Chances are you know (and chances are you wonder why you know) that 50 Shades of Grey started out as a work of Twilight fanfiction. You probably harbor some deep suspicions about the value of fanfiction as a genre. But what if I were to tell you that the prototypical work of fanfiction is… The Gospels?
The Virginia Quarterly Review's Fall 2011 issue, "The Soviet Ghost", is now available online. Not to be missed is Ed Ou's heartbreaking essay and slideshow on how the Soviet government performed nuclear weapons tests on innocent Kazakh citizens. Dimiter Kenarov's essay on Belarusian tractors is simultaneously a personal journey, an impressive work of history, and a good ol' fashioned KGB crime story.
Nominees for The Bookseller Diagram Prize for the Oddest Title of the Year have been announced. My favorite, which to me is not odd at all actually, is Bacon: A Love Story. Scatology abounds in this list, including: Peek-a-poo:What's in Your Diaper, and The Origin of Faeces.
For me, the call of Southern literature comes strongest in the dog days of summer, when the days are long and when the sun is burning. This year, it seems that the literary community has taken note: five representatives from the region’s “great independent bookstores” have gotten together to recommend the Southern books they’re craziest about this year.