• So the Nobel Prize goes to Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio — a writer who I’ve never read. And it’s all because I’m one of those thuggish American idiots who Engdahl is complaining about. Mr. Orthofer, as usual, has the goods here.
  • I hope that I might atone for my unworldly nature by once again mentioning one of the best films that played the New York Film Festival, Tokyo Sonata. I assure you that my coverage of this movie is far from over. And I am pleased to report that the film now has an American distributor. It will be released by Regent in March 2009. I don’t yet know how many theaters it will play, but if it plays in your area, by all means catch it if you can.
  • Bill Peschel, playing directly to my perverse nature, has kick-started a promising series: Great Moments in Literary Sex. Unfortunately, Mr. Peschel has yet to employ the gerunds “pounding” or “thrusting” in his posts. Let us hope for more Harlequin action in forthcoming installments.
  • I must publicly denounce Random House for failing to send me books with bawdy covers. Oh well. Perhaps someone else will come through.
  • The Wall Street Journal talks with David Lodge, and has me a bit sad that I lack the financial resources to travel to London to interview the man and conduct a proper conversation. (via Frank Wilson, who dutifully takes the WSJ on for getting the tone in Lodge’s oeuvre so fundamentally wrong)
  • Also from Frank: A Hard Day’s Night in Yiddish.
  • I got a tip on the new Pynchon novel a few weeks ago, but I was so busy with assignments and the New York Film Festival that I was unable to investigate. But thankfully, David Ulin has confirmed it with The Penguin Press.
  • Mark Athitakis reminds us once again that there is more to Steinbeck than crowd-pleasing and ideological novels. I’m by no means a lover of all of Steinbeck’s work, but I’ve likewise never quite understood this rap. This is a nation in which writers are impugned if they get through to the masses, vilified if they don’t kiss the tastemakers’s asses, and celebrated if they abide by the take-no-chances boilerplate. There are exceptions to this, and certainly Steinbeck was an exception in his lifetime. But leave it to the next generation of closed-minded critics who would rather play predictable contrarians rather than attempt to parse books for what they are.
  • And if people aren’t reading on the subway, then surely they can’t be reading in blue-collar Latino neighborhoods either! Daniel Mendelsohn is likely to pop his ignorant gaskets upon hearing this news.


  1. Oh, now I get it. Four months of eruidite thoughts and profiles of literary giants, and you all are just wanting the smut. Right! Back to the mines!

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