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by David Foster Wallace
For the first time since A River Runs Through It failed to win in 1977, no award was given in the Fiction category.
People are made by the books they read and I think I am finished. That is to say, my making is finished.
Behold: a museum of my failures, an atlas of incompletion, a tour of the ruins of a future that never came. I call it "Reviews I Did Not Write This Year."
An e-book original takes the top spot and another debuts. One of the big literary books of the fall also lands on our list.
It's The Pale King's last month at the top. Plus a new Hall of Famer and a pair of intriguing newcomers.
Two debuts last month: a classic work of poetry and a brand new installment of an epic series.
To write a book about a suicide, to call it Suicide, and to then take your own life before its publication is, whatever else it is, a way of exerting an overpowering influence over how that work is received.
A favorite author of The Millions returns to the top ten. Plus two new Hall of Famers!
How writers are becoming more accessible online – and less so in person.
When do we, as writers, accept that a piece is as good as it will ever be, even if it’s not that great? When do we decide that a piece will never be good enough to be published?
Two debuts (including an e-book original) and a YA bestseller returns.
Whenever there are bright lights, clusters of cameras and microphones, spin doctors and handlers, packs of hungry rivals with notebooks, the writer's chances of getting something genuine, or even merely unique, shrink monstrously. I experienced this so many times that it is one of the few things I absolutely know to be true.
Huge claims have been made on behalf of the novelist Tom McCarthy. But what do they actually tell us about "the future of fiction?"
"Writing is immensely difficult," Doctorow once told George Plimpton, "The short forms especially."
Certainly Wallace had set himself a problem masochistic or quixotic in its difficulty: how to write an interesting novel about that byword for tedium, the IRS? And how to write a religious novel about the most disenchanted and secular of professions, namely accounting?
The book's lyrical opening sentence may be familiar to Wallace completists.
8,000 words strong and encompassing 76 titles, it's the only 2011 book preview you will ever need.