- Judges for the Booker prize have denounced “quite a number” of the entries for the award, calling them “surprisingly bad,” “rubbish and drivel.”
- An article in a Kentucky newspaper charges that Philip Roth’s latest novel, The Plot Against America, has “branded our state for literate America, and the brand is: Kentucky, the anti-Semitic concentration camp state.” Although she acknowledges that Roth’s book is an alternate history, the author of the article doesn’t really factor that crucial detail into her argument.
- A man cited in Kitty Kelley’s Bush bio as the source for the allegation that Laura Bush toked up during her college years now says his remarks “were taken out of context” and that he has no firsthand information about the First Lady’s marijuana habits.
- A Kansas school district is saving $20 per student by deploying ebooks that include “the full, original text of such titles as A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau, The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, all the works of Shakespeare, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, The Awakening by Kate Chopin and many more,” instead of purchasing books for its students.
- Ursula LeGuin shares a copy of a rejection letter her agent received for the first LeGuin book she handled:
The book is so endlessly complicated by details of reference and information, the interim legends become so much of a nuisance despite their relevance, that the very action of the story seems to be to become hopelessly bogged down and the book, eventually, unreadable. The whole is so dry and airless, so lacking in pace, that whatever drama and excitement the novel might have had is entirely dissipated by what does seem, a great deal of the time, to be extraneous material.
(Via Buzz Balls & Hype.)
- “Lashing out for Lasher“: Anne Rice takes on negative reviews at Amazon in a review of her own.
- A fan searches for and finds signed first edition Zadie Smith novels. He’s scanned in her signature. (Via The Elegant Variation.)
- Nathalie Chicha is keeping track of the titles that will appear in this year’s Best American Short Stories, edited by Lorrie Moore.
- Retirement announcements notwithstanding, Stephen King “has another manuscript written, based on an idea that ignited when he came home from the hospital following a bout of pneumonia to find his office cleared, the furniture gone. His wife was merely redecorating.”
- Tim LaHaye’s wacko publishing mission of fear marches on.