• Soft Skull now has a blog, demonstrating to the world that Dan Wickett may have some competition from Richard Nash in the We Never Sleep Department.
  • If there was any doubt that Lev Grossman was a chickenhead, his status as Chickenhead of the Decade may be confirmed. Judy Blume? Jonathan Franzen? Tolkein [sic]? C.S. Lewis? All authors in their own right, but hardly the names one would expect to see on any serious list concerned with singling out literature. Then again, given Time‘s roots as a magazine devoted to lackluster summaries of news and culture for mass consumption, the list makes sense. Bawk bawk indeed.
  • A seven year old has won a book contract. This kid better have life experience or we’ll have someone steal his lunch money.
  • Chinese author Ba Jin has died. He was 100.
  • Creative Artists Agency has pledged that it will go after “100 percent market share.” A CAA spokesman also contended that it had settled on an operations method predicated on “100 percent hubris.”
  • Chekhov: Not a prude and possibly a womanizer.
  • Is a major production of Dickens’ Bleak House the reason for the BBC license fee increase?
  • Boston Globe on Sara Faith Alterman: “Getting ”15 Minutes’ published was surprisingly simple. She sent her text to multiple literary agents. One quickly picked her up, and ”My 15 Minutes’ was sold to Avon Trade, a division of Harper Collins.” Simple maybe if you’re a flouncy 25 year old whose author photo will sell the book alone. But try telling that “surprisingly simple” story to some talented yet eczema-ridden 55 year old novelist with bad teeth.
  • A spirited defense of Pinter’s politics.
  • “Phil, I don’t know what to write about this week.” “Well, Bob, what author do you like?” “Philip Roth’s really doing it for me right now.” “Well, then why not take a road trip and write about it. No penetrating insights. Just rambling text.” “You mean it? I mean, you’ll actually buy a column from me without a point?” “Bob, you wouldn’t be on staff if you weren’t pointless. Now let’s go knock back some shots. Drinks are on me.”
  • Vikram Seth hates being late.
  • Apparently, Jonathan Safran Foer bridges the gap between the hipsters and the philanthropists. There must be some mistake.

[UPDATE: Litkicks has some interesting memories of Lev Grossman: “He was a nice guy, undoubtedly smart, literary and perceptive….But I also found Lev Grossman bland in conversation, and decidedly uncontroversial….Nothing about Lev Grossman shouted out ‘I will be Time’s book critic in five years’.”]

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One Comment

  1. I think the Time list is interesting and not at all outre (with the giant caveat: for a list trying to determine something as arbitrary and impossible as the “best” novels of whatever time period). I was actually pleased at the number of genre novels represented. I could argue with the choices, but I don’t outright disagree with any of them. I do think it’s somewhat interesting that most of the SF novels are at the top of the reader rankings, but that’s probably an artifact of the internet itself.

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