For Angelenos: Elif Batuman will be reading from The Possessed tonight at 7:00 at the LAPL Central Library. A conversation with LA Times Books Editor David Ulin follows the reading. More information and reservations here (tickets are free).
Mexican novelist and part-time literary prankster Mario Bellatin is up to his old tricks again. This time, the one-armed author/provocateur has decided to wage war against his own publisher. Bellatin claims the twentieth anniversary edition of his classic Beauty Salon was published too early and without his express consent–a brief "coda from the author" was included which Bellatin insists was nothing but a draft in progress. As such, he has been urging fans not to purchase his book.
Over at Public Books, Jared Gardner explores the theme of pain and illness at the heart of many graphic narratives. As he explains it, “Illness, mental and physical, is arguably comics’ invisible master theme, deeply woven into their genome and shaping the stories they tell, from the earliest newspaper strips (chronic allergies in Winsor McCay’s Little Sammy Sneeze) through the rise of superhero comics (from Batman’s PTSD in 1939 through the Fantastic Four’s radiation poisoning in 1961).” Pair with Paul Morton’s Millions piece on the history of Marvel Comics.
Tom Wolfe has a chance to defend (er, ward off?) his 2004 "Bad Sex Award" following Literary Review's decision to nominate him for this year's top honors (er, dishonors?). The UK publication has tapped Back to Blood and seven others for this year's shortlist -- and, despite popular demand, they managed to spare J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy. For some revealing passages from Wolfe's book, check out my review.