• Now that the Little House books have hit their 75th anniversary, the publisher has seen fit to replace Garth Williams’ illustrations with photos. And who will be in these photos? It appears that waif-like anorexic teens now represent the great American frontier, although I’m unclear of the association between binge eating and hunting and fishing. “We wanted to convey the fact that these are action-packed,” says Tara Weikum, who is shepherding this preposterous overhaul. Should not the action be self-evident in the text? (via Haggis
  • The Rake hosts an interview with Carl Shuker.
  • Hugh Grant, novelist? Hugh Grant, father? I suspect someone’s having a midlife crisis. Well, at least he can draw from personal experience on the first point.
  • Seattle Times: “That was appropriate, because her songwriting made the show feel as much like a literary event as a musical one.” You say this like it’s a bad thing!
  • Jay McInerney: “Well, there was a time when I would have said, “my work.” But now the kids are first; my work is second.” Actually, let’s be honest here: wasn’t there a time in which cocaine came first?
  • Michael Chabon will be serializing “Gentlemen of the Road” in the Sunday New York Times Magazine. Let’s hope this doesn’t turn out to be as disastrous as other serials.
  • Zoe Heller is having none of the “misogynistic” accusations directed towards Notes on a Scandal: book and movie.
  • RIP Mary Stolz.
  • Scott has some good advice for writers who also blog: slow down. I agree. If you’re blogging and writing more big league things, then it’s of great help to have a regular routine in which you take a great deal of time to craft your sentences. There’s often a misconception, promulgated by some of the dinosaurs who work on West 43rd Street, that bloggers can only write fast. Speaking for myself (and not accounting for revisions I do), it takes me anywhere from two to six hours to turn out 1,000 words of fiction or a review, whereas a blog post of the same length often takes me as little as 20 minutes. There are advantages and disadvantages with the two speeds. There are times when it’s necessary to labor over a sentence (and this process is often akin to watching ketchup pour slowly onto a patty). But there are other times when I’m probably fussing too much over it. I agree with Scott that if you want to be a serious writer, you need to stay in shape. Blogging alone doesn’t necessarily cut the mustard.
  • Thom Yorke’s iTunes playlist. (via Quiddity)
  • Also passed on: Ryszard Kapuscinski, who I haven’t read but who Megan vouches for.
  • 3AM talks with Richard Nash.
  • From the Sexy Scott: “However, I do wonder what my reading experience would have been like had I not consumed so much extra information before, during, and after my reading of the book. What would it have been like had I just plucked the paperback off the shelf and began on my own, unencumbered either by the massive hype that still surrounds the book or the copious exegetical efforts that exist online in their more lovable and amateur forms or in the more codified, professionally respectable versions available through either your seriously stocked research library or a good handy access to Jstor or Academic Search Elite or whathaveyou.” I don’t know if this is as much as a problem as Scott suggests it is, because a reader can willingly ostracize himself from all hype and reviews if she really wants to, but it is an issue worth thinking about.
  • A week ago, I started to write an elaborate parody of Zadie Smith’s essay that, due to tenuous Wi-Fi conditions, was lost to the ether, but thankfully Dan Green expresses some of my feelings about Smith’s opinions on style. There’s a great difference between style that reflects a writer’s consciousness and style that reflects a character’s (or a world’s) consciousness (or, as Dan puts it, a “writer’s particular way of living with language”). Are we so immersed within the cult of personality that even smart writers like Smith can no longer discern the difference?
  • John Mellencamp insists that he didn’t sell out. Right. Next thing you know, he’ll be telling us that Phil Collins-era Genesis and Huey Lewis and the News were the edgiest bands to came out of the 80s. (via Silliman)
  • Man, another death. Burmese poet Tin Moe has passed on.


  1. 2-6 hours for 1000 words seems faster than average still. Seems like there’s plenty out there who take a whole day to squeeze out a page. (Not that that’s necessarily a good thing.)

  2. I read Notes on a Scandal and I saw the movie. I thought the book was excellent and NOT misogynistic or homophobic. I thought the movie was entertaining, engrossing, well-acted, well-made and WAS misogynistic and homophobic. And ageist. How dare an old woman want! Especially a creepy old lesbian!

    The book is very particular, and you ‘re inside that character’s narrative, so even as you know she’s deluded and subjective, there’s an enormous enjoyment of her mean wit. With the movie, you’re outside the narrative and judging the character and the situations. Outside of the book, and that particularity, you’re in the public world where old lesbians who want are creepy. It’s a prejudiced stereotype.

    Also–hello!–objectification, the male gaze, etc etc. There’s a big difference between fiction and film.

    Also, Patrick Marber changed things and weighted the film and the viewer’s sympathies differently than the book. I’m curious about his biography.

    The film was problematic for me, and the other two gay people who I saw it with. Not that we didn’t enjoy it.

    I’m sorry Heller is taking such a hard stance, and I’d say she’s standing right in the middle of the heteronormative road–a privileged place to be. A more nuanced defense would go farther to defending the film. I recommend the book, hell, I recommend both.

    yrs, B. Dagger Lee

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