- Hitchens looks back at the Rushdie fatwa and its legacy of censorship.
- The Feltron 2008 Annual Report
- “The Governor and the Glove” – an encounter with Blagojovich
- Joseph O’Neill remembers Updike (via TEV)
- Ted Leo performs Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark.”
- The Paleolithic era of online news.
- TNR reviews Outliers: “It is an axiom of Malcolm Gladwell’s method that a perfect anecdote proves a fatuous rule.“
“The real world is massive and chaotic beyond the scope of any story, but the novel has always been the storytelling medium that could come closest to capturing it. And the novels that dared to really try – from Hugo to Tolstoy – are often the ones that have endured.” That’s not to say, of course, that bigger is always better, and in an article for The Guardian Damien Walter argues against the current glut of epic, serialized fantasy novels taking their cues from George R.R. Martin‘s A Song of Ice and Fire. As Walter puts it, “There are great fantasy short stories, novellas and single novels that deserve much wider audiences, but are sidelined by the industry’s unhealthy fixation with the serial format. It’s time for the fantasy genre to tell some new – shorter – stories.”
New this week stateside is buzzed-about Booker shortlister Room by Emma Donoghue. Also out: Gold Boy, Emerald Girl, a new collection by “20 Under 40” lister Yiyun Li; Sigrid Nunez’s post-apocalyptic Salvation City; and a McSweeney’s-published memoir Half a Life by Chang and Eng author Darin Strauss.
Christopher Higgs was teaching Grace Krilanovich’s The Orange Eats Creeps, and one of his students was inspired to make a mixtape featuring “the twisted, crusty, and often sublime characters found within the novel.” (The book, by the way, was one of my selections for Year in Reading last year.)
This weekend is the last chance to visit the International Antiquarian Book Fair in Boston. Included are a collection of Bonnie and Clyde photos and an illustrated letter from Alexander Graham Bell to his parents describing problems with his phone invention.