does the Big Read program promote the reader’s sense of discovery? Are there really any tangible results? Because the NEA isn’t exactly fessing up here. Interesting in light of the hysteria generated by the Reading at Risk report. And why in the hell has Ford devoted a hybrid vehicle to this program? We are informed that the car’s “colorful design” will “inspire new readers.” Yeah, the same way that I might become a landscape painter while taking a crap. The Big Read program is now dodgy in the extreme. But then when you have a phony like David Kipen at the helm, is this really all that much of a surprise?