• Over at Litkicks, Levi Asher begins his Overrated Writers Series. So far, Philip Roth and Joan Didion have been taken to task, the latter in particular for The Year of Magical Thinking. But I must disagree with Mr. Asher, largely because of my own personal stake on the subject. After all, I’ve written bravely about my own neuroses before and, while I haven’t had my literary status catapaulted into a higher orbit (although I did win a $15 Macy’s gift card for “After Blog Life,” which I cashed in for a Jerry Garcia necktie, which then caused me to write a 4,000 word essay about how I was frightened and tortured by the necktie and had to see a therapist after concluding that the necktie was diminishing my erotic dreams with various starlets and intellectuals — all this to be published in next week’s Penny Saver in abridged form), there is nothing more necessary than hardworking professionals (and that includes prolific litbloggers) being misidentified as literary geniuses.
  • Derik Badman confesses that the Fantagraphics collections have shifted his view on Peanuts, which makes me ponder whether it’s all in the presentation. Would comics garner greater respect among the literati if they were published with the same respect one finds in Modern Library volumes?
  • Alexander McCall Smith is interviewed by The Hindu. Apparently, one of the reasons he’s so prolific is because he writes 1,000 words a day and not bothering to edit what he writes. Which suggests to me that an unexpected turn to Christianity and a kooky novel about Jesus’s early days may just be in his future.
  • The Scotsman peers inside British small presses and concludes that the Internet has been one of the primary reasons why small presses have been able to catch up with the big boys. Well, that and the fact that small presses have more interesting names. I mean, Houghton Mifflin doesn’t exactly roll off the tip of the tongue, does it? Even as an adult, I still have great difficulties, often mispronouncing it as “MILFin.” But this may have something to do with the porn stash on my hard drive. Soft Skull, on the other hand…
  • I didn’t get a chance to get Charles D’Ambrosio on tape while at BEA, but thankfully the folks at Powell’s have D’Ambrosio talking about his “first time.” I haven’t heard the clip yet. And I’m not certain what this means exactly, but I do know that D’Ambrosio doesn’t bullshit around. So perhaps there’s something salacious in there.
  • Another article telling us how Oh So Scary digital publishing is. I don’t get this. Really, digital publishing is a bit like riding a bicycle. The first time, you’re a quavering child wondering just how a bipedal life form can balance upon such a seemingly baroque contraption. By the fourth or fifth time, you realize how rote it is and you’ve completely forgotten about the fears and anxieties that caused you to take the plunge in the first place. Unless you’re like me and you’re still frightened by the fact that you once rode a BMX bike at an age when your peers got around by car.


  1. It might be a bit in the presentation, but it’s probably a bit more that the Peanuts I used to read in the paper was a much later version that I never followed very closely.

    Sometimes it’s more about the collected aspect, seeing all those strips in sequence. Even though Peanuts isn’t a serial strip, I still enjoy being able to read a few strips at a time. Makes it easier to see the themes and subletly of Schulz’s work.

  2. Also, the old Peanuts is better than the stuff we remember from the newspaper, by which time it had become a bit stale. The old stuff–“Even my anxieties have anxieties”–is great.

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