- Leon Wieseltier, assigned to review Nicholson Baker’s Checkpoint, quickly dismisses Baker’s entire oeuvre and then seizes the opportunity to rail against “liberal demagoguery.” Always quick on the draw, Mark Sarvas reports that Times staffers “are still investigating the technical glitch which somehow allowed a New Republic editorial by Leon Wieseltier to run as a ‘book review.'” And Carrie A.A. Frye of Tingle Alley posts some open letters.
- Suellen Grealy, Lucy Grealy’s sister, is less than thrilled with Ann Patchett’s Truth and Beauty, an account of the friendship between the two writers:
My sister Lucy was a uniquely gifted writer. Ann, not so gifted, is lucky to be able to hitch her wagon to my sister’s star. I wish Lucy’s work had been left to stand on its own.
- Since I don’t subscribe to the L.A. Times, I can’t seem to access the new review of Edwin Williamson’s Borges: A Life printed there. But a Google search turns up Julio Ortega’s Boston Globe review, published last weekend. Ortega says the Oxford scholar “has taken on the formidable task of providing Borges with a life, against his will and despite his masks.”
- Publishers of a biography about South African writer Nadine Gordimer have dropped the project due to concerns expressed by the Nobel laureate. According to her frustrated biographer, Ms. Gordimer demanded veto power over all objectionable passages, including those “suggest[ing] a tart tongue and bitterness about colleagues.”
- The Guardian is chock full of Edith Wharton coverage in anticipation of Hermione Lee’s forthcoming biography of the author. Among other things, there’s an excerpt from Wharton’s diary of a Mediterranean cruise.
- Last year John Buffalo Mailer, Norman Mailer’s son and the editor of High Times, made the news (scroll down) when he laid out his new vision for the marijuana-centric magazine:
In sober and idealistic tones, Mr. Mailer, who smokes marijuana “occasionally,” he said, described his plan to wean the magazine off its dependence on “the plant” Ã¢â‚¬â€ not to eliminate coverage, but to make it part of a broader diet of lifestyle articles.
“With the new High Times we’re using it as a metaphor,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“So it’s not a magazine about pot, it’s a magazine about our civil liberties, and our tag line is ‘Celebrating Freedom.’ Our feeling is it’s patriotic to be in High Times.”