We celebrated Canada Day a bit early here yesterday with the news that Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize for Literature and our review of Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam. So what is Canadian literature exactly? Atwood offered her definition for The Daily Beast: “It’s too multiple [to give a concise definition], but let us say that the point of view (if the writer is not pretending to be American, which they often are) is never that of someone who feels that their country is an imperial power. Because, in fact, Canada is not an imperial power.” You can also see The Handmaid’s Tale at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet next week.
Vanity Fair remembers Christopher Hitchens, a favorite of ours who was always fun to root for, and who, as you’ve no doubt heard by now, died last night. Andrew Sullivan remembers an email exchange from happier times. Hitchens’ ebook from this year, The Enemy, is in our Hall of Fame, and we reviewed his memoir, Hitch-22, last year.
Craig Fehrman reviews Keith O’Brien’s Outside Shot, a book which follows the 2009-10 boys’ basketball team at Scott County High School in Georgetown, Kentucky. O’Brien’s book is much in the mold of Buzz Bissinger’s Friday Night Lights, writes Fehrman, in that it’s concerned with a “troubled town, precarious season, political resonance” – but it’s also a book that falters under the legacy of its predecessor.
Is “the two-person collaboration… the essential creative act”? Joshua Wolf Shenk thinks so, and he’s written a book defending his position, aptly titled The Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs. While John Lennon and Paul McCartney are his primary examples and the root of his argument, famous author duos are also referenced – C.S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, for one. Shenk even “works to transform even famously lonely figures — Rainer Maria Rilke, Emily Dickinson, Martin Luther King Jr. — into one side of a duet.” Consider us skeptical but intrigued.
“Dibs on Darcy… You can have Wickham!“SNOOTs slander Strunk & White.New York Magazine offers an exhaustive – nigh unto Talesian – look at the marriage of Gay and Nan.For Colson Whitehead, “The Coolest Writer in America is obviously [DC Comics villain] Mr. Freeze…”…while, for luminaries at the PEN gala, it’s Mr. Doctorow.Vanity Fair on “The New Yiddishists“: “They have this idea they don’t want to be pigeonholed.” Oops.Bookslut decamps for Berlin, where she will become, presumably, Buchschlampe.For “that pleasant L.A. malaise,” see this annotated reading list.Cool old covers for sci-fi chestnuts (via The Book Bench)……and hot new covers for classics (via The Second Pass).Joseph O’Neill becomes the latest beneficiary of President Obama’s literary stimulus plan.The exclamation mark is back!!!The Esquire Fiction Contest is also back. All entries must be titled “Twenty-Ten,” “An Insurrection,” or “Never, Ever Bring This Up Again.”S.E. Hinton was literary royalty at the L.A. Times book festival.