Any writer who has felt the sting of rejection—that is, all writers—will be inspired by the story of Dick Wimmer, who has died at the age of 74. Over the course of 25 years, a total of 162 agents and publishers rejected Wimmer’s first novel, Irish Wine, before it was finally published by Mercury House in 1989. The New York Times called it a “taut, finely written, exhaustingly exuberant first novel.” The L.A. Times invoked James Joyce in its review. Wimmer, the iron man of the rejection wars, went on to publish two sequels, Boyne’s Lassie and Hagar’s Dream (All three books are now available in a single volume from Soft Skull.) The moral of Wimmer’s story? Never give up.
There’s an old story that states that Marcel Proust met James Joyce for five unremarkable minutes at a dinner party. Artistically significant though it may have been, it had less geopolitical significance than another famous meeting a hundred years earlier, in which Napoleon went out of his way to pay a visit to Goethe. As a new biography of the French emperor details, Napoleon couldn’t understand why Goethe admired Shakespeare.
Lorrie Moore, who we profiled yesterday, has a new story collection on shelves this week. Also out: Kinder Than Solitude by Yiyun Li; What’s Important is Feeling by Adam Wilson; Wonderkid by Wesley Stace; and MFA vs. NYC, a new essay collection (spun off from an n+1 piece) edited by Chad Harbach.
The Oscar Blog: Ed has recruited Scott, YPTR, Elizabeth Crane, Jeff, Gwenda, Mark and several others to “live blog” the Oscars on Sunday. I’m convinced that no good can come of this… but you can bet I’ll be reading along.I’ll read what ever Malcolm Gladwell writes, but his 2-part conversation with ESPN.com columnist Bill Simmons on sports (and many other topics) is particularly entertaining.I’m a huge fan of the Comics Curmudgeon blog, which hilariously skewers the newspaper funnies. Now Josh has hit the big time. He’ll be skewering political cartoons for Wonkette.The winners of the 2005 Book Critics Cirle Award will be announced tonight. Here are the finalists.Brokeback Mountain (video link) in Bun-O-Vision.