Kevin Smokler introduces “social jet lag” as his word of the day. It’s defined as a condition “when your social commitments reeks havoc on your physical well being.” I know just where Kevin’s coming from, as I’ve been a bit woozy with a touch of the flu over the last few days (as such, postings will be lighter than the norm this week). But the most troubling aspect is that nobody who suffers from this affliction can collect frequent flyer miles or claim an evening of free drinks after X number of social commitments. I hereby beseech some universal authority to reward those who throw themselves so willingly into the fray. Benevolence, bibulous rewards, and boisterous transference must be handed out with celerity!
In celebration of Michael Martone’s Michael Martone, the LBC has been unleashing all manner of contributor’s notes. There should be a podcast featuring Martone and nominator Daniel Green up on Thursday.
Brad Melzer is releasing the first chapter of his new novel, The Book of Fate, in comic book form. The first chapter will appear in Justice League of America #1. Melzer, responsible for the rape and murder of the wives of two superheroes, claims that he wants to bridge the gap between comic book reader and book reader. But the real question here is how a potboiler involving Freemasonry has anything to do with the DC universe, revamped or otherwise.
Dorothy Givens Terry wrote a novel during her daily commute time. The novel’s plot concerns itself with a woman who travels on buses and trains and, in the novel’s most most moving moments, befriends a busker who reveals the great secret to scoring free Metrocards. Later, the two audition for a reality TV show and become the sensation of the nation. The Metrocard represents a grand metaphor for the price of singing badly and asking for change in a conformist society. Is a rectangular card the ultimate reward for amateurish talent? Or must one debase one’s self in front of a television camera to find fame and fortune in our society? These narrative questions and more await you in Terry’s I Rode the Eighth Avenue Express Like a Pony, optioned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for a short promotional film.
Lev Grossman: “You’ll be relieved to know that it’s possible to have a nonawkward conversation with Curtis Sittenfeld.” Does Lev know something we don’t?
Apparently, you can teach your dog to read. The efforts have been so successful that canines have begun to offer literary criticism. Here is Spot, a dalmation in Peoria, IL, offering his thoughts on William Gass’s The Tunnel: “Roohff. Grrrrr. Rohfff rohff rohfff. (tongue wagging out) Yip yip. Rohffff.” Hopeless gibberish? To your foolish human ears, perhaps. But that’s only because you don’t speak dog. Shortly after uttering this, Spot humped his owner’s leg. I leave readers to opine whether this was Spot’s way of telling his owner that he wanted to be neutered or that the power of Gass’s work caused a great wave of energy to suffuse Spot’s being, giving him a great urge to copulate with the first thing in the room.
George Orwell’s estate has cancelled a Fringe show based on Animal Farm. Splendid Productions, the group behind the show, was stupid enough not to obtain permission. This may piss a few of my fellow theatrical friends off, but I don’t care. I’ve long been bothered by the reliance upon pop cultural facsimiles to bring in audiences (Evil Dead Live, The Twilight Zone, and the like come to mind). It contributes to a retrograde Fringe culture where people overlook the fine work of Banana, Bag and Bodice and mugwumpin in favor of theatrical diversions no different from their home entertainment centers or their bookshelves. I hope this serves as a lesson to the ragamuffins and the hacks who can’t be bothered to whip up narratives of their own. Theatre is all about putting yourself on the line, not capitulating to a passing pop cultural whim.
Grumpy Old Bookman: “I am inclined to think that Periel Aschenbrand’s principal skill is not so much in writing as in marketing. I suspect that she used these skills to good effect in getting this book published. Either that, or her uncle runs the company.”