Jonah Lehrer may not have exactly “self-plagiarized” his own work, but he certainly did recycle a good amount of his writing in a misleading way. And while many have criticized this kind of lazy writing, it’s worth revisiting Tim Requarth and Meehan Crist’s critical review of Lehrer’s book, Imagine, which plays a central role in this entire scandal.
As a cultural center with a very different makeup than the various home bases of the publishing world, Los Angeles often gets short shrift in discussions of literary cities. At the LARB (naturally), Sarah-Jane Stratford writes about the city’s importance to speculative literature, with an emphasis on the works of Ray Bradbury. Related: Tanjil Rashid on Bradbury’s Middle East connection.
Terrible sex writing spans the globe according to this year’s Bad Sex Award shortlist. It includes: My Education by Susan Choi, The Last Banquet by Jonathan Grimwood, House of Earth by Woody Guthrie, Motherland by William Nicholson, The Victoria System by Eric Reinhardt, The World Was All Before Them by Matthew Reynolds, The City of Devi by Manil Suri, and Secrecy by Rupert Thomson. The winner will be announced on December 3.
Reflecting on the sales figures of Lean In and How to Win Friends and Influence People, Sarah L. Corteau wonders: could it be that self-help is America’s quintessential genre? (You could also read Alan Levinowitz on the paradox of Christian self-help books.)
Iowa City, which is one of six UNESCO Cities of Literature, will honor renowned Ghanaian poet Kofi Awoonor with a memorial reading this Monday, October 14. Awoonor was among those killed in the attack on Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. The reading, which will be hosted by Awoonor’s nephew, Kwame Dawes, will take place on the University of Iowa campus, but it will also be open to anybody with an internet connection. People are invited to tune in to the event’s streaming webcast, and also to submit questions for Dawes online to the @UIIWP Twitter account by utilizing the #Awoonor hashtag.
Darryl Campbell has had enough of the clichés abundant in book reviews so he’s devised some alternatives. “If fine artists aren’t your thing,” Campbell writes, “then maybe American presidents might be a better comparison: ‘Taft-like excess,’ ‘Cleveland-esque genre-bending’ or ‘Clintonian eroticism’.”