Lit crit becomes a legal matter: “The contrast between the total concept and feel of the works is so stark that any serious comparison of the two strains credulity,” wrote the English judge who has dismissed the case against J.K. Rowling brought by the estate of Willy the Wizard author Adrian Jacobs. Jacobs’ estate claimed that Rowling had plagiarized elements of Willy the Wizard‘s plot in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
You may have heard that Haruki Murakami has a new book on shelves. Woody Brown reviewed it for The Millions last week. Over at Electric Lit, Lincoln Michel invites us to play Murakami Bingo, created by Grant Snider, once again. It might also be a good time to read Ben Dooley on 1Q84.
Last semester, at UC Riverside, the novelist Susan Straight began the class “Mixed-Race Literature and the American Experience” with a simple question: “How many of you are often asked, What are you?” In an essay about the class, she relates what they learned, which includes the observation that hair is weirdly important in America. (Related: The Millions published an essay by Straight on Toni Morrison's Sula.)
A few days ago, Amazon announced the launch of their new "@Author" feature for the Kindle, whereby readers can click on an e-book passage and ask the author questions about it directly. I've broken out in a cold poststructuralist sweat about this over on The New Yorker's Book Bench blog.
It doesn't get much better than James Wood on Joy Williams: "Nothing is stranger (and funnier) in Williams’s work than her details. Like her forms, they only resemble conventional realist details, an atmosphere perhaps encouraged by her flat, functional sentences (“They danced. Sam had quite a bit to drink”). The details are frequently surreal, magical, hallucinogenic, delivered in a cool, dispassionate, routine manner."
"Proulx’s deep reverence for the beauty and complexities of rural America has introduced millions of readers to the wide breadth of American life. Her commitment to crafting compassionate, honest stories has left an indelible mark on literature and created a powerful and enduring legacy." Annie Proulx nabs the National Book Foundation's lifetime achievement award. Check out her Year-in-Reading entry from this past year here.
John Warner, your personal Biblioracle, is taking his column to the Chicago Tribune's Printers Row. Tell him the last five books you've read and he'll recommend something delicious, nourishing, or just plain good for your next great read. Visit the Biblioracle by sending him an email at: [email protected].