- Scott McLemee argues that, given its place in the U.S. literary tradition, academics should devote some attention to American realism. “However ambivalent literary scholars may be about realism in general, specific realist authors have lodged themselves so deeply in the culture as to have virtually defined it,” he says.
- For Prospect Magazine, Julian Evans considers the British “extinction of literary intimacy with mainland Europe,” contending that the influence of American postwar realism triumphed only “after the British reading public had been an exemplary European reading public for more than three centuries.” (Via the 3AM Blog.)
- Norma Khouri’s worldwide bestseller, Forbidden Love, an autobiographical book about fleeing her homeland, is rumored to be a fake. “Far from being a Jordanian who fled her home in the late 1990s after the “honour” killing of her best friend, Khouri is accused of being an American passport-holder who lived in Chicago from the age of three.”
- J.K. Rowling is expecting her third child, but says the arrival of the sixth Harry Potter book won’t be affected.
- A Rochester, NY, high school teacher taught himself to write with a fountain pen when no one could read his handwriting. Now he’s won first place in the “artistic-handwriting category for ages 20 to 64” of the World Handwriting Contest.
- Adam Mars-Jones decries Saramago’s experiments with punctuation.
- Speaking of punctuation irregularities, beware the four horsemen of the apostrophe:
I and three of my brethren will, for the sum of one firework of size exceeding that which is legal in Britain, mow down and trample with horses the hands of anyone who has in your opinion transgressed the rules of English Grammar in regard of the apostrophe. We promise moreover to be overcome with righteous and beautific joy as we overshoot badly and crumple their sorry heads.
- Nicholson Baker’s novel has been called a “thinly veiled assassination plot against President Bush.”
- M.J. Rose was a guest at The Elegant Variation and Sarah Weinman’s site, and posted a link to a Chicago Sun-Times article predicting the end of books.