• Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation, the only screenplay Coppola wrote that wasn’t an adaptation, is one of the finest films to come out of the 1970s (better, I would argue, than the first two Godfather movies). But does the film’s taut narrative structure and grand ethical questions make for meaningful television? How many variations of “He’d kill us if he had the chance” can be said over the course of 22 episodes before the mystery unravels? (via Lee Goldberg)
  • Is a bestseller guided by a hook? The Publishing Contrarian opines that Kim Edwards’ The Memory Keeper’s Daughter would have sold like parkas in Juneau regardless of its literary value.
  • If it’s any consolation, I don’t get it either.
  • Thomas Quinn on the Rebus books and Rebus’s possible death. There’s a big ballyhoo over how a guy like Ian Rankin could possibly be thinking about killing his bread and butter off. But I suspect that it’s easier for Rankin to effect than most people think. Perhaps Rankin is tired of writing in Rebus’s metier or would rather annihilate his hero after having said everything he’s needed to say through him. I suspect, however, that Rankin’s Quandary will turn out similarly to what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle went through. (via Jenny D)
  • Scott takes umbrage with John Freeman’s review of Only Revolutions. While I quibble over Scott’s claim that House of Leaves lacks literary experimentalism (it was a thunderbolt, sir!), he does have a good point about the long legacy of experimental novelists who have been long ignored by newspaper critics.
  • C. Max Magee reproduces a dispatch from the Brooklyn Book Festival.
  • “Who knew Joyce Carol Oates would be so funny?” That’s the lede by a bemused staff writer for The Beacon News, who apparently isn’t aware of Oates’ long history of dark comedies and mysteries. It’s understandable. These are often occluded by her literary reputation. Even so, I’m getting really tired of the generalization that anyone who is considered “literary” is incapable of being funny. One of the great joys in talking with John Updike was being able to reveal that, contrary to the way people reacted to his BEA fulminations, the guy was a jester. For those who insist that Oates is “too serious” because she turns out too many books or Updike is “stiff” because he expresses his concerns about digital books, I wonder how you can seriously suggest that authors who regularly delight us with their sentences and who express their great powers of invention are without a sense of humor. Aside from the notion that anyone who associates as adeptly as Oates and Updike has to be concocting some pretty amusing shit in a drafting phase, it also takes a certain off-kilter person to become a writer. It takes an even more idiosyncratic person to stick with it and become successful, whether through sales or reputation. Anyone contending with multiple paychecks of varying dollar amount arriving in their mailbox at strange intervals has to have a sense of humor about it, if they want to stay sane and keep pushing forward.
  • Perhaps in response to Sara Gran’s Brooklyn article, the Associated Press makes the case for upstate New York. My own essay on the overlooked literary Meccas of Bakersfield and Peoria will be appearing in this week’s PennySaver.
  • The Scotsman: “I had high hopes for the two titles under consideration here, by novelists Ali Smith and Nick Hornby. Suffice to say that one is going on the shelf, and one is going to a charity shop.”
  • Derik observes that a new serial authored by Seth can be found in the New York Times.
  • Slushpile talks with T.R. Pearson.
  • The Seattle Post-Intelligencer talks with James Ellroy: “My tape recorder is useless because he punctuates his sentences with the ‘F’ word like other people use commas and periods.”
  • Sarvas at the West Hollywood Book Fair.
  • A conversation with Stephin Merritt and Lemony Snickett.
  • Arthur Salm examines a slate of recent memoirs.
  • Jeff Bryant enters the track-by-track description game with Tindersticks II. Rumor has it that Mr. Perez, the originator of this trend, will turn out another one.
  • If you’re an indie bookseller complaining about your financial woes, look at it this way: you could be hawking books in Baghdad.
  • Etymologic: The Toughest Word Game on the Web. (via Books, Words & Writing)
  • William Gibson predicted lonelygirl15.
  • Scott Westerfield on how he names his characters.
  • And, more later, kids. FYI: It’s a week crazier than a group of penguins trying to hold a cocktail party on a melting icecap. So if it’s a little light than the norm, my apologies.

One Comment

  1. Edward, thank you so much for linking to The Publishing Contrarian. It makes my day when fellow bloggers drop by!

    So many comments have come in about my latest posting, I think I hit a nerve!

    Lynne AKA The Wicked Witch of Publishing

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