At Slate, Katy Waldman asks a simple question: what the heck is the point of the National Book Awards, anyway?
“To say that late Victorian poetry is bleak would be akin to remarking that Wilkie Collins had a decent knack for plotting a novel. These poems are freighted with Gothic overtones, and it is not uncommon for some supernatural phenomenon to intrude upon what had started out as a seemingly harmless quatrain. We often encounter Death himself—or the Devil—who is something of a literary celebrity for the decadent poets. But what marks the best of these poems is that the outré is in service to something that we can think of as more desperate, and, wouldn’t you know, human.” Over at The Boston Review, an online-only essay looking at the peculiarities of Victorian decadent poetry.
Important Indiegogo Alert: Kenneth James is editing the personal journals of novelist and critic Samuel R. Delany in a five-volume series. The first volume is complete, and James is asking for a bit of help to complete the second. Neil Gaiman has offered substantial monetary support.
“Goodreads lets me capture and disperse impressions that occur as I read. I tend to track the sounds I make when reading, the chortles, gasps, growls, and LOLs. I try to figure out why I might not have liked aspects of a book, looking under the hood in a workshoppy way…” Lee Klein offers a defense of Goodreads and good criticism over at Full Stop.
At The Guardian, the intriguing case of historian Orlando Figes and his wife’s savage Amazon reviews of her husband’s rivals’ books. The case begs the question: should Amazon allow anonymous reviews?