“Charles Dickens had orphanages and workhouses, the Brontë sisters had the wild moors, and modern writers have high school.” So begins L.A. Times television critic Mary McNamara‘s take on The Vampire Diaries, the CW’s answer to Twilight (premiering tonight at 8). The show is loosely based on L.J. Smith‘s books of the same name and McNamara gives it a qualified thumbs up. She concludes that this latest addition to the vampire canon is “pure froth, but it is very welcome froth, especially in a genre that seems sometimes in danger of taking itself a little too seriously.”
Asymptote, a new international journal of literary translation, is up for free online and comes packed with ear candy. Though all the content is translated into English, an audio recording of the authors reading their work in the original language accompanies many of the pieces.
In today's NY Times, former Simon & Schuster executive Joni Evans ruminates on the Darwinian transformation of publishing, from tactile and sensory (paper and fountain-pen stains and typewriter bells) to e-everything (bidding wars and clean desks); she herself picked flight over fight.
Anwen Crawford reflects on newly published letters from Sylvia Plath; "The belief among many of Plath’s devotees seems to be that if we can get clear of other people’s fingerprints on her texts, allowing Plath to 'fully narrate her own autobiography,' as the editors here describe it, we will at last solve the riddle of her. The extremities of her poetry will balance against the circumstances of her life; the latter will equal the former. But her griefs were ordinary; it is what she did with them that wasn’t. Plath turned her common sorrows—dead father, mental illness, cheating husband—into something like an origin story for pain itself, as if her own pain preceded the world." In the New Yorker
Gossip is often seen as inherently frivolous and trashy, which is why it’s odd that a poet would use it as the subject of his or her work. On The Poetry Foundation’s blog, Austin Allen writes about George Green’s collection Lord Byron’s Foot, in which, as Allen puts it, “the dish spares no one.” (h/t Arts and Letters Daily)
Isn’t it lovely when books and sports coexist (somewhat) peacefully? In the spirit of the Major League Baseball ALCS playoff between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Kansas City Royals, the Twitter accounts of the Toronto and Kansas City public libraries took to the internet to air their grievances. Unfortunately for the folks in Toronto, Kansas City went on to win the game and advance to the World Series with the New York Mets. For more on the intersection of sports and reading, check out the Football Book Club.
"No one in his or her right mind would read James’s essay in order to vouch for or against its literary quality, but I am here to do just that." Ryan Lejarde parses LeBron James's "I'm Coming Home" for The Rumpus and comes to myriad conclusions about sports, literature, and what it means to love Cleveland.
"Ms. Cline, who was 27 when the novel came out, was celebrated as a major new talent. But for the last two years, her success has been overshadowed, in private, by legal threats levied against her by a former boyfriend." Emma Cline, bestselling author of The Girls, and her ex-boyfriend, Chaz Reetz-Laiolo, have filed public lawsuits against each other including allegations of plagiarism, physical abuse, and intimidation, according to the New York Times. From our archives: staff writer Michael Bourne's review of Cline's debut novel.