Already on shelves ahead of its “official” release date is Mark Twain’s long embargoed Autobiography. Also new this week are The Petting Zoo, a posthumously published novel by punk poet Jim Carroll; a new collection of Selected Stories from master of the form William Trevor; Cynthia Ozick’s “retelling” of of Henry James’ The Ambassadors, Foreign Bodies; and, in time for election day today, Matt Taibbi’s collection of biting political journalism, Griftopia.
“Being a judge for the Man Booker prize has at times felt like being part of a team of archaeologists excavating some vast buried city. Once the dust has settled – after nine months of reading – you stand back to survey your labours and realise all that’s left is a small pile of gleaming fragments. I hadn’t expected the process to be quite so emotionally exhausting. Nor had I thought it would be quite so exhilarating.” In case you’re curious, a Man Booker Prize arbiter offers up his reflections on the judging process. See also: the shortlist itself, which has surprised many readers!
“If Gothic literature had a family tree, its twisted gnarled branches chock-full of imperiled, swooning heroines and mysterious monks, with ghosts who sit light on the branches, and Frankenstein’s monster who sits heavy, with troops of dwarves, and winking nuns, and stunted, mostly nonflammable babies, at its base would sit Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto.” Carrie Frye writes for Longreads about the history and personality behind the first Gothic novel, which turns 250 this year.
LA Weekly writes up the Los Angeles indie bookstore scene, of which I was once a part. Book Soup, my former place of employment, gets a nice and quite accurate writeup. I’ve never shared my stories on the blog, but, for example, the stuff about Faye Dunaway and Elton John is true. Tyson, the star of the article, was one of our more colorful newsstand employees when I was working there. The article’s take on Book Soup owner Glenn, meanwhile, is hilarious and right on the nose. As a bonus, the LA Weekly’s package includes a little bookstore tour of Los Angeles that serves as a nice counterpoint to the one that Garth created for NYC recently.Speaking of LA, obsessive film fans and those who love them should note that Amazon is having a big sale on Criterion Collection DVDs right now.Looking for a new place to live? The house in which Jack Kerouac was born is now for rent.TEV goes out on a “limn” with Michiko Kakutani.