Roundup

  • Michael Dolan offers some helpful hints on how to manage the deranged beast commonly referred to as the email inbox. My own email habits involve going through a mad tear once every two or three days, often sorting by name and subject line, and getting it down to under 10 messages. You’re more inclined to get an answer from me through the edrants address than the Yahoo address; the latter is largely a backup email account. But I also enjoy watching the email accrue over a number of days, marveling at the way in which a triple digit inbox transmogrifies into a single digit through preternatural prolificity. Much of this is quite random and playfully anarchic. And you will sometimes hear back from me in minutes; other times, it may be a few weeks. Email only represents a tyranny to anyone terrified by the bountiful possibilities of communicative life or the deranged verbal manner in which one can connect with other people. If someone has a request, and it isn’t a boilerplate email addressed “Dear Reviewer” or “Dear Ms. Champion,” I will offer a yes or a no within a day or two. I certainly don’t like saying no, or even remaining uncommitted, but if another person has gone to the trouble to ask me about something, I feel that the professional thing to do is to be as honest as I can. If someone has taken the time to write to me personally, I feel that it is my duty to write them back, even if I can only answer with a few sentences. The inbox will indeed mushroom again, but I suppose that the only reason I’m able to keep up is because I type 110 wpm. (via The Book Publicity Blog)
  • I am now on page 18 of 2666.
  • Page numbers for other books I am currently in the middle of reading: 11, 133, 131, and 221. I have attempted to cut back on the number of books I read concurrently. Five books is actually a considerably small number. Only two months ago, I was reading twenty-two books simultaneously. How many books are you in the middle of reading? And what are the page numbers?
  • Hart Williams chronicles how his causal coinage (“Linda syndrome”) made its way into numerous articles.
  • Moby Lives points to what Chip McGrath has misidentified as “a small flare-up in the blogosphere.” The controversy involves whether or not Peter Matthiessen’s Shadow Country, by way of being a mammoth reworking of three previously published novels, is a legitimate National Book Awards nomination. Considering that The Collected Stories of William Faulkner won a Fiction Award in 1951 and Janet Flanner’s Paris Journal, 1944-1965 picked up an Arts and Letters prize in 1966, there was certainly no hue and cry from this blogger. These two previous wins established a clear precedent for recognizing books that contained previous material. But to ensure that Mr. McGrath regrets his error, it must be noted that the controversy was also promulgated by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (October 19: “Does that reworking really constitute an ‘original novel?'”). If anything, it appears that the hemorrhoidal “flare-up” has been instigated by Mr. McGrath himself.
  • A public congratulations to Nam Le for winning the well-deserved Dylan Thomas Prize.
  • It’s more than ten good goddams longer than your shopping list, but the IMPAC longlist is now up.
  • I love how Rush is desperately reframing the current economic crisis as an “Obama recession” when Obama has yet to occupy the Oval Office. The time has come to blame Obama for everything. There is no flying car. Obama’s fault! Bars that use narrow glasses suggesting the appearance of a pint, or that employ bartenders who fill up a glass two-thirds of the way. Obama’s responsible for that too! Every personal inadequacy can be firmly directed towards Obama. You can’t finish 2666 in the next two weeks? Those aren’t your inadequacies, brother. It’s Obama all the way. You feel a tingly sensation in your leg? Obama. You couldn’t get laid last night? Obama Obama Obama. (via Erin O’Brien)
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5 Comments

  1. Wow, 25? I usually feel guilty with 5-6, once an author told me that reading multiple books (at least fiction) is “disrespectful” because you can’t give each book the proper attention and consideration. Clearly a person not mastering multi-tasking. Right now I’m at-

    Telex from Cuba by Rachel Kushner, page 42
    Scent of Shadows by Vicki Pettersson, page 280
    The Private Lives of Pippa Lee by Rebecca Miller, page 110

    Along with whatever books I’m reading I’m also going through Gaiman’s “Sandman” series when I get them in from the library- so no page numbers for those. I blame Obama.

  2. Stephanie, where are you in Sandman? I’m just beginning Vol. 9, “The Kindly Ones.”

    Other books:

    Joe Hill’s Twentieth Century Ghosts, page 92.

    The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, still on the cover.

  3. Chris- I recently finished “A Game of You”. I really enjoy the departures he took in every new story thread, taking full advantage of having dreams and hidden worlds at his disposal.

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