Another week of literary contests has whittled the Tournament of Books field down to four: Freedom, A Visit From the Goon Squad, Next, and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. Today, the team offers more analysis, previewing and recapping. Up next: the semis, the Zombie round, and the grand finale.
As evidenced by the amazing quiz “Jonathan Franzen Gripe or YouTube Comment about Saggy Pants,” a perception exists that the widely acclaimed writer is allergic to new technology. At Slate, Benjamin Nugent argues that Franzen’s new book, The Karl Kraus Project, proves inadvertently that Franzen is less of a Luddite than we think.
Emily Harnett writes about Elena Ferrante’s bad book covers and how it embraces “women’s fiction” as a genre. As she puts it, “In a literary marketplace where the very image of a woman is seen as antithetical to literature, Ferrante’s covers take an important stand.” Pair with Cora Currier’s essay on reading Italy through Ferrante’s books.
Steven Soderbergh is interested in bringing The Sot-Weed Factor – John Barth’s “750-plus-page satire of picaresque novels” – to the big, silver or computer screen. You should start getting excited about this if you’re from Maryland, interested in literature, or tickled by the word “beshit.”
Need to spice up your writing? Try one of McSweeney's punctuation marks such as the Yellow-Winged Apostrophe, which likes "to 'peace out' of its obligation to indicate possession or contraction," or the Academic Ellipsis, which "is used by those who wish to demonstrate just how much more they know about how to use ellipses than you do."
The Allen Ginsberg Estate supports a regularly updated blog called The Allen Ginsberg Project. I recommend reading it. Here’s a gem of a conversation between the late poet and a student over those delicious, sweet and cold plums in William Carlos Williams’s “This is Just to Say.”