As a cultural center with a very different makeup than the various home bases of the publishing world, Los Angeles often gets short shrift in discussions of literary cities. At the LARB (naturally), Sarah-Jane Stratford writes about the city’s importance to speculative literature, with an emphasis on the works of Ray Bradbury. Related: Tanjil Rashid on Bradbury’s Middle East connection.
If I had been near enough to a computer and had enough time to blog over the last month, I probably would have talked about Nicholson Baker’s new book, Checkpoint. I haven’t read it, so I can only comment on the reactions that I have seen to the book. Most have been negative. The book is about two friends who are sitting in a hotel room having a conversation. One character wants to assassinate President George W. Bush, the other is trying to talk him out of it. The subject matter alone seems to come from a desire to create controversy, and though Baker and his publisher have gone out of their way to condemn violence, Baker has said that he was motivated by his own personal anger to write the book. If you ask me, controversial subject matter + short book (115 pages in this case) + rush to press = literary publicity stunt, and many, including the New York Times agree.Readers of fiction looking for a weekly dose and writers of fiction looking for an audience should check out Weekly Reader, a little website that delivers a story to your inbox every week.Poaching two great links from Arts & Letters Daily: Jonathan Yardley loves Hunter S. Thompson’s new collection of pieces from ESPN.com’s page 2, Hey Rube; and Tibor Fischer discusses the current slate of Booker hopefuls.
“[A]n audio odyssey through fiction, archival tape, interviews, and late nights with the likes of James Baldwin, Dorothy Parker, and the cutting-edge writers of our time. Featuring readings from LeVar Burton, Stockard Channing, Jesse Eisenberg, Marc Maron, Eileen Myles, David Sedaris, Dick Cavett, Dakota Johnson, and more!” Did you know The Paris Review has a new podcast? See also: our interview with current TPR editor Lorin Stein.
We’re pleased as punch to introduce Millions readers to our new interns, Carolyn Quimby and Ariana Valderrama. Arianna is originally from Chicago but is currently based in Washington, D.C. where she works in communications. In high school she started a book blog, Reading in Color, where she reviewed over 200 middle grade and young adult books about people of color. On her nightstand right now: Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman Jr. and White Teeth by Zadie Smith. Carolyn works in academic publishing by day and is a freelance writer and book reviewer by night. Sometimes she dreams about going on a road trip solely dedicated to visiting bookstores, but mostly she tweets at @CarolynQuimby. Currently on her nightstand: Goodbye Vitamin by Rachel Khong and Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. We couldn’t be happier to have Carolyn and Ariana on board!
“It reminded me once again that we desperately lack a full-throated defense of this runt of the grammatical litter. We need an outright celebration of adverbs, and it is that celebration that I offer—stridently, boisterously, unapologetically.” Colin Dickey at Slate passionately, unabashedly defends the adverb.
Chances are that Hemingway is the only writer who comes to mind when you think of Spanish bullfighting. Well, clear some space in your mental sphere, because A.L. Kennedy wrote another entry in the bullfighting canon. On the Ploughshares blog, Miles Wray takes a look at Kennedy’s 2001 On Bullfighting.