We’re in the thick of National Poetry Month now, and Tweetspeak has a full round-up of ways to participate online. In particular, I think the Virginia Quarterly Review’s “Instapoem” series is especially rad. (Gee, I wonder why.)
In her new book, Hard-Core Romance, Eva Illouz has published the first serious, book-length academic analysis of the Fifty Shades of Grey. The critically-panned Fifty Shades trilogy, originally a Twilight fan fiction, has sold 32 million copies in the US so far. At The New Republic, William Giraldi seizes the opportunity for a brutal send-up of author E. L. James and the “dreck” she represents. "At least people are reading,” he writes, “You’ve no doubt heard that before. But we don’t say of the diabetic obese, At least people are eating.” Pair with The Millions’ essay on literary predecessors in published fan fiction.
In a 2010 profile, Deborah Eisenberg told us, of her current efforts at writing fiction, "I’m sort of desperately throwing myself against pieces of paper and only coming up with what look like bug smears." Now, as will shock none of her readers Eisenberg has come up with something considerably more appetizing: a new short story called "Recalculating." It's available, free, at the NYRB (!).
“The parties are pleased that they have amicably resolved this matter and look forward to working together in the future.” The estate of J.R.R. Tolkien and Warner Bros. have settled an $80 million lawsuit over the digital merchandising of products from The Lord of the Rings series, reports The New York Times. Of particular offense to Tolkein's estate: "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: Online Slot Game." Before any of that, though, there was The Story of Kullervo.
"[I]n the world of letters, it is hard to imagine a more seismic change than this one." The New York Times announces that its longtime book critic Michiko Kakutani is stepping down after nearly four decades of reviews. The Times also offers a roundup of her greatest hits, including writeups of Beloved, Infinite Jest, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and Bill Clinton's memoir My Life: The book, which weighs in at more than 950 pages, is sloppy, self-indulgent and often eye-crossingly dull — the sound of one man prattling away, not for the reader, but for himself and some distant recording angel of history. This announcement was followed by the great news that repeat Year in Reading alumna Parul Sehgal will join Jennifer Senior and Dwight Garner as a Times book critic, leaving her position as senior editor of the NYT Book Review. Congratulations, Parul!