Jacob Silverman reviews two new novels – Note to Self and The More You Ignore Me – that “take on one incarnation of the Internet: the Internet as pathology” but ultimately fail to succeed “in exploring or critiquing digital life with any authority.” He notes that “like any technology, [the Internet] has to be shaped for the purposes of literature.”
Last year, Laura van den Berg came out with a new book, The Isle of Youth, which Nathan Huffstutter reviewed for The Millions. On the Guernica blog, Dwyer Murphy interviews van den Berg, who talks about jacket photos, her first collection and whether a writer from Florida is part of the Southern tradition. (You could also read van den Berg’s Year in Reading entry.)
Members of the Word Reference forum contemplate the etymology and meaning of the “A” in the expression, “Fuckin’ A.” Elsewhere Geoffrey Nunberg, linguist and author of Assholism: The First Sixty Years, shares his take on the ubiquitous “a-word,” which he believes originated during World War II.
Great posts over at Sarah's blog and at M.J. Rose's about where books sell the most copies (think Wal Mart) and why Amazon rankings don't mean much in the way of book sales. (via Tingle Alley)They've announced the nominees for the Quills Awards - an attempt to build a book-focused version of the typical, bloated TV awards show. The nominees seem to be stale mix of award-winners and nominees (NBA, Pulitzer, etc.) from the last 18 months and middlebrow bestsellers that aren't particularily literary, but aren't outright trash either. Will anybody watch this? I mean, I like books, but yawn.For the last two weeks, Harry Potter #6 has "been the top-seller in every single one of The Book Standard's 99 local-area charts. But this week, a glimmer of hope appeared for other authors, as The Book Standard charts registered a change - one single change." How a "conservative talk-radio personality" unseated Harry Potter in the Bristol-Kingsport-Johnson City, Tennessee, area.Godzilla pauses for a moment before his rampage. Click it. It's funny.
Gawker's Adrian Chen has uncovered the man who is ultimately behind @Horse_ebooks. If you're unfamiliar with the constant stream of found poetry that is @Horse_ebooks, you may want to start with this Splitsider essay, which includes a cameo from John Darnielle.
Fans of Seinfeld and Arrested Development might be interested in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, a comedy about a band of hapless, self-interested pub owners in which slapstick hijinks obscure the fact that nothing much ever happens (for example: a wheelchair race/brawl in a mall between two characters pretending to be handicapped to get girls). The first episode of the fifth season premiers this Friday but you can watch past episodes free at FX.
Quarry, The final book of Iain M. Banks, who died this month, is now out. Also out: Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld, On the Floor by Afric Campbell, and, as an "e-single" spin-off to his bestseller Rules of Civility, Amor Towles is out with Eve in Hollywood.