Recent Articles

March 18, 2008

Obama and the Faulkner Quote 0

by

Barack Obama gave a speech today taking on the complicated history of racial relations in America. Considering the how difficult a topic this is to tackle, it was a brave move. Embedded within the speech was a quote from Faulkner, “The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past.” Andrew Sullivan at […]

March 18, 2008

Froot Loop Followup: Knowledge Products 4

by

Borders’ plan to display more books face-out and, as a result, to stock fewer titles has generated quite a bit of discussion. On our own post about the plan, we received several interesting comments, but I was most intrigued by what commenter Matthew had to say: The Froot Loops example is classic thinking from retailers […]

March 18, 2008

Posthumous Vonnegut Collection on the Way 0

by

Kurt Vonnegut fans will be interested to know that a collection of previously unpublished non-fiction is set to be published by Penguin in April, a year after his death. From the catalog: Armageddon in Retrospect is a collection of twelve new and unpublished writings on war and peace. Written with Vonnegut’s trademark rueful humor, the […]

March 15, 2008

Curiosities 1

by

The Economist’s nifty, new(?) culture mag More Intelligent Life is putting together guides to the best critics, including those who cover books; film; dance, art, and classical music, and rock music. Scott has performed a similar exercise for book reviewers, as well. Polite magazine: “Where Are They Now? A visit with Encyclopedia Brown“ The estimable […]

March 13, 2008

Borders and the Froot Loop Gambit 14

by

A recent Wall Street Journal story (I’ll summarize here if you can’t access it), is reporting that Borders intends to “sharply [increase] the number of titles it displays on shelves with the covers face-out.” It is hoped that this move will increase sales, but “the new approach will require a typical Borders superstore to shrink […]

March 12, 2008

Thorny Technology: Open Access Causes Problems at the Iowa Writers Workshop 3

by

Emails are circulating among various current and former students from the famed Iowa Writers Workshop expressing concern over the University of Iowa’s new “Open Access” policy with regard to theses. These include MFA theses, which, according to our own Workshop grad Edan, might typically consist of a “book-length manuscript… poems, short stories or a novel […]

March 11, 2008

The Eye of the Beholder: A Review of Charles Bock’s Beautiful Children 5

by

According to John Updike’s “Rules for Reviewers,” critics review books, rather than reputations. Then again, most readers also expect reviewers to situate a book in its proper generic context, and here Charles Bock’s debut novel presents a sort of paradox. Beautiful Children’s burgeoning reputation – the unusual amount of attention it has garnered from media […]

March 11, 2008

Ask Not For Whom The Rooster Crows… 0

by

Apparently, Vendela Vida has bested Roberto Bolaño in the first round of The Morning News’ “Tournament of Books” (via TEV). With all due respect to Elizabeth Kiem, that way lies madness. Here’s why. Ah, well. De gustibus non est disputandum.

March 10, 2008

Deeper into the Quicksand 0

by

Today’s Elliot Spitzer scandal sent me back to the New Yorker archives, to revisit Nick Paumgarten’s excellent profile, from December 10. This time around, I was struck less by the “what you see is what you get” thesis of some Spitzer intimates, than by this proposition, from an unnamed source: “Spitzer lunges. He seems not […]

March 10, 2008

Staff Picks: Coen, Beatty, Egan, Gentlemen 1

by

The “staff picks” shelf in any good independent bookstore is a treasure trove of book recommendations. Unmoored from media hype and even timeliness, these books are championed by trusted fellow readers. With many bookselling alums in our ranks, we offer our own “Staff Picks” in a feature appearing irregularly. Gates of Eden by Ethan Coen […]