Celebrate today’s arrival of John Irving’s new novel Last Night in Twisted River by seeing where it falls on Wikipedia’s John Irving recurring themes matrix. Also new today is Paul Auster’s Invisible and a new collection of Paris Review interviews (including, among others, Marilynne Robinson, Haruki Murakami, Philip Roth). Speaking of Roth, his new novel The Humbling came out last week.
The CS Monitor has a little piece about the travails of teenage novelists: “A youthful sensation doesn’t always translate into a distinguished literary career. For many teen authors, that first book proves a hard act to follow. Some never again meet with the kind of praise critics heaped upon their first offerings.”Speaking of (once) young phenoms, Bret Easton Ellis has a flashy new Web site that promotes his upcoming novel, Lunar Park. I’ve never read Ellis, but the Web site seems to indicate that this upcoming novel is about a character named Bret Easton Ellis, and it may or may not be autobiographical. Very meta. There’s an excerpt in there too.I’ve been enjoying EarthGoat lately. It’s a group blog out of Iowa City.
Jacob Silverman reviews two new novels – Note to Self and The More You Ignore Me – that “take on one incarnation of the Internet: the Internet as pathology” but ultimately fail to succeed “in exploring or critiquing digital life with any authority.” He notes that “like any technology, [the Internet] has to be shaped for the purposes of literature.”
Over at the Literary Hub, Morgan Jerkins writes about the struggle to describe blackness. As she puts it, “My hope is to create imperfect, multitudinous black women who are more in tune with themselves than their audiences.” Pair with our own Michael Bourne’s list of books that “shed light on the history and evolution of racism in America.”
Booksellers across the country have loaded up dollies with towers of boxes and carted them to the front of the store. Amazon has broken into its super-secret, double-locked, chain-link fence. Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol is here. Understandably, other publishers have ceded this Tuesday almost entirely to the Dan Brown hype machine, but those looking for something (very) different can today find Joyce Carol Oates doing the zombie thing (not really) and the latest from Tao Lin.
World-building is an essential part of any story, but what about map-making? At Book Riot, two cartographers explain how they create the maps we see inside books. One cartographer’s perspective: “I really wanted to make a map that could easily be an artifact from the world of the book…. I came up with the idea that the map could be a page ripped from an atlas, and someone had written notes on it.” See also: Rob Goodman’s essay for the reader on world-building and its relationship to reality.
The “Bloggies” are back. Looking at this year’s nominees, our thoughts from last year still hold true.We try not to rag on the NBCC too much around here, but inadvertently giving your big book recommending initiative the same name as a wildly popular reading-focused social network just smacks of cluelessness.People are still ripping on litblogs. This time, it’s Bud eloquently defending our honor.The New Yorker has presented its portfolio of winners in its contest to “redefine Eustace Tilley,” the magazine’s dapper icon.Free, downloadable mini-books from Chicago’s Featherproof BooksDoes Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point hold up in the real world? Not exactly.FSG’s Lorin Stein reviews Norman Rush’s Mortals: “the most brilliant book of the new century [maybe].”Granta’s 100th issue (congrats!) is here. William Boyd’s introduction offers up some history on the magazine.Just in time for “Super Tuesday,” Michael Chabon throws his hat in the ring for ObamaAttention “Oregon Trail” fans, outdoor equipment company Thule offers a goofy remake of the game. Ah, advertainment. (via)Finally, an important question, answered.