Top o’ the Heap

Last night, I opted to chill out and sleep, seeing as how I hadn’t slept for more than four hours in a week and having a percolating brain to process the copious info I collected was better than being half-asleep at the wheel. This should demonstrate to Mr. Parr that I am, in fact, not as tireless as he claims. But more BEA coverage is coming, along with catching up with the Tanenhaus Brownie Watch backlog and several other fantastic things.

In the meantime, here’s some headlines from the literary front:

  • TMFTML unearths a deadly accurate depiction of today’s version of a David Sedaris essay.
  • Jose Saramago’s new novel, The Intermittency of Death, will be launched in six nations in Europe and Latin America. There are no details as of yet, but the new book will have “a different style” from previous books. But my guess is that this doesn’t mean much. Given the moribund title, most likely, this means that the limited edition will have a tartan cover instead of a cloth one.
  • The bookies believe that Jane Gardam‘s Old Filth will win the Orange Prize tonight. We will find out in one hour, as the prize will be announced at 1845 BST.
  • Liars Club author Mary Karr says, “Oh my God! I wake up every day…and I feel like Walt Whitman. I really do. I’ve never been so happy.” We understand that “feeling like Walt Whitman” is a codeword for merging memories with fictional asides and transforming it into a well-received and best-selling “memoir.”
  • Even the hallowed Library Journal was seduced by the BEA’s Dark Side (meaning stormtroopers and celebrity).
  • Kate Atkinson complains about the “nastiness” of blogs. Well, if we’re so nasty, Kate, I guess we should stop praising you then, eh?
  • The marketing for the next Harry Potter is very odd. Rowling will give no interviews to the UK press. And there’s a contest in which 70 youngsters between 8 and 16 will meet Rowling and “grill” her on questions about a book. While it’s doubtful that we’ll find any future Mike Wallaces among this group of urchins, I find it strange that the publisher would go out of their way to ignore journalistic and critical reception. Catering to the readers and fans is one thing, but I predict that, despite the definitive bonanza sales this book will pull in, this ostracized approach may result in a minor backlash.
  • Marilyn Monroe’s black book has sold for $90,000 at an auction. Call me practical, but that seems a high price to pay for dead people’s phone numbers. Believe it or not, the book sold more than a painting that Marilyn created.
  • Katie Holmes as Wonder Woman?
  • “Books are not toys.” Well, you can build your toy house with Lincoln Logs. And I’ll build mine with the 150 books in my bookpile. My guess is that I’ll be having more fun than you, sir.
  • Diane Johnson takes a look at several Jane Austen books in the NYRoB. Also, Jonathan Raban on Robert Lowell.


  1. The Harry Potter backlash has already happened, and is guaranteed to resurface whether Rowling grants interviews or not. Remember A.S. Byatt’s marvelously wrong-headed takedown in the NYT at the time of the publication of the last book? Rowling doesn’t need the press. Reviews are really an academic exercise at this point and besides, don’t really require her participation in any meaningful way.

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