HBO turned down the television adaptation of Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections, despite an all-star crew: Franzen himself adapted the novel to television, Noah Baumbach promised to direct the series, and Ewan McGregor and Maggie Gyllenhaal were cast as leads. Novelist A-J Aronstein can now breath a sigh of relief; they won’t be filming The Corrections at anyone’s house.
For the most part, Alexis de Tocqueville had good things to say about the young United States in his book Democracy in America, which is probably why we tend to forget that he thought Americans weren’t funny. What de Tocqueville missed, according to a new history of American humor, is the extent to which American funniness emerged from subversive groups of outsiders. In Bookforum, Ben Schwartz takes stock of the arguments in American Fun.
It's not often that a major publisher listens to a new author when they request a specific painting be used for their book cover. But they listened to Naomi Jackson, and over at the Literary Hub she explains her choice of cover art for Star Side of Bird Hill and the Caribbean significance behind it.
“Even weeks after its publication, no one agrees on What Happened and Clinton’s ability to assess her own past. But in post-truth America, the truth that becomes history may well be decided by star-rating.” The Guardian considers how Amazon reviews became the new battlefield of US politics. Namechecked in the piece: Nancy MacLean, whom we interviewed about her new book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, here.
Courtney Traub talks with Kevin Begos, Jr, publisher of Agrippa, a Book of the Dead, a 1992 book that contains an encrypted poem by William Gibson set to self-erase after a single reading. Begos explains his intentions when creating the book, and Traub recounts the difficulties Oxford recently had when deciding how to archive a work that deliberately resists preservation. Gibson's newest book, Distrust That Particular Flavor, made our list of the most anticipated releases of 2012. Also don't forget to read our review of Gibson's 2010 novel, Zero History.
Jon McGregor has won the International Impac Dublin Literary Award, otherwise known as the richest literary prize in all the land*, for his novel Even the Dogs. To check out the rest of the pool, you can revisit our coverage of both the long and shortlist for the prize. (McGregor's tweet about this whole affair was pretty grand, by the way.) [*Ed note: a reader in the comments below has disputed this claim.]