Google took the wraps off its long-awaited ebookstore today. Google ebooks can be bought at Google Books and are also available at Powells and indie bookstore portal IndieBound (both of which are missing out on some serious publicity by not having info about this on their front page today). The ebooks are readable on a variety of platforms, but not on the Kindle (at least not without some tweaking).
If you’ve ever been asked to write a thank-you note, you know that, paradoxically, it can be one of the hardest forms of writing to do well. In light of that, The Morning News has kindly republished their classic guide to writing thank-you notes, written by Leslie Harpold. Sample quote: “If you want to know when you get a genuine pass on writing a note, the litmus test is simple: Do I live under the same roof as the giver?”
Poet and essayist Adrienne Rich passed way this afternoon at the age of 82, the LA Times confirms. Her influence on writing and activism is immeasurable, and this is a sad day of all of literature. The Poetry Foundation's short biography of the poet is not to be missed, and nor are her poems "Final Notions," and "For the Dead."
John Domini reviews Joseph McElroy’s Cannonball in the pages of Bookforum. In our Great Second-Half 2013 Book Preview, our own Garth Risk Hallberg wrote that, “this, his first novel in many a moon, concerns the Iraq War, among other things, and it’s hard to think of an author more suited to reimagining the subject.”
Half-meme, half-myth, 'Slender Man' came to us from the same internet that brought LOLcat, doge, and Rule 34. After the surreal stabbing of a 12-year-old girl by two other children claiming they were acting on his behalf, this particular story has taken on a tragic resonance. In The Semiotic Review, Jeffrey Tolbert argues that Slender Man took hold because of the documentary nature of internet 'evidence'. As one Something Awful blogger put it, "Even if we don’t really believe in [Slender Man], we are cutting him out and sewing him together. We’re stuffing him with nightmares and unspoken fears. And what happens when the pictures are no longer Photoshops?" Very meta--and very scary, all over again.
“Every journal is a confessional. If it’s in the first person, it cannot help but be. Unless the author of it lies to himself—and that makes it even more of a confessional. For some reason, travel brings out confessions one would never make at home. I am trying to draw the rake of my journal over the landscape. Perhaps I will uncover something.” Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s new collection of travel journals, Writing Across the Landscape, is out now. Travel on back to The Millions for Kate McCahill’s essay on traveling with books.
Recommended Reading/Listening: Maia Evrona’s translation and recitation of a poem by Abraham Sutzkever, who has been called one of the primary poets of the Holocaust. Gabriel Brownstein’s essay for The Millions on what it means to be a “Jewish writer” is a good complementary piece.
At Bloom this week, check out the feature on novelist Jon Clinch, and the accompanying Q&A, where Clinch talks in-depth about his decision to self-publish his fourth novel after having his first two published by Random House. He says that his second novel, Kings of the Earth, "was set up for success: Oprah’s magazine put it at the top of their summer reading list, and it went on to be named one of the best novels of the year by theWashington Post. But the Oprah nod came six or eight weeks before publication date, and Random House either couldn’t or didn’t capitalize on it. By the time the book hit the shelves, it was already forgotten. I simply couldn’t bear the possibility that The Thief of Auschwitz might slip into the abyss."