In a 6,000 word essay for The Point, founding editor Jon Baskin wades into the personal and professional psychodrama of the Franzen–Wallace friendship. Beneath the public surface, finds deep questions about the “novel of the self,” the “novel of society,” and the life worth living.
Fun Fact: “Literature” was an Olympic event until 1948. In fact, several other events were also listed under the umbrella of “Sporting Art,” as Olympic historian John MacAloon points out to NPR. For example, W. B. Yeats’ brother, Jack Butler Yeats, won the “Mixed Painting” silver in 1924; some people even won “Medals for Making Medals!”
Penguin Books UK has started a podcast. I’ve added it to my Literary Podcasts post. (via)Law blog Groklaw has a good post explaining the Google Print project and the controversy surrounding it, and Lawrence Lessig has news of a program coming up at the New York Public Library on November 17 called “The Battle Over Books: Authors and Publishers Take on the Google Print Project.”Golden Rule Jones has a list of this year’s Chicago fiction, and at Pete Lit, Pete tells us about Chicago Noir, a collection edited by Neal Pollock with stories by Adam Langer, Kevin Guilfoile and others.
Francis Spufford’s fictionalized book Red Plenty looks to the 1950s-1960s “cybernetics” initiative to answer one of the main questions about the USSR: “Could the Soviet project to build communism have succeeded, or was it doomed to failure from the start?” In his review for The Hoover Institution, Marshall Poe contends the latter.
You should check out George Saunders’s “Liner Notes” piece about “2776: A Musical Journey Through America’s Past, Present & Future,” which is set to accompany a forthcoming musical-comedy album from Patton Oswalt, Aubrey Plaza, Ira Glass, and Yo La Tengo, among others. If that hasn’t sold you, consider the fact that Saunders’s piece contains this line: “Truth be told, there were a number of regrettable omissions. Beyoncé and Jay Z’s piece ‘Bomber’ had to be left off the album. (‘Driver of this plane, this / B-52 on the way to Nagasaki / Stuff your ears with cotton and / Close those eyes / Me and my man are about to do it all over this / Here bomb’).”