• Frances Dinkelspiel covers the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association.
  • This week, in the City, it’s Litquake. We’ll be crawling ourselves this Saturday, in more ways than one.
  • Word on the street is that the long-delayed Nobel Literature Prize will finally be announced this Thursday. Apparently, one of the Swedish intellectuals lost a few meatballs along the way. Knut Ahnlund gave notice that he was quitting in disgust over last year’s winner, Elfriede Jelinek. Ahnlund said that Jelinek’s work was “whinging, unenjoyable, violent pornography.” Well, that’s all very fine, Knut. But why wait a year to pull out? There’s still the risk of impregnating the proceedings with spurious seed. There’s been some speculation that Orhan Pamuk might be this year’s Nobel winner and that Ahnlund’s resignation has something to do with this year’s choice. But if my experience with self-important people serves as any guide, I’m guessing that Ahnlund wanted to sabotage this year’s proceedings by raising a stink and that the real winner will be someone completely unexpected. Let us hope that it’s as edgy a choice as Jelinek.
  • And speaking of awards, I’m not sure what to make of the Blooker. The Blooker hopes to award books that are based on blogs. But how many “blooks” are there? Certainly not enough to create a longlist. Further, are any of these really readable, much less enduring? More importantly, does Wil Wheaton really need another silly trinket?
  • Another day, another Dave E—- profile. His latest cause? Granting teachers more pay. While he’s at it, he may want to champion offering his volunteers some recompense. He’s also getting the little tykes to read every periodical in America, presumably to keep tabs on any naysayers. Child slave labor too? Why, in a parallel universe, Dave might very well be the literary equivalent of Phil Knight!
  • Four-Eyed Bitch wants to know why literary readings are so dull.
  • A new Internet radio station devoted to poetry has been launched by Brian Douthit.
  • Also worth looking into: Circadian Poems, a poetry blog.
  • Can pop culture be tracked in the 21st Century in book form? Encyclopedia of Pop Culture authors Michael and Jane Stern (among others) say no.
  • Literary critic Wayne C. Booth, author of The Rhetoric of Fiction, has passed on.

[UPDATE: The Complete Review has the full story on Knut “I Like My Literature Non-Pornographic” Ahnlund. Apparently, he’s not even a bona-fide Nobel judge and, whether he likes it or not, Ol’ Knut Basket Case won’t get his much vaunted reprieve until he meets his maker.]


  1. The list of blooks is longer than you think–it’s longer than I thought, and I’m one of the people who came up with the idea! The prize broadly defines the term as a book based on material developed on a blog–and few writers (at least in the emerging generation of writers) are not blogging. That’s my impression, at any rate. A few of the many blooks being brought to my attention: 52 Projects You Grow GirlSan Francisco StoriesSimon of Space, and Golden Boy

  2. So, we have the Booker and we have spec concerning the Nobel. . . what’s your take on this year’s Nat’l Book Award nominees, Ed?

  3. “While he’s at it, he may want to champion offering his volunteers some recompense.”

    Why would someone pay “volunteers?” When I volunteer for the Red Cross, do they pay me?

  4. Why exactly should we “hope that it’s as edgy a choice as Jelinek?” Is ‘edginess’ the quality most desired in a Nobel Prize winner?

    And finally, would the author of this blog regard H. Pinter “edgy?”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *