Roundup on the Rebound

  • Conflicts of interest? Reviewing a friend’s book? That’s small-time reviewing ethics compared to Kristian Lundberg, who fabricated a review for a book that was never completed. (via TEV)
  • Bookstores may be dancing a precarious waltz in New York and San Francisco, but at least there’s sign of a bookstore comeback in Kashmir.
  • “In every case, the expectations by faculty of what they believe college freshmen should have read in high school exceeds the reality of what they’ve actually read.” So college freshmen aren’t reading. On the plus side, they’re more likely to eat and drink your ass under the table and fuck each other like rabbits (some 80% of them). I propose a nationally subsidized “Books for Sex” program, whereby the number of books read correllates with the number of sexual partners a college freshman is permitted. After all, if we’re so busy tracking who buys Sudafed (and when), the least we can do is track their sex and reading habits too. Consider this a more benign form of Orwell. Orwell had his Vestal Virgins. 21st century America has CRIS (Carnal Reading Incentive Squad)!
  • Pottery containing literary messages have been found in northwest Iran. One of the shards, all dating around 3,000 BC, contained the following message: “Our homeland’s going to be royally fucked in about 5,000 years.” There was also a shard containing a list of clothes to be picked up at Great Zab Cleaners, a river-side launderer. (It turns out that the first dry cleaner was Iranian.)
  • Michael Gartner writes, “There is no better American essayist than E.B. White. Period. Some writers can write well but not think clearly. Some writers can think clearly but not write well. Some can do neither. White did both.” Meanwhile, some book critics aren’t nearly as succinct as they think they are. Couldn’t Gartner have simply written “E.B. WHITE IS THE SHIT, MOTHERFUCKERS!” or are such declarations of this ilk, which cut to the chase in one sentence iinstead of five, not permitted in newspapers?
  • The Yemen Times is under the silly illusion that dictatorial op-ed pieces are the way to get people reading and understanding. Ever hear of free will?
  • The current literary Jonathans cabal shouldn’t get too comfortable. Another Jonathan has been honored by the French.
  • Murakami believes that The Great Gasby is “the most important novel in my life.”
  • Carolyn Kellogg lists the top ten things she misses about L.A.
  • Ursula K. Le Guin on the importance of fantasy.
  • Jeff on Barbera’s death.
  • Jeffrey Trachtenberg on the new $0 advance. (via Maud)

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