Curiosities

October 11, 2011

Jackie Kennedy, Mean Girl 0

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The recent release of the transcription and accompanying CDs of Jacqueline Kennedy’s interviews with Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. in 1964, less than four months after her husband’s assassination, have left a writer wondering why nobody talks about Jackie O for who she really was – a mean girl.

October 11, 2011

Steve Jobs’s Big-Screen Biopic 0

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After buying the rights to Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography, makers of The Social Network plan a big-screen biopic of Steve Jobs’s life.

October 11, 2011

Scrabble For Cheaters 0

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Next Saturday I will be competing (fiercely, one hopes) in Scrabble For Cheaters, a charity tournament to benefit 826CHI, Chicago’s chapter of the national creative writing organization (founded by Dave Eggers) that provides free tutoring, field trips, writing workshops and the like to over 4,000 Chicago students a year. To support their work, and augment […]

October 11, 2011

Tuesday New Release Day: Eugenides, Hollinghurst, Kadare, Butler 0

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One of the biggest literary releases of the year is out today, The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides. Read the book’s opening here. Another literary heavy hitter out today is The Stranger’s Child by Alan Hollinghurst. One of Albanian writer Ismail Kadare’s masterpieces, The Palace of Dreams, is now back in print in English, and […]

October 10, 2011

Violence and Darkness for Children 0

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In a New York Times op-ed piece on violence in children’s literature, Maria Tatar claims that “the savagery we offer children today is more unforgiving than it once was.” Is that really the case? Adam Gidwitz‘s A Tale Dark And Grimm (reviewed by the Times last November), which underscores the violence inherent in Grimm’s tales, […]

October 10, 2011

The Better Angels of Our Nature 0

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Steven Pinker‘s The Better Angels of Our Nature posits that human violence is becoming less and less common in civilized culture. If your interest was piqued by the book’s review in The New York Times, you will no doubt be interested in his Edge Master Class as well.

October 10, 2011

Tangled Youths 1

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Evan Hughes investigates the formulation of such writers as Jeffrey Eugenides, Jonathan Franzen, and David Foster Wallace. He claims they and their generation “had youths tangled enough for ten novels.”

October 10, 2011

Notable Occupants 1

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The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations attracted two notable literary figures this weekend. Author and activist Naomi Klein (The Shock Doctrine) addressed protestors. Here’s the longer, uncut version of her speech. On Sunday, Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek (Living in the End Times) gave an address as well.

October 10, 2011

Coetzee Archive to the Harry Ransom Center 1

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The Harry Ransom Center in Austin, Texas made headlines when it acquired the David Foster Wallace archives. Now it’s added another high profile author to its collection: J. M. Coetzee.

October 9, 2011

Why Bookstores Are Needed 0

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While calling for the preservation of the wonderful St. Marks Bookshop, Paris Review editor Lorin Stein explains that “magazines like The Paris Review need good bookstores, where the staff knows how to spread the word about good writing, face to face, hand to hand.”